Payloader Basics for Beginners- How to Run, Operate & Understand Heavy Equipment - Part 1

Aug 09, 2018

Speaker 1: When I was eight years old, I was handed a hay hook, and I was told to use that to grab hay bales to lift them out of the field and onto the tractor. I was never given any more instruction than, "Here is the hook. Here's what's gotta be done." And I grabbed that hay hook, and it basically comes off your hand and has a big hook, and I slammed it down onto the very first hay bale, and the hook bounced back and smashed my eight year old little hand. Ever since that day, I have hated hay hooks and hay bales with a passion.

Speaker 1: Well, the point is, if somebody would've taken the time to show me the right way to use that hay hook so I wouldn't have gotten hurt and I could've done the job the right way, I would probably think a little bit differently about hay hooks and hay bales to this day, which yeah, I guess they're not my mortal enemy, but ...

Speaker 1: So today, guys, is the start of a six part series on how to run a payloader. And we're actually going to get my wife, and we're going to teach her, by the time we get to part six, how to actually operate a payloader. So hopefully, if you guys are interested in payloaders and knowing how to run them, by the time we get through all six parts, you'll have a pretty good understanding.

Speaker 1: Big thank you goes to Volvo. Big thank you goes to my wife. Big thank you goes to you guys. So without wasting any more time, let's go run a payloader.

Speaker 1: She's giving me the wow look. She just said, "It's huge."

Chris: [inaudible 00:02:02].

Speaker 1: It is huge. How much does that machine weigh empty?

Chris: Empty?

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Chris: That's 100,000. 110,000. I gave you the empty weight.

Speaker 1: The empty weight is 110,000 pounds?

Chris: Yup, sitting right there, yup.

Speaker 1: All right, there she is. That's the ... What payloader is that, Chris?

Chris: A Volvo L120H.

Speaker 1: L120H. What size is that?

Chris: Basically, this is about a four and a half yard loader, right in that area.

Speaker 1: What we want to do today, Chris, is get people familiar with what to do, and especially what not to do when they're first running a payloader. Now, I've owned and operated payloaders, and Chris, you've got 26 years experience, don't you?

Chris: Yeah, I got quite a few. Since I was young, real young.

Speaker 1: I watched him when I was filming other videos. This dude is like a guru of payloaders. My wife ... Hi. 

Nicky: Hi men.

Speaker 1: Doesn't she look excited, guys?

Nicky: Woo hoo!

Speaker 1: Are you ready?

Nicky: Yeah.

Speaker 1: Okay. I have a sense that she's lying to us.

Chris: Basically, what we're going to try to do is we're going to go over to the stone pile, we're going to try to fill the bucket as efficiently and full as possible. We don't want a bunch of stone spilling over the back, but in the same token, we want it fairly full because the main part of being productive with this machine is getting as much material into the truck or wherever it's going into it's destination.

Nicky: Okay.

Chris: Some things you'll want to look at, you'll want to make sure we're always going into the pile flat, so we have the cutting edge flat on the ground. If it's tipped too far forward, then we're gouging into the ground. And basically, if you have processed material, the customer basically wants that material. They don't want anything else, contamination, anything like that. 

Chris: So I'm going to show you how to use your bucket level. Most machines have either a mechanical bucket level or an electronic. If you see some that don't, you want to pick a reference on the bucket somewhere. In our case, with these machines, this part of the bucket, if this is flat, this flat part here, that's parallel to your cutting edge. So you can kinda look from the cab and see that if this part looks flat, then pretty much the bottom is flat too, so you won't be gouging into the ground.

Speaker 1: The guys coming in, even if your machine has an electronic bucket level, it's not a bad idea to figure out a mechanical cheat system as well because sometimes it just is easier. Whatever is easier for each individual operator.

Chris: Absolutely. I mean, there's guys that like to run just by feel, so visual cue is very important if you want kind of a reference point. If we had to set the bucket, we always want the cutting edge completely flat on the ground. Then we look to the back of the bucket here, there is wear pads. You want to have those wear pads about two inches above the ground. [crosstalk 00:05:26]

Speaker 1: Okay, but you would never see that from the cab.

Chris: No, you won't see this. This is something, if you're really conscious about keeping your material from getting contaminated, then this is something I'd recommend you do every one in a while. I mean, these settings, whether it's mechanical or electronic, they stay. The machine will remember that, the electronic for sure, until someone actually goes in there and physically messes with the button or pushes it again. As far as the mechanical, you tighten it down good, it's really nothing you have to worry about.

Nicky: So you want to get up to your mound or whatever you're digging, and then set it once you get up there?

Chris: Yup, so as you approach the pile, you'll set your bucket down on the deck, you'll go in, start going into the pile. You always want to kick the machine down to first gear. Most loaders have an automatic feature that'll do it automatically, as well as a manual. So it really depends on the operator's preference what they want to use. Most operators, when they get to a high skill level, they'll do it manually 'cause they know exactly when by feel and the sound of the machine, exactly when they want that power delivered to push the machine forward.

