Step by Step Compact Track Loader Rubber Track Replacement Guide
When you notice cuts, splits, cracks, missing lugs, and visible steel cords in your rubber tracks, it’s time to replace them.
If you decide to keep running your rubber tracks past this amount of damage, it will be too late and you may experience unexpected downtime on the job site.
The four signs of wear and tear you should look for when it’s time to replace your CTL’s rubber tracks are visible signs of damage to the rubber, worn-out sprockets, lack of track tension, and unsafe tread depth.
If you think your tracks are at the point where they need to be replaced, they probably are. If you have any general questions for our staff about damaged tracks, please give us a call or contact us anytime.
We have experienced hundreds of damaged OTT Tracks, replaced Mini Excavator Tracks and Compact Track Loader Tracks as well.
Our team has more experience than your average tire shop down the street. We actually run our equipment and push our C-Lug, Z-Lug, and Block-Lug tracks to their limits. Our sales guys literally run the equipment in the yard from time to time. When you call Monster Tires, you can expect first-hand experience and deep knowledge of the product that our competition simply doesn’t have.
Take a look at our step by step installation of rubber tracks on a CTL and let us know if you have any questions.
General Signs of Bad Rubber Tracks
Signs of Track Damage
- Rubber Damage: When you notice that exterior cracks on your rubber tracks this is a very dangerous sign. Exterior cracks worsen over time and can cause chunks of rubber to fall off which causes your steel core and internal cables to be exposed. Eventually, this internal core exposure will lead to corrosion and track failure.
- Worn-out sprockets: Another dangerous sign is worn-out sprockets which can be noticed when the sprockets start skipping over the lugs. Worn-out sprockets become pointed like fish hooks and can tear out the drive lugs and damage your rubber tracks.
- Track Tension: It’s a good idea to always check the track tension because having too little tension causes the tracks to jump off the undercarriage and having too much tension can cause a loss of power, tears on your rubber tracks, and excessive wear on your roller and idler bearings.
- Unsafe Tread Depth or Missing Lugs: The last sign of dangerous wear would be having an unsafe tread level. When you notice that the raised portions of your rubber track tread are no longer visible or have flattened, it’s a clear sign that you need to replace your rubber tracks. Having an unsafe tread depth can cause a loss of traction and stability.
Preferred Tools & Time to install
Time: 1 hour
- Metric Wrenches
- Grease gun
- Grease rag
- Pieces of cardboard
- Pry bar
- Safety glasses
- Jack stands
- Tape measure
- Skid Steer
- Two people
Depending on the machine and the brand of Compact Track Loader, you will have certain measurements. Some measurements are metric and some are standard.
Compact Track Loader Rubber Track Replacement Install
- Remove the Front Glass from the Cab
- Place Wood Under Rear-End of Unit
- Track Tension Relief (Bleed Grease)
- Lift Unit with the Bucket off the Ground
- Loosen the Track Tensioner
- Remove the Damaged Tracks from Front Idler
- Inspect Idlers and Sprockets
- Installing the New Rubber Tracks
- Pulling Front of Tracks Over Idler
- Reinstalling the Zerk Fitting
- Checking Space Between Rollers & Track Teeth
Step 1. Remove the Front Glass from the Cab (Closed Cab Units)
If you have a closed cab unit, the first step is to remove the front glass from the cab. The reason why we remove the front glass is that we will need to elevate the unit.
Step 2. Place Wood Under Rear-End of Unit
You want to start by placing a piece of wood under the rear end of the unit in place of a jack. When you raise the bucket on the front end of the machine, the weight will then be placed on the piece of wood.
Using a piece of wood instead of a jack is a sturdier alternative as the jack can be somewhat flimsy allowing the machine to fall. There is nothing worse than a unit falling off a set of jacks. Trust us, we have seen it happen.
Step 3. Track Tension Relief (Bleed Grease)
Proceed to remove the plate that covers the grease tension relief. Then remove the Zerk Fitting and you will see grease come out. Wearing safety glasses and safety gloves for this step is preferred as grease can unexpectedly shoot out very fast.
Step 4. Lift Unit with the Bucket off the Ground
In order to lift the skid steer, maneuver the front bucket so that it is pushing down against the concrete or the surface you are on.
Once the unit has been lifted off the ground, the pressure from the weight will be placed on the pieces of wood that you are using as a replacement for a jack.
Step 5. Loosen the Track Tensioner
Using a steel tube, pipe, or wooden block (preferred), in between the sprocket and the damaged rubber track will loosen the track tensioner.
Step 6. Remove the Damaged Tracks from the Front Idler
Once you have the track tensioner loosened you can proceed to remove the damaged tracks from the front idler. In order to do this, you can use your choice of tools.
For this installation, we are going to use a set of crowbars to remove the damaged rubber tracks from both the sprocket on the rear end of the unit and the idler on the front end of the unit.
However, in order for this to be successful, we will need to gain enough momentum in order to pry the damaged rubber tracks from the idler.
An easier and more efficient option would be to use another technique, for example, another skid steer, mini-excavator or even a winch on a truck, then you can attach a chain around the damaged rubber tracks and simply pull them off.
Feel free to refer to one of our articles explaining the step by step process of replacing mini excavator tracks using another piece of equipment.
Step 7. Inspect Idlers and Sprockets
Once you have removed the damaged tracks this is a good time to check your idlers, sprockets, and rollers for any signs of weakness or failure. If you see signs of oval-shaped idlers or sheer point sprockets then you have weak components.
Step 8. Installing the New Rubber Tracks
Begin by hoisting the new rubber tracks into place on the idler and sprocket. In order to hoist the rubber tracks, you have multiple options including using a crane, another piece of equipment like a skid steer or mini excavator, using an engine crane or even some good old man strength.
If you don’t have another piece of construction equipment or a crane it will take about four guys to lift the track into place (heavier tracks).
By using your preferred tools of choice like crowbars or ratchet straps you can position the tracks into place on the sprocket side first.
Step 9. Pulling Front of Tracks Over Idler
Option 1. Straps
Option 2. Chain Pully
Step 10. Reinstalling the Zerk Fitting
Once the tracks are securely in place on both the idler and sprocket, proceed to reinstall the zerk fitting.
Step 11. Checking the Space Between the Rollers and the Track Teeth
Depending on operator comfort and specifications of your machine you may need anywhere between an inch and a half to 3 inches of space between the rollers and the track teeth.
If you don’t have enough space between the rollers and track teeth, for example, having an inch or less of tension will wear out the tracks faster and prematurely stretch the rubber ultimately causing the tracks to fail early.