4. Give a turbocharged engine enough time to adequately warm up. "Wait a minute or two after turning on the machine before revving it to full rpms immediately," says Bob Tyler, John Deere. "That gives time for the oil to circulate at low rpms to the turbo, and for the engine to warm up a little bit. Piston rings can expand and the engine is more efficient, so you're
not wearing metal on metal quite so much."
5. Use the backhoe for its intended purpose. Don't use the bucket as a demolition tool to break up concrete or as a sweeper to push dirt into a trench. "That puts a lot of stress on the wear points on the backhoe," says Eric Winkler, New Holland. "There's a cost to using the machine improperly. If you do certain tasks, expect the life of the machine to go down."
6. Familiarize yourself with any special features of your machine. For example, the Hydraulically Extendable Dipper on New Holland backhoes needs to be adjusted occasionally to maintain maximum control of the bucket.
"Over time, the wear strips will start to wear," says Winkler. "You will have play with the bucket - you won't have as much control over it, which can hurt productivity because you might have to clean up after yourself more."
7. Focus on becoming a smooth operator. "That doesn't necessarily mean to move slower," clarifies Tyler. "Smooth doesn't mean slow. It means being more gentle by not driving the bucket or crowd arm into the stop and by not hitting the extremes of travel at full speed. Other than the sound of the engine, you won't be able to hear a good operator working. There won't be a lot of clanging and banging of the bucket against the stop. That metal-to-metal contact will wear the pins out quicker."
8. Don't compact dirt into the bucket. When you curl a bucket against the crowd arm, dirt - especially a bucketful of wet clay - can be more difficult to dump. "When you tip the bucket, the dirt doesn't always fall out," says Tyler. "Operators then tend to clank or 'rap' the bucket in an effort to remove all the dirt. But that deliberate banging against the stop is very hard on the pin."
Instead, Tyler offers an alternative technique for removing dirt that doesn't drop out. "Boom down and crowd out at the same time," he suggests. "That provides some momentum and gravity to move the dirt out of the bucket."