Chris: I would say the next thing, the next most common thing I see is a lot of people, when they put the bucket down on the ground, they just push, they push down, and then you start rocking the machine up, you lose your front wheel contact on the ground then you start spinning tires. Once you start spinning tires, basically your momentum going into the pile and your ability to crowd the bucket with material is lost at that point.

Chris: In addition to that, when you back up, you're going to hit this big giant pothole that you've created, and you shake everything all over. Then you have to drive through that the next time in, and it throws everything off. So we really want to make sure that as soon as we make contact with the toe of the pile with the bucket, we do an initial lift. That lift is generally, I don't know, five to 10 inches high, and what that does is what we call set the tires. That'll actually get good pressure down on your tires. Basically, your front tires and your real tires, that's what's pushing you into that pile. So the more pressure and contact we have on the ground with those, the easier it is and more efficiently we're able to fill the bucket at that point.

Speaker 1: Where the hell were you yesterday, Chris? I was explaining this with the skid loader, and you just did it way better than I did it. That's for sure. This was exactly what we were talking about when we were talking about grabbing a load yesterday, so awesome explanation. Thank you.

Speaker 1: Let's do a quick walk around on the machine and get familiar with the different components of it, 'cause I'm going to guess that everything that you say to her is going to be brand new. So a lot of the guys and gals watching, this may be brand new to them as well. So let's explain what it is. Let's just talk about this machine real briefly so guys know exactly what they're getting into.

Chris: Okay. Well like I mentioned, we have our bucket. This is the component we use to fill and move the material. Next we have our lift arms, and we call this our loader linkage. Basically, we have the lift arm system with our hydraulic cylinders that lift the whole frame. Then we call this our loader and bucket linkage; this is the portion that tilts the bucket. So we have a hydraulic cylinder connected to that as well that'll actually tilt and curl the bucket back.

Speaker 1: These are universal systems, but if these guys aren't running a Volvo loader, they may not find them in the same spot, just so people know.

Chris: Right, the linkages can vary. The lift arm is fairly standard. I mean, there's some, if you go back years and years ago, we used to have mono booms, like a single boom that a couple different manufacturers used. But more or less now, in this day and age, everyone's using a two arm design, and depending on the manufacturer, they use really two different styles of linkage, a parallel style linkage like we have now, and then we also have what we call a z-bar linkage.

Chris: Next as we walk back, you can see that the loader is articulated in the center, so we have basically two different portions of a frame. We have a front frame, and the connection between these two frames are made by two pins. This is what we call our articulation point. We have pins here, and pins and bushings up here, along with our steer cylinders, which actually turn the machine, so they'll turn the front of the machine.

Chris: Next we have the rear frame. The rear frame houses the engine, the bulk of the drive line to power the machine and move all this. But you can see the cab is positioned towards the rear of that, so you have really good visibility over what's going on.

Speaker 1: So we literally can cut this machine right in half. If you look straight down here, you can see that the cab is on the back side of it. Right there is the framework. This is all the front portion of the machine. Then you just marry these two components together during the manufacturing process and hook them up.

Chris: Yup. One thing, this'll behave a little bit differently than a car, or like a truck with a trailer. You think it has two pieces, like you think you're towing something, but actually, these wheels will track in the same line. So when you turn, the back wheels will follow the front wheels. It's going to turn a little bit sharper than an automobile, and also the steering characteristics are a little bit different. We'll show you that once we get in there.

Speaker 1: Is there anything on the other side of the unit we should look at?

Chris: Yeah, why don't we take a walk over there?

Speaker 1: Okay.

Chris: On this side of the machine, we have our batteries. Also, we'll have, most machines, just about all machines now, have a filtration system for you in the cab. This filter system filters the air you're breathing because as you can imagine, these machines get themselves into some really dirty, dusty environments, along with our air filter system for the engine as well. All machines are going to have basic checkpoints. You have to check hydraulic fluid, you have to check your oil, your coolant, all that. 

Chris: Then finally, in the rear of the machine, we have a counterweight. Depending on what we're doing and what type of application the machine's doing, we may have more or less counterweight. So like material handling, rehandling of material, generally we want a lot of counterweight on the machine because we're lifting different densities of material, so we want to have that. This counterweight basically counters the weight that you're going to apply to the bucket to keep the machine stable while you're operating.

Speaker 1: Now, there's going to two basic different kinds of payloaders, basically built the same. One will be more for mining and harvesting materials in an application like we're at right here. Another one, would that be for more off-road digging and excavating and just general purpose, so the counterweights would be different on those two machines? Like a mining machine would have more and an off-road machine have less? Or am I wrong with that?

Chris: It really depends. I mean, with a general purpose machine, we tend to like to provide the counterweight as well, the extra counterweight, because we never know what the customer is going to do with it. The main counterweights on all our machines, they're at a set weight. Then we have what we call our rehandling or logging counterweight that you see that bolts on under there. That's what we'd add for additional counterweight if the customer had a high density material or they were using the machine for rehandling or anything with that, the upper levels of higher density material.

Speaker 1: All right. So next, do we go into the cab and get familiar with that?

Chris: Absolutely, let's go.

Speaker 1: All right, let's do that.

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