Published on March 12, 2024

Ziegler Tech Tips: Pre-Project Maintenance with Bob Pike

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This expression is nowhere more true than in the world of equipment maintenance. The last thing you want is to get your equipment on the job site and have to down it for repairs due to an unexpected failure. To help prevent those failures, consider the following pre-project maintenance tips provided by Bob Pike, Ziegler Resident Field Technician in Albert Lea, MN, and a 20+ year veteran diesel tech.


Inspect all hydraulic hoses, even the ones that are hard to access.

Oftentimes, there are at least a couple of hoses on a machine that are more difficult to check than others. A good example would be the hoses under the belly pan of a dozer; it’s time-consuming and a dirty job to pull off the belly pan and clean everything off to perform a proper inspection. Putting the time in is well worth it, however, if it saves issues with your hydraulics or power train during the working season. And remember: small leaks turn into big leaks, and a lot of small leaks are one big leak collectively. If you find a hose that is leaking, even if it’s only a little bit, replace it right away. You’ll be glad you did.


Check your cooling systems and ensure they’re free of debris and your coolant is topped off.

At the beginning of the season your outside operating temperatures won’t be putting much of a strain on your idling equipment, so an inefficient system due to lack of airflow or low coolant levels won’t be as apparent. As we get into the summer, however, those rising temps will put more of a strain on your equipment. Keep things operating efficiently and safely with a solid inspection of all cooling system components, even those that need to be dug into a bit more to really see.


Ensure all hydraulic cylinders are properly sealed and operating correctly.

Your hydraulic cylinders are what allow your machine to do the work you need it to do. Always remember: if your cylinders are allowing fluid to leak out that means you’ve also got dirt getting in. It won’t get better, and that debris getting into your cylinder will only cause more and more damage as time goes on.


Inspect your final drive for leaks and smooth operation.

Your final drive is one of the most expensive components in your entire machine. While your quote for a final drive reseal might sound high, remember that it is 10x less than the cost of a full replacement should you keep operating as-is for too long!


Get your fluids tested.

Fluid testing, especially if done consistently over time, can provide early warning on a huge range of issues with your equipment. This testing is very inexpensive, and can also give insight into the ideal maintenance schedule and practices for your machine.


While all of these inspections can be done by any equipment owner with their Operation and Maintenance Manual, Ziegler also stands behind you ready to support your pre-season preparation. Your CSR and local technicians are always available to answer questions you might have about any maintenance or repair procedure. Additionally, your Ziegler service department can schedule your machine for a Technical Analysis if you would prefer that we do all of these inspections for you. This procedure is a flat-fee service that provides you with photos, a full inspection report, and fluid analysis.


As you prepare to get in the dirt this year, make sure your equipment is just as ready as you are. With support from Ziegler, you can have confidence that your machine will be ready to put in just as many hours as you!

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