Every part of any equipment needs replacement after some time of use. It is an essential task to maintain excellent condition.
Vehicles running on rubber tracks aren’t an exemption from this. If you own such, then you should know that you will be doing this sooner or later.
While replacing may seem an easy task, that idea will change when it comes to rubber tracks.
A simple tire weighs an average of a hundred pounds, making the replacement quite a simple task. On the other side, a rubber track can weigh from several hundred to even a thousand pounds.
With this in mind, the task itself doesn’t only need a lot of force and effort. More than that, the extreme weight invites possible danger, as well as damage to the equipment.
As the owner who is about to execute this task, you must follow every step and proceed with extreme caution. It will prevent any possible injury and damage to the equipment.
Things to Prepare Before Installing Rubber Tracks
It’s not impossible to remove and install rubber tracks with only a few tools. Despite that, it still wouldn’t beat the efficiency of heavy-duty equipment for this task. In line with this, the ones preferred most are forklifts.
Find an Open Area
To start, you will need a place that is wide enough for you to move around comfortably. Do it in an area with a flat surface. It will help reduce flow during the whole replacement process.
Next, you need to focus on the tools you will need.
These tools pertain to heavy-duty equipment used for lift and support. The former is ideal if your equipment’s frame is sturdy. Go for the latter if it is weak.
It is also crucial that you equip yourself with heavy-duty tools for pinning. The ones with the length of at least 10 inches are ideal for putting the track back again.
It is also ideal to have the following tools at hand:
- Grease valve and grease valve cover
- Top carrier mounting bolts
- Bottom roller nuts
- Sprocket segments
- Control Valve linkage
6 Steps How to Install Rubber Tracks
Now let’s get to the step-by-step guide in installing rubber tracks.
1. Loosen the Track Adjuster Grease Valve
Slowly loosen the valve to allow the grease out. You need to this before lifting the equipment from the surface. Once the pressure subsides, you can take the valve out.
2. Put Pin Then Remove the Top Carrier
Begin with putting a pin in the cleat, then start the engine and run it. It will make the track roll onto it in the rear idler, which will cause the track adjuster to fall. Work it until the pin becomes removable.
Clean up any removed grease. With the rear idler pusher, make sure it completely fell inside the tube. Then, reinstall the valve and tighten it with your tools. Finish the step by using a forklift to remove the top carriers.
3. Lift & Block the Vehicle
Remove the triangle plates located on the rear bottom rollers. As a precaution, remove its link from the opposite track drive pump.
Afterward, you can lift the vehicle from the surface and put some support beneath it. Don’t raise it too high. Lift it enough to have the bottom cleats beneath the rollers.
Some sprockets come in parts. If your vehicle does, you can take out three and keep one on it. You don’t have to do anything if it’s one-piece.
TAKE NOTE: In choosing wood blocks or stands, go for the ones appropriate to your vehicle’s weight. Remember that both of these should be able to provide support for the machine.
4. Place Pins, Run the Track and then Remove Parts
Once the vehicle is above ground, run the track to take out the parts. Here are the steps to do it:
- Put three pins between cleats with spaces. Do it on the lower part of the track beneath the rear idler.
- Power-up the engine and run the old track forward. The movement should cause the pins to raise the cleats away from the rear idler. As you do this, focus more on the task of supporting the machine. Turn the engine off.
- Wrap the track from the middle to the upper point of the rear idler with the appropriate strap.
- While the pins act as a slide, take out the track away from the rear idler.
- Power up the vehicle again. Rearrange the one-segment sprocket pointing rear, if used.
- Turn down the engine. Take the track away from beneath the machine and from the front-drive housing.
- With the appropriate straps, pull each end of the track. Upon finishing, set the brakes in a specific position to hold.
5. Remove the existing track and Install the new one
Pull out the track, away from the rear idler. Begin from beneath the vehicle, apart from the front-drive housing. With the use of straps, pull on each end.
Below are the steps in installing the new track:
- Place the replacement near the frame and center it, making sure it’s properly aligned.
- Lift the track to the pry bars on the frame.
- Place the track in the drive end and sprocket. If you have segmented sprockets, you can turn one segment left until it points up.
- Push the track’s bottom part beneath the rollers. The support should be low enough to lock it in towards the rollers’ interior. Place it on the rear idler and towards the cleats.
- Put two pins, with size and length matching the machine, to the cleats on the bottom of the rear idler. Power-up the engine and turn these on the rear idler.
- If done accordingly, the track should be able to work itself on.
- Afterward, reinstall the bottom rollers as well as the triangle plates. Use a forklift to support the rollers.
- Put down the vehicle. Place the upper rollers back. Afterward, change the track to its appropriate form according to the model.
6. Reinstall the Track Parts
After putting on the new track, it’s now time to put back the track parts. Here is the step-by-step guide that you should follow to reinstall the track parts.
- Support the top part of the track using a pry bar or any other similar tool. Do this upon installing and working the bottom part.
- Afterward, push the cleat that the track slides beneath the bottom rollers.
- Once finished with the bottom rollers, lower the support for a bit to secure the track.
- Rotate the track with two pins fitting inside the links.
- The track will automatically set itself in the right place if the pins are correct.
- Once done, work on the bottom roller.
- Place the triangle plates and tighten the nuts.
- Afterward, lower the vehicle and put back the upper carrier rollers.
While installing rubber tracks can be a difficult task, it is nonetheless doable.
The above steps and information serve as a guide to making the most out of your new rubber tracks.
With proper installation, you will not only avoid unwanted accidents. An accurate execution can help you make the most out of your vehicle. Further, it can even prolong the life of the new track.
Do you know the right size for your replacement rubber track?
If you still have no idea, you can check out our guide on measuring rubber track size.