The undercarriage is the most costly part of a compact excavator and can make up almost 20% of the machines purchase price and nearly 50% of the machines maintenance costs. These valuable components should never be neglected.
The undercarriage on your compact excavator works as a system and is built with a series of moving components including sprockets, idlers, track chains, pads and a number of wear items. With this many moving parts, wear is unavoidable. Knowing what to look for and proper care of this valuable investment will go a long way in reducing maintenance costs.
Making sure that you track chains are adjusted to the correct tension will help to reduce premature wear on the undercarriage components. The undercarriage is designed so that all the components wear evenly. If the track chains are too loose, the components of the undercarriage will wear unevenly and can affect the productivity and wear of all the components.
It is good practice to check the tension of your tracks every 10-15 hours of use. If the tracks come out of adjustment you can risk losing a track all together and can damage a track in the process. Tracks that are too tight can cause excessive roller and idler wear and can begin to tear the tracks. Follow your operator's manual for the proper track inspection and tensioning procedures.
The undercarriage is exposed to many different environments and must be kept clean and well-greased to avoid proper operation. Jobsite debris like mud, snow, dirt and rocks can build up on the undercarriage which leads to faster component wear. If the undercarriage is exposed to extreme conditions, the tracks should be inspected periodically and any build up should be removed. At the end of each work day, the machine should be washed down and inspected for any damage. This is a great time to inspect the undercarriage for any missing or damaged components. Any missing or damaged components should be repaired immediately to avoid further wear or damage.
Your operator has the most influence on the life and longevity of the undercarriage of your machine. The ability for your operator to identify and address issues that arise directly impact your repair time and downtime costs. Instructing your operators on the correct way to drive your compact excavator will greatly reduce downtime due to improper training.
At the end of the day, understanding the importance of undercarriage care and maintenance will greatly influence the life and longevity of your compact excavator's undercarriage. Proper care of this valuable investment will go a long way in reducing maintenance costs.