Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Common Questions about Marathon® and Our Products

Below is a list of common questions related to our company and our products along with some helpful answers. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please call us toll-free at 800.633.8974. We’re happy to help.


Why choose Marathon?

Answer: With more than 50 years of experience in the waste and recycling industry, Marathon knows what you need to develop your business and satisfy your customers. In order to remain a strong partner for you, we provide many other offerings to you besides equipment:


The Value of Marathon...More Than Just Equipment

Dedicated Sales Manager in Your Region Familiar with your market, available to make joint sales calls with you, and trained throughout the year about new equipment and industry issues. 


Extensive, Fully-Supported Warranty & Service Programs 

The largest dedicated service staff in the industry, with field service support available. 


Targeted Distributor / Hauler Sales Force Training 

Your Marathon Sales Manager can provide on-site training for your sales force with learning tools that includes Workbooks and illustrative Video Sessions. 


Professional, Complete Sales Material For Your Sales Force

Authorized Marathon Distributors and Haulers receive Equipment sales videos, operational product videos and complete product catalogs with four-color literature, product specifications, drawings, warranty and financing information, consultive worksheets, product manuals, and pricing.


All Equipment Carefully Engineered

To conform with or exceed all applicable industry standards (ie: UL, CUL, CSA, ANSI) 


Flexible Payment Terms

And creative rental, leasing & financing programs


Strong Marketing Support 

National advertising, equipment exhibits at major industry trade shows around the world, internal telemarketing staff, and an in-house literature department to respond to hauler and distributor sales material needs. 


What should I consider when buying compaction equipment?

Answer: Size of Waste - Is the Feed Opening (Clear Top) large enough to accommodate the largest items without bridging?


Recyclables - Is there sufficient volume of recyclable materials to warrant removing them from the waste stream? Recycling equipment or additional compaction equipment may be needed.


Safety Standards - Does the installation comply with recommended ANSI standards? Is there a 42" high barrier between the user and the charge box? Is there an access interlock switch on chute or hopper doors and gates? Is there a "momentary contact" control required?


Power Source - Is adequate power available? Three or single phase?


Convenience - Is the compactor located for easiest use? Loading height? Can a hopper, doghouse (charge box enclosure) or cart dumping system improve convenience? Can value be added (building or employee security) by loading through the wall? Would an Ozone Odor Control System solve odor or pest control problems?


Location - Does, or can, the waste flow to one central point?


What should I do if my compactor becomes flooded?

Answer: While Marathon compactors and balers are built to withstand all elements and provide many years of reliable service, some weather environments can provide problems for your system. One particular case is flooding, caused by heavy rains and severe storms.


If your equipment experiences a high volume of exposure to water, especially if the unit is submerged, you must take precautionary steps to ensure that your equipment is in working condition before you resume operation.


The electrical system must be checked for water buildup in any junction boxes, Sealtite connections, or other places water might accumulate. Remove any water using absorption methods or low heat fans. After all water has been removed, check the wiring using a continuity meter to ensure that electrical connections are stable and working properly. Repair any connections that are damaged and replace any wiring or components that have become unsafe or unusable.


NOTE: Remember, the presence of water, an electrical conductor, can make electricity even more deadly. Please practice necessary Lock out/Tag out methods as outlined in your Operations, Maintenance, and Installation manual provided to you.


Your hydraulic system should be immediately checked if exposure to water occurs. A sample of the hydraulic fluid should be sent to a certified hydraulics center to be tested for contamination. If water is present in your system, cease operations until the fluid can be removed, the system flushed, and new AW 46 fluid in the correct amount is added to your equipment. Water can cause severe damage to all hydraulic components because of the variances in viscosity and density.


If you take these steps to ensure that your equipment has not been affected by the water exposure, you can be certain that your equipment will continue to provide reliable service.


What fuses and circuit breakers do I need for my compactor?



What is the wire size needed to install my compactor?



Where can I get general troubleshooting tips?


What are the benefits of compaction?


Benefits of Compaction:

  • Improves housekeeping by containing waste in an enclosed container which also controls rodents
  • Cuts inventory shrinkage by curbing employee pilferage
  • Reduces disposal fees by compressing a lot of waste requiring fewer container pulls
  • Reduces fire hazard by containing waste in a container rather than in the open air
  • Saves on insurance premiums
  • Requires less space for storage of solid waste
  • Controls pests and odor problems
  • Eliminates odor problems with Marathon's ozone generator
  • Reduces labor costs


What type of oil do I put in my compactor?


We recommend one of the following:

A. Union- Unax-46, Unax-AW46 B. Gulf- Harmony 47, Harmony 48-AW C. Exxon- Teresstic 46, Nuto 46 D. Texaco- AW46 E. Shell- Turbo 46, Tellus 46 F. Quaker State- Dextron llA G. Citgo- Pacemaker 46, Tellus-AW46 H. Amoco-(Rycon)


What optional controls are available for Marathon compactors?


The following are some of the optional controls for all Marathon compactors. Contact the factory for customized products:


SUSTAINED MANUAL PRESSURE CONTROL BUTTON (Hold-To-Run, Release-To-Stop) - This option requires the compactor operator to remain at the push button station while the compactor is in use. Actuation requires depressing the "Hold-To-Run" and "Start" buttons. After the unit has started, the "Start" button is released. If the "Hold-To-Run" button is released, the unit will stop instantly.


CONTAINER FULL LIGHT - When the light is on, the container is full and is ready to be emptied before its next use. To deactivate the light, depress the illuminated emergency stop button. (The unit will not run while the light is on.)


ADVANCE WARNING LIGHT - When the light is on, the container is nearing the full level and apickupp call should be made. At this time 200 PSI is left before the pressure switch is activated to shut the unit off and container is full. (Unit will run with light on.)


