That was one of my father's favorite sayings: "Use your head for something besides a hatrack." He was helpful like that, Dad was.
Anyways, a couple of us were in the wilds of Michigan well after the parts houses all closed unloading tanks a couple of weeks ago. We really don't have enough of a "stick" to unload tanks longer than 25' - because our gear is too short, and if we do hook up straps long enough, the boom is too short to lift high enough to take the tank off a trailer. These tanks are thirty five feet tall, so they're a bit beyond our pay scale.
But with two of us - we can unload one on it's side off the trailer and set it on the ground, which is what we were doing. Most of the time we unhook from our trailers to do this, but if we both unhooked, we wouldn't have had any way to pull the trailer out from under the tank. So, I figured out a way to do this without dollying down - the first truck would pull in next to where we wanted to set the tank on it's side, leaving enough room, and the other truck would pull in behind and to the same side, jackknifing the tractor back a bit to gain a better angle. This way I could hook to the front (top) of the tank at the front of "my" trailer, and my compadre could catch the rear (bottom). I could then pull out and he could position his trailer - lather, rinse, repeat. The customer bought a bunch of these puppies, but their containment field isn't ready. We are just hauling them in so they can have all their goodies ready when it is.
We'd done this before, so no sweat. I pulled in, and was gonna drop the tank to my right. I was setting up my left outrigger - I had it extended out all the way, and was dropping the pad to the ground when I heard a crack. Immediately, a cloud of hydraulic oil floated my way.
That is the steel line that runs the vertical cylinder on the outrigger. My left outrigger was hors de combat. I didn't need it to unload to the right, and if I screwed around with it anymore, I could run the system out of hydraulic oil to the point the boom would no longer work. Not what you want to do "after hours" - have the boom and outrigger out and unable to retract anything.
So, we unloaded my tank, and since my plan to unload my compadre without unhooking required me to use the left side of my rig - well - that was right out. I had to unhook and back my tractor in so I could use my right side. Which we did.
We also thought perhaps we could close the split and not lose too much fluid when it did come time to retract the outrigger - so some judicious squeezing with some Vice Grips caused the shiny spot. Didn't help. We tied a red rag around the split, hoping to keep the spray down, which turned out to be a laughable thought. The poor red rag was ruined. I pumped out several gallons of oil in order to get that sucker retracted.
We did think maybe, just maybe - we could use a line from my compadre's outriggers, but his is a different model with a different line.
This is the temporary fix - a "made" hydraulic line. We've got a new steel line on order, but it may have to come from Italy - where these cranes are manufactured.
Oh, and guess what. It seems this crane does have two outriggers and two steel vertical lines - the one on the left ruptured, but the one on the right was fully functional and identical. We could have moved this line over to retract the outrigger and kept from losing so much hydraulic oil.
I guess we were tired after a long day - that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.