Heavy Equipment Undercarriage Maintenance Tips

What is an Undercarriage?

An undercarriage is the supporting frame under the body of a vehicle. Cars, trucks, and heavy equipment all have undercarriages responsible for keeping the vehicle stable. When talking about heavy equipment, undercarriage also refers to the track system propelling the machine. There are different types, such as steel undercarriages and rubber track undercarriages. The parts of the undercarriage include:

  • Sprockets
  • Bushings
  • Idlers
  • Rollers
  • Links
  • Pins
  • Shoes
  • Frames
  • Drives
  • Track Assemblies
  • Track Pads
  • Track Adjusters

And many more parts.

The undercarriage is essential for stabilizing and driving the machine, so ensuring proper function is quite important. The state of a machine’s undercarriage can greatly affect its capabilities and lifespan. Undercarriages experience wear anytime the machine is moving, and most machines do a lot of moving. For the most efficient use, it is important to practice proper preventative maintenance. A properly maintained undercarriage can ensure your machine will run safer, longer, more powerful, more reliably, and cheaper.

Maintaining Heavy Equipment Undercarriages

The two main types of ongoing maintenance include preventative maintenance and proper operation. By routinely cleaning and maintaining your equipment, as well as operating it in a way that minimizes stresses and damages, you can prolong the life and function of your machinery. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Continual Maintenance

It is essential to the health of your machine to do basic maintenance on a daily or per-use basis. This includes inspecting the underside of the machine and tracks for uneven or excessive wear, as well as damaged or missing parts, which could indicate improper operating conditions. Track tension is a key performance indicator and should be checked daily. Tracks should be tightened to OEM recommendations in order to increase longevity and improve performance. Tracks that are too tight can cause inefficient power usage and accelerated wear on your parts, while tracks that are too loose can be unstable and possibly de-track, resulting in downtime.

As well as routine inspections, cleaning is another important habit to maintain. Clearing any debris or packed material from the undercarriage can ensure peak performance, especially in climates where mud can freeze and inhibit operation. Packed material can also increase track tension.

Proper and consistent maintenance will serve to prevent larger problems from developing and keep your costs and downtime at a minimum.

Avoid Unnecessary Wear

Another aspect of maximizing the life of your parts is to operate your machine as it was intended, in order to reduces stresses put on the components. Operating at high speeds, constant work on slopes, frequent turns in one direction, excessive operating in reverse, and digging over the side of the machine all serve to accelerate component wear. Avoiding these tasks when possible can prevent some of the most significant types of wear resulting from operation. An approximately equal number of gradual turns per day, proper digging technique (over the front idlers), and slow operation all serve to prolong the life of your machine and should be prioritized.

Monitoring alignment of your tracks mitigates some of the wear on undercarriage components. Misaligned tracks have a ripple effect that will cause wear on more components than any other cause of wear on your undercarriage.

Consistent lubrication of grease points serves to remove dirt and help prevent debris from entering. Properly oiling your undercarriage can make cleaning easier and operation smoother.

Changing out high-wear parts like sprockets as they begin to wear is a great way to eliminate unnecessary stress on the system. The teeth of the idler should be rounded. If inspection shows that some teeth are pointed or otherwise deformed, a replacement is recommended. Worn parts can put undue stress on the rest of the system.

Undercarriage Parts at Iron Wing Sales

Looking to replace worn parts? At Iron Wing Sales, we have a large inventory of OEM and aftermarket undercarriage parts in-stock and ready to ship! Simply browse by category, or you can use our search function to sort by description, part number, or manufacturer. We also offer free shipping on qualifying orders >$100. Additional inquiries, contact us by email: sales@ironwingsales.com or by phone:(216) 912-9089

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