You can store your equipment long-term and still have it ready to go when needed by following a few guidelines.
First, consult your machine’s Operation and Maintenance Manual: It contains specific guidelines for long-term storage of your equipment.
Below are general equipment inspection checklists for before, during and after storage.
Equipment Inspection Checklist: Before Storage
- Perform a visual check for damaged, loose or missing parts, including hydraulic hoses and electrical connections.
- Wash and clean all parts of the piece of equipment.
- Repaint necessary areas to prevent oxidation. Replace damaged or missing decals.
- When removed from service, the machine should be stored in an indoor space. If stored outside, take additional care when returning the machine to service.
- Perform lubrication procedures on all grease points.
- Apply a coating of light oil to the exposed plated metal surfaces (hydraulic cylinder rods, etc.) and to all the control linkage and control cylinders (control valve spools, etc.).
- Remove the battery to be fully charged and stored.
- Inspect the coolant recovery tank and radiator to make sure the antifreeze level in the system is correct and the antifreeze concentration is enough for the lowest temperature anticipated during storage.
- Seal all external openings (engine exhaust outlet, crankcase and hydraulic breather, fuel vent line, etc.) with tape wide enough to cover the opening, regardless of size.
Equipment Inspection Checklist: During Storage
Once a month, follow these checklists for your equipment.
- If possible, drive until engine temperature reaches normal operating temperatures to lubricate all moving parts.
- Check for leaks.
- Grease the zerks (fitting).
Excavators and Log Loaders
- Run the engine for approximately five minutes set at the middle of the speed range, without a load, in a safe operating environment.
- Slowly cycle boom, arm and bucket cylinders about five times without a load to circulate the oil through the system.
- Check for clearance in your working environment and fully raise the attachment.
- Swing clockwise three revolutions.
- Swing counterclockwise three revolutions.
- Travel forward and reverse at low speed for two revolutions of the drive sprocket.
- Start the engine and allow it to idle for a few minutes.
- Drive the machine for two to three minutes.
- Raise and lower the boom two to three times. Crowd and dump the bucket two to three times. This will circulate hydraulic fluid through all the hydraulic systems.
Equipment Inspection Checklist: Pre-Operation
- Before operating the equipment, remove all exposed grease from the hydraulic cylinder rods.
- Add grease and oil at all lubrication points.
- Adjust fan and alternator belt tension.
- Connect the charged battery.
- Check the condition of all hoses and connections.
- Check hydraulic oil, engine oil, fuel and coolant levels. If there is water in the oil, change all the oil.
- Change all machine filters.
- Inspect for signs of nests (birds, rodents, etc.).
- When starting the engine after long-term storage, follow the procedures listed in the “During Storage” section above.
Could Your Equipment Do More?
If work has stopped for winter, that doesn’t mean your machines have to. Consider turning your wheel loader into a snowplow.