It’s equally important to allow time for proper shutdown at the end of the day. “All of these big diesel engines are now fed by turbochargers,” says Phillips. “The speed of a turbocharger can average 40,000 to 50,000 rpm. If you don’t let the machine idle and cool down for a minimum of two to three minutes before you shut it off, the turbo is still spinning at 40,000 rpm.”
At that point, oil is no longer going to the turbocharger. “So there’s a lot of wear and tear going on inside that turbo,” Phillips states. “If you cool it down before you turn the machine off, the turbo doesn’t spin as long once shut down. But if it spins for any extensive amount of time, the bearings run dry and the turbo overheats, reducing the life of that very expensive component.”
Manufacturers are working to minimize such risks. “We’re putting timer shutdowns on our machine,” says Phillips. “In other words, the operator cuts the switch off and the machine still idles for three minutes and shuts itself off.” The cost of this option is a bargain compared to the high cost of replacing a turbocharger.
Avoid accelerating tire wear
A number of factors can cause premature wear and failure of loader tires.
“Inexperienced operators are prone to spin the tires, which is one of the worst things for the machine. Once they break traction, they’re doing no more work,” says Phillips. “They don’t utilize the differential locks the way they should to lock the front axle up so that power is distributed to both front tires instead of just going to one, which would reduce the spinning.”
Improper inflation pressure is another common cause of excess wear. “We see a lot of damage by not having the correct pressure in the tires,” Phillips states. “With radial tires, low air pressure equals heat buildup during the day because of the rubber flexing with all that weight on top of it. Without the recommended tire pressure to keep a stiff sidewall, the tires overheat badly. That degrades the rubber compound and the tire doesn’t last as long as it should.”
To combat this problem, John Deere offers an optional integrated tire pressure monitoring system to alert the operator of an inflation issue. An automatic differential will also sense wheel spin and automatically apply the differential locks, decreasing tire wear and delivering increased traction for greater productivity.
In some cases, tire spin is the fault of the tire, not the operator. “One reason for spinning the tires is having the wrong type of tire on the wheel loader for the application,” Phillips asserts. “It’s like putting snow tires on a four-wheel-drive truck. They might not be the best thing for fuel economy or to get the job done. On that one day that it snows, you’re glad to have them, but 90% of the time, they’re not the best for driving.”
It’s important to match tires to the application to ensure optimal service life. “Make sure that the tread pattern meets the application you are in,” Ellis advises. For example, a high tractive tire with a more open tread pattern will wear faster on paved surfaces. “If you’re on concrete or asphalt all the time, you would want an L4 or L5 to cut your wear down as much as possible. If you are on dirt all the time, you would want the more aggressive, tractive tread pattern. So you need to take a close look at the tread pattern based on the kind of tire wear you’re going to get.”