One of the most frustrating situations construction crews can encounter is finding out that their heavy machinery equipment is not working as efficiently as it was a few jobs ago. Most of the time, this can be due to negligence of routine maintenance.
If you forget to service your auger bits, not only can it result in inefficiency during the job, but it can also damage the attachment and make the job site a much safer place to work in.
Knowing how to prevent the most common problem from occurring can go a long way toward increasing the lifespan of your auger bit and increasing the efficiency of your project. Here are a few tips you should follow to maintain your auger bits.
Monitor the Oil Level
It is important to check the level of transmission oil after every 40 hours of operation or 30 days, whichever comes first. If the transmission box is making strange noises or has become too hot, it may be because the oil has become overheated.
If you ignore these issues, your gearbox might seize up during operation. This is due to low levels of oil in the gearbox. If this happens, you should look for any traces of leaking oil along the top of the transmission, particularly at the bottom of the output shaft. If you detect any of these issues, you need to fill up or replace the transmission oil.
Always read the operator’s manual when working with your auger bit and ensure your drill is operating at the right specifications.
Check the Flexible Drive Shaft
Auger bit models that have a flexible drive shaft need to be checked every 50 hours of operation. It is important to check the shaft housing and examine the rubber casing for any tears. If you see small tears, those can be easily fixed with shrink tubing or duct tape, but if the damage is more extensive, you should replace the entire housing.
Look for any broken wires or kinks on the core and replace them if you find damage. It is important to follow the owner’s manual when cleaning, greasing, and disassembling the drive shaft.
Some manufacturers recommend the use of white lithium grease for lubrication which can withstand up to 430 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature. It is important not to use normal lubricants since they can degrade easily and can increase the risk of burning the drive shaft.
When applying grease, make sure you don’t put too much as it can accumulate on the flex shaft and burn, resulting in overheating and reducing the life of the shaft.
Inspect the Clutch, Throttle Cable, and Bracket Assembly
Make a habit of checking the clutch every 30 days for signs of wear since problems with the clutch are not initially obvious. A worn-out clutch will give you a weak performance when the auger is engaged or when it needs to run at full speed.
If you notice that the clutch is slipping, you should check the drum and shoes and clean or replace the padding.
The throttle is responsible for regulating the speed and power of the engine. If your auger is turning when the engine is idle, you need to inspect the engine to determine the correct idle speed and the throttle linkage. A well-maintained throttle lever should be able to execute a smooth pull while ensuring the throttle wire does not get bound.
Some auger bits come with a throttle bracket assembly. The throttle bracket needs to become completely engaged before the lever bottoms out. When fully engaged, the bracket clip will slide over the rivet while the governor’s arm moves.
If the binding does happen, remove the clip, and twist it slightly. Then place it back again and check.
If your auger bit does not have a sliding clip, make sure that the bracket’s moving arm pulls away from the governor’s arm when the throttle is fully engaged. If it is idle, the moving arm should push against the governor’s arm.
Before using the drill bit, make sure to check the throttle cable and the bracket assembly. If the drill doesn’t run smoothly, check for signs of broken, stretched, or discolored clutch springs or clutch shoes and replace them if it is required.
Check the Blades
If the blades and points on the drill are worn out, it will become less effective. It is important for operators to check the sharpness of the blade and if they have become dull and worn, replace them.
If the auger requires new blades or points, it is important you do not use it until you have replaced it with the new components. It is a good idea to keep these replacement parts in stock so that they can be replaced swiftly, minimizing downtime.
Examine the Torque Tube
High-quality auger drives also come with torque tubes which can reduce impact when the auger hits a rock, ensuring the drills remain under control and the operator remains safe. The great thing about the torque tube is that it is very low maintenance, but you still need to keep an eye on it for any cracks before using it.
Check the spring-button attachment system and ensure the button is tightly secured before starting the operation. If the spring-button attachment system is broken, you need to replace it so that you can avoid losing the pins and bolts on the drill.
Some contractors consider it a bit of a hassle to check these small things before operation. However, these maintenance practices can prevent huge expenses. If you have any concerns about how to maintain your auger bit or if you want to buy a new auger bit, reach out to Solaris Attachments today.