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Winter is here and the batteries in your Aerial Lift Equipment may be on the way out.

The lift equipment that may cost you the most, may be right in front of your eyes, especially your telehandler or boom lift that you kept on a 3 to 4 year operating lease. Early morning starts and cold nights, and running that flashing light while on site with the engine off. It drains the battery, and there may not be enough reserve power to crank over the engine on a cold morning. Install the manufacturers recommended capacity battery, or a higher capacity option. Don’t be conned into putting in a lower capacity battery. Most operators understand this, that’s they use higher capacity batteries.

Your battery powered scissor-lifts, vertical lifts and mast lifts rely on batteries to lift the scissor platform and the workers in their winter gear.This may reduce the amount of lift and drive cycle, so less work out of a battery platform in Winter. But realistically the elevated platform can be lowered using the emergency lowering valve.

Your Diesel engine powered Boom-lift may be your next BIG problem, especially the larger booms with the new safety systems. If the battery drops below a “preset voltage” during engine start, the “Manufacturers control system” may see a “Low Voltage” fault and prevent the boom system operation after start-up. But that’s not the big issue, when boom lift has engine “stop and start” for up to 80 times a day, the battery may not have enough reserve power to retract an operator from a fully elevated position. Your “Safe Work Method” procedure for the Site may fail, as the battery runs out of power from the ground controls. platform level system may not power up.

Why does this happen:

1. Just think about a battery full of electrolyte (Sulphuric acid and water) eating away at the battery plates 24 hours a day, corroding away as the stronger acid sinks to the bottom of the cell, it eats away at the lower part of the plates and the shed material sinks to the bottom. The battery has less capacity after 1 to 2 years, but they charge up faster, so you effectively have a smaller battery, and every month it gets smaller. The same size engine alternator is pumping in the same current for the original larger battery, so the charging may cause the electrolyte to boil and you lose electrolyte. If the original equipment is a maintenance free type battery, replace it with the equivalent manufacturer’s specification maintenance free battery.

2. Everyone wants to save money and this is one of the items that you need to plan ahead for to save money. First of all, the taller the boom, the bigger the battery that is needed. Look at a 135ft boom, it has an approximately 1400CCA battery. (CCA is Cold Cranking Amps). Look at a 60ft boom, it is usually a Type 31 1000CCA battery. This particular size looks similar to a generic “N70Z 660CCA” battery. DON’T BE CONNED, DON’T FIT A GENERIC BATTERY. You could contribute to a “change in design of the boom lift” and the “Manufacturers emergency retrieval system may NOT work”. Your service technician and your purchasing team could be causing you issues that you don’t need.

3. Check the manufacturer’s specification, and where possible install the same battery size, type and capacity. Don’t replace a failed incorrect 660CCA battery in a boom-lift, with another 660CCA battery. Ask the service guys in the South Island travelling around remote sites, and dealing with temperatures down to 0 Celsius overnight in winter. They will tell you that the incorrect battery cost wasted service calls. The batteries die early, especially on remote sites with 6am starts and flashing lights running all the time, even when the engine stop start is activated up to 80 times a day. With the new water cooled tier 4 final diesel engines coming and new engine control systems, the problem becomes larger.

Do yourself a favor, connect an External battery charger overnight to the battery of your boom-lift when it returns from hire. It’s the best way to reduce load on the system(s) and it will keep your costs down. Also give your service van an extended life, connect a battery charger to the battery overnight, at least once every week.

July 15, 2016

Maintain Your Compact Telehandler all the Way to the Bank Dave Maier

If you already own a telehandler. are you doing the proper service and maintenance to keep it in tip-top shape? You can save a lot by investing just a few minutes of your time each day into preventive maintenance.

Just pay attention to two things: fluids and filters.

Each morning, take a minute to walk around your telehandler and give it a quick visual, looking for evidence of fluid leaks. Any unexpected shiny fluid on the ground is an obvious call for attention.

Next, take a closer look at these fluid levels to make sure each is within the proper range:

1. Engine oil

2. Transmission oil

3. Hydraulic fluid

4. Brake fluid

5. Coolant

Also important to check each day:

1. Air Filter. Make sure it is not in the red zone. Clean or replace as needed.

2. Tires. A quick walk-around shows any major issue, like a flat/damaged tire or missing lug nut. It's time well spent to take a few more minutes to check tire pressure and assure that lug nuts are tightened to manufacturer's specs.

