6 Most Common Bobcat 331 Problems and How to Fix Them

Versatility and reliability are among the reasons that have placed the Bobcat 331 as one of the best excavator models. But, as with other compact excavators, you can expect a few issues when using the Bobcat 331. The most common Bobcat 331 problems are hydraulic issues, boom failure, engine issues, electrical problems, fuel system issues, and de-tracking.

You can resolve some of these problems at home, while others require the assistance of a qualified mechanic. Read on as we dissect these issues and effective fixes.

Hydraulic Problems

Bobcat 331 hydraulic problems can cause poor operation of the excavator. Hydraulic leaks, for example, can cause contamination of the engine and other surrounding components, reducing the excavator’s efficiency.

The more the hydraulic fluid leaks, the higher the chances of dealing with additional problems like overheating the hydraulic system.

Leaks in the hydraulic system occur due to corrosion or physical damage to the hoses. Identifying and fixing leaks should be a priority to prevent worse issues from developing.

Hydraulic problems in the Bobcat 331 can also appear as cylinder failure due to wear or damage. When the cylinder fails, the excavator will likely not work. Replace the damaged cylinder to restore its function.

Keeping your excavator clean can prevent most bobcat 331 problems in the hydraulic system. Debris accumulation is a common source of issues in the system as it creates obstructions.

Fuel System Problems

Bobcat 331 fuel problems can affect one or more fuel system components, including filters, fuel pumps, and fuel lines. These fuel problems can cause issues with the engine, such as problems starting the engine or fuel starvation.

One of the fuel system problems you’ll encounter is clogged fuel filters. These filters clog due to the accumulation of dirt on the filter. A clogged fuel filter limits the amount of fuel reaching the engine, which can strain the excavator. Replacing the filter should fix the issue.

Fuel contamination can also cause operational issues in the excavator. Contamination occurs from debris, old fuel, or poor fuel storage conditions. Replacing the contaminated fuel with high-quality fuel should resolve the issue.

Fuel pump failure is a more serious fuel system problem. It occurs due to wear or damage to the fuel pump. Clogged fuel filters strain the pump, forcing it to work harder to deliver fuel. Replace the fuel pump to allow the excavator to operate efficiently.

Electrical Issues

Bobcat 331 problems with the electrical system prevent the engine from receiving adequate power from the battery. These problems can occur due to several issues, including a dead battery, damaged sensors, and wiring issues.

The leading signs of electrical issues in your Bobcat 331 are:

  • Problematic starts
  • Stalling during operation
  • Low engine power

You should check the battery when you notice these issues, as they are common when the battery dies.

An excavator’s battery could die due to issues such as:

  • Too high or too low temperatures
  • Corroded terminals
  • Defective alternator

Recharge the battery and check whether the excavator works. If the battery is damaged, you must replace it. Clean the battery terminals to clear any corrosion. Place the excavator in a warm or cool area if the battery dies due to low or very high temperatures.

Electrical problems in the 331 Bobcat could also occur due to wiring issues such as loose connections. Faulty wiring may require the help of an expert to fix them.

Engine Problems

Engine issues are common in the Bobcat 331. These problems include:

  • Difficulty starting the engine
  • Loss of power
  • Overheating
  • Smoking
  • Leaking oil

The engine may fail to start due to battery, fuel, or ignition system issues. Inspect the battery to check whether it’s charging and delivering power to the engine. If not, examine it for corroded terminals and loose connections.

You should also examine the fuel system to check for clogs, damage, or wear. Repair or replace the affected components to ensure the engine works well. Replace any defective components in the ignition system.

Another engine problem is smoking which could indicate issues with fuel quality, a clogged air filter, or damaged piston rings. Start by checking the quality of fuel you’re using. Low-quality fuel will cause smoking, sputtering, uneven speed changes, and power loss.

When you notice these signs, replace the fuel with high-quality fuel. You should also replace the air filter and the damaged piston rings to prevent further engine issues.

Engine overheating can also occur when you have problems with the radiator and cooling fluid. When the radiator or its components are defective, they cannot cool the engine successfully.

The same happens when you have low fluid levels. Repairing or replacing the damaged radiator components and refilling the coolant should solve the problem.

Damage to the piston, gasket, or cylinder head can cause leaking engine oil. While this is a common problem, it can cause low fluid levels and engine damage if not resolved. Replacing these components should fix the problem.

Track Problems

Bobcat 331 problems can affect the excavator’s track. When the tracks are affected, navigating the work area with this excavator becomes harder. De-tracking is one of the issues you may encounter. It happens when the tracks are misaligned due to too much tension and wear of the track guides.

De-tracking is a common problem when operating excavators in rough terrain or over a long distance. These issues reduce the excavator’s durability.

Loose tracks are also a common issue that you could encounter. When tracks loosen, it becomes harder to control your 331 Bobcat. Retighten the tracks to ensure they remain in position.

Debris lodged in the excavator’s tracks can also cause problems. When debris accumulates on the track, it causes increased wear and poor track tension. The debris can also damage other components of the excavator. Clean your Bobcat 331 tracks to prevent debris accumulation after every use.

Tracks also wear naturally, meaning they can cause issues if you don’t monitor them. The tracks will wear at different rates depending on how often you use the excavator. Replacing the tracks is the best solution when they wear out.

Boom Failure

The boom is a critical component of the excavator. Problems that affect the boom make it harder to work on your projects. Overloading is a common reason for boom failure. Knowing how much your Bobcat 331 can carry should help avoid similar incidents.

The boom is also subject to wear, which can cause it to malfunction. Luckily, you can catch wear soon before it becomes a bigger problem. Lubrication of the boom’s components can also reduce the intensity of the wear by preventing the boom joints from rubbing against each other.

You can trace some boom failure issues to the excavator’s hydraulic system. The hydraulic system controls the movement of the swing. The boom could fail when the system is not working effectively.

Identifying the exact issue with the hydraulic system, such as leaking fluids, component failure, or wear, is the first step in resolving boom failure. Next, replace damaged components and top up the hydraulic fluid.

Problems With Bobcat 331 Excavators are Inevitable

Whether using the excavator for construction, landscaping, or farming activities, you can expect to experience a few Bobcat 331 problems, especially with prolonged excavator use. Don’t panic when these problems occur; you can resolve most of them at home. Keeping up with the recommended maintenance schedule should also help prevent or catch problems earlier.