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Top 10 tips for track loader maintenance

September 15, 2021 -  By
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Using parts from a vehicle manufacturer or a remanufactured part certified by the factory will extend machine longevity. (Photo: Bobcat)

Using parts from a vehicle manufacturer or a remanufactured part certified by the factory will extend machine longevity. (Photo: Bobcat)

Keeping track loaders in the field instead of the shop is critical to turning a profit, so LM talked to experts from several producers to find out the best ways to keep those tracks rolling.

The tips come from:

⦁ Patrick Baker, Kubota product manager, construction equipment

⦁ Sarah Peckskamp, Bobcat product marketing manager, loaders

⦁ Lee Padgett, Takeuchi product manager, compact track loaders, and David Caldwell, Takeuchi national product manager

⦁ Andrew Kick, Caterpillar product marketing specialist for compact track loaders, multiterrain loaders and skid-steer loaders.

10. Bring machines to the dealer annually.

Dealers can replace hydraulic fluid/hydraulic filters and clean heater coils. They can diagnose issues and set the service clock to a custom interval.

9. Use real-time maintenance data provided by the machine.

Many newer track loaders use telematics systems to track use or suggest service after a certain number of use hours or a specific time frame from the last service.

8. Choose quality components.

Parts and components made or recommended by the machine’s manufacturer are precision engineered for maximum performance. Factory-offered remanufactured parts can boost reliability at a lower cost. When replacing worn tracks, check drive sprockets, drive systems and bottom rollers and idlers.

7. Train crews.

Crews operate equipment daily, so they’re in an ideal position to recognize problems. Proper driver training can also extend equipment life. Some skid-steer operators apply enough down force to raise the front tires off the ground, maximizing down pressure on the bucket. On compact track loaders, this technique reduces traction, spins the track and promotes premature wear of the track and rear roller wheels.

6. Maintain attachments.

Proper attachment maintenance, handling and storage ensure best performance. Consult equipment manuals. Perform daily service tasks such as wiping off hydraulic couplers and electrical pins or removing debris before use.

5. Take it easy.

Avoid sharp turns or pivots, rough ground conditions (asphalt, rocks, gravel) when possible and driving along or over curbs. When working on a slope, keep the drive motor facing the rear of the machine to avoid wear. Operating at minimum ground speed also extends equipment life. Machines with high-speed ground modes shouldn’t stay at high speeds at all times.

4. Maintain the tracks.

Clean and inspect tracks, check track tension regularly and look for uneven track wear patterns. Make sure the correct-sized tracks are properly installed.

3. Keep everything clean.

Much undercarriage wear comes from debris lodged between components. Daily washing of tracks and undercarriages identifies potential problems, reduces track wear and tear and keeps machine performance high. Exposure to salt, chemicals or oil should be avoided and cleaned off immediately.

2. Perform daily service checks.

Check fluid levels, clear debris off the machine and lubricate grease points. Keep a service schedule checklist in a shared space.

1. Create a long-term service schedule.

Plan big jobs around maintenance schedules by anticipating machine needs and downtime. List maintenance tasks with intervals based on hours of operation or calendar days from the last check.

Robert Schoenberger

About the Author:

Robert Schoenberger is Landscape Management's senior editor. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from University of Houston. He has worked in magazines and newspapers since the late 1990s. Robert can be reached at rschoenberger@northcoastmedia.net.

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