One of the more onorous jobs of running heavy equipment is keeping them clean. I’m not talking about taking it to the car wash or polishing it up in the driveway. I mean the cleaning that is required to keep the drive train from self-destructing.
It’s not all fun and games out there, folks. There are parts of this world where the dirt you move may turn into the dirt that stops you cold. Like thick Red River gumbo that squeezes into every cavity of your undercarriage, then freezes into something resembling concrete. Even what you thought was friendly loamy soil, coupled with a bit of moisture and a few degrees of frost, can mean the difference between working that day or spending hours and hours chipping away with a pick and shovel.
Conditions like that can turn even a D10 Cat into nothing more than a very large paper weight. That’s not a good thing. In order to avoid that, you need to plan the end of your day as well as you follow your lube procedures. If the crummy is heading down the mountain at five o’clock, then you need to have taken care of anything in your tracks that could stop you from getting going the next day, before it’s time to get on board.
Leave yourself enough time to dig out the mud, or whatever else is in the undercarriage. Anything near the drive train is usually warm enough after a day of running that it can be scraped off or dug out. Whatever is already frozen will still chip off. Believe me, it won’t be like that after a hard night’s freezing though.
When you’re sure there’s not enough crud left in the tracks that can things up, do your end-of-day lube (mor eon that in a later blog), and run the dozer’s tracks up on a fallen log. It makes a world of difference to have some air under a third or more of the track if there’s a hard freeze. Snowmobilers have the luxury of rocking their machines back and forth to break the track free. A Komatsu Komatsu D575A (largest dozer in the world!)…, not so much!