Track tension

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Team Fountain

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Mar 16, 2004
Messages
61
How tight do you keep your tracks? I've been keeping mine fairly snug - as in about 1/2” of droop on the top side. I've been watching other machines pretty close over the last few weeks and have noticed most of them run their tracks VERY loose. Is this a lack of maintenance issue, or is this the way of the world?
 

864wood

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Joined
Mar 27, 2004
Messages
87
I have seen other machines in the feild and they are real sloppy, but I believe that is due in part to the operators and not the owners. The chief reason I see that the tracks need to be snug is if you let them get to floppy and then you pick up a big piece of debris inside the track and it runs over the front sprocket it will pop the track off . If you can grab the track and wiggle it up and down to the point it slaps the track housing easily, put more grease in.
 

bobcat2111

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Aug 22, 2006
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Are you in an area that has a lot of sand. A lot of owners will leave their tracks a little looser in sandy conditions around an inch. The reason being is that the idler's, sprockets and rollers don't wear as fast when the tracks aren't as tight. If you aren't in sandy conditions I would continue running 1/2"
 

JOK

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Joined
Aug 25, 2006
Messages
20
Tracks should be kept adjusted to 1/2". A slack track does not put less pressure on the undercarriage, however it will not bind up as quickly when sand or soil is caught between the cleats and the idlers. Running the track loose will allow the cleat guides to drop out of the rollers and then possibly comeoff the idler. As the cleats, sprocket and [more rapidly], the front idler wear, the distance between the track and track frame decreases to a point where no amount of adjustment will prevent the two from hitting. I have a T190 [Gold Coast, AUSTRALIA] which I have just replaced the first set of tracks on. [2100 hours in 12 months].This machine is fitted with the older type oil filled idlers and rollers which have been a real pain.I believe the failure of these is largely due to seals more so than bearings. The cheap and nasty metal caps that cover the seals DO NOT WORK. Dust and mud enters the space between cap and seal, and as one is moving and the other is stationary the seal is ground away. Surely an easy fix for a such a customer orientated company like Bobcat. Replacement [OEM] parts over here are VERY expensive so I quickly sourced parts from local suppliers,[Bearings 1/5th the price of genuine]. I have also built-up the wear surfaces of the sprockets and idlers[standard welding rods, not hard facing] as I would rather do a bit more welding than wear the cleats prematurely with the hard facing, This has worked very well. Just remember to drive your machine like a track loader, not a skid steer loader. It's the quickest way to wear your tracks or have one come off. Good luck.
 

Notamechanic

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Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Messages
1
Tracks should be kept adjusted to 1/2". A slack track does not put less pressure on the undercarriage, however it will not bind up as quickly when sand or soil is caught between the cleats and the idlers. Running the track loose will allow the cleat guides to drop out of the rollers and then possibly comeoff the idler. As the cleats, sprocket and [more rapidly], the front idler wear, the distance between the track and track frame decreases to a point where no amount of adjustment will prevent the two from hitting. I have a T190 [Gold Coast, AUSTRALIA] which I have just replaced the first set of tracks on. [2100 hours in 12 months].This machine is fitted with the older type oil filled idlers and rollers which have been a real pain.I believe the failure of these is largely due to seals more so than bearings. The cheap and nasty metal caps that cover the seals DO NOT WORK. Dust and mud enters the space between cap and seal, and as one is moving and the other is stationary the seal is ground away. Surely an easy fix for a such a customer orientated company like Bobcat. Replacement [OEM] parts over here are VERY expensive so I quickly sourced parts from local suppliers,[Bearings 1/5th the price of genuine]. I have also built-up the wear surfaces of the sprockets and idlers[standard welding rods, not hard facing] as I would rather do a bit more welding than wear the cleats prematurely with the hard facing, This has worked very well. Just remember to drive your machine like a track loader, not a skid steer loader. It's the quickest way to wear your tracks or have one come off. Good luck.
Bought a used 2004 T190 with 737 hrs. on it in June for a backyard project. Yesterday I noticed the left track slipping and was pretty loose. I found a post that told how adjust the tension. I added grease the cylinder appeared to move about two inches, tension seemed fineand I went back to working. A couple of hours later it was loose again, when I inspected the front access panel I found a lot more grease. It looks like a seal was breached or something. It accepts grease fine and doesn't come out the other end while adding grease only after using. Is this common? Any idea of cost or even what might have to be replaced? I'm not totally incompetent with wrenches but not great at it either. Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Don
 

