Tips & Tricks

General Maintenance Items To Extend The Life Of Your Ditch Witch Equipment

Pipe Guides and Strike Coil

Pipe GuidesMissing Pipe Guides

Many times while on job sites we see drills that are missing pipe guides. These are wearable items that must be replaced from time to time. These guides play a very important role in protecting a wearable item on your drill that costs over $10,000.00! YOUR PIPE! In the picture on the right the front pipe guide is completely missing and rear pipe guide is worn to a point that the strike coil is now wearing on each and every stick of drill stem going into the bore. The picture on the left is what the strike coil assembly and pipe guides should look like. In most instances the front pipe guide becomes damaged when the crew attempts to pull the EZ-Connect thru the pipe guide.

Strike Coil Wear

 With the pipe guides worn and missing not only are you significantly shortening the life expectancy of your drill pipe but you are also damaging the strike coil. The strike coil is there simply to save the drilling crews life if there is an eletrical line strike down hole.  As you can see on the bottom corner of the strike coil that the drill pipe has rotated with enough force to wear away at the coil frame and in this case is about to damage the coil itself. When comparing the cost of replacing a rack or pipe or more importantly saving someone’s life maintaining your drill stem guides is a very cheap investment!



Pipe Wear and Saber Sub

Drill Pipe WearSaber Sub

Chain Wear

There is often a question of when to replace the digging system of a trencher. Above are two examples of what to look for in making this decision.

Chain Wear

Begin by looking at the links of the chain; as seen in the picture above. Ditch Witch designed thier chains to have a tremendous amount of wear in thier chain systems by placing the pins for the chain high above the edge of the link providing plenty of wear life. If you are not using Ditch Witch digging systems then compare where the manufacturer of your chain places thier pins on the link. As the link travels around the boom the link will begin to wear in two places as shown in the picture. As the link is worn the edge of the link will begin to slowly wear to the pin head. Once it reaches the edge of the pin head replacement of the chain is suggested. The chain link travels across two wear plates on the boom an upper and lower plate. These plates need to be checked as once the chain wears thru the plate and begins to impact the boom the cost for maintaining your digging system has just dramatically increased. The wear plates can be replaced very economically.  

Roller Wear

This picture shows and example of roller wear. As the rollers travel around the sprocket the thickness of the roller begins to wear both from external contact with the sprocket and from the internal contact with the pin. Once the rollers become apple shapped as in the second picture above chain replacement is suggested. Continuing to run with chain in this condition will result in the chain jumping off track and eventually the roller folling off the chain and the sprocket will then begin to tear thru the pin. Again if you are not running Ditch Witch digging system compare the thickness of the rollers on the digging systems that Ditch Witch designs and the brand that you are currently using. See why Ditch Witch is the trencher authority!

Pipe Alignment

Mis-Alignment of Pipe

Pipe Makeup and Breakout Alignment

Hooked SprocketSprocket Wear


When sprockets begin to wear the teeth begin to look like hooks as seen in the picture above. When this happens the teeth begin to grab at the chain or track traveling around the sprocket greatly reducing the life of the chain or track. The other issue that worn sprockets cause to happen is that as the space between the teeth wears this causes the length between the teeth to increase greatly increasing the likelyhood that your chain or tracks will begin to jump track. This is one of the reasons that Ditch Witch recomends replacing the sprocket and chain or track at the same time. Following this maintenance scheduale will give you the longest life expectancy for these parts.


Air Filters

Notice anything missing in the picture above? Of course the engine! Why? This unit was also missing air filter checks and changes. When operating in dusty enviroments check the air filter daily! Replace it as needed; it is cheaper to replace the air filter little more often than having to replace the engine a little more often.

Check your track tension.


Tracks on equipment must be checked and adjusted in order to meet the life expectancies that are designed into them. Above is a picture of a track unit that needs to be adjusted. A great time to inspect the drive sprockets for the undercarriage is to do so while checking track tension. See your owners manuals for the proper procedure as they very from model to model.