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How to Prevent Gearbox Problems as You Change Lubricants

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Heavy machinery gearboxes carry heavy loads and work for long hours. This can predispose them to developing problems if the process of changing lubricants isn't well managed. This article discusses some useful tips that will help you to preserve the condition of the heavy machinery gearbox as you change the lubricant.

Avoid Solvent Flushing Compounds

Some people use gearbox-flushing compounds to remove any trace of the degraded lubricant that they are replacing. This may be wrong because the gearbox may rust in those few minutes when there is no lubricant coating the surface of the gears. Additionally, remnants of that flushing compound may lower the viscosity of the new lubricant that you put into the gearbox. This reduced viscosity may compromise the degree of protection given to the gears as they rub against each other. If you must flush the gearbox, use a lighter, less expensive lubricant so that the gearbox surface is protected from corrosion at all times.

Install a Desiccant Breather

Many heavy machinery gearboxes have vent plugs that need to be cleaned each time the lubricant in the gearbox is replaced. You can upgrade to a desiccant breather so that the plug captures any moisture present in the air entering the gearbox through the vent. This will reduce how quickly the lubricant oxidises or turns milky and becomes less effective.

Install a Sight Glass

Sometimes, it is not easy to know when all the used lubricant has drained out of the gearbox because the engine may have cooled and the lubricant is too thick to flow out at the same time. Consequently, the old lubricant may contaminate the new lubricant once the two mix. You can prevent this from occurring by installing a sight glass on the drain port of the gearbox. This sight glass can be purchased from gearbox suppliers. The sight glass will enable you to look at a cross section of the gearbox components so that you can confirm that they are free from thick coatings of the old lubricant. You can restart the engine in case the gears and other parts still have a lot of used oil on them. The warmth will cause the lubricant to flow off the components and into the drain container below the drain valve.

Effective lubrication is one of the most important ways to prevent costly gearbox repairs. Use the suggestions above to ensure that the gearboxes of your heavy construction machinery are properly lubricated at all times. For more tips, contact a company like Shute Engineering.