Daily brush chipper maintenance for the Vermeer AX17 brush chipper

Congratulations on making an investment in the Vermeer AX17 brush chipper! It is designed to help your crew work efficiently and ease daily machine maintenance.

The AX17 is built to be an important part of your business for years to come. Spending a little time each day performing minor brush chipper maintenance tasks will help maximize performance for the life of your AX17.

Follow this end-of-day maintenance guide to help maximize the productivity of your Vermeer AX17 brush chipper. Refer to your machine’s maintenance manual for safety messages and further information.

Visual inspection

Brush chippers operate in harsh environments which can lead to daily wear and tear. Performing a visual inspection at the end of each day can help keep a small issue from becoming a big problem over time.

This inspection doesn’t need to take a lot of time; just look for any leaks or any obvious signs of damage on your Vermeer brush chipper.

  • Observe the condition of the feed table curtains and slip hook.
  • Inspect the pintle hitch for cracks, damage or wear.
  • Check mounting bolts for signs of wear, loosening or damage.
  • Be sure to check the cooling fan for cracks, loose rivets and bent or loose blades.
  • Check the feed roller controls to make sure they are operating properly.


Next, it’s time to get the grease gun out. Greasing at the end of the day helps protect metal under seals from corrosion caused by condensation that forms as the temperature drops. Also, make sure all grease fittings are clean and in good condition to help prevent contamination.

Consult the operator’s manual to make sure that no grease fittings are missed. Pay special attention to the two main cutter drum bearings and the feed roller bearings that are in constant motion during operation. A lack of grease to these vital components can lead to extensive repairs.

 It’s also important to lubricate the feed roller drive chain. You can do this with spray-on chain lube through the shield opening.

Knives and drum

Now, it’s time to take care of the components of your brush chipper responsible for making chips out of large, bulking material. The knives and the drum are the workhorses of the machine. A dull knife can transfer strain and stress to the brush chipper as it “hammers” the material, while a sharp knife efficiently cuts through the material. Keeping the knives sharp can help extend the life of the machine.

Here are some things to look at when inspecting the knives:

  • Thoroughly clean and check both sides for cracks. If cracked knives are reused, cracks will extend across the knife.
  • Check the knife for distortion.
  • The knives must be sharpened at a 30° angle.
  • The knives have a double edge and a minimum usable size of 2.125 in (5.4 cm) measured from the centerline of the bolt holes to the knife edge.
  • You should check and adjust the shear bar on the brush chipper every time the drum knives are replaced.

Check the cutter drum. It must be free of any damage. If any cracks are found, contact your Vermeer dealer.

Clean out

At the end of the day, you should also clean out the bottom of the brush chipper. On the Vermeer AX17 brush chipper, this can be done without crawling underneath, loosening bolts or removing plates. The AX17 is equipped with a side lever that provides convenient access when opening and closing the cleanout door.

  • Unpin the lever
  • Dump the door from the side of the brush chipper
  • Flip the lever back up and pin it

Fluid levels

Next, all fluids should be checked. This includes engine oil, coolant, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), and hydraulic fluid for proper levels. It is important that the engine oil used to top off is Cummins Premium Blue 15W40 or equivalent.

At the end of the day, top off the fuel tank of your Vermeer brush chipper to help prevent condensation buildup. The fuel/water separator should also be inspected daily, and the water should be drained as needed. The DEF tank is sized to last a minimum of two fuel fills under normal load cases, so take that into consideration when planning for the next day.

If you do need to add hydraulic fluid, allow proper cleanliness by passing it through a 10-micron filter before adding it to the tank. The hydraulic system should be filled using Vermeer Hypower 68 or equivalent.

Air filter and cooling system

Due to the typical operating environment, air filter and cooling system restrictions deserve close attention. Check the air intake screen and radiator fins for dirt and debris. If necessary, they can be cleaned with compressed air or water.

The Vermeer AX17 brush chipper is fitted with an air restriction indicator that allows you to assess the condition of the air filter:

  • Start the engine and engage the cutter drum.
  • Increase engine speed to full throttle and allow the cutter to come to full speed.
  • Check the air restriction indicator reading.
  • If it is in the red, clean or replace the air filter immediately.

Brake system

Before moving the AX17, check the trailer brake system. Check that the breakaway cable is present and in good condition. Check the operation of the brakes using the manual control lever on the towing vehicle brake controller. Also, check the operation of the highway lights and the condition of the safety chain.

Enjoy your Vermeer AX17 brush chipper! And remember, daily brush chipper maintenance goes a long way to help extend its working life. For more information about the capabilities of the Vermeer AX17 brush chipper and related maintenance, contact your local Vermeer dealer.

Vermeer Corporation reserves the right to make changes in engineering, design and specifications; add improvements; or discontinue manufacturing at any time without notice or obligation. Equipment shown is for illustrative purposes only and may display optional accessories or components specific to their global region. Please contact your local Vermeer dealer for more information on machine specifications.

Vermeer and the Vermeer logo are trademarks of Vermeer Manufacturing Company in the U.S. and/or other countries. Cummins is a trademark of Cummins, Inc. © 2022 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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