This article initially appeared in PS 769 (Dec 16), p. 13.
Take a quick walk through any engineering battalion and you’ll see lots of construction equipment with built-in starting aids. These aids help vehicle engines turn over in cold weather.
But if you’re looking for one of these starting aids on the backhoe loader (BHL), you’re out of luck. There isn’t one.
Unfortunately, some operators think it’s OK to grab a can of ether spray to create their own.
Now say it once, and say it over again: HANDS OFF THE ETHER!
Don’t even think about heading back to the workbench, grabbing a can of ether spray, and giving it a go! Spraying ether in your BHL’s engine will crack pistons, bend rods and ruin heads.
To bring the point home, a warning decal is mounted on the street side of the BHL:
EXPLOSION HAZARD - Do not use ether
Pay close attention to warning decal
There’s an important reason for the decal. The BHL’s engine manifold intake heater is just on the other side. That heater gets oven hot, so a spray of ether will ignite and travel right back to the ether can.
That creates an explosion that can cause severe burns, scars, blindness or even death!
So it you’re having problems starting your BHL, keep your hands off the spray can ether can and grab a mechanic instead.