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Undercarriage Maintenance Tips

Field Fact: 50% of the cost of owning and operating a machine are related to its undercarriage

C.N. Wood has developed guidelines to help you get the most out of your undercarriage with the lowest cost possible. There are three basic maintenance areas that can have a big impact in your cost—track tension, cleaning and service records.

Maintain Proper Track Tension
Track tension is maintained by a track adjuster that is situated behind the front idler. Make adjustments by pumping or draining grease through a fitting on the track adjuster.

Large track sag indicates that the track is loose; small track sag indicates that the track is tight. A small adjustment in track sag—from 1" to 0.5"—has a huge impact on tension—increases tension about 3000 pounds.

Operating Conditions—Remember to adjust track tension to the operating conditions. As packing conditions increase, the adjusted track tension should decrease.

When the track chain is too tight
  • There is increased wear on all undercarriage components, especially pins, bushings, links and sprockets.
  • Large frictional forces burden the drive train, causing mechanical loss and reduced drawbar pull.
  • Friction between moving components causes the temperature to climb— sometimes hot enough to melt seals.
When the track chain is too loose
  • The track chain swings from side to side and the machine weaves violently, causing increased wear on all components involved in track guidance— flanges, roller guards, link side faces and sprocket teeth.
  • Upper waviness causes the track chain to whip, resulting in excessive wear on the idler and carrier roller. High speeds will increase the damage.
  • In reverse, the sprocket may climb or skip bushings, causing loud, popping impacts.
  • Excessive noise and shaking.

Consistent Cleaning
Mud, dirt and debris can accumulate on the undercarriage components and can become almost as hard as the components. These packing conditions can also change the pitch, which will alter the undercarriage component engagement, leading to faster wear. Clean the undercarriage daily to avoid packing. Use a shovel to clear the area between the track frame and the upper portion of the chain. Then, wash away any remaining material with water.

Keep Service Records
It is easier to maximize component wear when you keep track of your service records. Retain records of wear measurements, repairs and costs.