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Forklift Overheating: Internal Combustion Engine

  • June 26, 2013

Forklift Overheating: Internal Combustion Engine

Summer is here and things are heating up! Inside your warehouse or out on the shipping yard, every day businesses rely on functioning forklifts to lift, pull, and move materials. With many trucks being powered by internal combustion engines and electric trucks powered by industrial grade batteries, the potential of a forklift overheating through the summer season is heightened.  Every year hundreds of trucks are out of commission as a result of overheating, especially those operations with nonstop shifts exposed to high temperatures. Regular inspection and understanding some of the effects of increased ambient temperatures can keep your fleet running effectively. In this post we’ll talk about some of the key parts of an internal combustion engine forklift and potential damages that may occur in these summer months. Heat accelerates any damages that would regularly occur resulting in increased engine wear.

Cooling system – In an internal combustion engine there are many small moving parts that could be the culprit in the event of your forklift overheating. To ensure that your forklift is properly equipped for long shifts, make sure that your cooling system is properly maintained.

  • Keep your coolant fluid levels at least at the minimum to prevent damage to the engine. It is also a good idea to regularly replace and replenish coolant, the liquid deteriorates and chemicals can further damage any of the cooling system mechanisms.  As a temporary solution, water may be used to replace engine coolant but use of water over an extended period can result in long-term damage to your engine.
  • Check the filters and oil regularly, regular maintenance and checkups will ensure that your forklift is ready to operate in elevated temperatures.
  • Replacing damaged or loose radiator hoses, heat enhances the effect of cracking and deterioration of rubber.  Typically hoses can begin weakening from the inside, and if used too long without replacement can result in leaking hazardous liquids.
  • A cracked or malfunctioning radiator can severely drop the pressure causing improper coolant flow, overheating, and possible leaking.  The depressurization can also damage the engine’s transmission.
  • Fans are another important asset to the proper cooling of a forklift.  The fans and fan belts exposed to high temperatures often crack and deteriorate much faster, damaged fan blades or belts can disrupt air movement through the engine pushing out excess heat.  In relation to the fan, operating the forklift in reverse for an extended period can negate the cooling effects of at fan allowing heat to build up in the engine compartment.

Operation – Make sure that your operators are fully hydrated and in a comfortable environment. You might also install fans in the operator compartment. Heat stroke and dehydration can lead to mistakes and operator error.

  • Overuse can also play a factor in forklift overheating: lifting loads weighing more than the truck’s capacity, extended use on ramps or uneven surfaces.

Overall, the best way to keep your fleet running and decrease the probability of overheating is to schedule regular maintenance and inspections. The next post will continue to discuss the topic of overheating in fully electric powered forklifts.

 Forklift Fire

Forklift Overheating

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article provides an unofficial overview of an internal combustion engine forklift overheating. It does not constitute professional advice or other professional guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making decisions.


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