Stranded Powerfab - any help/advice much appreciated !

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RichS

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Oct 10, 2012, 4:23:02 PM10/10/12
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Hi all,

Was using my Powerfab (1250) today for the last time before carrying out some general maintenance/hose replacements etc - was nearly finished digging another large pond for some friends locally.

Was just rotating the machine when I suddenly heard a 'crunching' noise and then all movement stopped and oil started spraying out from underneath. On first investigation I found two hoses sheared on the connector but then looking closer found the whole cylindrical component body buckled on it's mountings. In my ignorance I am not quite sure what this component is but believe it is part of the undercarriage drive system. I will try to attach a picture (looking down onto the component) and would really appreciate if the component can be identified and any initial thoughts as to how I can start to repair or where I can get prompt help whatever it may cost. The digger is now stranded and I will need to move it without delay. My first thoughts are to undo all the hose connections to the main arm and dismantle the arm from the machine to reduce weight (at the same time will look at pin repairs !) and then hopefully have a slightly more manageable beast to drag up onto my trailer to either take home to look at further or take to anyone who may be able to repair/service. Maybe it was a fatigue failure or something like a rock/stone got in and jammed things up.

Cheers and any help desperately appreciated.

RichS (Datchet, Berks)
 
 

Tom Carty

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Oct 10, 2012, 6:26:30 PM10/10/12
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Hi Rich

As you say, it is probably part of the undercarriage movement system. I'm not very experienced in this area, but it looks live a swivel motor to me.  My tuppence worth suggests that you need to be asking someone about a repair or replacement for the slew(ing) motor. 

It might be worth your while trying to get a photo of the slew motor used in the Smalley 360 excavators to guide you,  as these were far more common in 360 deg configuration than Powerfab.

Can you release the drive motor(s) to let them freewheel to allow you to drag it onto a trailer? The best solution here would be to get it onto a flatbed using a HiAb, as there may be a lot of swarf/broken bits around that you don't want to be sucked into motors etc. 

Hope this helps and hope you get it home tomorrow.

Tom

 
 

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125WTD

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Oct 10, 2012, 6:34:19 PM10/10/12
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Not Slew(ing) motor- I think a Rotator is a more accurate name for it.

Tom Carty

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Oct 10, 2012, 7:35:49 PM10/10/12
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No, I'm wrong again.  In USA they're called track motor spools.  Google the term and you'll find some YouTube videos explaining use.


On Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 125WTD wrote:
Not Slew(ing) motor- I think a Rotator is a more accurate name for it.

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RichS

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Oct 10, 2012, 8:40:39 PM10/10/12
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Hi Tom,
Many thanks for the info, I feel better versed in what I may need to be asking help on now.  The google links are interesting and informative - quite a clever component it seems.  I'll update on hopefully some progress and if any other members have had similar experiences or knowledge of specialists who can help it would be very appreciated.
Cheers, RichS (Datchet, Berks)
========

On Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:35:50 AM UTC+1, 125WTD wrote:
No, I'm wrong again.  In USA they're called track motor spools.  Google the term and you'll find some YouTube videos explaining use.


On Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 125WTD wrote:
Not Slew(ing) motor- I think a Rotator is a more accurate name for it.

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Tom Carty

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Oct 13, 2012, 6:02:48 PM10/13/12
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Hi Rich

Wow! That's painful! A grand!!

Have you been able to recover the machine yet?

