It’s easy to neglect little things we should do each day, like eating breakfast, drinking enough water or flossing our teeth. We tell ourselves it’s not a big deal if we forget, but doing so affects our overall health in the long run.
The same goes for hydraulic earth drill maintenance. Since hydraulic drills withstand extra tough conditions and have few moving parts, we assume we don’t have to worry about checking them often. But misuse and irregular maintenance significantly impact the health of a drill.
Neglecting hydraulic drill maintenance can lead to declined performance or, worse yet, a complete breakdown during hole digging projects. Keep your drill healthy by paying attention to these hydraulic wear parts.
1. Hydraulic Fluid & Motor Oil
Before starting the engine, check that the power pack’s hydraulic oil reservoir is filled to the top of the sight gauge. Keep the hydraulic oil and return line filter clean at all times, and change both after the first 15 hours of operation. From then on, change the filter and oil every three months or after 100 hours of operation.
Along with the hydraulic fluid, check the engine crankcase oil levels and ensure that all nuts, fasteners and fittings stay tight. A loose engine or tank mounting bolts can cause premature wear.
2. Quick Disconnects & Hoses
Regularly clean the hoses’ quick disconnects before and after drilling. After a job is complete and you begin to take the drill apart, attach the disconnect from the drill’s hydraulic output hose onto its input coupler and vice versa on its power pack. This prevents dirt from getting inside the hydraulic system. If one of the quick disconnect fittings begins leaking, the quick disconnect coupling needs replacement.
Examine hydraulic drill hoses and pipes for leaks, cracks and abrasions and replace if necessary. Keep hose connections tight and fitted for optimum performance.
3. Other Wear Parts
- Replaceable Points and Blades on the Auger: Your earth auger’s points and blades need replacement if dull or worn. Always check before and after drilling each hole. If a worn blade isn’t replaced it might damage the auger flighting, which requires either a costly repair or a total auger replacement.
- Torque Tube: Inspect the tube for cracks before each use. Check that the spring-button attachment is securely snapped into place and replace the attachment if it is bent or broken.
- Control Valve: If operators encounter any hydraulic oil leakage, they should shut down the power source and relieve the hydraulic pressure by moving the control valve in both directions, which opens the hydraulic oil flow. Tighten the screw-on fittings on the end of each hose. Replace the related hose assembly if the leakage continues. If the control valve leaks around the spool shaft, replace the seal kit.
When putting drills away for the off-season, remember that proper storage contributes to overall maintenance. Drain the gas or put recommended additive in the fuel, whichever the manufacturer suggests. Always store the drills in a dry place because the steel components will eventually rust if left outside or in places with a lot of moisture, such as propped up outside against a building.
Regular maintenance prolongs the life of your digging equipment, boosting your productivity and efficiency. If you have a maintenance issue or question, make sure to reference Little Beaver’s online parts and operators’ manual, online service videos or contact us for in-house technical consultation.