‘Big Shot’ Underground Piercing Tools TroubleshootingThe use of piercing tools has been an easy-to-use and cost-effective alternative to trenching for the past century. They are an ideal tool to use in the installation of utilities under existing landscapes and structures. Footage Tools’ pneumatic piercing tool the ‘Big Shot’ creates a compact hole that will allow contractors to install underground water, gas, irrigation, cable, fiber or electrical lines under buildings, streets and yards with little disruption to surrounding environment. Like all tools, however, you may experience some issues with use. This may be due to operational error or environmental surroundings. If you are experiencing an issue while using the ‘Big Shot’ follow the steps below:
Tool Will Not Start
- Check air compressor for proper air output (90-110 psi or 620-720 KPa). Improper or low air pressure setting can interfere with starting.
- Check that full pressure air is available at the tool and that the hoses and the fittings are of the correct diameter. Be sure to aim the hose away from yourself and other persons as high-pressure air can forcefully eject dirt or other materials.
- Take tool apart and clean it.
- If tool is in the ground:
- Take off the air supply hose from the oiler to the tool and inject ½ oz (15cc) of lubricant directly into the hose itself.
- Turn air supply hose once counterclockwise to REVERSE if in FORWARD, or one turn clockwise to FORWARD if in REVERSE.
- Connect supply line to oiler and open-air control valve.
- If the tool does not start, repeat steps.
Tool Will Not Reverse Direction
It is important to ensure that all air line couplings are tight and lock collars in place for this troubleshooting check.
- If the tunnel has collapsed on the air supply hose, turn air supply hose counterclockwise while the tool is running. The impact action of the tool will help loosen the stuck supply line.
- If unstable soil conditions have caused the tool to lose traction and oscillate, reduce air flow at the control valve until traction is regained. Unstable soil conditions included gravel, sand, watery slick clays, and soil under trees.
- Check air supply lines for possible obstructions.
Tool Runs But Will Not Move in Hole
- Ensure hose is in FORWARD.
- If the tool is oscillating, reduce airflow at the oiler valve. Soft or wet ground conditions can cause the tool to lose traction and oscillate.
- Put a reference mark on the hose to determine if the tool is moving. If the tool has hit an obstruction, rotate the hose counterclockwise 2 to 3 turns until the tone of the impact changes. Then turn hose in the clockwise (FORWARD) direction slightly, until the tone is gone. This provides a maximum impact force to break through an obstruction.
- If the tool is unable to break through, reverse tool direction and start a new hole away from the obstruction. It is important that when starting a new bore, the operator should move over a distance of 10 times the diameter of the tool so that the tool does not cross into the other bore.
Tool Slows Down During Long Bores
- Perform the piston tip test: Tip the body from horizontal to approximately 22°. The striker should slide from front to back. A tool with high piston friction may have ingested dirt and should be taken apart before being used again.
- The tunnel behind the tool may have collapsed, restricting airflow.
Tool Runs But Is Low On Power
- Step 1: Check air compressor for proper air output and pressure.
- Step 2: Check that the tool is using lubricant.
- Step 3: Turn or adjust tool air service line while the tool is moving forward or reversing.
- Step 4: Check that supply lines and fittings are properly sized.
- Step 5: Perform piston tip test.
- Step 6: Check striker wear ring end gap.