Tom

On Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 6:00 PM, nathan john <pos...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi
> I call it a hydraulic distributor. I dont have these in stock, cost new
> around £1000 for a one off, but may be able to help repair it email
> in...@powerfab.biz if your still stuck
> KR
> Nathan
>
> On Thursday, October 11, 2012 1:40:40 AM UTC+1, RichS wrote:
>>
>> Hi Tom,
>> Many thanks for the info, I feel better versed in what I may need to be
>> asking help on now. The google links are interesting and informative -
>> quite a clever component it seems. I'll update on hopefully some progress
>> and if any other members have had similar experiences or knowledge of
>> specialists who can help it would be very appreciated.
>> Cheers, RichS (Datchet, Berks)
>> ========
>> On Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:35:50 AM UTC+1, 125WTD wrote:
>>>
>>> No, I'm wrong again. In USA they're called track motor spools. Google
>>> the term and you'll find some YouTube videos explaining use.
>>>
>>>
>>> On Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 125WTD wrote:
>>>>
>>>> Not Slew(ing) motor- I think a Rotator is a more accurate name for it.
>>>>
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RichS

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Oct 13, 2012, 6:37:07 PM10/13/12
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Thanks for further replies - crikey Nathan, sounds like it could be pricey but hoping that it is repairable.  Seems the unit may not have been bolted in securely or a fixing coming loose.  There are I think 3 mounting lugs (welded on to the main body), one was still attached but twisted, the second broke off and the third doesn't seem to look as if it had a bolt in (???)  Will be in touch if I'm at a loss when I dismantle/investigate further.  It is such a good machine I am keen on getting it all fully working again, and as mentioned before was due to start a general overhaul/refurb anyway that may cost a bit anyway.
Now retrieved and back home with it, thanks Tom - it was a 'helluva' job as it was 'stuck' down in a muddy hole and took about 4 hours on my own to get it out.  Backed up my trailer and used a winch (of marginal capacity !) to slowly pull it.  Tied up the boom and plough first to clear the ground.  Didn't know how to 'free' the tracks, so had to keep tensioning the winch cable and 'lever' along the beast with some long timbers. Had to keep changing the anchoring points to get best angles of pull considering where I felt it was still dragging in the ground.  The final section from the top of the trailer tailgate ramp into the body was assisted by a liberal squirt of fairy liquid and water spray to help it slide which worked well !!  Will report further in a few days....
Cheers, RichS (Datchet, Berks)
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rspb...@aol.com

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Oct 13, 2012, 9:48:45 PM10/13/12
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Is it possible that you was at full slew when it broke, if one of the mounting broke and the other missing then I can imagine that it possible for the mounting to bend like that due to the body being at full slew and the distributor just continuing to turn as any pressure relief just would not work if mounting only being 33% efficient. 

Although if that is what has happened then with luck it's only the distributor mounting and a few hoses. 

It might mean the unit might have to be stripped to heat and straighten, that might be the only pain. 

You did we'll to load matey with no power, good job

Bit late now and shame as there is no manuals I've see showing oil flow, you might of been able to cap the other end of the hoses and start it and use all the other functions..

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rspb...@aol.com

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Oct 13, 2012, 10:24:37 PM10/13/12
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Just read the PDF for the 1250 they call it a orbit rotor motor, but its the bit about a counter balance valve brake if you was moving the swing at speed the turning force could do the damage as the motor went into brake mode.  

They talk about gear and bearing drive so if that was going you would of felt or heard that I would hope.  

I was thinking you had a limited slew like the 125 but looks like yours has 360 degree turn on the swing, which is what your talking about.

So thinking was off.

RichS

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Oct 16, 2012, 5:18:43 AM10/16/12
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Thanks for continued support on this - will be updating repair plan (...progress hopefully !) soon.  Indeed the 1250 is a full 360deg rotation machine and it seems to be the fluid distributor unit that Nathan mentioned which is the main problem - unusual I am told as it shouldn't be under any particular load on the mountings.  The slew (orbit) motor is a separate item and hopefully is OK.  Just returning to my recovery operation which I must admit was a tough task and carried out mainly with a cheap (£20ish) wire winch albeit supposedly 4 ton capacity.  It only has a 6mm diam wire rope and the hand lever is only about a foot long so it was really tough to operate and I kept thinking it was going to snap !  I guess owners of the towable diggers (125's) would be OK to hitch up on the towing arm if they got into similar trouble 'down a hole' but the tracked 1250 is a mighty beast and apparently I am told not easy to disengage the track movement so it had to be a 'drag out'.  In case I get into a similar problem in the future (!) and I also do some tricky tall tree felling occasionally (from the ground rather that scaling the heights) I am looking into getting a much better winch system and have been looking at TRACTEL TIRFOR types but they are pricey even secondhand (for the tree work I need to winch from high up to control the fall direction when I make a low cut).  Does anyone have any exerience of these winches, and alternative makes/copies such as ACE etc.
Cheers RichS (Datchet, Berks)
============

