Maximizing the Life of Your Undercarriage

When you purchased your Cat® forestry machine with genuine Cat Undercarriage, you made a smart investment. A significant portion of the owning and operating cost of your machine is undercarriage related.  Following these simple tips will help you keep costs down.


Road Building

  • High forward travel rates (idlers first)
  • Heavy lifting and grading must occur over the idlers.
  • Light lifting and grading, any other location around the machine.
  • Occasionally, slightly lift tracks to clean soil from bushings:

            -maintains proper track tension.

            -minimizes track indexing due to packing.

  • Minimize travelling with heavy lift over side.
  • Contact between shoe and shoe support wears away leading edge of shoe and can cause shoe crossing/breaking.


Shovel Logging

  • Typically short distances
  • Idlers in downhill position so heavy loads are transferred from shoes to links to idlers, not shoes to links to bushings to sprockets.
  • Do not travel with grapple full of logs over side. This can cause leading edge of shoe to contact shoe supports, wearing away the leading edge much faster.
  • Minimize stump jumping on edges of shoe. If you must climb over stump, approach in dead center of shoe to minimize shoe deflection/crossing.


Log Loading

  • Minimal travel
  • A smooth bench is key to long life:

            -Undercarriage life is not typically limited due to wearing out.

            -Structural failures are common as the machine sits in one location, used only for impacts/load shifting.

            -If your machine is rocking back and forth, the bench is not adequately built.

  • Rotate track occasionally to spread the loading evenly across the undercarriage.
  • Heavy lift over idlers; load truck over side:

            -Keep boom and stick close when over side to minimize tilting/leaning.

            -Minimize travel with machine leaning over side. Contact between shoe and shoe support wears away leading edge of shoe and can cause shoe crossing/breaking.


Track Feller Bunchers

  • High travel with heavy lift, one of the most difficult applications:

            -Idlers first – for both wear and structural concerns.

            -Do not travel with loads.

            -If you can’t avoid a stump, approach it center of shoe (between bolts). Do not clip edge of stump with edge of shoe.

            -If clear-cutting small trees over side, switch sides of machine frequently to share load from right track to left; do not swing cab 180 degrees.


Loading on Trailer

Some of the highest load cycles are seen during loading the machine on the trailer.

  • Approach trailer square on, both tracks at the same time.
  • Make sure your shoes contact the trailer in the center of the shoes, not between the shoes.
  • Use boom/stick to assist in setting machine down easy:

            -Free falling a couple of feet can send loads many times the machine’s weight into the undercarriage.



  • It is vital to the machine to avoid contact between shoe and shoe support.
  • Ice lugs should be applied only when absolutely necessary:

            -Minimize length and height of ice lugs.

            -Apply only to leading edge grousers – pattern of 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 1 or staggered.  Do not apply too far outside of track bolts.

  • Daily cleanouts are necessary, especially during freeze-thaw situations:

            -Special focus around carrier rollers (minimizes roller seizing) and between bushings (allows proper sprocket-to-bushing contact).

  • For machines with track over 1,500 hours and parked for a month or more:

            -Exercise the track for a few minutes each month so track joints do not seize up.

  • Inspect daily for loose hardware, broken shoes, etc. Hammer to listen for loose hardware and repair/replace immediately.
  • At every track replacement, inspect shoe supports for excessive wear. Repair/ replace as necessary.
  • Maintain track tension daily.