Maintaining an Excavator’s Undercarriage

Just like other heavy equipment, excavators need to be maintained constantly to be able to do their best work. Most of the time, operators have a routine inspection completed to check if the attachment bearings are greased or if the hydraulic filters are dirty and need to be changed. Often, the undercarriage of the excavator is forgotten as it is not readily visible. However, despite not being visible, the undercarriage faces some extreme conditions depending on the kind of work the excavator is being used for, what the condition of the ground is, and how the operator handles the equipment.

Keep the Undercarriage Tidy

It is important to keep the undercarriage of your excavator clean so you can spot any problems and issues with it, which you would not be able to do if it were covered in dirt and grime. If you do not clean the undercarriage, it will accumulate material under the equipment. This can lead to the metal eroding away if the buildup rubs continuously against the bolts, gears, and rollers. A drop in temperature could lead to the dirt and mud freezing under the machine causing the equipment to deteriorate faster. The material accumulated on the undercarriage also adds to the weight and reduces the fuel economy of the machine.

Cleaning Tips

When you are getting the excavator’s undercarriage cleaned, have the machine parked in a wash pit so the dirty water does not contaminate the potable water resources. After removing the attachments, use a shovel to clean off the dirt and mud and then start prewashing the machine from the tires or tracks and work your way inwards. After that, you should manually remove any grease leftover before pressure washing the equipment and giving it a final wash.

A Complete Inspection

Once you have cleaned up the machine, you will be able to easily spot any issues with the excavator. Perform a full inspection of the machine. The inspection’s main focus should be on the parts of the machine that have excessive damage, uneven wear, missing parts, or torn tracks. Inspect any rock guards on the excavator as well as the motor and sprockets. After inspecting the drive mechanisms, make sure the track components are in order. Be on the lookout for any kind of oil leakage as that could mean the seal is cracked.

Replace Damaged Parts

While you were inspecting, you may have noticed that some parts of the excavator are facing excessive wear and tear. There are a few components of the machine that are more prone to damage, namely the idler, the sprockets, and the rollers. The idlers teeth on the front or back end may have been worn down, and the same thing can happen with sprockets. They may have teeth that are misshapen in different ways or missing completely. While inspecting, if you come across any components that are significantly worn down and damaged, have them replaced immediately.

Grease, Grease, Grease!

Grease is extremely important for your excavator. It is what lets that excavator move and works as well as it can. No matter what excavator you have, whether it is a track excavator or a CAT wheeled excavator, they all have grease points along the undercarriage that need to be properly lubricated. Proper greasing ensures that the machine runs smoothly, and it also prevents dirt from clogging its components. You can find out the location of all the grease points and how much lubrication they should have daily from the operator’s manual.

Track Tension

When you are done greasing, it is the perfect time to put the grease gun to another use. Use this opportunity to check the track tension. The undercarriage benefits from proper track tensioning, and the operator is able to handle the machine much better when moving over different terrains. The track should have proper tension. If it is too loose, it will slip off the excavator, and if it is too tight, it will cause the track excessive damage and might cause the bushes to blow out.

Maintain the Rest of the Excavator

Focusing on just one part of the machine is not recommended, whether it is the undercarriage, engine, or hydraulic operations. Every component works together to ensure that the machine works perfectly as it should. When one part of the machine starts to deteriorate, the other parts of the machine are placed under increased pressure, and this can cause them to wear out sooner. It is important to maintain all components of the excavator, so the equipment does not end up breaking down in the middle of a job.