Jim

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Oct 16, 2012, 8:29:27 AM10/16/12
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You did well to recover your digger single handed. At least now you can get it repaired at home.

I have one of those cheap winches you mention which has been handy at times and is capable of lifting a car engine subject to a suitable beam overhead. I also have a winch with a chain though it which is much stronger (ex-national coal board). Tirfor winches are good, but as you say expensive to buy.

Cheers Jim

125WTD

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Nov 5, 2012, 5:25:52 PM11/5/12
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Hi Rich

How have you fared since?

Tom

RichS

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Nov 6, 2012, 5:51:18 PM11/6/12
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Thanks for asking Tom,
All on hold at the moment but hope to report some progress soon.
Cheers, Rich

A PARKER

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Nov 6, 2012, 6:21:10 PM11/6/12
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i've missed the first query, but talking from experience, our powerfab will stop working when on en-even ground, the only way to start her up again is...top up the engine oil...a pint should do it.
there must be a safety cut out switch that cuts off power to protect the engine when low on engine oil. (please note...not the hydraulic oil...that rarely causes us problems)
marvellous machines though, aren't they?
 

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RichS

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Nov 21, 2012, 4:49:34 AM11/21/12
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Thanks Pete for the very informative email - I have had to get some outside help to fix the machine due to lack of spare time myself and will pass on this - am hoping to report progress soon.  I have problems signing on here sometimes too.
Rich
========
On Tuesday, November 20, 2012 11:27:52 PM UTC, Pete wrote:
The part is usually referred to as either a 'rotary junction' or 'rotary coupling' in the UK & is found in all 360s. Powerfab did not make this but at the time were buying from Kubota. Also they used Kubota slew ring & hydraulic slewing motor. A kit of seals & O rings exists for most of these junctions as failure is not unknown. There may be a part no on it somwhere. A hydraulics workshop may be able to rebuild it. Cautrac is one firm that can get Kubota & other jap parts inc for 'grey market' machines - ie those imported 2nd hand from Japan etc. Kubota is one of the few digger makers that will & do sell components to other makers, eg including Euromach. 
Before removing the part for repair I would buy some no stamps or an engraver so that all hoses can be re connected correctly (the part may have numbered ports allready). I would guess you have 7 hoses passing throu this part - 2 high pressure ones going to each track motor, a common small lower pressure hose acting as a drain from track motor seals - goes to neutral circuit or directly to hyd tank, & finally a pair of hoses to operate the blade. Important not to mix any up  on reconnection - not least because blade goes to a 'ram spool' (valve) while motors go each to a 'motor spool'
I have great difficulty signing in to this group (prob my old PC) but will help further if I can

RichS

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Nov 21, 2012, 4:52:41 AM11/21/12
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Hi Ally,
Sorry for delay in replying but just seen your note - my problem is in the hydraulic circuit equipment but your note is indeed a useful reminder about these engines as I have indeed used some steep ramps for the digger and it could happen to me !
Rich
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Pete

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Nov 21, 2012, 4:11:30 PM11/21/12
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Hi Rich,
I will be very interested to hear how you get on, ie if your rotaty coupling was re buildable & at what cost. For a machine that no longer has manufacturer support, finding out who made the slew ring, slew motor, & rotary junction & if spares are still to be had is absolutely critical. Usually these are 'bought in' parts. Engine, pump, valve block, can be substituted with other suitable off the shelf parts- new or used.  Rams can be repaired or maybe substituted.
 
