Driving a bulldozer can be a fun and rewarding experience if you are up to the challenge. Since they are powerful pieces of equipment, it is important to understand the proper operational procedures and safety precautions before using them. By inspecting the bulldozer and running the controls with caution, you'll be able to successfully drive a bulldozer safely.
1. Inspecting and Starting the Machine. Scan the outside of the machine for noticeably damaged parts. Take note of any cracks in the windows and dents on the body. Look at the blade and ripper to check for any large cracks and wear. Record your findings on a pre-operation checklist sheet.
If you are renting a bulldozer, recording the condition of the machine before using it can protect you from being held liable for the previous damages.
2. Check the bulldozer for oil and hydraulic fluid leaks. Oil leaks are commonly found by looking at the ground under the engine and by feeling around the oil filter bowls. Inspect the lift cylinders attached to the blade for any hydraulic fluid leaks. You'll also want to check any hydraulic hoses for cracks or leaks.
Look at your user manual to figure out the best way to make certain repairs to the leak sites.
3.Check that all door and hood latches lock in place properly. Bulldozers produce a lot of vibration which can cause unlatched doors or hoods to open while operating.You should close the hood of the engine if it's open and give it a couple of tugs to ensure that it is secure. Close the doors to the cab and give them a couple of pulls to make sure they will stay in place.If a door opens while operating, make sure the bulldozer is parked before trying to close it.
4. Maintain proper levels of fuel, oil, engine coolant, transmission oil, and hydraulic fluid. Wipe the oil dipstick clean before doing your official check. When checking the engine coolant, you'll want to make sure the engine is cooled down to prevent hot fluid from spraying up. Look at the owner's manual for specifications on the appropriate levels for each fluid and how to check them if you are uncertain.
Most hydraulic tanks will have a sight check gauge which takes a simple look to know where the level is at.Each fluid will have its own gauge or dipstick to check the levels.Insufficient fluid levels can cause engine damage and put you at risk as the operator.
5. Climb into the cab of your machine using the safety rails and steps. Bulldozers can be high off the ground so it is important to take caution while entering the machine to avoid slipping. You'll walk along the tracks carefully and then be able to enter the cab.
The tracks have large teeth so be cautious not to get your boot trapped while walking along them.
6. Buckle the seatbelt attached to the chair. Once in the cab, take a seat and locate the seatbelt. You'll want to adjust the seatbelt to fit around your waist properly to avoid bouncing around while operating the machine. Replace the seatbelt if it has large tears or other faulty parts.
7. Turn the ignition key to the right. Some machines will require you to have your foot on the brake before the key will turn. You will hear the engine turn over and then it will begin idling. If the engine is not turning over, don't keep holding to key to the right to avoid flooding the engine.
Pay attention to any abnormal sounds when starting such as clanking and squealing. Placing your foot on the brake will keep you from experiencing unwanted movement from the machine.
8. Let the bulldozer warm up for a few minutes before operating. Heavy machinery needs time to warm up in order to function at an optimal level. This allows the oil to begin lubricating all the parts and your cooling system to reach its operational temperature. While your engine is warming up, you should see your temperature and fluid gauges enter the safe zone.
9. Turn the speed control down on the left joystick. The way you adjust the speed control varies depending on the model of the bulldozer. It might be a button you adjust or maybe a small wheel that you roll up or down. You'll want to adjust the speed slowly.Newer bulldozer models will have a digital gauge to indicate when the speed is set to 0.
10. Turn the throttle knob to the run position. You can adjust the throttle knob by grabbing it with your fingers and turning it to the right. Some throttle knobs will have a turtle icon representing the idle mode and a rabbit icon representing the run mode.
The throttle controls engine power so it's important to have the speed down while you increase it.The throttle knob is usually located to the right of the operator or somewhere near the ignition key.Most bulldozers are designed to be operated at full throttle.
11. Shift the left joystick forward into drive or back into reverse. Gently push the joystick forward or back to avoid damaging the transmission. You should feel a small click when the transmission is properly engaged into drive or reverse.The left joystick only controls your directional movement and has no effect on the blade.
12. Move the left joystick left or right to control the direction of the bulldozer. Once you are in drive or reverse, moving the joystick in a certain direction will move the machine in that direction. Always be aware of your surroundings when beginning to move the bulldozer to avoid any accidents.Make small adjustments with the joystick since they can be very sensitive.
13. Make sure the controls are working properly. Test the controls by moving in all directions individually and taking note of its operation. You should be able to move smoothly without the machine sticking or jerking.Get a feel for how the machine responds before trying to work at a faster speed.
If there is a problem with the machine's movement, troubleshoot the problem before proceeding with work.
14. Use the foot brake to stop the machine from moving. Use your right foot to press the brake like you would on a car.You should only have to use the foot brake when needing to stop immediately. Foot brakes can be a little touchy so use them gently.
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