The Situation

Construction machinery is built to withstand the harshest of conditions. To avoid down-time, these machines should be maintained in the best way possible. One of our customers experienced a failure on a machine which could be tracked back to bad maintenance. The machine did not have any service records and was in a very poor shape. If no action was taken immediately, the rest of the machine park with 20 articulated dump trucks and 7 excavators would be susceptible to similar failures, resulting in tremendous amounts in cost.

The Challenge

In order to mend the overheating problems in the hydraulic system of the vehicles at this customer, a hydraulic equipment dealer had advised to change the hydraulic oil from 10W40 to 15W40. In response, the customer had changed the oil to 15W40 on the hydraulics of all machines. Moreover equipment engines and hydraulics were running standard SAE50 in transmissions, drive trains and finale drives. With between 9.000 and 14.000 operating hours on the machines, first oil tests showed that 63 samples were out of specification. To save the equipment, all compartments were re-sampled after 250 service hours. Meanwhile, one machine broke down and led to a $25k repair cost.


The Solution

Because the problem was so severe, Donaldson took immediate action to analyse the situation. Upon recommendation, the customer decided to purchase the Donaldson particle and water test kit (X009329) and started a full test program on all fluids, excluding engine oil which was sent to the equipment dealer. Test kit results showed that the differential and final drive fluids were reaching their particle count limits before the recommended oil change intervals. Therefore, final drive oils were monitored and replaced as soon as the contamination limits were reached. The drive train oil, SAE-50, is stored in a tank which is equipped with Donaldson P568666 cans and P570248 super absorbent technology to ensure clean and dry storage. Sampling with the basic test kit plus using Dexsil TBN and TAN test kits allowed tracking the acidity and alkalinity of the fluids. This analysis allowed the customer to reuse the fluid, extend the oil service intervals and resulted in cost-savings. The engine oil is now changed every 250 hours.


Field Results

The dealer’s recommendation is to change out engines at 14.000 hours on the articulated trucks. The customer ran three engines to 20.000 hours and pulled them down to find no major damage or failures, they also ran transmissions and final drives passing 16.000 hours and still having good oil samples which indicate they will go to at least 20.000 hours.

Example: An articulated dump truck uses:

• 160 litres of engine oil every 1.000hours > 3 euro p/l. = 500 euro

• 330 litres of hydraulics oil every 1.000 hours > 3 euro p/l. = 1.000 euro

• 304 litres drive train oil > 3 euro p/l = 925 euro

The engine oil is sold as waste. The hydraulic oil is cleaned and reused as drive train oil. With the on-site oil sampling you get the answers to take the right decisions on your component rebuilds. In 18 months the customer has gone up from poor maintenance to preventative and predictive maintenance realizing savings not only with down-time reduction and planned maintenance but with extended component life and the reduction of stock of spare parts.



The customer believes it is a must to have on-site in-house oil sampling and put in place all the necessary contamination control tools needed, filter the new fluid before it goes into the machine and oil sample points. Good quality oil handling equipment will save a lot of money and cut down-time.


The Portable Fluid Analysis Kit

Fluid analysis is a snapshot of what is happening inside your equipment. It tells you the condition of the lubricant and identifies component wear and contamination in virtually any application. The Portable Fluid Analysis Kit (Part No. X009329) allows you to conduct immediate on-site particulate analysis in as little as ten minutes.



• Identify opportunities for optimizing filtration performance

• When improvements are made, use it to monitor the

• Cleanliness status of the system.

• Safely extend drain intervals

• Minimize downtime by identifying minor problems

• Before they become major failures

• Extend equipment life

• Great alternative to expensive, portable electronic devices