Roll with it

Asphalt Article August 31, 2001
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Minimized downtime

Minimized downtime. Lower cost of ownership. Reduced service costs. Increased productivity. If you were told that all these benefits could easily be achieved through simpler roller maintenance tasks, would you believe it? The truth is, every contractor wants these benefits out of their rollers—and all their equipment, for that matter. It’s possible, if you are willing to perform the maintenance necessary to achieve them.

Program it in

Maintaining your roller should be a planned program that includes daily and periodic machine inspection and lubrication procedures.

Maintenance intervals may be based on machine operating hours (as recorded by the roller’s hour meter) or done periodically as recommended by the manufacturer. If your roller operates more than eight hours a day, follow the "hour" schedule. If it operates less than eight hours a day, follow the "periodic" schedule.

A roller that is not running up to speed, accelerates or responds slowly, has high operating temperatures, hesitates or makes grinding sounds also may require maintenance.

High on checklist

Like many types of construction equipment, rollers utilize hydraulic pumps and motors for propulsion and operation. Be sure to check the hydraulic oil level daily using the sight gauge on the reservoir. Check the oil level when the hydraulic oil is at "normal" operating temperatures only. Add hydraulic oil as required and change it every 2,000 hours/two years of operation or as indicated by laboratory oil analysis.

Filters are a key component of your roller’s hydraulic system. Most rollers have indicator lights that tell you when filters are dirty and need to be changed. If indicators are located on filter heads, be sure to check them each day.

Hydraulic oil filters should be changed as needed or every 2,000 hours. Using filter elements approved by the manufacturer is an inexpensive way to protect your roller from costly downtime due to contaminated hydraulic oil.

Inspect all hoses each day for any rub-throughs, punctures or leaks. Strictly adhere to the hose pressure ranges prescribed by the manufacturer.

If equipped, be sure to remove and clean hydraulic system suction oil strainers at each oil change. Also, remove and clean oil diffusers. When working with hydraulics, always be careful not to allow dust and dirt to contaminate hose fittings, reservoirs and other components.

Along with the hydraulics, be sure to check the drum bearing lubrication oil level and add oil as needed. Make this inspection on a daily basis or once every eight hours. Change the oil every 2,000 hours or two years of operation.

Is it watered properly?

When rolling asphalt, water is just as important as oil. The nozzles on your roller’s water spray system should be checked frequently to make sure they have not become plugged. Remove, clean and reinstall nozzles as necessary.

Some manufacturers provide a water spray suction strainer inside the water tank to prevent contaminants from entering the water spray system. Strainers should be removed, checked and cleaned every 500 hours of operation or at least once a year.

While inspecting the water system, also check for broken or loose cleaner bar beams and/or rubber cleaner components. Inspection should be made every 50 hours or at least once a week. Replace broken or missing parts as required.

Rolling stop

With a machine as heavy as a roller, good brakes are important for jobsite safety. Be sure to check the secondary or parking brake system for proper operation on a daily basis. Check your operator’s manual for the correct procedure.

Make a daily inspection of the bolts that fasten the ROPS/FOPS structure to the roller. If loose, tighten them to the torque setting recommended by the manufacturer. Carefully inspect all welds for cracks, breakage, rust or other weld-related problems. If any damage is found, contact your nearest distributor immediately. Also, check seat belts and safety decals and replace if necessary.

Season finale

At the end of the season, prepare your roller for stoppage by taking the following steps:

  • Follow the engine manufacturer’s procedures for proper storage;

  • Fill the radiator as needed with a quality ethylene glycol-based anti-freeze and water solution;

  • Remove the battery and charge it fully. Store it in a cool, dry location. Charge the battery again every 30 days;

  • Fill the fuel tank completely and consider treating it with a fuel preservative;

  • Cap, tape or otherwise seal all openings such as the air cleaner and exhaust to prevent entry of moisture and small animals looking for a warm home;

  • Completely drain the water tanks, water supply lines and spray bars of water. Apply low compressed air to these parts to remove any water still remaining. Remove the water pump assembly, completely drain all remaining water from the pump and reinstall the pump on the roller. Put a plastic cover or tape over each water spray nozzle. Remember—freezing water expands and can easily crack pumps and lines;

  • On static wheel rollers, if water is used as ballast, be sure to completely drain to prevent damage to drums;

  • Apply heavy grease to any exposed hydraulic cylinder rods; and

  • Apply rust preventive oil on all hinges and other moving parts. Put all covers and access plates in their correct positions and secure in place.

Watch for mistakes

Many contractors feel they can save money by using lubricants, filters and other components that don’t meet the manufacturer’s specifications. In reality, "look-alikes" don’t work alike, and this money-saving solution will end up costing them money.

Another common mistake is ignoring lube levels and greasing intervals. When this occurs, components begin to run dry and contact surfaces sustain damaging wear that would have been avoided had they been properly lubricated.

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