How to Put the Tracks on a Mini Excavator - Thompson Tractor

How to Put the Tracks on a Mini Excavator

How to Put the Tracks on a Mini Excavator

Wondering how to install the track on a mini excavator? You’ve come to the right place. With the right tools and a little help, you can get the track back on the machine in under 30 minutes. Follow these steps to get your machine operable so you can finish your project without missing any deadlines.

What Causes Tracks to Come Off Mini Excavators?

Many factors can contribute to the track coming off your excavator. The most common reasons include heavy use, contact with rough terrain and damaged equipment. The tracks may also be too loose on the machine.

Before you use a mini excavator, always check the tracks. They should be between 1 to 2 inches from the rollers in the center bottom when the tension is correct.

How Can You Tell if a Track Is Coming Off?

It’s much easier to fix a track that’s part-way off rather than one that is completely off the machine. As a result, you should check your machine’s tracks frequently and act quickly if you notice any issues.

Here are a few ways you can tell if your tracks are coming off:

  • Do a visual inspection before using the machine.
  • Regularly check the track tension.
  • Pay attention to how the machine feels.

When a track starts coming off, both tracks become misaligned. This change in alignment could result in your machine moving awkwardly. If your excavator suddenly stops working, it could be because the track is jammed or has come off.

Can You Adjust Tracks on a Mini Excavator By Yourself?

You may be able to fix the track on a mini excavator by yourself. However, trying to fix the track without help will result in a longer, more complex process. Safety is another important factor when adjusting tracks on a mini excavator, and you should have someone assisting you to help ensure things go smoothly.

If a track comes off when you’re working alone, you can still get the track back on, but you’ll need to take additional safety measures. Usually, it’s best to shut off the machine and call someone for help. This way, you won’t take any unnecessary risks.

How to Put the Tracks Back on a Mini Excavator

When you need to change tracks on a mini excavator, follow these steps. Take your time with each step, and always remember to assess the situation for safety risks. If you’re working with someone else and they’re in the operator chair, make sure they switch on the safety lever during the process. Always stay away from the track while it’s moving.

Collect Your Tools

You only need a few tools to get the track back on your excavator, regardless of whether you’re working with a rubber or steel track:

  • Chisel bar
  • Set of socket wrenches
  • Grease gun and tube of grease

Steel tracks are much heavier than rubber tracks, so you may need help to move them. It’s also a smart idea to put a jack under the excavator during the process — just to be sure nothing can fall on you.

Lift the Excavator

Lift the Excavator

Before you can work on the track, you’ll need to lift the excavator so the track is completely off the ground. This step eliminates pressure and allows the track to move freely while you work on it. You can use the machine’s boom and other attachments to push and hold the track off the ground.

If you’re working on a hill when the track comes off, do everything you can to walk the excavator to a flat location before you start trying to fix it. Handling heavy machinery on a slope is much riskier than on a flat plane. You’ll likely have to kick the track, and you don’t want to do that if the machine isn’t stable.

Loosen the Track Tension

Your mini excavator’s track tension is controlled by a piston that moves outward when it’s full of grease. To release the tension and fix the track, use a socket wrench to open the release valve on your machine. You’ll find it in the middle center hole on the track frame.

Once you open it, grease should start spraying out on its own. You’ll see the track start to relax and give you more room for adjustments. Put the release valve cover in a safe, clean place so you can screw it back on before you refill the grease tube.

Align the Track

To align the track, first assess where alignment was lost. Tracks tend to lose alignment on one end, either over the sprocket or the idler. If they’re still in place on one side, it’s much easier to get them realigned. However, if the track comes completely off, you can follow the steps below to realign one side at a time:

  1. Get the track as closely aligned as possible with physical force. You can lift, push or kick it.
  2. Next, put the pry bar underneath the track, next to the side where it’s misaligned. Have your partner run the track slowly over this side, and use the pry bar to push it back into alignment while it’s moving.
  3. Pull the pry bar out once it reaches the space at the bottom. Have the operator run the track in both directions to make sure it’s all the way on.

You can repeat these steps as often as needed until the track is correctly aligned on the machine. You’ll hear a pop and click when it lines up properly, and you’ll be able to see it.

Adjust the Tension

Now, you need to tighten the track tension back up. To do this, unscrew the grease intake valve in the center of the track frame. Use the grease gun to pump the piston full of grease, until the track is within 1 to 2 inches of the center roller on the bottom of the frame.

It’s a good idea to double-check your equipment manual for the proper spacing guidelines — some machines may vary from this general rule. After you’ve adjusted the tension, put the excavator back on the ground and run it around to make sure everything is working properly.

Get an Excavator from Thompson Tractor

Choose Thompson Tractor for Your Excavator Needs

At Thompson Tractor, you can find everything you need to keep your excavator up and running. We can source rubber tracks and other parts for you and have several different types of repair services available.

We can install tracks on a mini excavator for you, or you can call our “Do It Myself” service and talk with a professional who will help you work through the steps of fixing your equipment on your own.

Thompson Tractors has been faithfully serving construction professionals in Alabama and northwest Florida since the late 1950s. You can count on us for quality equipment, detailed customer service and a quick turnaround. Contact us today for your excavator needs!

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