3. Lubrication. Make sure to lubricate high-use areas daily.

Other simple safeguards that will help keep your equipment healthy and reduce the likelihood of costly repairs:

1. Use only quality fuel and oil

2. Follow the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual

Of course, all equipment eventually needs expert maintenance, service, and repairs above and beyond most owners' capabilities. Your best option is the efficiency and expertise provided by OEM-trained personnel. Valco Equipment and Highlift Equipment technicians are trained by the manufacturers of the brands that they sell, offering you the quickest and most expert service available.

Valco Equipment, a Highlift Equipment company, is a national certified dealer of the top names in the industry, including Gehl. Genie, JLG, Lull. Skytrack. Snorkel. MEC, and Wacker Neuson. We sell and rent both new and used equipment, all name-brand parts. and provide certified service and support.

To schedule maintenance, service and repairs or discuss your equipment needs call us at 1-800-245-5528.

July 22, 2016

Skid Steers vs. Telehandlers

Alex Petrakis

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to tonight's main event. In the right corner, with 70 horsepower and nearly 180 ft. lbs. of torque and a nifty 90" turning radius, reaching heights up to 14' and weighing in at 4.3 tons, all the way from the factory, Skid -Boom Boom" Steer!

And in the left corner, weighing in at a stocky 5.5 tons, almost 6.5' tall, a 13' reach and a neck-straining 18' maximum lift height with 75 horses under the hood, factory refurbished and looking brand new, it's Tele "Stretch- Handler!

OK, maybe it's not that easy to pick a winner in our imaginary -cage match" comparison of a skid steer and a telehandler. While both machines are designed to move heavy loads, they are very different in how they're used.

Skid steer loaders are tough to beat for moving lighter loads close to the ground. When your loads are generally less than 1.5 tons, and lifting heights don't get much higher than 10', then a skid steer might be your winner.

However, if you need to lift heavier loads to greater heights, then it's time to step up to a versatile skid steer alternative: the compact telescopic handler, or telehandler. While capabilities vary by model, a typical telehandler can lift 2 to 2.5 tons to heights as high as 20'.

In addition to the weight and reach advantage, telehandlers can be much more versatile with the addition of attachments. As one expert said in the February 2016 Compact Equipment, "You can fit a skid steer coupler on the telehandler's front end and run a plethora of skid steer attachments - sweepers, grapple buckets, auger, and more. That versatility makes it possible for end-users to consolidate their fleet in an effort to reduce total ownership costs.

Whether your equipment needs are best served by owning or renting, Valco Equipment and HighLift Equipment are ready to rumble. We are certified dealers for the top names in the industry and have the experience and expertise to maximize the capacity, efficiency, and effectiveness of your equipment needs.

Valco Equipment, a Highlift Equipment company, is a national certified dealer of the top names in the industry, including Gehl, Genie, JLG, Lull, Skytrack, Snorkel, MEC, and Wacker Neuson. We sell and rent both new and used equipment, all name-brand parts, and provide certified service and support.

To learn more about the many skid steers and telehandlers we have in stock, click here or call us at 1-800-245-5528.

July 29, 2016

Skid Steer Tires Have Plenty of Options

Eric Foutz

"The wheels on the SSL go round, and round, round and round...."

If you're like many compact equipment operators, your skid steer loader (SSL) is the favorite "tool" in your vehicle tool shed. With the wide array of attachments you can add, there seems to be no end to the variety of tasks your SSL can complete. However, the many possibilities can leave you with one often-ignored question:

"What kind of-wheels will best serve your usage?"

To Air Or Not To Air

There are two popular types of tires in use for SSLs:

1. Bias Ply Pneumatic Tires

2. Solid Tires

Of the two, bias ply pneumatic (air-filled) tires are the most popular. They are available in a variety of styles and tread patterns and are the least costly tire option. For the typical construction or landscaping job, bias ply is likely all you need.

