Excavator Undercarriage Maintenance - A Quick Guide
Excavator owners don’t usually expect to spend as much time and money for undercarriage maintenance compared to bulldozers because the expectation is excavators don’t do much moving. Although there is some truth to that opinion, excavator undercarriage maintenance is also important to extend its life.
While crawler undercarriage wear is obviously due to constant movement, excavators see wear due to other types of operation.
Today’s larger buckets increases wear on the tracks. When the excavator swings, it pivots on the track chain, and that causes more wearing on the internals over time. The wider the shoe, the more stress on the links and bushings.
Often, hydraulic excavators are actually controlled by the operators incorrectly. The sprocket is positioned in the front, a practice that tightens the track, increases internal stress, and causes accelerated wear. Chains get so extended, counterbores get wallowed out. As a result, if you try to install a new pin and bushing, they’re not going to fit right.
A wet or grease turn is a reasonable maintenance step in helping stretch the life of the tracks.
It’s alway recommended to clear out debris from tracks when possible.
Some owners remove a link to shorten the track in order to maintain healthy tension. It’s a short term solution, but it works. However, most company fleet managers do not recommend the practice and instead suggest running the machine until the tracks need to be replaced completely.
When owners decide to replace the chains completely with new ones, in many cases shoes, roller, and idlers can be reused with the new link assembly.
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