Compact Tool Carrier/Mini Skid Steer Maintenance Made Simple

Toro Dingo

Toro Takes Us Through Some Important Compact Tool Carrier Care

Compact tool carriers (or CTCs) can be found on a lot of jobsites these days. This class of equipment is recognized for its versatility, maneuverability and ability to access hard-to-reach areas on a jobsite. By selecting the proper equipment and performing some basic preventive maintenance measures, a compact tool carrier will live a long and productive life, which can ultimately end up impacting a contractor’s bottom line in a very positive way. In this article, we’ll pour the foundation for a comprehensive CTC preventive maintenance plan.

An Ounce of Prevention

A daily inspection is key to a preventive maintenance plan because the idea is to check small issues before they become larger ones that can cost a contractor time and money. It is vital to perform routine maintenance after each use to ensure the continued performance and increased longevity of the equipment.
Before firing up a CTC, contractors will want to follow this simple checklist before every use.

  1. Perform a Thorough Visual Inspection: A contractor will want to inspect the entire machine for damage or wear. This includes a visual inspection of the tracks or wheels, fittings, body, controls, guards and any attachments. Also, check the tire pressure or track tension. Inspect battery terminals for corrosion and loose or chafing wires. When cleaning battery terminals, remove the negative terminal first and install it last. Inspect and replace any belts that are cracked. Also take a good look at the fuel lines and make sure there are no leaks.
  2. Check and Top Off Fluids: Make sure engine oil, gasoline (or diesel), battery water and hydraulic fluid are all at the correct levels. Top off the fluids, if necessary, and be careful not to overfill. If the hydraulic fluid is a milky color, that’s an indicator that there is water in the system. This may not seem like a huge issue, but as the machine heats up, water in the system will turn into steam that can cause serious damage to the pump and wheel motors.
  3. Keep Filters Clean: The air filter is made up of the canister, indicator, pre-filter and main filter. Make sure to clean the canister prior to opening it to inspect or service the pre-filter or the main air filter. Some air filter systems are fitted with a service indicator mounted on the outside of the canister. The service indicator is the first indication of the air filter condition. If the filter is restricted, the inside indicator will block the clear viewing window. The air filter will need to be inspected and changed on a regular basis. Additionally, EPA standards have changed over the past few years, and many engine systems now have a component called a carbon canister, which collects fumes from the fuel systems. It has a service life and needs to be replaced every 200 hours or sooner if the canister becomes restricted with dust and dirt or saturated with fuel.
  4. Lubricate Properly and Tighten Connections: Grease all pivot points and tighten all nuts and bolts before heading out into the field. There are a lot of possible issues that can arise from loose parts. Doing a simple check with a wrench before using the unit will reduce wear and extend the life of the machine’s components.
  5. Safety Check: Make sure the parking brake is engaged (if applicable) and that the traction control lever is returned to neutral. Also make sure that auxiliary hydraulics are disengaged, as many compact tool carriers — including the Toro Dingo — will not be able to start with the auxiliary hydraulics engaged.

Operators can help make sure their CTC is well taken care of at the end of the work day as well. These machines are used in harsh conditions, and it’s important that the operator makes sure all dirt, dust and debris is washed away from the CTC. Don’t forget to grease the zerks and pivot points after every wash to ensure the equipment will have a long, productive life.

Interval-Based Maintenance Every 25 Hours

After every 25 hours of use, a contractor will want to clean the foam pre-filter and air filter. These are vital components of the machine, and they must be maintained for the equipment to perform at its best. This is also a good time for the contractor to take a look at the hydraulic lines and make sure that they aren’t leaking. Compact tool carriers are used in the roughest of conditions where fluid connections can come loose or hoses can be damaged. Small hydraulic leaks can quickly grow into larger and more expensive leaks, so it is in the contractor’s best interest to have leaks repaired early.

Every 100 Hours

Just like with a car, engine oil needs to be changed on a regular basis. Permanent damage could be done to the engine if the lifeblood of the equipment is not properly maintained. At this point, the operator will also want to take a look at the battery electrolyte levels and check the battery cable connections. Make sure any corrosive buildup is cleaned off because this can drain the power from the battery itself. It is also a good idea to check the fan belts. Any belt that is showing signs of glazing or cracking should be replaced immediately. The contractor or technician may also think about replacing the air filter at this point. A deformed or torn air filter will allow dirt to pass into the engine and can potentially cause substantial damage.

Every 200 Hours

After every 200 hours on the job, the equipment will need to have its filters changed. The engine oil filter, hydraulic filter and fuel filter will all need to be changed at this point. It is also important to take a quick look at the spark plugs and make sure they are not worn or fouled. Examine the condition of the porcelain, and get rid of any spark plugs that are cracked or are questionable.

Every 400 Hours

The 400-hour inspection should start off with checking the engine speed — which can vary between products, so be sure to check the manufacturers’ specifications in the owner’s manual. Normally, after about 400 hours of use, it’s also about time to replace the belts. At this time, it’s important to check the tire or track condition as well. Tires should be replaced when the tread is worn down or if the rubber is cracked. Replace tracks if there is any apparent damage to the rubber or if the lugs are worn.

Kyle Cartwright is the marketing manager for The Toro Co.

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