I travel and visit a wide variety of dealers and rental houses from 1-2 locations up to nationwide companies. It does not matter the size of your company, or how much volume you do, the fact is if you rent breakers, everyone faces the same struggles with on the job maintenance. From rentals to units that are customer owned, maintenance on hydraulic breakers can prevent a lot of costly repairs down the road.
There are several maintenance tips or storage precautions I could tell you in this article. How to effectively check them in, making sure your customer understands how to operate them, the working principle behind them and why it’s important. But I also realize we live in a fast paced world where what we should do and what we have time for is much different. It does not matter the brand of hydraulic hammer that you have, all of them operate under these few simple rules.
If I had to choose just 3 precautions I would choose these:
1)Grease, Grease, and the RIGHT grease- We all have the red, blue, green, yellow grease on our job sites, and the lube rep has told us how amazing they all are. I am not telling you they aren’t great, but they aren’t great for breakers. These other greases get very watery in high temperatures and you need at the VERY LEAST a high temp (drop point of 400-500 degrees) MOLY grease. This grease allows for a rubbing surface to decrease tool wear, bushing wear, protect the breaker from dust debris and most importantly water from getting into the main housing. Which brings me to my next point
2) NO WATER- breakers are not made to be run in water unless you have spoken with the manufacturer or dealer and take the proper precautions with installing an under water kit. Even in mud puddles, it is a slippery slope. Once breakers get into water, even half way up just the tool, eventually once you break the material your breaker is going front first into that puddle. The piston acts as a plunger, sucking water up in the main housing (even possibly the hydraulic tank of the machine), this water turns to rust with all the heat and movement very quickly and pits the piston and prematurely cuts the seals. This will result in having to replace the piston which is like replacing the transmission in your vehicle after 20,000 miles
3) Keep it Straight up- whether you are storing it or working it, breakers will have the longest life if used and stored upright. By using it as much at a 90 degree angle as possible, you prevent uneven bushing wear, possible cracking the front cap which could be a VERY expensive fix because it is a high pressure area and you cant weld the crack, or broken tools. When you store it on the machine, don’t curl it up like a bucket. If it rains hard, see #2. If you store it on your yard try to store it up right by driving a pipe in the ground, building a small rack, or at the very least prop it up with a few pieces of cribbing. Storing on its side can also cause warping of the seals with the weight of the heavy piston laying on the seals.
And if something goes wrong or breaks, always take pictures and contact your dealer when in doubt. Running a breaker while it has even a minor break could quickly cause a very costly bill. Happy Breaking!