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Appendix D

Sample Cold Weather Supplement to Unit Maintenance SOP


This SOP is provided as an example only. It should be modified to accommodate specific unit equipment and local procedures.

1. REFERENCES. FM 9-207, appropriate TMs, LOs, and local SOPs.

2. PURPOSE. Establish additional procedures for the operation and maintenance of unit equipment in cold conditions.


a. Commander

(1) Sets unit cold weather maintenance policy.

(2) Ensures that personnel comply with the provisions of the cold weather SOP and the above references.

(3) Ensures that super-visors, operators, and mechanics receive proper training in cold weather operations and maintenance.

(4) Ensures environmental compliance and that soldiers receive proper training in environmental awareness.

b. Maintenance Officer

(1) Plans, coordinates, and supervises cold weather maintenance and recovery efforts.

(2) Ensures that adequate cold weather maintenance support is provided to the unit.

c. Motor Sergeant. Supervises maintenance personnel in the proper performance of cold weather maintenance and services.

d. Mechanics. Perform cold weather maintenance and troubleshooting IAW appropriate TMs, LOs, and SOPs.

e. Equipment Operators. Operate vehicles and equipment IAW the cold weather sections of appropriate TMs and special instructions given by maintenance personnel.

4. GENERAL. Cold weather effects on unit maintenance can be placed into two major categories: personnel and material.

a. Personnel. Major problems encountered by maintenance personnel include:

(1) Increased time to perform maintenance tasks due to bulky clothing and adverse conditions.

(2) The requirement for maintenance personnel to spend a large portion of time on self-preservation.

(3) The need to train maintenance personnel on improvising and using expedient maintenance and recovery procedures to combat cold weather.

b. Materiel. Cold weather adversely affects almost all materiels. The lower the temperature, the more adverse the effect. Specific effects include:

(1) Vehicles/equipment re-quire extra warmup time for metal parts to reach operating temperatures.

(2) Vehicles/equipment may require warming from an outside heat source before starting.

(3) Caution must be taken when loading vehicles to prevent undue stress on brittle metal parts.

(4) Rubber becomes very stiff and brittle in extreme cold and also when exposed to moderate cold for long periods. Several hours of operation or preheating may be required to soften rubber.

(5) Wiring, cable, and rubber hoses may become brittle and crack. Handle these items with care to avoid damage.

(6) Plastics contract and become brittle. Plastic windows crack easily. Use care in handling.

(7) Windows may crack if defrosted too rapidly. Never use hot water to thaw windows in extreme cold.

(8) Glass can crack when ice scrapers are used with hard or violent jabs. Use scrapers with caution.

(9) Tarps made of heavy canvas appear to shrink. It may be difficult to fold or smooth wrinkles in the canvas. Plastic tarps become brittle and cracked. Store and unfold the tarps in heated shelters whenever possible.

5. OPERATING PROCEDURES. All unit vehicle operators and maintenance personnel will comply with operational checks outlined in vehicle TMs, as well as the following procedures:

a. Before Operations

(1) Check to ensure that brakes are not frozen and can be released. The use of portable heating equipment may be required.

(2) Check springs for cracking due to metal brittleness.

(3) Ensure tracks/wheels are not frozen to the ground. Park vehicles on wooden blocks, planks, or other materials to reduce freezing to the surface. When operating tracks in snow-covered and icy terrain, it may be necessary to remove track pads, install ice cleats, or reverse track center guides to improve traction. Also, it may be necessary to spread sand, dirt, salt, or a combination of these materials over the traveled surface to aid traction.

(4) Remove built-up dirt and ice from the suspension system.

(5) Ensure track tension has been adjusted for cold operations by increasing the amount of slack.

(6) Check vehicle oper-ators manual for inflation pressure. Ensure tires are inflated properly for operation. Deflate tires to normal pressure if pressure was increased to compensate for extended parking. Do not over-inflate tires.

(7) Ensure all carbon dioxide fire extinguishers have been winterized IAW appropriate fire extinguisher TB.

(8) When adding lubri-cants to an engine, prevent snow or ice from entering crankcase.

(9) Ensure cooling sys-tems are protected with the correct antifreeze compound.

(10) Ensure vehicle is fueled with the proper grade arctic fuel or with JP-8, as specified by the TM or appropriate TB.

(11) If engine is difficult to start, check spark plugs for ice coating due to condensation. For diesel engines check battery for proper charge to insure glow plug operation.

(12) Ensure starter drive mechanisms are clean and properly lubricated to avoid freezing.

(13) Check batteries to ensure that they are fully charged by measuring the specific gravity of the electrolyte.

b. During Operations

(1) At temperatures of -20°F to -60°F, start vehicles periodically to maintain readiness. This practice should be avoided if any other means of keeping engines operable, such as power plant heaters or external heaters, are available.

(2) Avoid idling engines if at all possible. This practice tends to waste fuel and adds to engine maintenance cost.

(3) Ensure power plant heaters are used properly and maintained IAW the appropriate TM.

(4) Operate vehicles not equipped with power plant heaters at prescribed intervals. Also ensure that portable duct-type heaters are available for engine compartment preheating.

(5) Avoid starting a vehicle by towing if at all possible. If internal parts are frozen, applying external power will not solve the problem.

(6) Check chassis and body components for ice, mud, and snow buildup. Remove buildup at every opportunity to ensure proper ground clearance and to prevent interference with moving components.

(7) Check vehicle chains to ensure they are serviceable and properly fit the tires. As chains become loose, retighten them to prevent damaged vehicle parts.

(8) Ensure engine oil pressure is maintained for safe engine operation. Also, check vehicle oil for the accumulation of sludge which can severely damage the engine.

(9) Maintain normal engine operating temperature through the adjustment of engine compartment inlet shutters or radiator covers.

c. After Operations

(1) At the end of each operating period, and for five minutes prior to shutdown, run the vehicle engine to normalize its operation and retain oil on cylinder walls.

(2) Do not park vehicles with the brakes set since they may freeze and not release. Use chock blocks to hold vehicles in place.

(3) Never park overnight where snow has melted that day; tracks and wheels will freeze to the ground.

(4) Park with tracks and wheels on brush, cardboard, or any similar material to prevent direct contact with the ground.

(5) Protect radiators from wind, snow, and ice buildup.

(6) Ensure the fuel tank is topped off to prevent condensation buildup.

(7) Drain air tanks.


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