One effective way to minimize the standstill of your mini-excavator or CLT is to check its tracks for telltale wear signs regularly.
If your mini excavator rubber tracks have stretched, the profile has faded, or the rubber track has torn, it’s crucial to replace them immediately. Replacing rubber tracks is not that complicated.
Once you order and receive the best replacement rubber track, you can replace it yourself. However, it’s better to get it done professionally to prevent damage to the machine.
In this step-wise guide, you will learn how to disassemble your current rubber track in a mini excavator or CLT and install the new one.
The rubber track replacement depends on good preparation. Before starting the replacement process, ensure you have enough workspace to maneuver around the mini excavator.
Move away any obstacles or clutter and place the machine on a flat, dust-free surface.
Moreover, wear personal protective equipment, including gloves, safety boots and glasses, and ear protection.
Also, get necessary tools like a machine manual, wood blocks, a metal bar, sockets, a torch wrench, grease, etc.
Lift the machine
You can easily lift a mini-excavator equipped with a blade. First, lower the blade until the front of the rubber tracks is off the floor. Next, turn the arm towards the back and push it down until the machine’s rubber tracks are in the air.
Furthermore, you can lift the mini-excavator or CLT without a blade by turning the arm to the machine’s side and pushing it down until the track is lifted.
Empty the grease cylinder
The grease cylinder help keep the rubber track under tension, and emptying it will reduce the tension.
Get your hands on the grease cylinder through the inspection hatch on the undercarriage.
Usually, the idler automatically moves into the undercarriage as you squeeze out the grease. But if your mini-excavator is dirty, the idler might get stuck.
Place the wooden block between the sprocket and the track in such a case. Start the machine while slowly moving the track backward.
The wooden block will turn with the sprocket, and the idler will be pulled into the undercarriage.
Remove the old rubber track
The rubber track is easily removed once the idler has been pulled inside the machine’s undercarriage.
Lift the track of the idler and slightly turn the track to the side. Once the rubber track is loose from the idler and sprocket, use a forklift to move the track out of the way.
Check other parts of the undercarriage
Now that the top and bottom rollers, sprocket, and idler are visible, it’s time to check other undercarriage components for damages, wear, or breaks.
Review the mini-excavator or CLT manual to determine acceptable damage or wear. If the undercarriage parts are too damaged or worn out, replace them to avoid further damage to your machine.
Assemble the new undercarriage parts
Clean the inside of the frame before reassembling everything. First, clean the grease nipple before screwing it back on the grease cylinder.
Slide the idler after installing the grease cylinder back on. In addition, make sure to check the tension between the frame and the idler’s fork.
There is no need to take action if there is minimal clearance. When the fork chatters in the frame, it means it’s too loose. Moreover, consider placing a couple of metal strips into the frame.
Replace the sprocket
It’s also recommended to replace the sprockets when assembling the new Replacement rubber tracks.
Since the sprocket and rubber tracks work as a single unit, they wear out together. So, if one is wearing out, the other will too.
If you don’t replace the sprocket, the rubber track will likely wear out much faster. Consider losing all the bolts of the sprocket using a wooden block.
In addition, now is the right time to clean the contact surfaces on the machine’s drive motor.
A build-up of rust and grease can cause the sprocket to stick to the drive motor. Clean everything, install the new sprocket, and tighten it using a torque wrench.
Install the new rubber track
Before installing a mini-excavator or CLT track, always check if it’s positioned correctly.
If your new rubber track has a V-shaped tread pattern, then point that shape toward the front idler. V-shape will point towards the sprocket on the track travelling under the excavator.
The orientation will force the dirt and mud outward present under the machine when being driven, ensuring more traction to the machine.
When the best replacement rubber track is in the correct position, place it on the mini excavator’s sprocket. Pull the other side over the idler and lift the hanging rubber track over the undercarriage’s frame using a metal bar. See that the sprocket’s teeth run between the track’s links.
Refill the grease cylinder
After placing the track, re-tension it by refilling the grease cylinder. Adding grease to the grease cylinder will push out the idler and tighten the rubber track. You can go through the machine’s manual to know the required tension.
Ensure that the track is not too tight or loose to reduce the chance of wear. One way to check the tension is by measuring the distance between the undercarriage’s bottom and the inside of the track.
Check the new track
Once you finish installing the new track and refilling the grease cylinder, check if the track and undercarriage parts are properly installed.
You can check it by moving the rubber track forward and backward. In addition, recheck the track’s tension and adjust if required. In last, tightly secure the inspection hatch.
Wrapping up it all
You might be wondering what’s the right time to replace the rubber tracks on the mini excavator.
You should know that, on average, rubber tracks can last anywhere between 1200 to 166 working hours. After this specific period, you should check the tracks for typical wear signs.
If the track is damaged, get the best mini excavator track depending on your machine’s make and model. Always consider purchasing high-quality replacement tracks from a reputed online store.