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Saturday afternoon wrenching

May 5, 2007

Leslie and her best friend Sharon have been hosting a yard sale this morning, and aside from helping to haul items to the sale location, I’ve been released on my own recognizances.    Project time.

I warmed up with a couple easy ones, cleaning some rust off, and repainting a baker’s rack, changing out some spark plugs on a ’96 Nissan.   With the rack drying and the Nissan running smoothly on all cylinders again, I thought I would tackle something a bit tougher, and that’s where I ran aground.

My rubber tracked skid loader has untold thousands of hours on it, and I replace things as they wear out or fall off, and promise myself that once I get my shop built, like so many other needy things, I’ll dismantle and restore it properly.

sandford-son-017.jpg

The latest trouble to develop is in the track assembly on this left side.  The weight of the machine is born by 13 wheels on each side.  The five smaller wheels you can see on the bottom are actually double pairs, an inside and outside pair.  The larger wheel at the front is a triple wheel assembly, and then on top are two pairs of wheels to keep the tracks up, and in shape.  These are called return idlers.  At the rear, behind the oblong shaped, angled cover is a large drive hub with lots double sets of round, tubes that engage a double row of pyramidal shaped rubber lugs inside the tracks.  This is how they are driven.  All these wheels are affixed to heavy rails which are then sprung by three axles.  This allows the tracks to change shape as they roll over uneven terrain and help keep the machine stable and avoid tipping.   This is a unique feature.

So, with that understanding, my current trouble is with the bearings that support the rear most axel on this left side.  These bearings are like what you find in heavy trailer axles, and are arranged as an inner and an outer set.  The bearings are conical in shape and the smaller diameters point inward and run in a pressed in race.   The trouble is, the bearings are long gone, chewed and ground into a metallic paste of grease and metal. Only the races remain, and look much like a moonscape. 

sandford-son-018.jpg

In the picture above, the ruined axle stub is seen in about center of the frame.  It is now off center, and free to flop about and wallow around within the casting as the bearings are no longer present to keep it centered.   As a result of this condition, the tension on the track changes as the machine moves, and the sprocket hub then doesn’t properly engage the drive lugs at times.  I’ve spent many hours trying to get around the fact that I’m probably going to have to take this whole side apart to properly fix this.  That is a heavy, dirty, and very time consuming proposition I’m not looking forward to.  I’ll order the appropriate parts Monday, and try to work up my motivation during the course of the week.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2007 10:09 pm

    You know you can count on my help.

  2. May 5, 2007 10:13 pm

    Count me in too – I can move heavy things! 🙂

  3. May 24, 2007 3:37 pm

    Prowler Tracks ( http://www.prowlertracks.com ) has parts and tracks for about every tracked vehicle ever made. They are really reasonable, usually around 40% under oem, and they have guys in their shop that can give great technical advice. Man, that is one serious counterweight you made for that thing!

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