What To Know About Excavator Undercarriage Maintenance

Did you know that problems with your excavator’s undercarriage can account for more than half of maintenance costs? That’s why it’s important — both for your productivity and your pocketbook — to properly care for your machine’s undercarriage.

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Let’s learn about what you should be doing to extend the life of your excavator undercarriage.

Excavator Undercarriage Maintenance: The Daily Walkaround

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We know you encounter many different types of conditions when working in your Cat® excavator. Hard materials, moisture and operating stresses can all accelerate undercarriage wear. But proper maintenance helps extend the life of your parts.

It's important to select the right undercarriage from the start. To do that, ask yourself some key questions. 

  • How long will I own the machine?

  • How many hours a week will I use this machine? 

  • What are my typical ground and soil conditions?

  • What are my impact conditions? 

  • What are my attachments on the machine?

  • What grades and slopes are typical on my jobsite? 

Every job has different needs and different underfoot conditions. Ask your Cat dealer which undercarriage is right for your needs.

Daily Excavator Undercarriage Maintenance 

Here’s what to look for when conducting your daily inspection:

  1. Check pins and joints. Make sure your pins and joints are not drying up. Shoe separation can be a tell-tale sign.

  2. Check track hardware. Make sure nothing has broken and look for visible signs of wear.

  3. Inspect the sprockets on your planetary final drive. Check for any bending, breaking or cracking.

  4. Check shoe hardware for all your nuts and bolts.

Other Tips

It’s about more than just a quick look. Here are some more things to keep in mind:

  1. Make sure your shoe width is correct. You don't want a wide shoe in a strong underfoot condition. A wider shoe traveling over hard conditions like rocks will send force to the link and start to prematurely fill joints.

  2. Always dig toward your idlers and never dig back toward the sprockets. You can wear and damage your machine by digging over where you're driving.

  3. Check whether your excavator’s tracks are too tight or loose. Tension on your tracks will accelerate wear. To measure it, run a tape across five links and put your measurement into Custom Track Services to calculate your wear. Contact your Cat dealer for more information on Custom Track Services.

Remember: Always refer to your Operation and Maintenance Manual for guidance on maintenance, safety, settings, features and more. 

Learn more about excavator maintenance tips in this article. 

You can get extra bottom-line protection with customer value agreements (CVAs), which offer maintenance cost-per-hour guarantees. Ask your Cat dealer for more information.


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