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 Author Thread: Cold weather and steel
Tazza is not online. Last active: 10/23/2014 8:42:33 PM Tazza
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Cold weather and steel
Posted: 11/06/2007 05:49 PM

This one is mostly pointed at Ken but do you ever have issues with really cold weather and breaking steel because it gets brittle? I know you have engine starting issues but never thought about the stress of sub zero temperatures.

I know steel gets brittle the colder you get it but does it cause any problems with breaking pins or cutting edge?


Bobcat 763 burntSadbut i'm working on it!, 04 S150 with air and a smooshed cab, S250 turbo.
jerry is not online. Last active: 10/24/2014 4:29:58 PM jerry
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Re: Cold weather and steel
Posted: 11/06/2007 08:20 PM
Tazza , I worked for Serco log loaders and in the winter when it would get 20 -30 below 0 F it was not uncommon to see 2 inch and even 2.5 inch cylinder rods come in snapped off. cylinders with 1/4 inch walls will split lengthwise also. cold makes a difference, although the better grades of steel such as 4140 may be more brittle since they are harder to begin with. just my own thoughts.

LX665,backhoe,snowplow,assorted homemade stuff Northeast Mn
jerry is not online. Last active: 10/24/2014 4:29:58 PM jerry
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Re: Cold weather and steel
Posted: 11/06/2007 08:32 PM
I should have mentioned the broken rods were not necessarily from Serco equipment as we worked on cylinders of all kinds and brands from all types of machinery.

LX665,backhoe,snowplow,assorted homemade stuff Northeast Mn
Tazza is not online. Last active: 10/23/2014 8:42:33 PM Tazza
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Re: Cold weather and steel
Posted: 11/06/2007 08:56 PM

Scary.... I'm glad it never gets below 0c here, but i remember Ken telling me it gets to -30c in Canada and the frost goes down almost 2 metres! thats crazy cold.

I can see the steel grade having a lot to do with it too, especially if its hardened like pins or cutting edge and like you said, 4140.


Bobcat 763 burntSadbut i'm working on it!, 04 S150 with air and a smooshed cab, S250 turbo.
skidsteer.ca is not online. Last active: 7/21/2014 8:31:40 PM skidsteer.ca
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Re: Cold weather and steel
Posted: 11/07/2007 05:32 AM

Tazza

For my part of Canada -30 is a fairly cold day. It can get colder but generally the winter temps are mor like -15 to -20c for lows and  5 to 10 degrees warmer in the days. B4 global warming. It was faily common to get a 2 week cold snap of -30 and a few odd days of it here and there throughout the winter.

As for steel being brittle, I'd say its a commonly held belief amongst equipment operators in these parts.

 But it not just steel that takes the strain. Its tough to get engines started. Most use a fuel or lpg fired coolant heater (for remote location without power) and block heaters where there is power. But once you get the engine running you need, thin motor oil and  a good mixture of antifreeze. many engines have been destroyed (especially good cold starting ones) by lack of oil flow, and some because the coolant would not circulate.

Also depending on you pump system, some equipment (with say a direct coupled gear pump) must start to pump oil as soon as the engine turns over, so there is another major drag, because even the thin oil is thick for the first few minutes. Many machine like my Serco log loader use vane pumps (or some other style) which start loadless) Others have clutches  you can warm the engine first, then stall it 10 times trying to get the. oil to circulate from the resevoir back to the reservoir by engageing the clutch.

Then after that its common for the operators to cycle the functions several time to warm the oil (which acts like tar). The pumps groan at full pressure and the function just barely moves and rock hard hoses try to stretch from the pressure. Gradualy things warm and speed up.  Better oils (engine and hyd) have helped tremendously  within the last 20 or 25 years. But need changed back out in the spring.

Working though a “cold snap” can leave you with a pile of blown hoes, a burnt up pump and it not uncommon to hear of someone YOU know had a engine in something make its final turn.

Also cylinder packing and o rings hate cold weather too.  So for all these reasons and many more people tend to shut down when it gets north of -30 for a day or two, and wait it out.

I would not say personally I have noticed that steel turns to glass at -xx temp, but I do know that myself and many others are alot less likely to try and find out.

One thing about winter that I'd really miss though if I was down south, is how it can turn a lake or floating bog into a highway. You get a foot of frost in the ground and you can haul 69000 kg on a truck and trailer across what was a mudhole. You just better do it fast though, because there are always too many trips to make and the spring thaw comes when it it feels like it.

Ken 


NH LS 160, S150, S185 Hoe Brusher Grapple Auger, Mixer Tiller Soil Conditioner Trencher Tracks Snow Blade Wood Splitter Stump Grinder Land Plane. Dealer Virnig Erskine Componets Plus Wallenstein Bauma Lite
TriHonu is not online. Last active: 10/7/2014 7:30:15 PM TriHonu
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Re: Cold weather and steel
Posted: 11/07/2007 09:30 AM

I too have seen the effects of cold. My personal experiences were with cast iron castings.  At -30 to -40 we broke a couple with relatively minor impact.  The coldest I experienced was -53 degrees with no wind chill.  In the warmest layers I owned it was only 5 minutes before the cold was just getting through faster than I wanted!

