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Maintenance Series 2 - Skid Steer Track Maintenance

CTL TracksWe’re still where the rubber or steel meets the road. In this part of the series we’re going to discuss tracks. Tracks for over tires adds flotation to your loader for use in wet conditions creating less ground pressure per square inch. We do provide “Steel over Tire” Rubber over tire” tracks and of course the standard rubber track for your track machines.

Let’s start with our Steel over tire tracks. The track we provide is made here in Wisconsin using patented “Marbain” Material. The tracks are self-cleaning and for the most part maintenance free under normal conditions. Periodically you will need to adjust the track tension, every connecting link on the track has a 1” Adjustment hole in it. Tension can be easily adjusted with the use of a 1” ratchet strap and two wrenches. The sag should be kept between 1.5” and 3”. If there are any damaged parts, and this is an advantage to this style vs rubber over tire, or standard tracks, they are replaceable whether it is the pad, or links. Please also make sure your tires are properly inflated.

The Rubber over tire track is somewhat similar to the rubber track style machines in that there are steel strands embedded longitudinally in the rubber. This helps to prevent stretching. Steel bands are also embedded in the transverse direction as well. Tension is a point to consider with about a 1” to 2” in sag at the top of the track., This will give you an indication of wear as they begin to stretch, or a the harbinger of damage. Because they are rubber they are subject to extreme conditions that may cause cuts or gouging or checking. Like any equipment clean them up after the job is done. A good power washing will work. Make sure also that your tires have a good amount of tread and they are fully inflated.

Now for your track machines rubber tracks. These tracks are built using Steel Cord in the longitudinal direction and a part referred to as the “Core bar” in the transverse direction. The teeth of the sprocket match with the core bars. The steel cord is embedded between the Core bar and the lug molded into the rubber. So what can happen to your track?

The steel cord can break, causing a transversal crack in your track. It will need to be replaced. How does this happen?

Too much tension the sag should be 15mm between the top of the core bar and the roller during installation. You’ll want to check with your supplier to confirm as it may vary.

Corrosion of the steel cord as moisture begins to permeate the rubber as the rubber either begins to degrade or has been damaged. Avoid driving over sharp objects If the cord has been exposed between the lugs due to a cut etc. Repair it as soon as possible using a good rubber repair kit.

Track is not tracking correctly on the sprocket and can be de-tracked; check for debris, stones etc caught in the projections of the core bar. Avoid quick turns especially on rocky terrain.

Also watch for longitudinal cracks, which will allow for moisture and further degrades the rubber.

Core bars can also corrode as the rubber begins to degrade. As the core bar begins to corrode it will cause wear to the sprockets because its adhesion to the rubber body allows it to move. Be careful here as even partial separations of the core bars require a complete replacement. Not doing so may damage your sprockets, rollers and idlers.

What else can you do to identify and prevent an early exit of your investment? Keep your machine clean by power washing, and lubricating moving parts, make a thorough inspection weekly especially after those more challenging job sites. Or a disagreement between man and machine.

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