How to Avoid Excavator Break-downs

Posted on: 14 April 2016

The excavator is an integral part of any construction work in its early stages. An excavator breaking down can cause a significant delay. It is essential to know how to keep the excavators operational. Almost all the key parts of an excavator are hydraulic cylinders. Learning how to do hydraulic cylinder service is therefore very important for excavator operators. Here are a few tips on how to do just that.

Disassemble the Cylinder

A faulty cylinder is identified by either internal or external leakage. External leakage is easy to detect. The cylinder must be taken apart to identify internal leakage. Checking the cylinder parts closely after disassembly will reveal any other problems besides leakage. The following are the parts which excavator operators should pay close attention to.

The Rod

Use dye penetrant at all points where the rod cross-section changes. This will reveal any cracks on the rod. Next check whether the rod is straight. Place the rod on a roller and use a dial-gauge to measure the run-out. A bent rod is easy to repair. Use a hydraulic press to straighten the rod. A cracked rod on the other hand, must be replaced.

The Rod Seal

A hydraulic cylinder will under-perform if the rod seal is distorted. The rod seal becomes distorted if the rod is bent or the guide bush is worn out. There is no way of fixing a distorted rod seal. It has to be replaced.

The Piston Seal

The barrel sometimes bulges due to continuous use. This wears out the piston seal. Both the piston seal and the barrel have to be replaced. Getting a new piston seal without replacing the barrel is only a short term fix.

The Barrel

The barrel will bulge due to scoring or pitting. This refers to the corrosion of the barrel which results in cracks in some places and lumps in others.  The barrel must be honed to remove any pitting or scoring.

The Piston

Scoring on the piston usually occurs on the outside unlike scoring on the barrel. Piston wear bands should be fixed between the barrel and the piston to protect the piston from abrasions. This is a way of cutting costs because replacing the wear bands is way cheaper compared to replacing the piston itself.

Carry out these repairs on all the cylinders in an excavator on a regular basis. These checks may cost some time, but they will end up being beneficial in the long run because the excavators will keep running smoothly.