FWi offers advice on purchasing used JCB telehandlers

JCB has a long history in the telehandler market and claims to be the leading worldwide  brand for such vehicles. Its 530-70 Loadalls first appeared in 1996 and were updated in 2003. Charlie McCarron highlights what to look out for when buying a used example


Attachment carriage 1 120

As with any telehandler the pins in the attachment carriage can wear out with excessive use. The carriage is a heavy bit of kit and not easily moved. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check the wear by tipping the unit forwards and using a piece of wood or a long bar between the top and bottom sections – acting as a lever – to check play in the pins.

Poorly-made attachments can have an adverse effect on the pick-up pins, although this can be simply treated by reinforcing the inner with metal tubing.

Boom section BOOM PAD 120

The wear pads on the boom – which stop it from rattling about – can sometimes wear out if the boom has been excessively used. Although they can usually be replaced with shims, the original parts cost £38 each to replace, so it is worth checking their condition.

Another point of note on boom condition is to ensure that “boom wax” has been used and not traditional grease. Grease attracts dust and grit, which in turn acts like a grinding paste when the boom is extended and retracted.

Steering bushes BUSH 120

The track-rod ends can be damaged through lack of maintenance. The universal joints also need regular maintenance a lack of grease causes premature wear. A close inspection shows up any deficiency.

Headlights LIGHT 120

These are prone to breakage. Again falling objects cause damage here, as the lights are positioned in a vulnerable place. Apart from falling objects damaging the lights, they can also crack at the back, eventually vibrating to destruction. A new headlight assembly costs about £50.

Joystick JOYSTICK 120

In the cab there are a couple of things to watch out for. First, the safe-load indicator must be working – that is a legal requirement pushing the test button will tell you if this is operational.

The other thing to look out for – especially on machines of 6000 hours plus – is how hard you need to press the buttons on top of the joystick for the required hydraulic operation to function. These buttons are micro-switches and if they have been subjected to prolonged heavy-handed action they can be damaged, meaning the joystick needs to be replaced, costing an expensive £160.

Tyre wear and Mudguards MUDGUARD 120

A tendency to wear the front tyres is down to the fact that in two-wheel drive the unit is powered through the front wheels, combined with the extra weight the front carries over the rear. To combat this, swap the front and rear tyres around after about 1800 hours. This will ensure that the tyres are ready for replacement as a set of four.

The plastic mudguard is expensive to replace – about £70 – and is prone to damage by falling objects from the lifting end of the telehandler. If the mudguard is bent down and rubbing on the wheel, remove the rubber bung from the support arm and shove a bar into it, then lever the mudguard straight.

Under the hood EXHAUST 120

These models are powered by a Perkins engine which has a tendency to smoke through the “breather” outlet. It’s nothing to worry about, according to the experts. One thing to watch out for is whether the exhaust flex pipe is cracked or broken. Taking the air filter cone out aids the process shine a torch into the awkward area for a true picture. The exhaust system is an integrated unit and if it is leaking the entire exhaust from the manifold up needs replacing, costing about £290.

It is worth making a note of any leaks around the engine area oils and fluids are indicators of a poorly maintained engine, which could lead to trouble later in life.

Engine guard GUARD 120

If the engine guard doesn’t match up with the hood, then there is a good chance that the lower cowling has come into contact with a wall at some stage. A simple rectification is to use the four-wheel steering and a block of wood to press the lower guard back into place.

The picture shows how this one has been shunted forward at some stage. Placing a block of wood between the tyre and the guard will enable the guard to be pushed back into place, leaving a slightly better match-up.

Road test

As with any machine, a road test is valuable to ensure that the machine drives well. This presents an opportunity to test that the transmission is working correctly. Note that the unit will only go into 5th gear at speeds above 20mph. Post-2003 machines should default to two-wheel drive automatically, but as soon as the brake pedal is depressed the unit kicks into four-wheel drive. Use the boom to raise the front wheels off the ground, tap the brake to ensure the four-wheel drive is functioning.

Always replace tyres as a set of four. Changing pairs will result in a difference in rolling circumference front-to-rear causing torque wind-up in the system, which will accelerate tyre wear excessively

*Thanks to Julian Foster and Ewan MacPherson from Oakes Brothers, Wickham, for their help with this articles

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