The final drive is one of the most influential and essential parts on any tracked heavy machine. Without a working final drive, your machine isn't moving. One of the best things you can do to keep your final drive running smoothly is to regularly check and change the oil. It depends on the machine and what work the machine is doing on when you should change the oil in a final drive, but a general rule of thumb is to check the oil level every 100 hourrs or once a month, and to change the oil at least once a year.
How to Check the Oil Level on a Final Drive
- Find the plug holes on the final drive, noting that some have 2, while others have 3.
- Arrange the final drive so that one plug is at the 12 o'clock position, and one is either at 9 or 3 o'clock.
- Clean out any debris from around the plugs and loosen them up, which may require some whacking with a hammer.
- Remove both plugs for venting purposes once clear of debris.
- Check the oil level, which should be level with the horizontal plug (either 3 or 9 o'clock) if the drive has sufficient oil.
- If the oil level is low, add some through the vertical (12 o'clock) plug until it begins to drip out of the horizontal plug.
- Once the oil has been topped off, replace both plugs.
How to Change the Oil on a Final Drive
- Warm up the final drive, as it is much easier to drain warm gear oil since it is quite viscous.
- Arrange the final drive so that one plug is at the 6 o'clock position, and one is either at 9 or 3 o'clock.
- Clean out any debris from around the plugs and loosen them up, which may require some more persuasion with a hammer.
- Remove both plugs for venting purposes once clear of debris. It is recommended to open the 6 o'clock plug first, and then slowly open the 3 o'clock plug. The more you vent the 3 o'clock plug, the faster the oil will drain.
- Check the oil for any metallic parts, which would indicate that there are problems inside the gear hub.
- When you are ready to add fresh oil, rotate the drive so that the plugs are at 12 o'clock and 3 o'clock. DO NOT MIX DIFFERENT TYPES OF OIL!
- Add fresh oil through the 12 o'clock plug until it starts to come out the 3 o'clock plug.
- While you're adding oil, check for leaks around the main hub mechanical seal, located between the sprocket and the track frame. If there is leaking in this area, it could indicate a much more serious problem, and it is recommended you stop the machine and have the drive checked over.
- Once the drive is full of oil, replace the plugs.
Noticing leaking oil or metal flakes? Maybe it's time to give us a call for a new final drive.