A view of a swing bearing on an excavator

One of the most important parts on your excavator is the swing bearing.  If your swing bearing fails, you won't be able to use your machine.  There are some simple warning signs your swing bearing, or slew ring as they are often called, is about to fail.

An obvious sign your swing bearing is failing is the condition of the lubricant.  If you see metal particles or flakes in the fluid you will know significant wear is taking place.

Another red flag is a grinding, popping, or clicking noise from the bearing.  Noise like that generally means you need to lubricate your swing bearing or there is excessive wear in the raceway.

If there's a lot of play or movement,  the raceways are probably warn down too much.  As the space between the bearing and frame increases, wear is usually accelerated.  This is when you really need to keep your eye on that function of your machine.

An increase in torque or binding can mean there is uneven wear in the raceway.  If the turning torque of the bearing increases a lot or if the bearing has tight spots, this usually means you have an uneven load.  You may notice a wobbling or rocking motion especially when the arm is extended with a full load.

Another warning sign is resistance to the swing or when the upper structure goes beyond the expected stop point.

The most obvious and biggest warning sign is when the bearing pops and cracks as the machine digs.  If you get to this point it's time to start shopping for a new swing bearing.

Keep your eyes and ears open for all these warning signs.  Along with proper maintenance, you can avoid being caught off guard by a failed swing bearing.  If it turns out you need a new slew ring, the price tag isn't cheap, however you can save a ton of money with a new replacement swing bearing.  ConEquip Parts has new DYCO swing bearings for about half of what you'll pay for a new one at your dealer.

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