Maintenance/Operating Tips

Make Your Undercarriage Last

  • Use the narrowest shoe possible.
  • Minimize high operating speeds in nonproductive situations.
  • Alternate turning direction.
  • Adjust the track for correct tension in the working environment.
  • Make daily visual inspections of the equipment.
  • Keep the undercarriage clean of mud and debris.

It's steel against steel against dirt. Gritty mud packs into meshing parts. Pins and bushings hold fast against extreme stresses when cold iron meets unforgiving ground. Grousers dig in, biting their way through tough underfoot conditions.

No wonder undercarriage upkeep can use up to 50% of a track-type machine's maintenance budget.

Track Wear Rules:

Unfortunately, there are no solid rules about how fast undercarriage components will wear because every track-type machine operates in unique conditions. Also, equipment operator habits can speed or reduce track wear.

Daily and weekly inspections will catch little, easy-to-fix problems before they become big, expensive problems, but Finning can help you get the most wear from your tracks through Custom Track Service (CTS). Through periodic visits by Finning's CTS expert, you will know your undercarriage's wear rate, and be able to pinpoint undercarriage components that may be wearing faster than the rest of the track. The CTS specialist can plot a course of action that helps you get the longest, lowest-cost use life from your undercarriage.

You can minimize your operating costs by keeping in mind the following factors that affect overall track component life:

Track Killer No.1 - Too-tight track.

Tight track creates greater stresses that are felt throughout the whole undercarriage. These stresses eat away at bushings, sprockets, carrier rollers and idlers, greatly decreasing track life and chalking up higher operating costs.

Track adjustment procedures vary between elevated sprocket and conventional sprocket designs, so check your machine's owner's manual. For best results, adjust track on the jobsite - not in the shop.

Track Killer No.2 - Running wide shoes in high-impact conditions.

The extra flotation afforded by wide shoes in wet, mucky conditions translates into the potential for high track wear and structural problems in high-impact conditions. The leverage effect of the wider track on a hard surface puts tremendous strain on track shoes, pins and bushings.

If you must operate with wide shoes on a machine in these conditions, keep in mind that it can dramatically shorten track life.

Track Killer No.3 - Operator habits.

  • Speed: Speed may be your friend in productivity, but it's one of your track's biggest enemies. As speed increases, so does the wear rate on link rollers, idlers, bushings and the sprocket. High-speed reverse travel especailly wears bushings and sprockets. Use higher tractor speeds only when needed to maintain production levels.
  • Turning: Rail sides, rollers and idler flanges are affected by machine turns. When operators constantly turn to one side, wear greatly increases on that side. If you can't change your work path to "even out" turns, regularly check for wear on the turn side. You can get longest life by rotating tracks when wear on one side is noticeable.
  • Slipping tracks: Grousers take the most abuse from slipping track. When your track begins to slip, decrease load.
  • Site specifics: If possible, don't work against terrain. You can get better track life and increased productivity if you work downhill instead of uphill. On sidehills, don't favor one side of the machine over another. Pay special attention to inside track component wear if you constantly work crowns; if you constantly work depressions, watch for outer track component wear.

Track Killer No.4 - Underfoot conditions.

Wet soil with sharp sand wears away undercarriage components.

Dirt packs between track components, increasing track tension and wear. Nothing can be done about underfoot conditions, but you can equip the machine to handle varying soil conditions. Using center-punched shoes and removing roller guards in muddy conditions can reduce packing problems. Extreme-service shoes can resist shoe wear from abrasion, and optional carrier rollers (on elevated-sprocket machines) can reduce bushing wear in some packing conditions.

Custom Track Service Features

Enhances built-in value.
Caterpillar builds value and durability into every undercarriage system, balancing critical factors like raw materials, heat treat processes, and the amount of wear material. Because Caterpillar has control over these processes, Cat undercarriage components wear at a predictable rate and can be managed as a system. We'll help you take full advantage of this built-in value with expert system management and planning assistance.

Provides fast, accurate analysis.
To make good undercarriage maintenance and repair decisions, you need accurate information in a timely manner. Using the Ultrasonic Wear Indicator, we can determine the condition of your undercarriage system in just a few minutes, so you can get your machines back to work quickly. We electronically download data from the Ultrasonic Wear Indicator into our computers, ensuring quick, accurate transfer of information. Then, using our computerized CTS program, we analyze the results and prepare cost-per-hour projections for a variety of service options.

Allows informed decisions.
We use these CTS reports to make service recommendations. Together, we can decide on the course of action that best meets your equipment planning needs. By scheduling maintenance and avoiding unscheduled downtime, you can run your equipment more productively a greater percentage of the time.

Saves time and money.
Custom Track Service helps you manage your undercarriage system and lower your costs by:

  • Enhancing the built-in value of your undercarriage components.
  • Reducing undercarriage inspection time.
  • Providing quick, accurate analysis of undercarriage wear information.
  • Allowing you to make informed decisions about maintenance.
  • Scheduling service to meet your equipment planning needs.

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