Read our inspection tips to help you make an informed buying decision.
With the recent oil and gas industry slowdown, the market supply of equipment, including pipelayers - also known as booms or sidebooms – has increased significantly and offers a great opportunity to buyers who want to invest now for future projects.
If you’re planning to purchase a used pipelayer, here’s what to inspect before you buy:
Carry out the undercarriage inspection just as you would for a crawler tractor. View detailed photos of undercarriage parts and helpful inspection tips in Equipment inspection tips: dozers. During your undercarriage inspection, take your time to note the percentage of undercarriage remaining. Include percentages remaining for each individual component as well, including rails, rollers, idlers, sprocket segments and track pads.
Make sure all track pads and bolts are tight and note any missing pads or bolts. Look for signs of wear on drive sprocket teeth and check chain bushings for wear. Also, check the final drive for any leaks.
Once you’ve checked the undercarriage on one side of the machine, continue your inspection on the opposite side. Remember to check the track frame, sway bars and stabilizers for any scarring caused from contact with hard surfaces.
2. Engine, hydraulics and radiator
Make your way to the front of the pipelayer and climb up to take a look inside the engine compartment. Look for any damaged hoses, chafed wires or wet spots. A wet spot inside the engine compartment may be a sign of a hydraulic leak. While inspecting the engine compartment, check the tightness of the fan guard and fan belts. Also check the fan belts for any cracks. Inspect the radiator for any dirt build-up, damage, or fluid leaks.
3. Boom, sheaves, wire ropes, hooks and counterweights
Walk your way around the boom, looking closely for any cracks, bends, welds or dents that may signify damage. Make note of any cracks in the paint around main pivot points, which could be a sign of metal fatigue. Check the boom for a current certification decal and note the date of the last inspection. As you approach the end of the boom, check the hook for any cracks and for a smooth swiveling motion. Make your way back to the sheave, again checking for any cracks and for the overall condition of bearings. Check the wire rope on boom and hoist lines for signs of corrosion, thinning, breakage, fraying or kinks. Move to the opposite side of the pipelayer, and check the counterweights for any modifications.
4. Canopy and ROPS
After inspecting the boom, complete another walk around the entire pipelayer, this time inspecting the condition of the sheet metal on the body. As you move around the machine, check the main supports of the ROPS (Roll Over Protection Structure) for any bends or other damage that could affect its ability to protect an operator in the event of a rollover. Many regional safety authorities require that a pipelayer be fitted with a ROPS. Check with your local safety authority to find out if any pipelayer you buy will require a ROPS. Most pipelayers can be retrofitted with a certified ROPS starting at US$20,000.
5. General operation and lift capacity
Climb into the operator’s station. Ensure all lights, the back-up alarm and any other safety features are functioning. Operate the boom, hoist and counterweight controls, taking note of any operational problems or abnormal sounds. If included, check the function of the load management system.
Once you've completed your visual and functional inspection, ask to view the piperlayer’s service record or work orders. Unless you are very experienced and know what to look for when inspecting a pipelayer, have a qualified mechanic or knowledgeable operator carry out the inspection.
Find the pipelayer you need: search all piperlayers being sold at Ritchie Bros. and find more for sale on IronPlanet.