With our huge inventory of new, used and rental equipment, WesTrac has the right machine for the job.
Like any major component, your machine’s undercarriage requires the right amount of care and attention to deliver maximum operating life and the efficiency you expect to produce the lowest total cost of ownership for your business.
Up to 50% of your machine’s repair costs over its lifetime can be attributed to the undercarriage, so it is important to get the maximum value from your machine's undercarriage system. A poorly functioning undercarriage can also adversely affect other parts of your machine and decrease overall productivity, so the importance of undercarriage management can never be undervalued.
We go down under to give you the top tips to improve your machine’s lifespan and performance.
Just because you can’t see what’s underneath your machine doesn’t mean that everything’s a-ok. A daily walk-around and regular inspections by operators will improve safety and increase your machine’s life. It’s always a good idea to do a visual check for any debris, missing or lose bolts, damaged components or unusual wear patterns. Make sure there are no oil leaks, or cracked or bent track shoes. When you spot potential problems early, you can often prevent them from turning into bigger issues that reduce component life significantly or cause unscheduled downtime.
Incorrect track tension or “track sag” is the major cause of accelerated undercarriage wear. Too tight and the components fight each other and will cause excessive wear and tear on the entire undercarriage system. Too loose and they may come off! Check out the undercarriage track tension of your machine in regular operating underfoot conditions – then follow the track adjusting procedures in your machine’s manual, or contact us and we'll take care of it. Be sure to check your tension regularly, particularly when changing work sites as different underfoot materials affect track tension in different ways.
Book a Undercarriage CTS It takes an expert’s trained eye to spot problems before they occur. WesTrac offers a free undercarriage assessment (CTS) that will assess the general health and wear life of your machine’s undercarriage to help you plan scheduled maintenance and a repair regime to minimise costs and maximise performance and machine availability. We’ll come to you to save on downtime and travel costs too. By taking advantage of WesTrac’s knowledge and expertise, you can gain a competitive edge right throughout the life of your undercarriage – from purchase to the jobsite, through to service and maintenance. WesTrac can help you improve undercarriage wear life by matching the correct undercarriage to the jobsite and application, such as the underfoot conditions, terrain and type of work. This can help lower owning and operating costs and, as a result your tracked machines, operate more efficiently.
Whether your machine travels on steel or rubber tracks, its undercarriage components take a beating. You can’t prevent them from wearing out altogether, but there are ways to slow the process. One of the most important things you can do is improve operating technique. Here are a few ways for operators to reduce or prevent premature undercarriage wear.
Steel tracks are designed to perform in tough underfoot conditions, but long hours in wet, muddy, slippery, rocky or abrasive materials can translate into rapid wear and high repair costs. Take these steps to maximise service life and drive down operating costs.
Undercarriage System When mud and debris build up on the lower part of your machine, components wear at a faster rate. So don’t begin work until the undercarriage area is clean, and if you’re operating in very cohesive or abrasive materials like mud or clay, you may need to clean the undercarriage more than once during a shift.
Track spinning delivers several hits to the bottom line. It reduces production, so your revenue potential declines. It increases fuel consumption, without a corresponding increase in productivity. And it accelerates undercarriage wear, so your costs escalate. Grouser bars are especially prone to wear problems associated with track slippage.
There are times when a job requires higher speed operation, but the fact is, wear accelerates as speed increases. Links, rollers and idlers are particularly vulnerable. Keep them working longer by controlling your speed.
Operating in reverse—even at slow speeds—compounds bushing and sprocket wear. So don’t run in reverse unless you have to. Again, avoid unproductive reverse operation.
If you’re always turning in the same direction, the undercarriage components on one side of the machine will wear at a different rate than those on the other side. More specifically, turning left all the time accelerates wear on the right side and vice versa. To ensure even wear, pay attention to the way you’re turning—and change directions whenever possible.
Undercarriage System in Tough Conditions Most of the operating tips that help extend the life of steel tracks can also have a positive impact on rubber undercarriage components. It’s always good to begin each shift with clean undercarriage and a quick visual inspection. It’s also helpful to avoid track spinning, excessive speed, unnecessary reverse operation and constant turning in the same direction. There are several other ways operators can prevent premature wear of rubber undercarriage components, particularly those found on multi-terrain loaders.
Counter-rotating a multi-terrain loader accelerates wear on the tracks and other undercarriage components. Don’t use that technique unless job conditions demand it. Instead, turn the machine gradually while slowly moving forward or reverse. Gradual turns minimise cuts, tears and excessive wear in the undercarriage. They also reduce damage to soft or sensitive work surfaces.
Working across a slope can shorten undercarriage component life, so try to structure the job with minimal cross-slope activity.
A transition is any place where you encounter a change in slope or elevation. It could be a curb, ledge or spot where a level surface turns into a sloped one. Try to minimise travel over transitions as this accelerates undercarriage wear. If you must go across a transition, position the machine 90 degrees to the transition. Avoid working along a transition where one track is not fully supported by the ground. Without ground support, the undercarriage is subjected to side stresses that can result in rapid, excessive wear.
Some skid steer operators like to apply enough down force on the loader to raise the front tires off the ground, maximising down pressure on the bucket when backdragging. Don’t use this technique with a multi terrain loader. You’ll just lose traction and reduce undercarriage component life. Instead, keep the loader arms in the FLOAT position while backdragging. If more pressure is needed, add enough to smooth the surface, but not so much that the front of the machine is lifted off the ground.
And remember, it does not matter what type of Undercarriage you are running, if you’re not moving dirt, you’re not making money so keep tramming to a minimum where possible and get maximum value from your product.
Book a Undercarriage CTS Undercarriage components are expensive, whether they’re made of steel or rubber. To get long life and maximum value from your investment, consult with the WesTrac team who really knows the undercarriage business. Ask for advice on operating techniques. Explore relevant application, material and terrain issues. Fine-tune your maintenance processes. Working together with our undercarriage experts, you can manage your equipment investment over the long term, achieving the highest possible production at the lowest total cost. At WesTrac we offer Undercarriage Servicing that’s customised to your needs. We’ll come to you to do a free undercarriage assessment (CTS) to help you plan your servicing and maintenance needs and keep any downtime to an absolute minimum so contact our expert team today to find out how we can help you do more with your equipment.