Regular maintenance, cleaning vital to auger boring machine success.

When an auger boring machine works correctly, it can make a contractor’s horizontal boring through rock or soil easier and more efficient.

Auger boring machines, which are usually used to install pipe casing under railroads, highways, airport runways or any area where the ground cannot be cut open, work best and last longer with proper maintenance, according to Michael Albers, president of Bor-It Mfg. Co.

“Safety should be the No. 1 concern when completing a bore job, and a major component of that is using properly maintained equipment,” he says. “In addition, a small investment in time and parts to properly maintain your equipment can save you big money in the event of a breakdown during a job.”

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Here are some top maintenance tips contractors need to remember to keep their auger boring machines going strong:

Daily maintenance

Before using an auger boring machine, Albers says all controls should be tested and all oil levels checked. The operator should also visually inspect the machine and components before and after each use.

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If a control is not working properly, it should be repaired or replaced before being used. Albers adds that each operator must verify the emergency stop control works properly before use.

Check accessories

All auger boring accessories, including augers and cutting heads, should be inspected after completing a bore. The accessories are part of a unit with the machine, and any damaged accessories can cause the auger boring machine to not operate properly and may lead to damage.

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Keep it clean

A clean machine simply works better, says David Hammond, president of American Augers. Wash down the auger boring machine with water and mild soap after each use. This is also a great time to inspect for any damage. Do not forget to clean the push bar assembly and inspect all parts, and repair or replace them as needed.

Change the oil

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Drain and refill the machine’s engine crankcase after 25 hours of runtime. The new oil will help the machine run better. Albers says it is vital to wait for the engine to cool before checking or changing the engine crankcase oil. It is also recommended to drain and refill the transmission and final drive with an SAE 90W synthetic gear oil at this time, he says.

“Follow the engine manufacturer manual for operation and maintenance to maintain your engine warranty,” Albers says.

Check fluids

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Regularly analyzing fluids is an easy and economical way to help contractors prevent costly repairs, Albers says. Check fluid levels and replace as needed. For example, if the hydraulic oil appears milky — which means there is water in the system — it should be replaced.

Follow the maintenance schedule

Read through the machine operator manuals and look at what should be done at 10, 50, 500 and 1,000 hours, Hammond says.

Schedule downtime for the auger boring machines so there is time to complete regular maintenance projects. “Doing that is preferable to unscheduled maintenance time that you need when something breaks down,” Albers says.

While some contractors keep up with regular maintenance, Albers says his experience is that most wait. “My biggest thing with the maintenance is that I feel most contractors wait for a breakdown instead of doing routine maintenance,” he says. “A small investment in time and parts to properly maintain your equipment can save you big money in the event of a breakdown during a job.”

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