Don’t miss these items when a used excavator is being inspected

Where can I find a excavator inspection checklist?

Inspection of used excavators is not everyone’s daily business. Less experienced technician sometimes miss important items such as a leaking swivel, play in swing bearing, cracks in boom or worn idler guides. A good strategy before you inspect used equipment is using a detailed inspection checklist. For excavators or any other machinery you need to check or get checked. So you make sure to check every component and make sure no important item will be missed. Here you can find a sample for such an checklist.

Mevas checklist

If no own engineer is available for the inspection – talk to us. We have local technicians in many countries.

CAT 374 tracked excavator

Service and component history

How to find info about service history of used heavy machinery?

When buying used construction machinery, it is particularly important, especially for large machines, to obtain information about the service and component history of the machine. When was the engine changed, when were repairs made to the hydraulic pump, when were axles changed, when was the last service and how old are the oils on the machine. In the used machinery business, machines often go unfathomable ways. If you find a machine in Holland, it is not a foregone conclusion that this machine has also worked in Holland – it may well be that the machine comes from Romania or Finland. So it would be important to get some data. In most cases, however, sellers will not reveal where they bought a used construction machine. With a mini-excavator, this information is not so important. But if you buy a 300 hp wheel loader, you should know what the machine has done before and whether it has been maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications. An important criterion is whether, for example, the original engine and the original gearbox are still fitted. If this information is missing, the remaining service life of the machine and its components cannot be estimated well.

Forensic search for info about machine maintenance

The best way to find out this information is to do a thorough inspection and look for information about the origin of the machine, e.g. on the stickers in the cabin. If the dealer or seller does not want to provide the information, you can also call the manufacturer’s service partner in the respective country, where you might get the missing information. During an inspection with a contractor one can usually get some info from the local service staff.

Sticker with service information for heavy equipment maintenance

Downloading machine info from ECU

On some machines the local dealer or an inspection service such as Mevas can download a summary from the machine ECU or ECM. Especially for Caterpillar and Volvo we can provide such service. The summary contains info about error codes, overheating or engine overspeeding. In some cases we can support with phone contact to service providers in other countries. Due our large network in the international machinery industry we know many people in various countries. Contact us please for a quotation and more info.

How to inspect used equipment before buying?

Who can inspect used machinery?

Looking for reliable used equipment can be tricky. Therefore, you should take a close look at the condition of the used machine before buying it. If you do not know the seller, be especially careful.

Here are 7 things to look out for:

  1. Check the seller if you don’t know him. You can read more about this in the section below.
  2. Check the working hours of the machine. Does the general condition of the machine match with those hours (and the year of manufacture)? Can you get information about the machine’s history from the seller?
  3. Check the machine for signs of wear. Are the ROPS, the chassis, the boom/stick in good condition? Or are there signs of dents/bents, re-welded areas or small cracks? You don’t want to purchase something that will cause you costly and time-consuming problems later.
  4. What about the hydraulics? Are the hydraulic oil levels within the normal range? Or even too high? In this case, it makes sense to check for leaks.
  5. The tyres or the undercarriage are a big cost factor. Therefore, check the tyres or the drive components for remaining service life.
  6. Once you have checked all these points, the next step is the function test/test drive. Start the machine and check how it performs. Also listen for unusual noises and the exhaust fumes.
  7. If attachments are sold, also do a careful visual check.

Check used equipment carefully

Another important note

We want to remind you to be carefully when negotiating heavy equipment which is offered on the Internet. A few of those sites have just been created for fraud.

Be attentive if: 

  1. Machine price is far lower than for comparable units
  2. The seller makes pressure to decide very quickly: He pretends other people are interested in the same machine.
  3. The seller has just a mobile phone number and no landline.
  4. The seller requests a down-payment to reserve the machine.

We are Mevas – die Heavy Equipment Inspectors

Hopefully our list has been helpful to you. If you are unsure about any of the points, just get in touch with us. This is our WhatsApp. We inspect machines like excavators, wheel loaders, dumpers, graders, rollers, material handlers and dozers every day and know these machines very well.

