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Lubrication System Maintenance

Lubrication System Maintenance and Trouble-Shooting

To keep your machines operating at their peak it is important to keep your lubrication system in tip-top shape too. Having a routine lubrication system maintenance program will help insure service problems are kept to a minimum. To help prevent clogs in the system, proper lubricant storage and correct filling procedures should be followed. Also, proper lubrication system maintenance requires regular cleaning and replacement of filters, screens and strainers. Visual inspections should be performed periodically to detect leaks that can be repaired before they become serious problems. With routine lubrication system maintenance many common problems can be avoided. Here is a check list to help you implement a lubrication system maintenance program that will keep your machines operating smoothly.

Lubrication System Maintenance Check List

  • Clean lubrication reservoir periodically but do NOT use cotton or fiber rags.
  • Inspect suction filter and screens: filter should be replaced and screens should be cleaned annually.
  • Remove and clean strainer regularly.
  • Change line filter (pressure filter) annually.
  • Inspect flexible hoses for cracks, punctures and wear.
  • Check tubing/pipe for flattening or breaks.
  • Check for leaking or “weeping” at all connections; check tightness of connections but avoid over-tightening.
  • Monitor system for unusual drops or increases in operating pressure.
  • Only recommended lubricants should be used. Lubricants with additives that could clog filters or flow apportioning devices should be avoided.
  • To avoid introducing air and contaminants into the system, follow recommended lubricant storage and filling procedures. Lubricant should be stored in a sealed container at all times. A permanently sealed container with a sump pump to pump out lubricant as needed is recommended. Contaminated lubricant will certainly cause problems.

Lubrication System Trouble-Shooting: Installation and Commissioning

  • Low/No Pressure – Pump not primed; improper loading of lubricant into reservoir; air pocket in line at gauge location.
  • High Pressure – Improper grade of lubricant; improperly installed hose; contaminants introduced during assembly.

Lubrication System Trouble-Shooting: System Malfunctions

  • High Pressure – Clogged line filter. Take pressure gauge reading upstream and downstream of filter. Visually inspect filter. Replace filter. Other causes of high pressure could be smashed tube/kinked hose or incorrect flow apportioning units.
  • Low Pressure – Pump failure; leak in system/ lubricant has “thinned out.”
  • Decrease in amount of lubricant dispensed – Change in operating speed of machine (power take off actuates lubricator); worn pump.
  • Increase in amount of lubricant dispensed – Incorrect flow apportioning unit.

Reminder: Air & dirt are the most common causes of lubrication system maintenance problems.