For road construction and maintenance, motor graders are considered to be the best equipment. They are heavy-duty machines and given the hard work they perform, their regular maintenance is utmost necessary to help them perform optimally.

Motor graders have various parts like blade, moldboard, hydraulic cylinders, gears etc., which need to be well-maintained, so that the equipment works in a better way. The key is to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding checking of parts and getting them serviced.

Motor grader maintenance tips

Here is the list of motor grader maintenance tips that should be followed...

1. Blade/moldboard: Since the cutting edge comes in direct contact with the soil, special attention should be paid towards it. Typically, if the blade is pitched back, and not at the right angles, then wear and tear can occur on the cutting blade attached to the moldboard. Hence, blades need to checked regularly and even replaced if needed. Ideally, the blades should be checked after every 25 to 50 hours of operation. If the blade is not replaced at the right time and it gets worn down, then the moldboard can be compromised. In cases where the blade’s edges and bolts that keep them in place are not maintained, then the moldboard will have to be replaced.

2. Blade slide and turntable: The blade slide should be checked regularly like every month. The wear in the slide can be checked by lifting the blade off the ground, grabbing its end, moving it up, down, left and right to check for looseness in the movement. It should be noted that the bronze or metal shim glides (which are situated on four different points) that control the blade slide’s movement can also wear down. Hence, the glides should be removed and replaced. In order to obtain fine cut, the bushings in the slide should also be checked. If the slide’s movement is too loose, the clevis pins keeping it in place should to be replaced.

3. Air filters: Since the motor grader works in a very dusty environment, it is important to keep the equipment’s air filter clean. In fact, the efficacy of the motor grader will be affected and it will consume more fuel if dirt fills up in the equipment’s air filter. Thus, checking the air filters as per manufacturers’ recommendations is very necessary. Use of pre-filters that reduce the amount of dirt that enters the air filters can prove useful and help in preventing the need to change the air filter soon.

4. Scarifiers: Scarifiers are used to break up the soil so as to make the work of moldboard easy. Sacrifiers have teeth also called as rippers. These teeth of the scarifier shouldn’t wear down to the point of reaching the scarifier shank or pocket as it may cause major damage. In such a case, you will have to the replace the shank which is much costlier than replacing the teeth.

5. Operator station and controls: The seatbelt, floor mat and handles should be checked regularly, so as to ensure precision and operator safety. Also, for ensuring consistent grader performance, the controls in cab must be responsive to the operator. Generally, a lot of play is developed in handles that control the blade. Hence, the handles need to be kept tight so as to ensure precise control over the machine.

6. Tires: Motor grader’s tire pressure also needs to be carefully monitored as the tyre traction can affect machine’s grade.

Apart from the above mentioned points, there are many general motor grader maintenance tips that need to be followed...

1. Walk around the machine for visual inspection of controls, engine, compartment, cooling system, gear boxes, hydraulic parts and other parts for leaks and broken, worn out or missing parts.

2. Any leaks in the circle drive, dirt and debris build-up in pivot point and blade shift and excessive play, damage, loose or missing parts in the blade linkage should be checked.

3. Dirt should be kept out of the engine openings by wiping off dirt and grease before opening filler necks and dipsticks.

4. The battery ground strap should always be disconnected before making adjustments on the engine or electrical equipment so as to prevent fire hazards, explosions and accidental operation of the starter.

5. The pivot points should be lubricated according to the defined specifications.

6. The blade circle and side shift cylinder should also be cleaned and lubricated with graphite as per the recommendations in the Operator’s Manual.

7. The blade should be checked for loose bolts, amount of remaining cutting edge, wear, damage and loose or missing parts.

8. The hydraulic system should be checked for leaking lines and connections, bent or kinked lines and lines rubbing against other parts. Also, check for loose, worn or broken parts and check hydraulic oil level, filters, hoses and fittings.

9. Engine oil should be sampled and tested every 250 hours to see if there are any metal shavings or fluids in there.

10. The cooling system should be checked regularly. This includes checking the coolant level in the radiator, adding coolant if needed and checking the radiator cap, hoses, clamps and fan belts.

11. The belts should be checked for tension and condition.

12. Checks also need to be performed for transmission leaks and gauging transmission fluid level.

13. Check for damaged tires and wheels should also be performed.

14. The lights, back-up alarms and other warning or safety devices should also be checked thoroughly.

15. Checking the brake adjustment and condition is also important.

16. All the wiring, insulation and connections of the equipment should also be checked.

17. All the signals, lights and flags on mouldboard and cab should be thoroughly checked too.

18. All the moving parts of the machine should be lubricated well as they can fail if they aren’t lubricated properly.

In a nutshell

Overall, if you follow the above mentioned tips, then you can surely increase your motor grader’s life considerably and reduce machine breakdown drastically.