Landscape & Irrigation

January/February 2016

Landscape and Irrigation is read by decision makers throughout the landscape and irrigation markets — including contractors, landscape architects, professional grounds managers, and irrigation and water mgmt companies and reaches the entire spetrum.

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Page 24 of 35 Landscape and Irrigation January/February 2016 25 TOOLS & EQUIPMENT LI drill manufacturers use filters to minimize the risk of soil en- tering the hydraulic system. Many manufacturers use only an external filter, which generally prevents dirt from entering; but some manufacturers incorporate as many as three filters — an internal filter, an inline filter, and a suction filter in the tank. Having additional filters adds extra reliability and keeps con- taminates from entering the hydraulic system — even if dirt does get in the tank. Operators need to remember to regularly clean the quick disconnects on the hoses before or after using the drill. After a drilling job is completed, and you begin to take the drill apart, attach the disconnect from the drill's hydraulic output hose onto its input coupler and vice versa on its power pack. This prevents dirt from making its way in. If one of the quick dis- connect fittings begins leaking, the quick disconnect coupling needs replacement. In addition to the disconnects, examine hydraulic drill hoses and pipes for leaks, cracks and abrasions and replace if neces- sary. Keep hose connections tight and fitted for optimum per- formance. While fully engaged, a gap should appear between the throttle lever and the handle mount on each side. If the lever touches the handle, adjust the lever by bending it. With open hydraulic systems, if you encounter any hydraulic oil leakage, shut down the power source and relieve the hydraulic pressure by moving the throttle valve in both directions, which opens the hydraulic oil flow. Tighten the screw-on fittings on the end of each hose. Replace the related hose assembly if the leak- age continues. If the throttle valve leaks around the spool shaft replace the seal kit. OTHER CHECK POINTS FOR BOTH HYDRAULIC AND MECHANICAL Augers, points and blades Like the drill, all augers require similar maintenance. Ensure that auger blades and points remain secure on a daily basis, and al- ways replace the wear items. For safety reasons, never operate drills with damaged or missing parts, including its auger. Proper maintenance and replacement of wear parts keep the auger in tip- top shape. And specifying the right point and blade for different soil conditions also improves efficiency and saves some wear on the auger. Earth drill augers typically come with one of two blade styles — bolt-on and knock-on blades. With bolt-on and knock-on styles, operators should replace worn attachable points and blades before they reach the auger flight. Operators can replace worn parts quickly by using basic hand tools, such as a wrench or ratchet set. With a worn auger flight, operators will either need to repair the auger flighting or replace the entire auger — which comes at a higher expense than paying attention to regular main- tenance and worn point and blade replacement. Torque tube Premium earth drills might feature torque tubes, which prevent unexpected kickback by absorbing the shock when the auger hits a rock or underground obstruction — keeping operators safe and the drill under control at all times. The tube itself does not re- quire extensive maintenance; however, before each use, inspect the tube for cracks. Also pay attention to the spring and button attachment system — ensure the button stays securely snapped into place before operation and replace the spring-button attach- ment if bent or broken. Spring-button attachment systems elimi- nate the chance of losing pins or bolts that some drills use for attachment purposes. SMART STORAGE When putting drills away for the offseason, remember that prop- er storage contributes to the overall maintenance. With both mechanical and hydraulic drills, drain the gas or put recommended additive in the fuel, whichever the manufac- turer suggests. Always store the drills in a dry place, because the drills' steel components will eventually rust if left outside or in places with a lot of moisture, such as propped up outside against a building. For both long-term storage or when simply moving from the truck to jobsite, keep the flexible drive shaft as straight as possible to prevent kinks. RESEARCH DRILL RESOURCES For most mechanical and hydraulic drills, the operator can com- plete maintenance and repairs with ordinary hand tools, such as a wrench and screwdriver. Operators can consult the appropriate section of the operator's manual for specific instructions. Many manufactures offer service or in-house technical con- sultation. Operators should check with their drill's manufacturer for details and other resources such as online service videos, as well as online parts and maintenance manuals. For issues that lie outside of regular maintenance and servic- ing, it's important for rental centers and contractors to consider earth drills backed by manufacturer warranties. These warranties indicate that the manufacturer believes in their product and will work with customers to examine and resolve any operating issues as well as offer support. Performing maintenance to prevent mayhem seems like the most logical thing for earth drill operators and rental centers. The cost of not maintaining the drill will exceed the cost of ac- tually taking the time to maintain it. Skip the downtime costs, headaches and inefficiency by sticking to a regular maintenance schedule. Mike Hale is sales manager at Little Beaver Inc. In 1974, Hale start- ed his career in the fencing industry. In 1996, he began working at Little Beaver, Inc., a leading manufacture of portable earth drills and accessories, and continues to offer expertise on fencing and hole digging equipment as the sales manager. He can be reached at or 800-227-7515. For more information about Little Beaver, visit

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