This article initially appeared in PS 742 (Sep 14), p. 20.
Operators, keep this tip in mind when temps drop below 60°F: Use the road grader’s hydraulic unloading valve to make starting the engine easier.
The valve is located next to your left foot when you’re sitting in the cab. When you press it, you’re letting the vehicle’s hydraulic pump spin free with no pressure. That reduces the load on the engine starter. It also saves a lot of wear and tear on the starter and pump when the hydraulic fluid gets thick and sluggish in cold weather.
As the engine warms up, don’t let your foot off the valve too fast. That’ll force too much pressure from the pump into the system’s main hydraulic lines. The end result is blown seals and lots of leaks.
Slow and easy is the way to go when easing off the hydraulic loading valve.
After warm up, slowly release valve!