A hard-to-start engine and cold weather seem to go hand in hand. Keep these PM pointers in mind to get rid of your excavator’s cold weather jitters.
Too many starters end up at support for service or repair because operators press on the start switch for too long and burn it out.
Follow the word on Page 5-2 of TM 5-3805-280-10 (Feb 00). When you try to start your vehicle’s engine in cold weather, never keep the starter engaged for more than 30 seconds! Give the starter at least two (2) minutes to cool off before trying again.
After a false start, do not turn the starter switch until the engine stops. If your excavator’s engine won’t start in three (3) tries, call it quits. Call in your mechanic to find out what’s wrong.
Water In – Water Out
Cool nights cause condensation to form in the excavator’s fuel tank. That means you have to drain the fuel/water separator before the day’s run.
Not draining the separator leaves water and crud in the fuel system. Then the engine runs rough or not at all.
Open the separator, located behind the engine access door (curbside), by turning its drain cock counterclockwise. Push down on the press pump to get water out of the separator.
Store drained fuel in an approved hazardous waste container. Never dump it down a drain or on the ground from the separator’s drain hose.
If the fuel is clear, you’re OK. If the fuel doesn’t run clear, close the valve and report it to your mechanic.
Empty Ether Canister?
The excavator may be hard to start when the temperature drops below freezing. The vehicle’s cold-weather starter system has a fuel canister that automatically injects ether into the engine when you push the cold start button.
If your excavator is difficult to start even when using the cold start button, chances are the ether canister is empty. Have your mechanic replace it.
Cylinder Rod Saver Info
Temperatures drop and ice forms on the excavator’s cylinder rods.
Problem is, any ice buildup on the rods will scrape or cut seals when the rods are moved. Damaged seals lead to fluid leaks, which lead to NMC equipment. If you find any ice, get rid of it.
Another rod saver, no matter the weather, is to exercise the cylinders weekly. Regular cylinder exercise fights rust by spreading a thin coat of oil on the rods. Rust, like ice build-up, will scrape and cut the rod’s seal.
If the excavator sits longer than a month, spray the rods with rust inhibitor, NSN 8030-01-127-4187. Make sure you don’t get any inhibitor on the excavator’s painted surfaces. It’ll chew up the paint right down to the vehicle’s metal surface.
Before operations, remove any rust inhibitor from the cylinder rod with cleaning solvent.