Aerial Equipment Winter Weather Prep – IC machines

Aerial Equipment Winter Weather Prep – IC machines
Winter weather prep: IC machines

Similar to battery-operated aerial lifts, gas- and diesel-powered machines should be winterized for operating in cold climates. To prepare for winter weather, follow these steps to keep your machine working in low temperatures.

  1. Check Oil

    All Snorkel lifts are delivered with ISO 32 hydraulic oil that allows the machine to operate in temperatures as low as 0° F (-17° C). If operating or storing lifts in sub-zero temperatures for extended periods, check for oil contamination. The colder the temperature, the more likely oil will freeze and prevent operation.

    • A milky appearance indicates a high degree of condensation or the presence of water in the oil
    • Foaming means the oil is aeriated, and the machine must undergo troubleshooting to repair any opening
    • An unusual smell could mean the wrong fluid was poured into the machine

    If any of the above is found, the hydraulic fluid needs to be flushed and filled with new oil before operation. The same steps should be applied to engine oil.

  2. Check Fuel

    Diesel fuel can freeze in cold temperatures and keep operators from starting the engine. To prevent the fuel from gelling and clogging any lines, maintain the fuel to ensure cold weather operation.

    • Add anti-gel to diesel fuel to prevent gelling
       
  3. Check Antifreeze

    Antifreeze should be checked periodically for contamination and corrosion that may require the radiator and cooling system to be flushed for safe operation.

    • Use glycol meter and set at -35° F (-37° C)
       
  4. Startup Procedure

    Before starting up the engine, perform a check and equip your machine with the right features to keep things running smoothly.

    • Check the fuel and water separator; if water is present, check the filter and drain the separator
    • Be sure to activate the glow plug or grid heater for 10-15 seconds before starting the engine
    • Once engine is running and before operating, warm up hydraulics (i.e. boom retract or holding over relief) to get oil moving
       
  5. Storage Procedure

    How fuel is stored is just as important as the condition of the fuel and the tank on the machine. It is critical to prevent contaminants from entering stored fuel.

    When storing your machine, protecting key components from freezing is crucial for operating in cold weather.

    • Use a pre-filter and water separator for bulk storage
    • Block heaters are highly recommended for cold weather when machines are stored outside
    • Battery warmers are recommended for extended cold weather operation

    Snorkel offers accessories for equipment working in cold climates, including the Cold Weather Package and Extreme Cold Weather Package.

Read the first part of this series for tips on winterizing battery-operated machines.