Maintaining the Paver
Maintaining a paver properly requires keeping your machine clean, as well as performing daily and routine maintenance.
One key aspect of maintaining your paver is cleaning the machine. This is important to make it easier to identify issues, like loose wires or a missing bolt. Cleaning the machine is also important for optimal operation, for example, to avoid old mix falling off your machine and onto the mat.
Before staff can inspect the paver and perform routine maintenance, the machine has to be cleaned. How can you see that a wire has come loose if it’s covered with a gob of hardened liquid AC? How can you tell if a bolt is missing if the area is slimed with mud and grease? How can you tell if a safety decal is torn and partially gone if the area is covered with a layer of dirt and grime? Clean the machine to give yourself a chance at good maintenance.
Also clean the machine for good operation. You don’t want caked-on chunks of mix falling off the paver’s push rollers onto the lane where your new mat is about to be laid. That chunk will represent an area of missed compaction. Not to mention, it’s difficult for push rollers to turn and facilitate easy movement of the haul truck and tractor if they’re caked with old material. Then, you’ll have slips and catches that jar the machines, transferring ripples to the mat.
Just like when working with the distributor and haul truck, cleaning is easier when things are still warm. A hot mix will soften the material that’s caked to the machine and then you can remove it with a putty knife, but if you’re working with cooled equipment before your shift begins, you might need a sledgehammer to chip off the old asphalt.
To clean and maintain the paver, you’ll need to conduct daily cleaning, wash down the machine regularly, and inspect the paver inside and out. Let’s talk about each one of those steps.
For every day cleaning, you’ll need to remove debris, dirt and dust from the radiator and engine, as well as the external screed controls and operating deck. You’ll need to clean the augers, hopper and drive train. You’ll also want to spray down all surfaces that come into contact with asphalt with an asphalt release agent.
In addition to this daily maintenance, at least twice a month, you should completely wash down the machine. You might do this more often if the volume of material going through the machine requires more frequent cleaning.
After cleaning, the paver should be inspected to ensure there are no leaks, electrical problems, loose bolts or other issues that could negatively affect production that day.
The first step is to walk around the machine looking for visible damage like cracks, corrosion and fluid leaks. Also check the hopper to make sure it doesn’t have cracks and that the rubber is in good condition. For rubber-track pavers, check the rubber track assemblies for excessive wear and check the tension. Then, you should check the augers to be sure none are cracked or broken. You’ll also want to check under the screed for slopes, match height, edge plate wear, etc.
Check the wear on your screed plate. When it’s less than a quarter of an inch thick, it’s time for a new screed plate. You can extend the life of your screed plate by following good maintenance practices.
Think about the angle of attack. You want to align the tow-point cylinder correctly so you don’t cause the nose of the screed to go too far up or too far down. If the tow-point is set too low, thus the angle of attack is too low, the nose of the screed goes down. This causes the nose of the screed to wear out faster than the rest of the plate. If the tow-point is set too high, thus the angle of attack is too high, the nose of the screed goes up. This causes the tail of the screed to wear out faster than the rest of the plate. Maintaining the auger sensors and ensuring proper flow and distribution of the material in front of the screed also helps it wear evenly.
You should also use a straight edge to check the screed transversely and then use a 4-foot level to check it longitudinally to also check the extensions, like you see in this image.
Next, you’ll need to check the fuel gauge level and fill with red dye diesel as necessary, and check the hydraulic oil level of the hydraulic system and make sure there are no leaks. The surface level should be visible in the sight glass, so top it off if necessary.
Then, you should check the operator area and set up laser depth systems. Check for damages and missing sections of safety markings such as reflective tape and the "slow-moving" triangle, repairing as needed. You should also check all functions of the external screed controls for proper operation, as well as the horn and reverse alarm to be sure they are working well and audible. It’s also time to check gauges, lamps, instruments, mirrors, seat belts, control levers, seats and flooring to be sure all are operable and in good condition. You should also check that the operator’s manual is on the machine.
You’ll also need to check under the hood. Check the engine for oil leaks. Check the oil level and top off if necessary, using SAE15W40 oil only. Then, check the radiator and cooling fan for defects and leaks. Check the coolant level and top off if necessary using 50/50 anti-freeze. You should also check for leakage of oil from hydraulic equipment, tank, cylinders, hoses and joints, adding AW46 or AW68 oil only if necessary, as well as leakage from engine compartments in the oil cooler. You should also check for damaged or loose hoses and hose clamps.
This is also the time to check that the battery is clean of debris, dirt, dust and corrosion, and make sure that the terminals are tight, and that the air restriction indicator hasn't been tripped, indicating that the filters need to be replaced. Check that the charge filters indicators haven't entered the red zone, indicating that they need to be replaced. Then, visually check the fan belt for intersecting cracks, fraying or missing pieces and the fire extinguisher gauge reading to be sure it's within the proper operating range and that the service tag is up to date. Verify the monthly tag is initialed or initial it in accordance with SP-042. You’ll need to carry out daily lubrication.
For detailed instructions on how to maintain your paver, including daily lubrication procedures, download the resource below this video.