Best Practices

Track Tension Tips

  • Proper track tension is important for the safe and efficienct operation of your machine
  • Learn how to properly adjust track tension to avoid unnecessary repairs

Improper tension
Tracks can come loose from your machine if they are not tighteded sufficiently, causing substantial downtime. Over-tightening can cause power loss, excessive roller and idler wear, and could tear the tracks. Refer to your operator's manual for the specific track inspection and tensioning procedures for your machine.

Making adjustments
Track tension is controlled by an adjuster located behind the front idler. Tension adjustments are made by pumping or draining grease through the track adjuster valve. Even small adjustments in track sag have a big impact on tension. A change in sag from 1" to 0.5" increases tension by about 3,000 pounds.

Inspect the adjuster valve frequently
Visually inspect your adjuster valve periodically to make sure it is working properly. If the valve shows signs of leakage, bring your machine in for repair as soon as possible.

Match Tension to Operating conditions

On-site track adjustments
Make tension adjustments on the jobsite rather than in the shop. Track tension may increase if the sprocket and chain are packed with mud or other materials. A track that is properly tensioned in the shop may become too tight when it becomes packed with mud on the job.

Test packing conditions before adjusting 
To match track tension with the specific packing conditions of the jobsite, run your machine for a short while before making the necessary adjustments.

Make frequent adjustments
Changes in weather can alter the packing conditions of the jobsite throughout the day. Making tension adjustments in response to these changes can help reduce track wear and costs.

Do not operate your machine if the tracks are frozen
Wait for the weather to improve if your tracks become frozen. If you try to use power to force the tracks, you might destroy them.

Operation

Avoid high speeds and abrupt turns
Use the slowest possible operating speed to reduce track and undercarriage wear and lower the risk of damage. Do not make abrupt turns, because they place unnecessary stress on the track and undercarriage. Continuous turning to the same side can cause asymmetrical wear.

Only operate in reverse when necessary
Avoid excessively operating your machine in reverse. Reverse operation wears tracks up to three times as quickly as forward operation, and high speed reverse is particularly destructive to tracks and undercarriage components.

Inspection
Have your undercarriage inspected annually by a trained technician to catch problems early before they lead to unnecessary damage and downtime.

Bacon Universal Co., Inc. Best Practices: Track Tension