goodtech

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Joined
Nov 22, 2005
Messages
112
Bought a used 2004 T190 with 737 hrs. on it in June for a backyard project. Yesterday I noticed the left track slipping and was pretty loose. I found a post that told how adjust the tension. I added grease the cylinder appeared to move about two inches, tension seemed fineand I went back to working. A couple of hours later it was loose again, when I inspected the front access panel I found a lot more grease. It looks like a seal was breached or something. It accepts grease fine and doesn't come out the other end while adding grease only after using. Is this common? Any idea of cost or even what might have to be replaced? I'm not totally incompetent with wrenches but not great at it either. Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks, Don
This is a cheap fix and relatively easy. You need jack up the machine put it on jack stands, loosen up your bleeder screw(right beside your grease zerk) take a peice of pipe throw it in the track run your machine forward(this will collaspse your cyclinder) take a bar remove the track, pull your from idler out, take the cyclinder out. this is a cheap fix, pull your cyclinder apart, there is a oring and seal that need to be replaced, replace them and put everything back together. This is not a common problem, been with bobcat for 4+years and maybe repacked two of them. Good luck
 

Kudagra

Active member
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
34
This is a cheap fix and relatively easy. You need jack up the machine put it on jack stands, loosen up your bleeder screw(right beside your grease zerk) take a peice of pipe throw it in the track run your machine forward(this will collaspse your cyclinder) take a bar remove the track, pull your from idler out, take the cyclinder out. this is a cheap fix, pull your cyclinder apart, there is a oring and seal that need to be replaced, replace them and put everything back together. This is not a common problem, been with bobcat for 4+years and maybe repacked two of them. Good luck
Actually goodtech it is a problem. Bobcat has been replacing a bunch in my area for a few years now on the newer machines. The problem is the chroming of the rod. It wears off. You can replace the seals but if the chrome is worn off the rod its going to leak again. I think Ive done 4 sets this year for that problem.
 

MrHart

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Joined
Feb 28, 2007
Messages
4
Actually goodtech it is a problem. Bobcat has been replacing a bunch in my area for a few years now on the newer machines. The problem is the chroming of the rod. It wears off. You can replace the seals but if the chrome is worn off the rod its going to leak again. I think Ive done 4 sets this year for that problem.
Kudagra is correct. The chrome has been coming off of the rods and damaging the cylinder seals. I couldn't even count how many we've replaced due to this issue.
 

skidsteer.ca

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Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
3,853
Kudagra is correct. The chrome has been coming off of the rods and damaging the cylinder seals. I couldn't even count how many we've replaced due to this issue.
Could these be repaired by welding in a new section of hydraulic cylinder shafting or is a new part the only option. What is the cost of the repair?
Is this a rusting issue or does the seal travel so much that it wears out or poor chrome??
These tensioner have been in use on dozers forever and seem to survive there.
Does it apply to all the 864 and T series
Ken
 

Fishfiles

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Joined
Feb 8, 2007
Messages
1,698
I tilt the bucket down and get the whole bottom of the track off the ground and get 1 to 1 1/2 fingers under the bottom roller closest to the middle
 

Farmall

Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2007
Messages
7
I tilt the bucket down and get the whole bottom of the track off the ground and get 1 to 1 1/2 fingers under the bottom roller closest to the middle
Fishfiles indicates the current shop shortcut, though only one finger width. I think the factory spec is too tight for most operation. I ran early track sets tight as per spec and they wore out fast, no matter how easy I was on them. I leave tracks looser now, but not sloppy, and track life has improved. Too sloppy and you'll lose one (oh joy). I make sure they are tighter if I am working sidehills. Track quality, both measured over time, and by different manufacturers, has made a big difference, so comparing track life and performance always seems apples to oranges. What the operator does IS very important. BTW the early manual descriptions on how to measure and adjust track tightness must have been written by some techie that had never ever never set foot off pavement.
 

bobcat_ron

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Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
334
Fishfiles indicates the current shop shortcut, though only one finger width. I think the factory spec is too tight for most operation. I ran early track sets tight as per spec and they wore out fast, no matter how easy I was on them. I leave tracks looser now, but not sloppy, and track life has improved. Too sloppy and you'll lose one (oh joy). I make sure they are tighter if I am working sidehills. Track quality, both measured over time, and by different manufacturers, has made a big difference, so comparing track life and performance always seems apples to oranges. What the operator does IS very important. BTW the early manual descriptions on how to measure and adjust track tightness must have been written by some techie that had never ever never set foot off pavement.
I always set mine with a straight edge across the track (sprocket to front idler) and set it up for 1/2 of sag, never touched it only once a year.
 

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