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Best Practices

Top Maintenance Tips for Excavator Attachments

ASC BestPractices Index V1

Tips for Excavator Attachments

Excavator attachments are a must have on most jobsites. They expand the capabilities of your machines and allow you to complete more specialized projects. Some of the most common attachments are excavator buckets and hydraulic breakers, but all types require regular maintenance to keep working at their best.

General maintenance tips for excavator attachments
The most important tip for hydraulic attachments is to only use ones that are compatible with your carrier machine. The worst thing you can do is force attachments onto a piece of equipment that they are not designed for or that do not have adequate power or flow to properly operate them. Once you determine the right type and size hydraulic attachments for your machine, follow these maintenance best practices to keep it in top shape:

  • Wash and clean excavator attachments after daily use
  • Grease fittings to ensure proper lubrication
  • Replace worn out parts to prevent damage to other components
  • Inspect hydraulic attachments for any visible signs of damage or strange sounds
  • Keep hydraulic hose ends out of the dirt
  • Follow all maintenance guidelines in your owner’s manual

Maintenance for hydraulic breakers
Because hydraulic breakers deal with very powerful impact forces, proper maintenance is especially critical. It’s crucial to conduct a regular three part inspection:

  1. Inspect for leaks in the attachment’s fittings or hoses
    Before using hydraulic breakers, check hoses for cracks and ensure that proper shielding is in place. Make sure your fittings are tight and your hoses and fittings are free of contaminants.
  2. Check critical points for correct lubrication and function
    Power wash the hydraulic breakers to remove dirt, sand, and other contaminants. After the breakers are clean, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for special grease or oil lubricant requirements for proper bushing wear. These recommendations will contain special agents designed specifically for the particular manufacturers’ units. Standard greases are not acceptable for most breakers.
  3. Make sure the locking mechanism is working properly
    The locking mechanism should not be stiff or bent. If it is, then proper locking and unlocking of the attachment will not be possible. Look for damage whenever attachments are changed out, and it’s important to never pry with a tool while operating.
  4. Conduct regular maintenance
    On a weekly basis, or every 10 hours, remove and inspect the retaining pin and tool. On a monthly basis, or every 50 hours, inspect the tool shank and bushings, carefully checking for wear, and inspect the hydraulic hoses. Hydraulic breakers should be serviced annually or every 600 hours.

Maintenance for excavator buckets and teeth
Excavator buckets are the most commonly used type of attachment, and they require extra care to stay in top working condition. A properly maintained bucket will reduce your costs by digging and breaking out more efficiently, which will lower your fuel consumption and speed up job completion. Before using excavator buckets, carefully check the following components.

  • Mounting Hinges
    Look for cracks. A small crack can quickly become much bigger – if you notice any cracks, fix them immediately.
  • Front Leading Edges and Corners
    Visually inspect edges and corners to see if they are getting thinner or if there are signs of cracking. If so, the corners can be re-plated and thickened to increase the life of the bucket. If left unchecked, the corner could fail during heavy digging and the bucket edge can be torn out completely and would have to be replaced.
  • Bucket Edges
    If you notice any signs of wear or stress, then consider replacing the edges or rotating them if you are working with a bucket that has reversible edges.
  • Bucket Teeth
    Check if they are worn or need rotating. Teeth that are regularly rotated last longer, saving you money. Corner teeth tend to wear faster – move them to the center to increase their life. Many styles of teeth can be turned upside down – the lower edge wears faster and if they are turned over, they will wear more evenly.
  • Lost Teeth?
    Do not use excavator buckets with missing teeth. Not using a full set of teeth will wear away the adapter nose and result in poor contact when new teeth are installed.
  • Lubrication
    Are your excavator buckets properly greased? Insert some lubrication into the proper bucket pin locations. Simple lubrication is the cheapest and best form of maintenance.
  • Check pins and bushings for wear at this time.
    Worn pins & bushings cause more stress on the machine, and rapidly lead to expensive and more in depth repairs when let go too long. Also, worn pins & bushings result in less control of the machine during operation.

If you have any questions about maintenance for excavator attachments, excavator buckets, or hydraulic breakers, reach out to our team today!