Lube rack Airmen keep engines running

By Airman 1st Class Benjamin Gonsier 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

It's not every day an Airman comes home covered in grease and dirt, but for the Airmen of the 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Maintenance lube rack it's sometimes a part of the job.

The 2 LRS lube rack technicians perform a number of tasks which include oil changes, replacing filters and maintaining the fluid systems that keep Barksdale's vehicles moving.

"When a vehicle first comes into the shop, it receives an inspection," said Airman 1st Class Cody Akers, 2 LRS lube rack apprentice. "During the inspection we ensure everything on the vehicle is in proper working order."

After the inspection, the lube rack technicians move onto the SLOF, Akers added.

"Service, Lubricate, Oil and Filters is what a SLOF is," he said. "All filters and fluids get checked and changed."

The type of government owned vehicles the shop looks at determines what needs to be changed.

"On a gasoline vehicle, the oil and fuel filter are changed, and occasionally the transmission filter," Akers said. "On a diesel vehicle, at least one oil and one fuel filter in the fuel water separator is changed and occasionally the transmission filter."

Other filters the lube rack Airmen check and change are air and hydraulic filters, Akers added. The filters will not work properly if they are not changed regularly, which can lead to other problems with the GOVs.

"If the sludge and debris is not filtered out from the systems, the passageways can become blocked," he said. "Fuel filters need to be changed to avoid becoming clogged, which can make the vehicle unable to run. Alternately, if the oil filter becomes clogged or sludge develops in the system, it could get in the passageways where oil is supposed to flow. If the engine is not lubricated properly, it can heat up."

If the engine overheats then metal engine parts could warp or crack and the gaskets between parts could fail which could cause even more damage.

Oil changes need to be done regularly, Akers added. The lubrication of engine parts is an important part of keeping a vehicle running.

"Oil loses its lubricating properties once it gets old and used," Akers said. "For that reason it must be changed."

Debris from the engine combustion gets into the oil, which is what turns the oil black, and is not good for the engine. Regular oil changes help increase the engine's life.

"We have a fleet of more than 700 vehicles," said Staff Sgt. Josh Dobbins, 2 LRS lube rack technician. "By doing our scheduled maintenance, we take the pressure off the other vehicle maintainers working on the bigger jobs, which helps everything flow smoothly."

The lube rack technicians work on more than 50 vehicles a month. The GOVs come in at least once every 18 months for their SLOF. A SLOF usually takes 2 hours to conduct, but more difficult jobs can take up to five hours.

"The biggest challenge over here is the different type of vehicles we work on," Dobbins said. "We work on tractors, aircraft tugs, regular cars and trucks and other vehicles. Learning each vehicle's system is what makes our job challenging."

If a vehicle needs to be looked at sooner than its regular inspection, the mileage and hours are checked, Dobbins said. Security forces and aircraft maintenance GOVs are seen more often than other GOVs because they are used on a daily basis.

"It feels good knowing we are an important part to the mission," Akers said. "We keep the vehicles mission ready and capable."

Within the 2 LRS lube rack, the technicians play an important role in ensuring Barksdale's GOVs transport bombs to aircraft and Airmen to their destination.