Is it a good idea to buy used machinery at auctions?

Who can inspect equipment at EuroAuctions Dormagen?

It can make sense to buy machines at auctions. However, to avoid problems, we recommend that you inspect the machine you are interested in before bidding.

Mevas has technicans available who can inspect the lots you are interested in at this auction. We offer quick inspections where we focus on the most important points and full inspections. You discuss with us what scope is required and what is important to you.

Of course, we can also be found at most upcoming auctions. Par example at the rb auction in France. We offer used machinery inspections in more than 25 countries with an international team of technicians. MEVAS provides inbiased pre-delivery inspections and appraisals for second-hand machines since 2006.

Inspection at an auction

How to order the inspection?

You can order this inspection online at our shop. But it is more easier if you contact us via our contact form and we will reply with an price offer. You can also contact us if you have any further questions. Our technicians analyse the condition of many different makes, such as Caterpillar, Komatsu, Hitachi, Cummins, Volvo and Liebherr.

How to estimate the remaining life of the undercarriage of a dozer?

Did you ever measure undercarriage components to know their remaining life?

The most expensive and most important assembly when evaluating a bulldozer is certainly the undercarriage. Therefore, when inspecting bulldozers, we pay special attention to the condition of the undercarriage. We have reference values for Caterpillar machines and measure all components. This allows us to accurately determine the remaining service life. We have created an instruction in which we explain our procedure step by step. Click here to watch it. After watching you know what to look for when measuring the track shoes, sprockets, track links, bushings and idlers. If you are not sure about measuring or have any questions – just contact us.

Do not forget to check

Other important points when inspecting a used dozer are the play in the joints and bearings, especially in the so-called equalizer bar. This cross member connects the right and left undercarriage frames on many bulldozers. Together with the pivots in the rear area of ​​the drive frame, this cross member enables the drives to move horizontally. If you want to know more – get here to a short film. Make sure  that you look for these points, otherwise very expensive repairs may become necessary.

Undercarriage meassurement at idler with caliber

Trained technicans for used bulldozers

If you need assistance in evaluating used machines, Mevas technicians can help you. We are trained for the special requirements when inspecting second-hand machines. We view a machine as you would as a buyer. Small things are noted, but not highly weighted. However, we thoroughly examine the condition of the expensive and important components.

How to measure engine blow-by ?

What is engine blow-by?

A combustion engine is burning fuel in a cylinder in which a pistion is moved up and down. The piston is sealed towards the cylinder by piston rings. An certain amount of exhaust gas is escaping from the combustion chamber to the crankcase housing. This is the so-called blow-by. At diesel.net you can find a nice drawing of it.

Why and how testing an engine for blow-by

During a used machine inspection it makes sense to check the engine for the amount of blow-by. With checking or a measurement of the amount of escaping gas an experienced inspector can estimate the engine wear. In most cases it is sufficient checking with a hand on top of the oil refiller tube for the amount of blow. At the same time the inspector would check the smell of the gas for burned oil or smell of coolant in the engine lubrication system.

On larger engines it might be reasonable to measure the blow-by and compare it with factory specifications of engine manufacturer. Some of our inspectors are equipped with the gauge, a so-called anemometer.

Engine blow-by measurement

However, the inspector should know about engine configuration. Not all gas is escaping through the refiller tube if the measures are not correct. Some engines have a certain amount of blow-by even when new. Mevas inspectors who checked Perkins engines and stood too close can tell a story about it. Talk to an expert before blow-by is evaluated.

What can the exhaust fume tell us about engine condition?

Technicians with some experience would smell if an engine is burning oil. The color and the amount of smoke is telling a story as well. Engine smoke can appear white, grey, grey-blue or black. If the appearance of the smoke is not normal an inspector would check the engines systems carefully for problems such as injectors not working well or coolant draining into the engine greasing.

Functional test for heavy equipment

How to perform the stall test on a CAT 777D?

Warm up the engine and the transmission, drive the machine to a flat area and engage the Service brake with all efforts. Activate the parking brake and put the transmission into Reverse. Rev up the engine and check the rpm gauge – this will be the stall speed. Compare the values with the factory specs.

