Because an excavator is so large and has such huge blind spots, it is critical that it is in peak working condition in order to make sure that the operator is able to maneuver it safely, without losing control. If any of the following signs occur, you need to make sure that you take the excavator in to get its clutch looked at, in order to make sure that you and everyone around the excavator can stay safe.
1. Gears are Slipping
Because many excavators are manually operated, there is the chance that the clutch plate could wear out. This will result in the gears slipping, which means that they slip from one to another without warning or any effort on your part. One sign that the gears are slipping is if the excavator suddenly jerks forward, or stops entirely. If these signs occur, make sure that you temporarily stop the excavator and use another tool until the clutch is looked at. There is a chance that oil could have leaked from the engine and caused the gears to become excessively slippery, but there is a greater chance that the gear plate has worn down and will need to be replaced as soon as possible.
2. Clutch is Not Responding Quickly
Another sign that your excavator's clutch might not be working properly is if it is unresponsive when you attempt to move it. This means that it could respond more slowly, take more force to move, or not respond at all. This is dangerous because, in order to operate heavy machinery safely, it is important that you are fully in control and do not have the wrestle with the clutch. One reason why the clutch would be hard to move is if it is out of alignment, in which case a simple adjustment is necessary. Another cause is there is a leak in the vessel that holds the hydraulic fluid, which would result in a loss of pressure. Fixing this leak is critical to your vehicle's performance.
3. There's a Burning Smell
If you smell burning near the front of the excavator, especially near the clutch, this is usually because the clutch is grinding against other equipment when you try to move it, producing sparks which produces a burning smell. If this is the problem, then you just need to have the clutch adjusted.
For more information, contact a machine shop that specializes in excavators and other heavy construction equipment maintenance.