Alas! It’s that time of the year. Spring is right upon our feet; the flowers have started to bloom, and whatever is left of winter is fading. Put your jackets and sweaters away!
It is also time to get equipment prepared for upcoming seasonal projects. Pruning, clearing dead branches, and removing remaining foliage is likely among them. With this in mind, you will need to wake the Yardbeast from its hibernation in the shed. We compiled a list of wood chipper maintenance actions to get into the chipping season strong.
For a successful chipping season, we share here some key tips to get the beast back roaring.
Clean the unit. If the unit was not properly stowed away for the winter, it is best practice to give it a good cleanup. Make sure things have not lodged inside the chipper while stowed away.
Add fresh oil. We recommend draining the old oil and utilizing fresh oil. Even if there were not many hours put on the machine, make sure to drain old oil first.
Add fresh fuel. Fuel tends to stale with time. It gets sticky and usually ends up clogging the carburetor. So it is important to drain the old fuel from the tank, including fuel lines, going into the carburetor. It is important to also carefully drain the carburetor and the jet from any old fuel.
Check Battery Voltage. If the chipper brings an electric start setup, it is important to check the battery voltage. The batteries themselves are sealed so they don’t require any maintenance. The ideal battery voltage should be close to 12V.
Blade sharpness. This is the most important piece in the chipper. This is what makes every wood chip happen. Resharpening these blades at home is somewhat difficult because the steel material is hard and abrasion-resistant. If you need sharpening, bring the blade to a local shop or blacksmith with a precision stone grinder. We also recommend ordering a new blade as a spare while your other blade is getting repaired.
Check flails/hammers. If you shred a lot, you may need to look for wear on the edge of the flails. Hammers tend to last longer as they reduce to chips with more impact and less cutting. Hammers also bring an extra three sides you can use!
Grease bearings. Depending on the hours you have put on the chipper you may need to re-grease the bearing units. We recommend utilizing a lithium calcium soap type due to its heat load resistance. Check the user manual for the regreasing time intervals.
Check the belt. It is important that the belt is in good condition for properly transmitting engine power into the blades. Check the belts for wear. When retightening, apply pressure at the top portion of the belt on the center point with your thumb. Belts should not deflect more than 1/2”.
Check the tires. When the chipper stays still for extended periods of time, tires tend to let loose some of the air, thus their pressure goes down. If that’s the case, inflate to the ideal pressure shown on the tire. Check for tread wear and the bushings/bearings for play.
By following these tips, you are going to get through your chipping season with flying colors! We foresee plenty of chips for ideas around your property and shredded leaves and material that may be used for composting. If you need spare parts, make sure to log in to our website or give us a call. We’ll be there to assist you with all your questions regarding maintenance and parts.