Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 10 December 2016

Keep your loader in shape with these maintenance tips

Derek Casey

Published 28/11/2016 | 06:00

To avoid accidents make sure the quick release for loader attachments is working properly
To avoid accidents make sure the quick release for loader attachments is working properly

Winter is in with a bang and that means plenty of front loader work over the next few months as cattle come indoors.

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Proper maintenance of the front loader is essential to reduce the chance of breakdowns or, worse, a machinery accident occurring on your farm this winter. Loaders are a relatively simple implement and tend to last when fitted correctly and looked after. Nonetheless, there are a few things to keep an eye on.

Most tractor loaders are now controlled by a joystick, which uses electrical solenoid valves to control the oil flow. This means there are wires connecting the joystick to the loader.

These wires should not have sharp turns and need to be kept free from wearing movement such as rubbing of the loader or underneath the tractor. They should be tidily held using cable ties if necessary.

A tractor loader also needs to be greased regularly. Depending on the attachment being used there can be anywhere between 10 to 20 grease points on a loader. Greasing reduces wear and helps moving points to move freely. All grease points should be greased at least once a week or every 10 hours work.

The bolts for keeping the loader tight to the mounting brackets should be checked regularly as, if these become loose, the loader can bounce out of brackets.

Maintaining that all-important oil pressure is what keeps your loader in the air. Due to the high pressure of the system, what may initially start as a drip or a minor leak can quickly become a much bigger problem.

Hydraulic hose pipes age from weather and over time they can crack. They should be checked for cracks or signs of aging and replaced if necessary.

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All connections and joints in the hydraulic pipes as well as the hydraulic rams should be checked over for any leaks. If rubber hosing cover has become peeled back the wire hose can rust and eventually leak.

When detaching the loader, make sure to leave it on level ground. The parking stands should be checked over to make sure they are working properly and all pins are in place. An attachment, preferably a bucket, helps keep the loader stable when leaving it on its parking stands.

Last but not least, check the quick release for the attachments to ensure it is working properly. A faulty connection here has been the cause of countless farm fatalities over the years.

Indo Farming