Farm Ireland

Saturday 17 March 2018

Take 5: Steps for front loader maintenance and safety

Jamie Casey

Front loaders will soon be thrust into winter feeding duties, and now is the time to check that your loader is in safe condition for another season’s work.

Proper maintenance is essential to ensure efficient working and safety.

1 A tractor loader needs to be greased regularly. Depending on the attachment being used, there can be 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.

2 Maintaining oil pressure 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.

3 When attaching or detaching the loader, make sure to leave it on level ground.

Again, the parking stands should be checked over to make sure they are working properly and all pins are in place.

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When leaving the loader in on its parking stands, an attachment such as a bucket helps keep the loader stable.

4 The quick release for the attachments should be checked to ensure that it is working properly.

If the quick release does not work, the attachment will not be held on properly and will fall off when tilted — with potentially disastrous consequences.

This is the business end of the loader, and the hydraulic hoses are susceptible to impact from heavy round bales or stones.

5 Wash away any dirt on the loader in order to check the loader frame for cracks or weaknesses. In particular, keep an eye on the weld areas and keep these clean from muck throughout the season so you can spot a weakness at an early stage.

Check all bolts that hold the loader to its frame and to the tractor; put a spanner on them to ensure they are tight.

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