1432 Lift Trucks Nonelectric

The main points to maintain on a lift truck powered by diesel, gasoline, or LPG are the engine, the hydraulic system, the transmission, and the braking system. Batteries are important, but their care is not as central to the maintenance of these lift trucks as it is to the maintenance of electric-powered trucks.


Special attention should be paid to the oil level, the radiator, and fan belts. The oil level should be inspected daily, and the oil and oil filter should be changed every 150 hours (unless the environment is very dirty or muddy, in which case the oil should be changed more often). The oil level on the dipstick should be between the high and low marks—if it is too low, more should be added. At the same time this check is being made, the operator should look for any oil leaks. The operator should also try to keep track of the frequency of adding oil as warning of unseen leaks. The coolant level in the radiator should be checked before each day's work, either by looking at the coolant level in the recovery bottle or by carefully removing the radiator cap to check the level there. Fan belts should be checked periodically. If they are too tight, bearing wear will be excessive; if they are too loose, insufficient cooling and/or generator power will take place. More details on the maintenance of diesel engines are given in Section 14.4.

The Hydraulic System

If the hydraulic system fails on a lift truck, people can get hurt. Any hydraulic pumps that are run without fluid can burn out, causing a significant and usually avoidable expense. The way that such an expense can be avoided is by careful checking of the hydraulic levels daily and by daily inspection of all hydraulic connections for leaks.


The fluid level in the transmission should also be checked daily. This minor inconvenience can save the cost of a new transmission and the loss of the vehicle during the repair time.


Part of the daily check should be a quick check of the foot brake and the parking brake. The footbrake pedal should move a short distance—1/4 to l/2 in., depending upon the truck model—before the brake engages, and the brake should respond firmly to pressure. The parking brake should be checked to see if it provides the braking necessary to act as a backup for the foot brakes. Air brakes should have the drain cock opened until no more water escapes with the air.

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