Legacy Habitat Management recently undertook some major overhauling of the running gear on their workhorse Caterpillar Skidsteer 277B. Since owning this machine it has put in many hours hard labour resulting the need to replace the much worn rubber tracks. We decided to undertake this work ourselves and ordered the necessary tracks from Finning (UK) Ltd.
We also had to purchase the appropriate track tensioning tool from Finning as this was missing from our machine.
First process was to jack up the Cat 277B Skidsteer so that each track was clear of the ground by at least 3 inches. The lifting was done with 2 trolley jacks allowing the machine to come to rest on 4 x 2 tonne axle stands, one at each corner of the floor pan.
Tension was released from the track by undoing the bolts on the tensioning wheel. The track tensioning tool was then used to crank the drive sprocket unit forward to give more slack to the rubber track. All bolts holding these units in place had to be soaked in penetrating oil prior before they could be shifted and some had to be grinded off, to be replaced later.
The drive sprocket was then removed to allow for complete removal of the track. Some careful, but forceful ‘crowbaring ‘ was still required to remove the track fully, pulling the track over the front idler set first.
If undertaking these works yourself, be prepared to have a can of worms opened for you at this point. We discovered worn bogie/idler wheel bearings, bogie hubs, which were supposed to be full of hub oil, completely dry and empty, and perished wheel rubber. All of these issues needed addressing before replacing the tracks, we’re hoping not to have these tracks off again for some time, if ever. Make sure you have the means to remove a 5/16” grub screw from the hubs for oiling, a normal allen key may not be suitable, we snapped a few in the process, they are very tight.
After completion of oiling all the hubs and replacing necessary parts it was time to wrestle with the new tracks. Lifting gear is required to move them in to place. Bogie wheel rubbers and the insides of the tracks were coated in washing up liquid to ease the installation of the new tracks. Tracks where lined up alongside running gear and levered into place using crowbars as ‘tyre levers’, locating the track over the front idler wheels first.
After levering the rest of the track in to place, no mean feat, the drive sprocket was reassembled and unit cranked back in to place using the tensioning tool. A number of bolts that had to be ground off for removal were replaced, tracks could then be re-tensioned, we were then good to go............ not quite, next on the list, a leaky water-pump, but that’s another story......