You might think your summertime to-do list is long enough. But here’s one more worth adding: a fluid analysis for your equipment. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a task that’s easier to complete or that can save you more time and expense.
Routine fluid analysis is like bloodwork for your tractors, combines, trucks and other equipment. It helps identify small problems before they become catastrophic failures. The Case IH Systemgard™ fluid analysis program reviews fluid and internal system conditions without disassembling your machine.[Tweet “Routine fluid analysis is like bloodwork for your tractors. Via @Case_IH #BeReady”]
Analyzing the engine oil, hydraulic fluid and coolant provides valuable insight into the condition of the engine, transmission and hydraulic systems, as well as the fluids used in these systems.
As engines wear, their internal components shed small amounts of metal such as iron, chromium, nickel, aluminum and copper, which the fluid analysis identifies in parts per million. The type of metal indicates its likely source. For example, piston rings commonly shed iron, chromium and lead; bearings lose copper, aluminum and tin.
Other materials can indicate different issues. The presence of sodium or potassium in engine oil can indicate coolant from a leaking head gasket; silicon can come from dirt ingested through ineffective air filters or leaks between the filter and the engine.
Easy and effective
To conduct a fluid analysis, simply pull samples of the equipment’s engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant using a vacuum pump and hose inserted through the dipstick, oil fill port, oil level plug or sampling valve. Fill a small sample jar, label it for the specific machine and drop it off at your Case IH dealer. They’ll send it to a Systemgard lab for analysis.
Each lab operates under A2LA ISO 17025, an accreditation for testing and calibration laboratories. Results are available almost immediately through the Horizon® online portal and can give you a heads-up on a wide range of equipment conditions, from ineffective air filtration to deteriorating bearings.
With a long history of analyzing Case IH engines, Systemgard generates reports that will help you make equipment management decisions. Reports define whether findings are within normal ranges or excessive. They also include maintenance recommendations based on what has been flagged in the analysis.
Sample on a schedule
While a single analysis can be helpful, regular sampling and trend analysis provides the information you need to continually maximize equipment reliability, regardless of the age of the equipment. Pull samples at regularly scheduled intervals and always from the same sampling point. When determining sampling intervals, consider how critical the equipment is to production, as well as environmental factors, such as hot or dirty operating conditions. The weight of the loads and excessive idle times also can affect sampling intervals.
Fluid analysis can identify issues well before they become problems in the field. Heading off trouble helps you stay productive and hold down operating costs. It helps your equipment retain its resale value. Visit your local Case IH dealer to learn more about this and other preventive maintenance options. While you’re there, pick up a Systemgard fluid analysis kit. A little extra time in the summer heat now can save you a whole lot of downtime during the heat of harvest.