Appropriate undercarriage maintenance is critical to extending the life of your equipment. Whether you're working with a compact track loader, dozer or full-sized excavator, the undercarriage is vital to the life and performance of a tracked machine.
Proper maintenance to the undercarriage can offer:
There are several ways to measure the wear on the undercarriage of a piece of equipment. Most of these methods involve taking measurements and comparing them to specifications listed in your manual. Some vehicles also include handy, easy-to-access panels that display these measurements. To get most of these numbers, you'll need a tape measure, depth gauge and a few different caliper tools.
The simplest way to spot wear is through a visual inspection. Look for things like:
If pins and bushings have wear on their top half, they need to be turned. If the sprockets have sharp points, they are worn and ready for a replacement.
Another way to assess wear is to measure the undercarriage components:
Operate the machine in reverse for a few feet to tighten the track. Then, find the distance across five of the pins. This will give you the pitch of the rail.
Underneath the track, place the bar of the depth gauge along the bottom of a section of rail and run the depth indicator post to the bottom of the shoe. This gives you the rail height.
Extend your measuring tape from the highest point of the front roller to the back. Then, find the center of the measuring tape and measure the distance between that point and the top of the track. There should be some sagging, but too much indicates a loose track that could come off. Check with the manual specifications to see where your track should lie.
The undercarriage supports the whole machine, so checking it often is vital to keeping it in good condition. Inspect the undercarriage at the start and end of each day. If you're working in more aggressive environments, perform an inspection after each use.
You'll want to check the same parts of the undercarriage as you would in a visual inspection. Those components include:
Aside from specific part health, keep an eye out for any cracks, dents, leaks, wearing or exposed cables.
Since the undercarriage is low to the ground, it's particularly susceptible to problems with work site materials — like mud that gunks up the components or abrasive gravel that wears away at the tracks. If these materials remain in the undercarriage, they can weigh down the tracks, rub up against bolts and prematurely wear the entire system.
Maintaining your equipment undercarriage is essential to keeping it in good condition. Create and stick to a maintenance plan that incorporates performing inspections, greasing parts, tightening bolts and belts and any other upkeep task your machinery requires.
Below are some other best practices for undercarriage maintenance:
Knowing how to maintain your undercarriage can help you extend the life of your equipment and increase the safety of your worksite. Excavator undercarriage maintenance, alongside other heavy machinery maintenance, is a smart investment in your business materials.
Since undercarriages are integral to the value and condition of a machine, buying used equipment provides a unique advantage. When you know an equipment's history, you can be certain you're getting a good deal. At Cat Used, we carry extensive maintenance and repair records on much of our equipment, so you can buy with confidence.
If you have any questions about undercarriage care, equipment maintenance or used equipment, our experts are ready to help. Give your local Cat® dealer a call today for more information.