Motor grader is one of the most important machines used in construction and maintenance of roads and for making smoother surfaces, fine grade, levelling soil and shifting small amounts of dirt. They are undoubtedly very expensive and highly technical equipment. Further, being heavy equipment in nature, they need to be regularly maintained. Also, operators of motor graders need to know about proper operating procedures, safety procedures, preventive maintenance and the overall equipment.

Well, here is a quick manual regarding motor grader operation and maintenance...

Motor grader operation tips

1. Before starting to move the motor grader, the blade or mouldboard should be raised.

2. The mouldboard should always be kept straight up and rolling the grader blade forward to make the edge blunt. This also results in better rear visibility.

3. When ripping across a slope, the mouldboard should be kept parallel with the front axle, centred to the frame and lowered close to the ground to provide protection against rolling over.

4. Operating speed of the motor grader highly affects the quality of work. So, while ditching or blading, there should be no hurry. Higher speed can sometimes cause the motor grader to bounce and gauge the surface rather than smoothen it. Sometimes, in extreme cases, bouncing can cause the operator to lose control of the grader, producing a potential accident situation. So, the machine travel speed should be low enough to prevent machine bounce (generally 3 to 5 mph).

5. The motor grader should never be articulated when operating on steep slopes as the grader can roll over and sever personal injury or death can be caused.

6. Articulating the rear frame toward the toe of the mouldboard by 2 to 5 degrees helps reduce motor graders’ tendency to bounce.

7. When using the ripper, the teeth should be lowered into the ground with the grader in motion. If the rear wheels lose traction, operators need to raise the ripper until the wheels regain traction. For especially hard surfaces, the number of teeth should be reduced.

8. When turning around the motor grader, the wheels should always be leaned in the direction in which the turn is being made. This will help the motor grader to turn with ease.

9. Only required amount of downward pressure should be applied to accomplish any task as excessive unnecessary downward pressure on hard and dry surface can cause rapid cutting edge wear and will require more horsepower and fuel, thereby, reducing productivity.

10. When operating, it is imperative to watch both ends of the blade as lifting one end of the blade may cause the other end of the blade to drop about ¼ of that distance.

11. If the circle is not in a level, then the blade setting may change with the angle of the blade. So attention should be paid to it.

12. When not in use, the blade should be put on the ground.

13. The motor grader should be brought to a complete stop before shifting from a forward gear to a reverse gear or from a reverse gear to a forward gear.

14. Before operation the machine, operators need to ensure that the construction equipment is properly equipped with lights, flashing beacons, turn signals etc.

15. Last but not the least, operators need to note and avoid all hazards and obstructions such as over-hands, ledges, slide areas, electrical lines, underground cables, water mains or gas lines while operating the machine.

Motor grader maintenance tips

1. Perform pre-operation and start-up checks daily.

2. Survey under and around the machine before starting it.

3. Walk around the machine for visual inspection of controls, engine, compartment, cooling system, gear boxes, hydraulic parts and other parts for leaks and broken, worn out or missing parts.

4. Make it a point to check for any leaks in the circle drive, dirt and debris build-up in pivot point and blade shift and excessive play, damage, loose or missing parts in the blade linkage.

5. All controls, steering and accelerator should also be tested before starting the equipment.

6. Dirt should be kept out of the engine openings by wiping off dirt and grease before opening filler necks and dipsticks.

7. Do not oil, grease or adjust the machine when the engine is running.

8. The battery ground strap should always be disconnected before making adjustments on the engine or electrical equipment so as to prevent fire hazards, explosions and accidental operation of the starter.

9. The pivot points should be lubricated according to the defined specifications.

10. The blade circle and side shift cylinder should also be cleaned and lubricated with graphite as per the recommendations in the Operator’s Manual.

11. The blade should be checked for loose bolts, amount of remaining cutting edge, wear, damage and loose or missing parts.

12. The hydraulic system should be checked for leaking lines and connections, bent or kinked lines and lines rubbing against other parts. Also, check for loose, worn or broken parts and check hydraulic oil level, filters, hoses and fittings.

13. The cooling system should be checked regularly. This includes checking the coolant level in the radiator, adding coolant if needed and checking the radiator cap, hoses, clamps and fan belts.

14. The belts should be checked for tension and condition.

15. Checks also need to be performed for transmission leaks and gauging transmission fluid level.

16. One should never coast the machine with the transmission in neutral or with the clutch disengaged.

17. Check for damaged tires and wheels should also be performed. Also, it is necessary to check the tire pressure.

18. The lights, back-up alarms and other warning or safety devices should also be checked thoroughly.

19. Checking the brake adjustment and condition is also important.

20. All the wiring, insulation and connections of the equipment should also be checked.

21. All the signals, lights and flags on mouldboard and cab should be thoroughly checked too.

22. All the moving parts of the machine should be lubricated well as they can fail if they aren’t lubricated properly.

Well, above mentioned are just few major points from the very vast motor grader operation and maintenance manual. If you follow these tips, then motor grader’s life can be increased considerably and machine breakdowns can be reduced drastically. So, it is extremely necessary to follow motor grader operation and maintenance manual whenever operating the motor grader.