Looking After Your Machines Undercarriage
Machine undercarriage wear and tear is happening all too often and all because of owners and operators not giving their machine the TLC they need. Skipping over the little stuff, like washing your machine down and lubricating bushings daily can cost you a lot.
The amount of time and effort you put into cleaning and checking over the machine undercarriage is all depended on the type of material you haven been working in. Materials such as clay, gravel, mud or sand pose more risk than other materials.
By following the below steps you could save yourself money and receive a bigger pay out when you go to sell or trade in your machine.
Monitor track tension on your machine
Melbourne Tractors Service Advisor, Matthew Peeler says the number one cause of premature track wear on an undercarriage is loose tracks. When changing work applications, test the machine before starting the job and ensure the tracks are set to the correct specifications. If weather conditions change this is a good reminder to check the tracks again as more often than not the track tension will need to be readjusted.
Understand Impact of Control Movements
The operator plays a crucial role in determining the overall life of a machines undercarriage. Performing unnecessary sharp turns and counter rotations on the spot apply high stress to the tracks by braking one side or the other, so TAKE IT SLOW. Performing turns more slowly will reduce stress levels on the tracks. Do a 3 point turn rather than spinning on the spot
Clean Clean Clean
How frequently you should clean your machine is depended on what type of application your machine is working in.
Dried up mud can cause breakages the next day if not cleaned the night before. Same with sandy soils, it acts as an abrasive on metal and if not cleaned it will lead to premature failures such as drive sprockets and rollers. Time taken at the end of the day to clean your machine will save you money in the long run.
Always look over your machine at the end of the day and assess if a hose down will do or if you will need to give it a proper pressurised clean, to remove any dirt and debris. Better to be safe than sorry on this one.
Grease Grease Grease
Operators should lubricate the bushings on the undercarriage frames daily. By doing this it will help to push dirt out. Greasing daily will reduce the amount of wear that occurs during operation, decreases temperatures, minimises corrosion of metal surfaces and assists in keeping contaminants out of the system.
Replace your chains, sprockets and idlers as a set
Many operators tend to only change chains, sprockets and idlers individually as they are required because this is the most affordable way. However by only changing them as you see they need it will reduce the overall life. Why? A machines components are designed to work simultaneously, like a synchronised mechanism. But when you put a new components in with an old component, they will work against one another until their shape matches up again, which results in higher wear rates and a life reduction.
Replacing the components as a pair instead of individually, will lessen the machines down time saving you money over the life of your machine.
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