Solid Performance: No Runs, No Hits, No Air

If your SSL needs can benefit from a tire that won't leak, burst, or require an occasional refill, then solid tires are your answer. These tires are solid with neither tube nor air. While they cost more than their pneumatic brethren, these are the best solution if your SSL is used in an environment hostile to air-filled tires, such as scrap yards, mines, demolition sites, etc.

While solid tires are oblivious to extreme environments that would retire pneumatic tires, solid tire durability comes with a compromise: operator comfort. Much like automobile tires, premium tire performance often comes with a compromise in durability and comfort.

Specialty Tires for Extreme Performance

While the pneumatic bias ply and solid tires are the most popular ó according to Mike Dembe in the May issue of Compact Equipment, these two types make up 98 percent of tires on the more than one million skid steer loaders in North America ó there are situations and applications where you might want to look at other options.

1. Foam-filled Pneumatics. An aftermarket add-on from your tire dealer, where a thick polyurethane blend is pumped into the pneumatic tire. essentially turning it into a solid tire. While this is not a cheap option ($170-$300 per tire) it allows you to change from your pneumatics when you need a more durable alternative.

2. Non-Pneumatics. Rubber "spokes" support the tire tread, indicating the kind of innovation we can expect to see in future designs.

3. Radial Pneumatics. Give better tire performance than the bias ply standard, but are rarely used.

4. Premium Tires. When performance, durability, and longevity are important, heavier duty tires are an attractive alternative to the more pedestrian bias ply or solid standards. These premium products offer advantages such as deeper treads. sidewall protection. and premium rubber compounds. Of course, these premium products also include a premium price too.

Suffice it to say that there is no perfect tire that fits every situation. Talk to us about your specific needs and we'll set you up with the best solution to fit your budget óand we go much deeper than the tires on which your equipment rides.

Valco Equipment. a Highlift Equipment company, is a national certified dealer of the top names in the industry, including Gehl, Genie, JLG, Lull, Skytrack, Snorkel, MEC, and Wacker Neuson. We sell and rent both new and used equipment, all name-brand parts, and provide certified service and support.

To learn more about how we can help you with your tires, call us at 1-800-245-5528.

August, 5. 2016

SSL | CTL Safety Equals No Shortcuts

Tim Soell

If you're like most SSL (Skid Steer Loader) and CTL (Compact Track Loader) operators, the operator manual that accompanies your machine is likely as new as the day it was delivered. While that manual has very detailed information regarding safe operation of the equipment, the reality is that the manual is largely ignored.

Knowing that most operators don't regularly review the safety details contained within their manual, here's a summary to help you stay safe behind the controls of your SSL or CTL.

Check the Settings

If you get behind the wheel of your buddy's car on a road trip, you're likely going to adjust the seat, the mirrors, etc. before getting on the highway. Similarly, before operating any construction equipment that's used by more than one operator (such as a rental), check and adjust the controls as needed.

Specifically, check the settings of the hydraulic, hydrostatic, and drive implement systems. Some machines allow more operator adjustments than others, so don't assume anything before first verifying.

Drive Under the Limit

Every manufacturer determines each model's rated operating capacity (ROC). which is a percentage of its tipping load. Tipping can be loosely defined as the weight that causes the rear wheels (rear of the tracks of a CTL) to lift off the ground when the lift arms are positioned for maximum forward reach.

Most manufacturers rate their equipment's ROC to be 50 percent of tipping load for a SSL and 35-50 percent for a CTL. However, don't blindly accept the stated max as an unyielding number. Instead, be cautious and always test loads before going to the max. Consider the situation under which you're operating, and remember that a load's moisture content and/or operating on uneven ground can significantly affect load-handling ability.

Hydraulic Health Matters

It can be argued that hydraulic fluids are the most important single thing to check to increase your safety. After all, there are many hydraulic hoses close to the operator. If any of these hoses happen to rupture or develop a pin-hole leak, the operator can be suddenly injured with hot, high-pressure hydraulic fluid.

If you notice a fluid leak or see a puddle under the machine, never run your hand around a hose to find the leak -- even if you're wearing thick gloves. Hydraulic systems can maintain pockets of extreme high pressure, which can cause significant injury. Instead of trying to be your own detective, call in a technician trained to assess and repair such issues.