That's some body you have

Preventive maintenance for truck bodies.


Taking care of a truck also means performing proper routine maintenance on its body. If a truck is sidelined because of costly unexpected problems with its body, uptime is diminished, operational expenses go up and customers are inconvenienced.

Consequently, preventive maintenance ought to be as much a priority for truck bodies and its equipment as it is for power units, advises Terry Cook, product manager of commercial products at Iowa Mold Tooling Co. (IMT), a leading manufacturer of service vehicles and material handling systems (www.imt.com). “It is worth the investment.”

The type of body and vehicle application will dictate what maintenance needs to be performed and how often.

Consider service/utility trucks, by way of example. A well-run equipment fleet needs well-maintained service/utility trucks in order to keep its equipment up and running earning money.

All too often, because there are very few obvious moving parts and systems on the average service/utility body, maintenance tends to get overlooked, note officials with Original Seyller Bodies, a company specializing in building custom bodies for service trucks, lube trucks, harvesters and slicklines. A good inspection program is the key to keeping these bodies and their equipment clean, safe and available.

Inspecting a service/utility body should be part of the regular vehicle service program, they say, as “overall appearance and condition can tell you a lot. Is the body sitting squarely on the chassis? Does it sit higher in the front or rear? Are any of the doors sagging or not fitting properly? How does the finished paint look? Are all of the required lights on the unit and working?”

In maintaining service/utility trucks, the truck body and its components (crane, air compressor, liftgates, lubrication systems, reels, etc.) must be inspected and serviced on a regular basis, says Cook. Each of these has its own checklist of items requiring routine inspection and service.

BODY

IMT recommends that service bodies be given a walk-around inspection at least weekly, if not daily, keeping an eye out for any hydraulic leaks, broken transportation/safety lights and cracks in the body’s structure.

If a hydraulic leak goes unnoticed, it could potentially cause a catastrophic failure and dump all the system oil, Cook says. If a leak is spotted, it should be corrected as soon as possible, add Original Seyller Bodies officials.

In addition, both IMT and Original Seyller officials recommend taking time to check under the body to ensure there isn’t any hydraulic plumbing or electrical wiring hanging low or dragging, and inspecting electrical components and wiring. Any issues discovered need to be immediately corrected.

The underside of the body should also be cleaned and checked for loose mounting bolts, cracked members, rust and structural deformation, the officials urge. If the unit is equipped with a crane or lifting device, particular attention should be paid to the mounting structure.

“Not keeping the service body clean can lead to unsafe working conditions and prevent technicians and operators from noticing potential maintenance problems,” says Cook. “The dirtier the truck, the less likely you are to see any problems.

“If you keep it clean and routinely monitor the truck, typically you can get any problems with the body rectified quickly and prevent future problems.”

CRANE

The crane is the most intricate component of a service/utility truck, points out Cook, and offers the following recommendations for inspection and maintenance.

Daily.

There are a variety of service-crane inspections that must be done daily, including checking:

  • All safety devices for proper operation.
  • Controls for leaks, cracks and proper operation of all functions.
  • Hydraulic system (hoses, tubes, fittings, etc.) for leakage and proper oil level.
  • The crane hook’s safety latches and proper operation.
  • The condition of wire rope.
  • For loose parts or fasteners.

Monthly or after 100 hours of operation, whichever comes first.

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