Tips for extending the life of rubber tracks
How the machine is operated can affect undercarriage component wear. By using intelligent operating procedures, you can extend the life of your track and you undercarriage.
Limit Non-Productive high-speed travel.
High-speed operation accelerates wear on all undercarriage and track components. Track wear is directly proportional to speed. Speed equals stress. The distance a track machine travels determines wear. Plan your jobsite work carefully to make travel productive.
Limit reverse operation.
Reverse operation accelerates wear on the reverse-drive side of the track links and sprocket teeth. The only time track links rotate against sprocket teeth under load is in reverse operation.
During reverse operation, approximately 75% of tracks links are under contact, load, and motion, from the bottom of the front idler to the first link engaged by the sprocket tooth. Make reverse travel productive. Forward travel puts about 25% of the track links under contact, load, and motion.
Reduce slippage and spinning.
Track slippage and spinning accelerates track pad wear and limits productive work. Heavy contact between the track links and sprocket teeth, between track links an rollers, and idler tread surfaces accelerates wear.
Plan your turns.
Constantly turning to one side will reduce the life of a track. The sprocket teeth, track links idler, roller flanges, and tread surface on the side under load will wear faster. Plan your job to even out turns if possible.
Clean undercarriages frequently.
Preventing packing of soil and debris in undercarriage components by cleaning out the track as frequently as possible. Packing prevents the proper engagement between the mating components such as sprocket teeth and track links. This can cause increased loads on undercarriage components and higher wear rates.
Operate with the terrain.
Plan your jobs and the movement of your machines to fit the terrain. And you will reduce undercarriage wear.
Working uphill shifts the weight of the machine to the rear. This adds more load to the rear rollers and increases sprocket teeth and track link forward drive side wear. There will be a light load on the undercarriage when reversing down
Working downhill shifts weight to the front of the machine. The additional load will be placed on the front roller, idler tread surface, and track links. When you reverse up the hill, the link rotates against the reverse-drive side of the sprocket tooth. Also, there is a heavy load and motion between the link and the sprocket teeth, which accelerate wear. A heavy load is placed on all links from the bottom of the front idler to the first link contacted by the sprocket teeth. Extra load is also placed between the sprocket teeth and the track links and the idler tread surface. The life of the links, sprockets, rollers and idlers is reduced.
Working on a slope or side of a hill shifts the weight to the downhill side of the machine and causes additional wear on the roller flanges, sides of the track links, and that side of tread. Balance wear between each side of the undercarriage by changing the work direction on the slope.
Working on a crown puts all the load and weight on the inner ends of the track links. The load is transferred to the inside track links, inside roller, and idler tread surfaces, and sprocket contact areas. Continual work on a crown will accelerate wear on the inside track contact surfaces. Compare that wear to the wear on the outside track components.
Working in a depression puts the load and machine weight on the outer ends of the track links. The load is transferred to the outside-track links, outside roller and idler tread surfaces, and sprocket contact areas. Continual depression work will accelerate wear on the outside contact surfaces. Compare that wear to the wear on the inside track components.
Track frame and front idler misalignment will accelerate wear on all components. You can check for alignment by observing wear patterns on the bottom rollers, carrier rollers, and front idlers. You also can stand at the front and rear of the machine and do a visual inspection. See your machine manuals for specific adjustment procedures.