RAM STOP FORWARD - When a machine with this option has been stopped, the ram automatically begins to move rearward when restarted. To reverse the ram while it is stopped, depress the key switch. The ram will retract and then go forward.


CYCLE TIMER - This option is used when more than one cycle is desired. The factory setting is for three strokes (adjustable).


ACCESS INTERLOCK - This is optional with units equipped with doors, chutes, or access gates. It prevents the unit from operating while a door or gate is open.


PHOTOELECTRIC CYCLE CONTROL - Consists of a LED light source and a reflector. It can be mounted on a hopper or chute. Two holes, located so as to prevent any hazard, are located in opposite walls of the chute. When the light beam is blocked for 15 seconds, the compactor is activated and will continue to run until the obstruction has been cleared.


AUTOMATIC SHUTDOWN - Used with the photoelectric cycle control. This option has a timer that can be set up to 30 minutes. If a blockage in the charge chamber causes the compactor to continue cycling, the timer will shut the compactor down after the preset time has passed. To deactivate the timer, the illuminated pushbutton is pressed after clearing the blockage.


THERMOSTATICALLY CONTROLLED OIL HEATER - This option is installed in the oil reservoir. The thermostat can be adjusted so the heater will heat the oil when the oil temperature goes below the preset level.


JOG CONTROL STATION - This control station is located on the compactor on the discharge end. When the container is to be emptied, the driver inserts a key and switches the compactor to "Bypass" mode so that the charge box can be cleared. The jog control station also has an OFF position so that all compactor controls can be deactivated while the container is being emptied.


My container is empty and now my compactor won't start... Why?


Here are a few things you can do to troubleshoot this problem:

  1. Check the hydraulic hoses that connect the power pack to the packer body and make sure they are hooked up
  2. Check the disconnect. Is it on?
  3. Press the reset button on the motor starter.
  4. If the machine has a jog control switch verify that the key switch is in the "REMOTE" position.
  5. If the Emergency Stop switch is a maintained push/pull switch, press and then pull to the out position.
  6. Check fuses
  7. Do you have voltage?


What's wrong if my motor starts but the ram won't move?


Here are a few things you can do to troubleshoot this problem:

Check to make sure the motor is rotating in the correct direction?

  • Make sure the pump shaft turning.
  • Make sure the hydraulic reservoir full of oil?


Which baler do I need for my application?


Selection Criteria


Baling Application Site Survey


It is reasonably easy to misapply a baling machine or place it an area that does not benefit the customer. Your local dealer or NEXGEN Regional Sales Manager will help guide you through the selection and location process to assure you are getting the best choice of equipment, layout, and to fit within your budget requirements.


The process of gathering all the pertinent information is very important. The following is a list of basic questions that need to be answered before the right model and location for your application can be determined:


  1. What do you plan to bale?
  2. What is the largest size of the majority of the material?
  3. How much material will be baled at the busiest hour?
  4. How will the baler be fed?
  5. How will the bales be stored?
  6. What is the shipping method?
  7. Is there a maximum weight to achieve on the shipping conveyance?
  8. Will the bales be tied manually or automatically?
  9. What language will be used in operating and servicing baler?
  10. Is a telephone line nearby?


By answering the above, you have given the information necessary to offer a few baler choices or ideas. Now the infrastructure to support the recommendation needs to be considered:


  1. Is there adequate room for the baler? Considering the space required for the baler is only a small part of the total space required. What about room for the feeding apparatus (conveyor, air system, cart dumper or loader)? Is there room to eject and handle the bales?
  2. Check ceiling height as well as width and length of the space.
  3. Is there adequate door height to bring the unit into the building?
  4. Will the floor support the weight of the recommended equipment?
  5. What is the available voltage and can the machine can be started across-the-line?
  6. Will the location of the equipment be close to where the material is generated and/or shipped?


What are the concrete pad requirements?

Answer: Preferred dimensions of the concrete pad are 10'-0" wide and a length of 5'-0" greater than the length of the compactor and container. It should be of minimum 3,000 PSI concrete steel reinforced, 6" thick. It is preferred that the concrete pad be flush with the surrounding ground level. Note: Containers with four ground rollers must be installed on a level pad.

To provide accessibility, concrete pad should be positioned to allow 2'-0" between machine and building wall if installed parallel with building. Allow a minimum of 45' of clear space from end of pad for container handling vehicle.

*Stationary Compactors require a minimum of 28" clearance on each side.

Note: The clearances given are minimums. Your installation may require greater clearances depending on the site and the hauling equipment that will be used.


What are the anchoring requirements?

Answer: The compactor should be anchored to concrete pad using a minimum of four (4) 3/4" x 6" long anchor bolts. These bolts can be secured to concrete pad using "Porok" or special concrete anchors. It is best if these holes are drilled in the concrete after pre-locating the compactor in its desired location. Holes in the leg plates are 1-5/16" Dia. to permit the use of a 1-1/8" Dia. concrete bit. The 1-1/8" Dia. holes in the concrete should be approximately 5" deep. When the compactor has been permanently located, shimmed to compensate for unevenness, and anchor bolts set, tighten all nuts securely. Optional container guides should be anchored in an identical manner, spacing between guides determined by rail spacing of the container.

How do I contact the service department?


Corporate Offices, Domestic & International

909 County Road 9
Vernon, AL
35592-1798 USA
Marathon Equipment Company


Corporate Phone Numbers
Toll Free: 800-633-8974

Fax: 205-695-8813


Parts Department- Parts1Stop:

Toll Free: 800-633-8974 Ext. 8033
Fax: 205-695-7250


Technical Service Department:

Toll Free: 800-633-8974 Ext. 8034
Fax: 205-695-7250


Sales & Marketing:

or 205-695-1698