Who can inspect used heavy equipment?

If you don’t have reference values or the possibility to look at a machine before buying, please contact us. We have experts who will do it for you. Not only in Europe, also in many other countries worldwide.

CAT 777
Caterpillar CAT 777D quarry truck – inspected by Mevas

Independent inspections for used Equipment

Where to buy road construction machinery?

Do you know where to buy used road construction machinery? You are looking for an excavator, a grader, roller, a paver, an asphalt feeder, scraper or soil stabilizer? We don’t sell any machinery, but maybe our site Usedequipment will help you. There you will find search portals for road construction machinery in Europe.

At Mevas, we inspect around 600 construction machines and road construction equipment per year and document the actual condition for customers worldwide. If you do not have the opportunity to see the machine before the sales negotiation, we are there for you as an independent service provider. We read the ECMs (electronic control units) of Volvo and Caterpillar machines. For many machines we can get service history information.

If required, we can take oil samples of engine and hydraulic oil and have them analysed in the lab.

Whether asphalt milling machines, road pavers, concrete pumps, recycling plants, screening machines, pipe layers, wheel dozers, drilling rigs/pile drivers, motor graders, soil stabilisers, cold milling machines, etc. – We have specialised technicians in our team. Our technicians are available in many countries worldwide. If you need details of a specific inspection or a price quote, please contact us.

Vögele 1800-2 paver
Vögele 1800 paver – inspected by Mevas

Farm Machinery Inspections

Who is doing inspections for used farm machinery?

Most people in the machinery industry know Mevas as inspection service for used construction machinery. Did you know we also inspect agricultural machinery? This year we have already checked some tractors, sprayers, telehandlers and trailers for our customers.

Expert opinion for used agricultural machinery 

Are you going to buy used agricultural equipment? If you don’t have the opportunity to check them by yourself, Mevas can support you. Especially if you do not know the seller, it’s recommended to check if the condition of the used machine matches the seller’s offer. Instead of “bought as seen” we offer to inspect and test used agricultural equipment for you at many locations in Europe before you buy.

We check tractors, harvesters, sprayers and trailers for you. To give you an idea of the scope of our services, you can download a sample report for a tractor here.

Hardi Sprayer

Where to buy a CAT-14-pin cable?

Where can I buy Caterpillar diagnostic cable with the 14-pin plug?

Some recent machines of Caterpillar have a new 14-pin socket for the diagnostic adapter. One option is to purchase from CAT dealer a new cable in a heavy version for almost 250$. Another option is to order it from Mevas. We have bought a package of adapter cables for heavy equipment diagnostic adapter CAT-ET 3. The cable is an addition to the current diagnostic cable with 9-pin Deutsch socket. The cable we are selling is connecting the diagnostic adapter with the socket in the machine.

How much does the cable cost?

We are selling the cable for a fee of 39 Euro plus shipping. If you buy more than one there can be a slight discount. The cable is good for any Caterpillar excavator of the F-Series, it works as well for wheel loaders of M-Series, bulldozers of K-Series and some other machines.

How to order the 14-pin cable?

You can buy online if you just want one cable. Just visit our online store. If you need more than one contact us via our contact form. You can also contact us if you have further questions about the technology of machine diagnostics. We have over 20 years of experience in the diagnosis of construction machinery. Our technicians analyse the condition of many different makes, such as Komatsu, Hitachi, Cummins, Volvo and Liebherr.

What can I do with a Caterpillar diagnostic cable?

What is this cable for? It is part of the so-called Electronic Technician from Caterpillar. You need this tool to make settings on the machine. With the associated diagnostic adapter and software, you can check and change all settings in the machine’s electronic control units. The engineer can check the machine for error codes and upload files for the injectors, for example. As already described, many newer machines have a new plug connection. Unfortunately, the old cable with only nine pins no longer works on these machines. There is a combined cable with both 9 pins and 14 pins available from the Caterpillar dealer. Unfortunately, this cable is relatively expensive with a purchase price of about $250.