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You just finished a day of dozing in a field of mud. Your bulldozer tracks are now packed with clumps of mud. If the temperature outside is flirting with the freezing mark, you'll need to get that mud off or it will freeze, and that will cause problems. So, you have the unenviable task of clearing the tracks from debris.

Don't put the job off, cleaning mud off your tracks while the machine is still warm will make the entire process easier.

The one tool you'll need for sure is the “track spade.” This is a narrow shovel that fits easily between the track and frame when cleaning mud out. After shoveling all the mud from the tracks, park the dozer on something to keep it off the ground. This will prevent the tracks from freezing solid to the ground. Places you can park the dozer would be on wooden beams or old tires.

If you happen to let the machine sit overnight and freeze and it doesn't move in the morning, don't force the issue as this could damage one or both of the final drives. You could also cause problems with the transmission.

There are stories of bulldozer owners setting fire to the ground using diesel fuel to free the tracks from the icy grip of winter. Obviously this can be dangerous. Some bulldozer owners have seen their machine go up in flames when the fire came into contact with oil or hydraulic fluid.

Instead, if your dozer's tracks are frozen to the ground, use a propane torch to thaw the frozen mud.

Volvo Construction Equipment put out a nice series of videos and one includes a simple technique to clean your tracks (below). They are cleaning an excavator, but the method is almost the same.

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