Recovery of flood damaged heavy equipment by MECHTRONIK
The recent flood event in Australia has left us with maintenance and reliability problem that needs immediate action. Time is paramount if you want your flooded equipment back to work.
Here are some steps you should take.
1 Under no circumstances start the machine until a proper assessment has been done
2 Establish the exact level the flood water reached on your machine and mark the paint work accordingly. Take note if the machine is sitting at an angle Keep photos taken during the flood event
3 If possible remove drive shafts and tow unit to a wash down pad. Remove all covers and flush thoroughly
4 Disconnect batteries
5 Remove cab floor mats and seats and dry out cab if water reached this level
6 Grease everything to flush out water
7 Now is the time to list what components have been affected and what procedures are needed to recover them.
I will break this down into different levels and it will depend on the machine you have and the type of breathers and systems in your machine
Differentials and undercarriage only flooding
1 You will have to establish the level of the water within each diff taking into account the aspect the unit was sitting at during the flood. This will determine whether you just drain and flush or dismantle. Also you will need to establish if mud has entered This will depend on the type of breather system
2 You will need to clean inside the brake assy's and remove any mud and debris and moisture
3 You will need to check all grease and oil cavities around the articulation ,interlocks ,steering and make a determination accordingly
4 All lower frame electronics should be cleaned and dried
Mid level flooding
1 You will have to establish the water level within each component and system and make a determination as to how to proceed from there. Depending on your breather and dipstick type, this will determine if you have water or mud contamination.
2 The engine computer may have been immersed at this point and so should be removed and dried out and checked.
3 If water has entered the engine oil, this should be drained and flushed.
4 The transmission water inundation level should be established and if it is below the clutch packs, you can just drain and flush.
5 If water has entered the brake tank, the brake system will need to be fully flushed.
6 The coolant system should be checked for water inundation and if water found it should be drained and flushed.
7 All machine electronics to the flood level should be cleaned and dried.
HIGH LEVEL FLOODING
The air intake piping will need to be removed and cleaned.
The turbo charger will need to removed and overhauled
The inter cooler will need to be cleaned
The injectors will need to be removed and the cylinders will need to have the water removed and the cylinder liners oiled
The rocker covers need to be removed and breathers cleaned. Rocker gear needs to be cleaned
The exhaust system will need to be drained of water
The alternator and starter motor will need to be removed and cleaned
The oil system will need to be cleaned and flushed
Mud contamination, and the level of the water inside your transmission will determine how to proceed. Besides the engine this is the most critical and expensive component. Clutch port reverse flushing can remove most of the contaminates from the clutch pack hydraulic systems. Combined with filter and screen cleaning and oil replacement, careful startup procedure can save expensive removal and dismantling.
The tank will need to be drained and cleaned and the piping to the pump inlets removed and cleaned. Lower lines below pump level may have to be flushed
The fuel tank should be drained and refilled and fuel filters replaced ensuring fuel lines to the filter are cleaned out
Many pieces of electrical or electronic equipment can be repaired after being immersed in flood waters. The basic work is not difficult, although there will be components within the equipment which may not be repairable except by experts, due to contamination by chemicals, pollutants, or particulate matter
These may be present from the moment the equipment is reassembled or they may not show up until later. But in any event they may often be of an intermittent nature and thus difficult to trace.
Metal components including electronic chassis and cases
Here the enemy is corrosion and exposure to air of water-soaked equipment can increase this problem. Often a consideration as to the reparability is the ease with which the electronics can be removed from their enclosures. Where equipment housings contain accumulated silt, the use of warm water and detergent might be needed to free-up the electronic components. Remember though that the detergent will also remove any oily film from the metal parts which could be protecting them again rusting. Therefore, it may be necessary to spray the metal parts, housings, cases etc. with a good water-displacing penetrating oil to protect them while the electronic components are being treated.
Most of the problems will be related to either immediate or delayed-action connector malfunctions, especially with equipment that relies on computer-control modules connected, as they are, with numerous sensors. On the assumption that any small sensor ports (to intake vacuum and the like) are free of obstructions, that the wiring harness itself is reasonably dry and that the engine, transmission, differential(s), steering gear, brakes and wheel bearings are free of contamination and properly lubricated, and that any control modules have not been damaged physically, a systematic cleaning and treatment of the electrical and electronic connectors may have to be done before problems can be considered to be the fault of the control modules themselves.
In addition to the sensors, all electrical contacts on the wiring harness should be treated. Everything from head-light connectors, fuse holders, dashboard connectors (such as for dashboard lights, gauges, etc.) to turn-signal switches. (Remember switches can be subject to corrosion too). Screw terminals too should be treated
Quite frequently equipment that has been submerged in flood waters will have become contaminated with faecal or other harmful bacteria. A precautionary rinsing with isopropyl alcohol will generally disinfect circuit boards from electronic equipment without damaging components although semi-sealed items such as potentiometers may have to be replaced. Isopropyl alcohol can also be used on metal parts and cases, although with some finishes and paints a test should be made to make sure that the alcohol won't damage the finish, In some instances, one of the home disinfectant sprays may be used on the metal parts, but again, test for possible damage to finished surfaces.
For the same reasons, precautions should be taken when handling such equipment to avoid infection! And all such infections should be taken seriously as tetanus shots might be required!
After start up and run-up operation tests are completed another round of filter and oil changes is called for to get out any residue water and dirt contamination
Call To Action
Start your recovery as soon as the water recedes Mechtronik specialists are available now to assess your equipment recovery needs and produce a report for your insurance claim to proceed immediately or undertake the recovery repairs using our technicians . Call David Armstrong Mechtronik CEO on 0409641195 for heavy equipment recovery advice.
www.mechtronik.com.au email [email protected]