Did you know powerfab made a spider version of the 1250 (C denotes a climber or spider) One can be seen here, has either servo or 'bowden cable' excavator controls.
£12K + vat for a '95 or before digger (powerfab sadly ceased in '95) - I do not think so!. I also saw the smaller 360C
powerfab - 13K euros - both machines France, they can stay there.
 
I am though potentially interested in a small spider - Does anyone have more info on spares for the make KAMO - became defunct in 2002 when Kaiser took manufacturing back in house & concentrated only on 6 ton+ new range diggers. Corbo (corbolino) is another defunct make. Nemag still exist but are now subcontactors to a German make.
Key spares availability vital - Drives me toward a little Euromach, still trading & uses Kubota spares in this area.
I did know of B & C reconditioning of Hull - Can regrind & remanufacture slew ring in some cases, still leaves motor & junction to sort.

nathan john

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Dec 1, 2012, 5:51:52 PM12/1/12
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Hi Rich
Powerfab used to make the rotary coupling/hydraulic distributor. I have had quotations on a replacement unit and for a one off it is expensive as I mentioned in a previous post. Let me know if you want me to look at it for you I live in Swansea but am in London every month so if your near the M4 I will call in and see if I can help.
Kind Regards
Nathan John (Ex Powerfab Ltd)

RichS

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Jan 27, 2013, 6:44:59 PM1/27/13
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Very pleased to report that my Powerfab is up and running, or should I say...ready to dig again !  I am remiss on reporting this sooner due to work and other reasons  I had spoken to Charles Miller of Microplant about parts who kindly offered in fact to carry out all the repair work which I took up because of my time and knowledge limitations !  Charles was very helpful, friendly and reasonably priced and completed the huge amount of work promptly in early December.  He pressure washed it down, carried out a major stripdown (top off bottom) to remove and repair the hydraulic rotary coupling.  The reason believed for failure is than it had apparently shown evidence of being stripped some short time before and probably not properly fixed back in place securely.  He honed the bore and was able to re-use the seals, rewelded the mountings and refitted.  He replaced a number of hoses, replaced many arm bushes and pins and fitted new seals in the main boom cylinder which seems to have cured it drooping. Filled up with new oil and lubricated all joints and fitted a new hubcover.  It is effectively like new now and I am very pleased and can thoroughly recommend Charles and Microplant for their excellent service.
Regards to all - RichS

Pete

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Jan 30, 2013, 3:53:20 PM1/30/13
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Hi Rich,
Very pleased to hear the Powerfab is working again & more so that the rotary junction was re-buildable & that these key spares (seals)  were available - if not in this case needed. I was wrong it seems about the origin of this part - but did identify it correctly as being the likely problem. Failure of one of these, along with a slew ring or motor is a worry on an older machine, otherwise there are ways round replacing other parts. I would have been OK to split upper from lower works but would have chickened out of rebuilding the junction itself. I though have far more time than money!
I was told by a fitter that the tracks, rollers & drive motors on some Powerfabs were Kubota origin, maybe he was wrong. Many parts on the early JCB minis were no doubt this make.
For a particular job I would like to own a 'micro spider' 360 but fear failures in this area, so the info is much appreicated, I did have a contact for reconditioning slew rings, but this was some time ago.
Anyway good luck with the machine, Pete

peterm71

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Jul 20, 2013, 5:14:08 PM7/20/13
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Hi, what PDF have you read in connection to the 1250?

I have the same machine and am interested in any info / literature available.

Thanks,
Peter.

Dave

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Dec 6, 2021, 5:04:45 AM12/6/21
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To check the oil level in the final drive for 1250, do you remove 2 outside bolts and then just unscrew the main middle one out and top up to the hole?  Thanks David

Poe

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Jan 30, 2022, 9:12:47 AMJan 30
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Hi sorry to bump something else's thread/message but could someone tell me how to start my own conversation/ thread on here please.
I can only post on others and only when using desktop site and not mobile site.
Many thanks and sorry again,
Poe.
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