NEWS | Sept. 14, 2021

120M Road Grader: PM Reminders

Operators, these preventive maintenance (PM) reminders will keep your grader running smooth and mission-ready for the day’s run.
Oil Check
Look for sludge every time you check the oil level. It will appear as small clumps on the dipstick. The main reasons for sludge are condensation and dilution with fuel.
Also, water contamination is hard to find until it’s really bad. If you suspect water contamination, draw an oil sample and let it stand in a glass jar. Water will separate from the oil.  If that happens, let your mechanic know.  He will need to change the oil and filters.
Accurate Oil-Level Reading
You’ll get the most accurate oil-level reading while the engine is cold, just like it says in WP 0013-5 of TM 5-3805-293-10 (Dec 10).
Remove the dipstick and wipe it with a clean rag, then reinsert it. Remove the dipstick again to eyeball the oil level.  It should fall in the cross-hatched area of the dipstick.
It’s a good idea to check the oil during long operations. After shutting down the engine, wait 10 minutes to let the oil drain back into the oil pan. Then recheck. It’s not as accurate as a cold check, but it’ll let you know if there are any problems.
The grader’s engine oil is also monitored in the service menu on the messenger display inside the vehicle’s cab.  Low pressure indicates the oil level is low.
Never overfill just to skip an oil check. That just causes other problems, like blowby.
Important to Idle First
Now that you’ve started your grader, you’re ready to move out, right?
Not so fast!
Your vehicle needs to warm up a bit before the day’s run.  If not, moving parts break down. Then your grader is sitting on the side of the road instead of grading. 
Here’s how to keep your grader on the job:
  • After start-up, run the engine for at least three (3) minutes to allow the engine to reach normal operating temperature. That warm-up lets the engine burn off condensation from normal engine breathing. Remember, unburned condensation will mix with oil to form a sludge that clogs the engine. 
The 3-minute delay also gives the engine oil time enough to lubricate parts.
  • After warm-up, check the messenger display in the vehicle’s cab. Pay close attention to the engine system and action light indicators. If either lights up, shut down the engine and tell your mechanic.
Hydraulic Oil Reminder
With the engine at idle, monitor the hydraulic oil’s temperature by keeping an eye on the grader’s messenger display.
Only operate the grader when the hydraulic oil temperature reaches or exceeds 41oF. If necessary, raise the hydraulic oil temperature by cycling each of the vehicle’s implement and steering controls. This allows warm hydraulic oil to circulate through all the grader’s hydraulic lines.
For more information, check out WP 0005 in TM 5-3805-293-10 (Dec 10).
When the Job is Done
Let the engine cool down for five (5) minutes after operation. The engine needs to keep oil circulating to relieve excessive heat in the engine. Too much heat can crack the block, warp a head or valves, or bake the oil until it’s not slick enough to lubricate the bearings. 
Remember, if you shut down without the cool down, your grader will have a melt-down!