To prepare for Canada’s frosty winter conditions, you can take steps to safeguard your equipment. With the following 11 steps, you can ensure your equipment remains healthy and robust through all months of the year.
In advance of the impending winter cold, fill the fluid compartments with lubricants of the proper viscosity. Before you power on a machine, check the transmission and hydraulic components, as well as the oil tank, to ensure the fluid levels are optimal for the flow of the machine. Pull the dipstick out from each fluid container before each operation. If the correct oil level shows on the dipstick, the compartment is sufficiently filled. DO NOT use oil that has been thinned with kerosene or diesel.
Other components to double-check before each use throughout the winter are hydraulic hoses, which can crack if strained under cold conditions. To condition the hoses for wintertime operations in advance of each use, run the motor to raise the hydraulic oil to operating temperatures, and continue to run the machine for a minimum of 60 minutes, this is beneficial to optimal life for seals and gaskets. For optimal performance, use a specially formulated arctic hydraulic oil during winter months.
When freezing winds and snowfall hit, the effects can be damaging to the exterior and internal components of outdoor equipment. After a snowstorm, you’d need to brush the snow and ice from the body of an exposed Trackmobile® just to run it across your yard. In worst-case scenarios, you might have to dig the machine out from several inches of snow, by attaching a Rotary Broom to your Trackmobile® you can avoid many of these hassles. With an all-steel design, the Rotary Broom is easy to service and is a durable tool for your operation. This broom has a 93” [2362 mm] sweeping width and alternating Nylon / Steel Bristle to ensure that fewer passes are required when sweeping a large area. This translates into fewer man-hours being spent cleaning worksites. Each Rotary Broom works off of the hydraulic system of your Trackmobile. A control box is mounted in the Trackmobile’s cab on the steering column, and allows angular control, raising and lowering, as well as starting and stopping of the broom.
Fully controlled from within the operator cab and integrated into the Trackmobile hydraulics the Rotary Broom is the best choice for safe, reliable and fast track snow removal. A rotary broom is available for all new models and can be retrofitted to most past models.
For most outdoor equipment, the quickest way to warm the engine is with the use of a block heater, which can raise the temperatures of interior components and hydraulic fluid. To make this process as fast as possible, block the flow of the engine fan from the radiator as you warm the machine.
When temperatures drop below normal, a battery needs double the number of cranking amps to power on a machine. In order to make the startup process easier on the battery, keep it charged and sufficiently warm throughout the winter months If the temperatures in your area drop to subzero levels, battery blankets are an efficient method of accomplishing this and are included in the cold weather package from Trackmobile.
Diesel engines, too, can suffer the effects of starting fluid. Their high compression can cause the fluid to ignite too early, effectively causing pre-ignition, which invites all kinds of problems, like catastrophic piston or rod damage. Plus, it has no lubricating properties, so it can hasten piston wear. Using a Webasto engine heater is an excellent alternative to using starting fluid.
Before you put a machine to use, run it in idle until the engine reaches full operating temperature. This way, you’ll prevent sticking in the valves of the intake and exhaust systems. As you run the machine along your yard or driveway, activate each of the functions for a minute to distribute oil throughout the machine body. This step will give the machine a workout, so to speak, and help keep the engine and its functions in proper working condition.
When temperatures drop, tires can lose air more rapidly. To ensure tires are sufficiently filled to support the weight of a machine, inspect each tire every time before you put the machine to use.
One of the worst problems that can develop inside of a tire is the formation of ice crystals, which can occur under sub-zero temperatures and exacerbate deflation issues. To prevent this from happening, inflate each tire with dry nitrogen gas. Alternatively Heavy-Duty Foam Filed Tires can be installed to remove the need to monitor inflation, however it should be noted that Trackmobile’s fitted with foam filled tires should not remain stationary on roadwheels for extended periods of time. This will eliminate potential flat spotting, especially in cold climates.
In advance of each use, perform a visual inspection of the outer body, engine components and underside of your outdoor equipment. Make sure the parts inside the engine — including all the wires and hoses — are in clean, optimal working condition and free of wear or cracks. If you notice any abrasions along the hydraulic hoses, tires or belts, replace those parts as soon as possible.
If snow or dirt are present along the tires or underside components, clean the spots in question before starting up the machine. To ensure the undercarriage of your machine is in healthy shape for the winter, have the machine inspected by a certified technician in advance of the cold season.
When temperatures drop to 12 degrees or lower, diesel exhaust fluid within an exposed container will freeze into sludgy crystal-laden form. To prevent this from happening, store diesel exhaust fluid containers in a room-temperature setting with sufficient insulation.
If you do store diesel exhaust fluid, make sure the container itself is non-expansive. This way, if the fluid thaws, it won’t burst through the container. It is also important to note that DEF fluid has a limited shelf life in comparison to other fluids. Always be aware of the expiration date of the material.
To prevent the fuel tank from forming condensation overnight in the midst of a cold stretch, refill the tank after each use. Also, clean and drain the water separator after each use, in advance of the refill. This step will help protect the fuel tank from the leak-over of dirt, sediment and water. With a clean fuel system, the machine will be better-equipped to handle even the coldest of winter seasons.
Usable only in rail-mode applications, the V-shaped design will remove snow from the tops of tracks and frogs, leaving a workable rail surface. Convenient to use during railcar movement when using single coupled operations. Mechanical installation and operation are simple and easy.