Routine Maintenance. In addition to daily inspection, a few routine checks are necessary to ensure peak trencher performance. The amount of hours put on your machine will define the required timeframe of these checks. To be safe, perform the following a minimum of every 3-6 months:
- Cleanliness: To avoid overlooking worn or damaged components, clean the trencher with a power washer to eliminate all dirt, oil and grease. Keep all safety decals clean and legible.
- Boom Wear: Examine the underside and top part of the trencher boom. Replace the wear strips if you see grooves cut into the boom caused by the side plates of the chain.
- Digging Chain Wear: The tighter the chain tension, the more wear you will see on the rollers that are in contact with the drive sprockets. Replace the digging chain if there is a scooped or beveled groove in the center of the roller wear strips.
- Digging Sprocket System: When replacing the digging chain, or after every couple hundred hours of use, be sure to replace the drive sprocket, as well—even if it’s not completely worn. A new digging chain will wear quicker if paired with a worn drive sprocket.
A Trencher Is Only As Good As Its Skid Steer. The trencher’s performance is directly related to the power available from the skid steer’s auxiliary hydraulic system. A trencher attachment is very demanding on the skid steer’s hydraulic system, so routine skid steer maintenance is crucial. For example, regularly check the hydraulic oil levels and replace when dirty or low with the manufacturer-recommended oil.
Storing For More Than 60 Days. When the trenching season is over, or for long-term storage, a few maintenance precautions should be taken to ensure your skid steer trenching attachment runs perfectly next time. Here are some common tips when storing for more than 60 days:
- Clean It Again: A lot of soils are corrosive if they build up and sit on your attachment for a long period of time. Plus, soils can freeze in the chain assembly if left in cold weather.
- Protect The Chain: Clean the digging chain and its rollers, and spray a light oil or seal protectant on them to eliminate rusting. Do another walk-around eye test and replace any broken components before storing. It is often difficult to remember these small fixes the next time you use it.
Safety is just as important as maintenance. Before performing any maintenance on the skid steer trenching attachment, lower the trenching boom and shut off the engine. Then, make sure all operating and residual pressures are relieved from the hydraulic lines. As always, read and follow your manual very carefully.