Boom Truck would like to share with you some recommendations to help keep your refuse handling equipment running smoothly.
First of all, never let cost get in the way of maintaining your equipment. The cost of a good preventive maintenance program will always pay for itself over the long run. Also, calculate how much your truck earns for you in a day. Keep this figure in mind so that you'll know just how much unproductive downtime costs you.
And, always remember, the safety of you and others is the most important reason for inspecting your truck and keeping it in good, safe operating condition.
You or your mechanic should do a chassis inspection daily (if at all possible). You should use a set form and check off each inspection point. Any identified problems should be scheduled for repairs as quickly as possible. You can use the following as an example of a checklist for your truck chassis (it does not, however, include every item that should be checked).
Daily chassis inspection
- Check the engine, transmission, rear differential, power steering, and wheel seals for lubricant or coolant leaks.
- Check the condition of all belts, hoses, lines, (including such items as engine belts, the fuel crossover lines, radiator hoses, water lines, air lines, power steering lines, automatic transmission lines, etc).
- Check the power steering for excessive play.
- Check your air pressure and make sure your truck is building up air fast enough and to the proper level.
- Check tread and wear condition of all tires and check for too much or too little pressure.
- Check wheels and rims for any damage or cracks.
- Check the brake shoes and drums for excessive wear or cracks.
- Check your front axle and rear suspension for bad or cracked springs and or worn bushing and pins.
- Drain your air tanks daily. Check for excessive moisture.
- Pay close attention to any frayed wiring and check battery connections.
- Make sure all lights are operational.
- Make sure your city and air horns are working.
- Wipers must be working and always check your washer fluid.
- Check your windshield and mirrors for visibility and cracks or chips.
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher and flares in the vehicle.
Train your driver to always watch his gauges for signs of trouble. It is critical that he immediately communicate with the mechanic regarding any problems that he thinks the vehicle might have.
Here's a simple example of how a common problem can either cost you a little or a lot.
Problem: The seal is leaking on the hydraulic pump.
Cost with preventive maintenance: $300
Cost without preventive maintenance: over $ 1,000
If the problem had been identified and handled in a preventive maintenance program, the seal would have quickly been spotted as leaking and more than likely changed within a couple of days. This would have kept the loss of oil to a minimum. The only costs that would have been incurred would be the hydraulic pump seal, which would more than likely only have been around $40 and the cost of the labor. The labor to remove the pump, replace the seal and reinstall the pump should not take more than three or four hours. Assuming four hours labor at $65 per hour, the labor cost would have been $260. Thus the total bill would have amounted to $300.
If the seal had been left to continue to leak without replacement, it would have eventually "burned-up" due to lack of oil. Not only would a new pump have to be purchased (at a cost of over $600) but also the owner would have used more oil as the seal continued to leak (approximate cost of oil, $2.50 @gallon). Maybe even more costly, the pump could have failed at the most inconvenient of times (during an important job, when the truck was fully loaded, when business was already backed up and with no secondary, etc).
As the example shows, the right way usually turns out to be the cheaper way in the long run.
Remember, you should always grease your truck on a weekly basis. The following is the basic recommended intervals for oil changes (it may vary among manufacturers).
- Engine Oil: 250 hours
- Automatic Transmission: 500 hours
- Standard Transmission: 1,000 hours
- Rear Differentials: 600 hours
- Power Steering: 1,000 hours
- Antifreeze: 1,000 hours
- Hydraulic Oil: 1,000 hours
There are small inexpensive extra items that you can put on your truck to extend the life of the components. For example, you can add oil coolers to the hydraulic system, power steering system and the automatic transmission. These add-ons might double, even triple the life of some components.
If you are currently running a fleet of trucks and do not have a maintenance program in place, the first few months of implementing a program can be expensive. However, keep in mind, it will pay off.
If you are currently running a refuse truck or fleet, you should do a body inspection every week.
Here's an example of a common refuse packer repair that could be very costly. The example concerns ejector blade shoes. Ejector blade shoes are usually made of very durable plastic, bronze or soft steel. Under a preventive maintenance program, the cost to replace the shoes would run anywhere from $500 to $1,000 depending upon the type of body and the local labor rate. However, if the refuse packer body was continually operated for an extended period with the worn shoes and the shoes were allowed to continue to deteriorate, the eventual harm would be severe damage to the structural integrity of the body. Eventually, the floor would be destroyed and the packer blade damaged. The cost could run anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000 for repairs, or, worst-case scenario, $35,000 for a brand new body ($7,500 to $18,000 for a good used body).