When I was young, I was at the local welding shop and they were working on a “Woods Truck”.  I walked over and noticed the truck had really long heater hoses with hydraulic couplers on them.  I asked what they were for.  Albert just smiled and said the Skidder had a matching set...   They would hook-up in the morning and let the truck give the Skidder a transfusion while they did the morning maintenance.  By the time they got done with the checks and greasing the Skidder was already at operating temp before they fired it.

As Ken stated, when it gets that cold you are better to wait it out.  It's just hard on both equipment and people and you just don't get as much done.


763, auger, Bradco Backhoe, hydraulic handheld breaker, 4in1 buckets, forks, Industrial Grader, pan grapple, landplane with hydraulic scarifier, snow blower, snow plow, Soil Conditioner, Sweeper, Tilt-Tatch, OTT, U-Digger
Tazza is not online. Last active: 10/23/2014 8:42:33 PM Tazza
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Re: Cold weather and steel
Posted: 11/07/2007 03:13 PM

I forgot about the poor hoses but it does make sense that they too would be put under a lot of strain in these temperatures.

I like the idea of using warm coolant from the truck to heat up the skid steer! it sure would take the strain out of starting the machine up.

I take it the oil in the hydraulics/hydrostatics get a chance to warm up so it gets a bit thinner so you aren't pumping oil thats the consistancy of molasis (if thats how you spell it). It would drive me crazy waiting for the cylinders to cycle as you pointed out the hydraulics get a bit slugish with the thickness of the oil. No normal person would want to work in those temperatures in the first place, it would be a good excuse to take time off during the coldest time of winter.

I do see the possibility of engine damage as the oil is thick and you will get oil pressure but it hasn't gotten to the parts that its needed the most down the line.

Again, i'm glad our winters never get below 0c. I am not a fan of our summer but those temperatures are just insane! -30 or so in winter +30 or more in summer.....


Bobcat 763 burntSadbut i'm working on it!, 04 S150 with air and a smooshed cab, S250 turbo.
skidsteer.ca is not online. Last active: 7/21/2014 8:31:40 PM skidsteer.ca
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Re: Cold weather and steel
Posted: 11/07/2007 05:09 PM

Quick couplers between engines is fairly common here too, but is does take 20 or so minutes for the heat to get around the block. Some argue that this quick heat meathod does not help keep the crank and oil pan warm like a lpg heater that burns all night.  The one drawback is if you let the cold coolant circulate into the warm engine to quick you can crack a head. A valve to slow flow for the first minutes is critical

Our lowbed truck has a 3406 cat with a  electric block and oil pan heater you plug in. And we installed quick couplers for hooking a hot box or another  engine to it. By -8 or 9c  its going nowhere without heat.

Other engines like the JD 6068t will fire up at -20 but light oil is advised, My father always said some engine start “too good“

My favourite for the remote location is the diesel fired circulation heaters like www.espar.com   etc. They  have a timer that can be set for up to 7 days in advance and run for up to 2 hours b4 you arrive. They hook to your battery to run the clock and water and fuel pumps and furnace blower.

They Light themselves, burn only  6/10 or a litre per hour and put out 17 or 20000 btu (memory) They light with a little puff of smoke then the blower and fuel pump keep winding up (sounds like a jet engine but quiet) for @ 4 minute until they are lightly roaring away.

Once they are wound up nothing but  clean heat (and Co) come out the exhaust,  Many route the exhaust through a pipe in the hydraulic tank to heat the oil.

If the coolant gets to 190f they switch to low output and if  it reaches 195f they shut down

They will easily heat a 400hp engine in 1 to 2 hours and generally when you arive the water guage is sitting at 140 or so. They are cheap to run but spendy. 

They hyd functions warm from use until they operate normally in 5 to 10 minutes. But if its cold and you have to stop for 15 minutes or more it will be starting to stiffen again.

Often you see the wood loaders at the mill spinning their grapples and cycling functions while you pull up with a load of wood  so they are ready to go when you get there.

My wood loader starts good with the espar, just need to bump the key. so I intalled a remote starter for a vehicle so I can fire it from 300 meters away. The bush roads are always rough so by the time I drive up and past and turn the truck and trailer around and pull back up along the loader, it has 4 to 5 minutes to run and the cab is beginning to warm and the oil has been run through the pumps and back to the tank for a bit. It can still really groan when you go to lift the boom and start slashing and loading though.

Ken


NH LS 160, S150, S185 Hoe Brusher Grapple Auger, Mixer Tiller Soil Conditioner Trencher Tracks Snow Blade Wood Splitter Stump Grinder Land Plane. Dealer Virnig Erskine Componets Plus Wallenstein Bauma Lite
sterlclan is not online. Last active: 10/18/2014 5:00:47 AM sterlclan
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Re: Cold weather and steel
Posted: 11/10/2007 05:57 AM
3 years in a row ,330 cat excavator plus -30 = broken track pin oh yea on top of the quarry tough to work up there. the steel most certainly gets brittle in extreme cold as do I.just part of the fun of living in gods country.......Jeff

The difficult is no problem....................................................the impossible just takes a little longer. Try it........You might like it
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