Quick Guide to CTL Undercarriage Maintenance

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Crawler Undercarriage and Parts: Grousers, Shoes, Rollers, Links, Bushings, Pins, Idlers, Etc.

A Deere CTL

Performing preventive maintenance on a compact track loader or multi-terrain loader can save thousands in repairs and downtime.

The hydraulic drive motor professionals at Texas Final Drive have come up with a short guide to keep CTLs running smoothly, with special emphasis on the track drive, undercarriage, and tracks.

CTL track drive motors

One of the most important maintenance tasks for a final drive is to regularly check the oil on the planetary side. Ideally, the oil level should be checked in the final drive or track motor about once every 100 hours of operation. Change out the oil at least once a year.

Also check the case drain filter every 500 hours and replace it when installing a new or rebuilt drive. If the case drain filter becomes clogged, then it results in extreme pressure build-up in the final drive. This has a domino effect that leads to expensive and irreparable damage to the track drive hydraulic motor.

CTL undercarriage

The undercarriage of the machine represents a significant portion of owning and operating costs and most of the repair costs. It should be cleaned daily.

If working in an environment full of abrasive materials such as gravel or clay, the undercarriage should be cleaned out several times a day. While this may seem extreme, remember that these types of materials can do the most damage to the key components of an undercarriage. 

If temperatures are expected to drop below freezing between shifts, then run the machine a few cycles in forward and reverse before shutdown. The reduces moisture on the tracks and undercarriage that could freeze.

CTL tracks

Tracks are another major investment for a machine. Not only can the tracks be expensive, but they can also increase wear and tear on the undercarriage when not maintained correctly.

The first rule of CTL maintenance, Texas Final Drive says, is check and adjust the track tension on a regular basis. If the track is too tight, it will cause premature wear of the undercarriage; if it is too loose, there may be a ratcheting effect where the track drive lugs will actually jump over the sprocket rollers.

Also, keep in mind that idlers and rollers, while they are sealed and lubricated permanently, are eventually going to wear out. Idlers, rollers, sprockets, and tracks should be checked and replaced when showing signs of excessive wear to prevent unneeded wear and tear on other parts of the undercarriage. In addition, avoid leaving fluids like grease and oil on the tracks; these fluids should be cleaned off as soon as they get on the tracks because they are not always compatible with rubber.