Keeping Jobsites Bright: Follow These Light Tower Maintenance Essentials

Doosan light tower

Light tower maintenance is similar to maintaining any machine with a diesel engine. Preventive maintenance is the most sure-fire way to protect uptime. After all, if you’re working through the night, the deadline is probably tight. It’s not a good time to have a light tower go down. This won’t come as a surprise, but there are two simple ways to keep your light tower fleet ready to operate: follow the maintenance schedule and use OEM parts. Virtually every equipment manufacturer will say the same. Trust the people who designed the product.

Summer Operating Tips for Light Towers

Light towers are generally used at night when they’re spared the hottest summer temperatures. However, they can overheat just like any engine, and a few basic tips can help prevent that from happening. Position the tower so air can move freely through the vents. If you operate it against or close to an object, the object could disrupt airflow. Check the engine coolant level and make sure it is filled per the manufacturer’s instructions. Inspect the radiator at least once a month and blow out any debris in a direction opposite to the normal airflow.

How to Transport a Light Tower Safely

The operation and maintenance manual of your machine can definitively answer this question for you. Consult that guide before transporting your light tower. In general, you will want to make sure your truck can safely tow the light tower in accordance with local laws. Follow the instructions in your operation and maintenance manual to lower and lock everything in place for transport. Load it on the trailer and tie it securely at all the tie-down points and chock the tires.

LED vs. Halogen Light Maintenance

The primary difference between maintaining LED and halogen lights is that LED lights typically need to be replaced less frequently. LED lights are more durable and less prone to breakage, and the brightness doesn’t fade over time like a halogen lamp does. With the fuel efficiency gains from using LED lights — plus the reduced maintenance on the bulbs — the higher cost of LED lights is typically recouped within six months.

Maintenance Checklist for Light Towers

Check the operation and maintenance manual for the schedule for your machine, including exact service hours for maintenance. Follow that schedule. Below is general guidance.

Here are some typical things to check during your daily walkaround:

  • Inspect for evidence of arcing around the electrical terminals.
  • See if the wire-routing clamps are loose. Clamps must be secure and mounted.
  • Check engine oil and coolant levels.
  • Ensure the grounding circuit is in accordance with the National Electric Code Article 250 and local code requirements.

The wire size should be American Wire Gauge 8 (AWG#8) from the grounding terminal (when required). Check to ensure continuity between the grounding terminal, frame, generator and engine block.

  • Look for frayed or lose fan belts, hoses and wiring insulation. See if wires appear worn.
  • Check the air vents for obstructions.
  • Look for water in the fuel filter and water separator unit. Drain any water.
  • Fill the fuel tank at the end of each day.

About once a week, do the following:

  • Inspect the tires for cracks and check the tread depth. Use a gauge to check air pressure.
  • Ensure the tower lifting cables are in good condition and that the ends are attached securely. Check that pulleys are not damaged or unusually worn. Make sure the tower lock ring is functioning properly.
  • See if the battery cables are connected and the terminals are free of corrosion. Grease the terminals as needed.
  • Service the air cleaner per the instruction in your operation and maintenance manual.
  • Every two weeks, inspect and clean the fuel pump filter — if your machine is equipped with one.

Every month, preventive maintenance includes:

  • Check the radiator for dirt and debris and clean if needed.
  • Inspect all flexible hoses and hose joints for signs of wear and make sure they are securely mounted.
  • Clean and lubricate the tower guides. Replace any missing or damaged parts.
  • Spot check capscrews and nuts for proper torque. If any are loose, inspect more thoroughly.
  • Make sure all diagnostic lamps are working.
  • Every three months, inspect the air cleaner housing.

Checklist for every six months includes:

  • Test the freezing protection of the engine coolant.
  • With the unit OFF, visually inspect the control compartment for loose connections, dirt, arcing and damage to electrical components.
  • Drain any sediment or accumulated condensate from the fuel tank.
  • Inspect the running gear, including the wheel bearings, grease seals and axles, for damage or wear. Replace any damaged or missing parts and repack the wheel bearings according to manufacturer instructions.

Every year, do the following:

  • Replace the fuel filters, including the fuel pump filter.
  • Change the oil and replace the oil filter.
  • Inspect the starter, glow plug, alternator and valve clearance.
  • Retighten any loose bolts and nuts on the engine.

Replace the coolant every two years.

To reiterate, check your operation and maintenance manual for the exact schedule. Making preventive maintenance part of your routine is a proven way to reduce equipment-related expenses and help prevent downtime.

Erin Brown is a product specialist with Doosan Portable Power.

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