You don’t have a Skid Steer front loader tractor for the fun of it. You have work to do! More than likely, one of the reasons you got this front loader in the first place was to work more efficiently. This means less work for you, as well as less time spent doing it. The hydraulic systems of these machines must run at maximum efficiency when you work with many attachments. The question is, how do you do that?
Hydraulic system performance of Skid Steers and other front loader tractors has gradually increased over the recent years through tighter tolerances. While that sounds like great news, this also makes them less tolerant of contamination. It is the number one reason these systems fail. We don’t want that to happen to you!
Key sources of contamination can be dirt, metal, water, or air. Dirt enters the system through attachment changes and poor maintenance practices. You want to ensure you get as much dirt and other grime out of your machine as possible. How? Follow these steps!
- Pay Attention to Quick Couplers
Quick couplers allow the Skid Steer attachment versatility that makes track loaders so popular. This makes yours vital to efficiency and profits. Dust, dirt, and mud can be transferred into the system during the coupling of the auxiliary lines.
- Keep Oil Clean and Unmixed
Oil is the lifeblood of the loader and it is shared with the attachments! Connecting an unfamiliar hydraulic attachment to your equipment is risky. There is a risk of fluid incompatibility.
- Change the Oil
Speaking of oil, oil changes are not optional! Just like in your car or truck, hydraulic fluid begins to deteriorate from being heated and cooled during the normal operation of your Skid Steer. Overheated oil forms varnish, causing valves and other components to stick. This should be avoided by regularly changing the oil.
- Get Any Water Out
Dirt is bad for your machine, but so is water. Water shortens oil life. Water in the system can dilute the hydraulic oil, and decrease lubricity and viscosity.
- Check Attachments After System Failures
It is crucial to the longevity of your machine that if contamination has occurred that both the carrier and attachment be flushed. As well, filters must be changed and new oil should be put in.
- Set Attachments Up Properly
Not only to ensure optimal performance, but also to protect the hydraulic system, it is necessary to match flows and pressures between the loader and the attachments. Always ensure you know what flow and pressure your attachment requires. Doing it incorrectly will lead to many problems over time.
- Oil Analysis Catches Contamination Early
It’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive. If you conduct an oil sample when the machine is newer, you will know what the baseline is as you go forward. You’ll more easily recognize a situation where your oil has been contaminated.
When your Skid Steer is back to maximum efficiency, you can mow grass, cut tree limbs, dig holes, and do anything else quicker and easier. The more efficient you are, the more money you’re making. After all, that’s why you have a front loader tractor!