Excavator bucket maintenance tips

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On many job-sites, the bucket of your excavator, skid steer loader or compact track loader is crucial for operations; without it, your machine is almost useless. So, to keep your bucket in good working order, it’s important that you maintain and replace the ground-engaging part of it, whether it’s the cutting edge or bucket teeth, before damage to the bucket can be done. With your bucket’s constant use and high price to replace, regularly replacing your blade or teeth isn’t just a good idea, it is a sound business practice.

Here are some tips and tricks to maintaining your bucket.

Choose and Maintain the Correct Edge

When it comes to the wear component of you bucket, you have the choice of a straight edge (blade) or teeth. Blades can be either weld-on or bolt-on.

RSBM Excavator Bucket

If your bucket has a weld-on edge, make sure to watch it closely for wearing. If you allow the wear to recede into the bucket itself, you may find yourself having to replace the entire bucket. Bolt-on cutting edges are great because they’re reversible, giving you two usable edges before it must be replaced.

Again, make sure that you’re changing/rotating your blade before wear gets to the bucket itself. Remember that the bolts need to be replaced every time your remove the edge; the threads get damaged in use. Save yourself some time and just cut them off with a torch when it’s time to rotate or replace your blade.

PC1250

Bucket teeth drastically increase your ability to dig in adverse conditions such as rocky or compacted soil, clay, and when digging out roots. Like blades, teeth are subject to wear and may even fall of over the course of a project. Always inspect the teeth at the beginning of a shift and throughout the day. While it may be tempting to operate with some missing teeth, this is will slow you down and end up costing more in the long run. Digging with an exposed shank will damage it; making it harder or impossible to replace the teeth later. To prevent this, make sure you keep a supply of extra teeth (and accessories) on hand to replace them as needed.

excavator teeth
  • Regularly Inspect and Carry Out Preventive Maintenance

Your bucket doesn’t fall into the “set it and forget it” category. Just as you should be inspecting your machine daily, you should also be inspecting the bucket. On your walk around, visually inspect for flaws such as stress fractures, cracks, and undue wear on the metal components. Check that all the pins and bushings are in good working order and that all the bolts and cap screws are nice and tight. This is also a great time to check the hydraulic connections between the bucket and machine. Remove any mud or debris that has accumulated around the coupler as it can obscure signs of damage or enter your hydraulic system. Also, ensure that the hoses aren’t cracked or that the connection has loosened; this can result in the loss of hydraulic fluid, and therefore decrease performance. Catching problems early and carrying out routine maintenance will greatly improve the life of your bucket and your ROI.

rotating screening bucket
  • Operate Your Machine Properly

One final piece of advice. Operate your machine the way it was intended. Using your bucket to “walk” the machine is a great way to cause excessive bucket wear. As with everything, technique is King. When grading or back dragging, make sure you are using the correct amount of pressure. An excessive amount will lead to the bottom of the bucket or cutting edge to wear down faster than intended. Speed is also a factor of wear time. No matter if you scooping, loading, or travelling, go at a speed appropriate for the job; as with most things, trying to go too fast usually results in an accident.

excavator

Caring for and maintaining the working edge of your bucket will pay dividends in the long run. To make sure you’re always prepared, always keep a spare or two on hand. RSBM carries a wide selection of bolt-on edges, bucket teeth and accessories to help you lower your operating costs and increase productivity.

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