How To: Changing Track Shoes on Your Excavator

Excavators typically have wide shoes so proper installation is very important to prevent bolts from coming loose and damaging your track chains, not to mention losing your shoes.

  1. Waterblast the tracks to remove all mud and debris from all areas around the bolt head, nuts, & beneath the shoes. (Bolts sometimes can be removed with an impact, but in my experience bolt sizes of 16mm and smaller will need to be cut off with a torch)
  2. Always cut the nuts off instead of the bolt heads. After completely cutting the nuts, the shoes can be removed by hitting shoe with a sledgehammer which breaks the shank of the bolt loose. Remove all the bolts from shoes and stack them aside.
  3. The bottom of the shoe should be cleaned with a wire brush or grinder so no rust remains on area of shoe that will be in contact with the new chain.
  4. Cut one set of track links and remove the chains from machine.
  5. Unroll new track chain and slide under track frames, wrap around sprocket, rollers, and idlers. Make sure you have the chain going in the proper direction.
  6. After installing chain, remove paint from top of links that will make contact with bottom of shoe, failure to do this can result in bolts loosening. A disc grinder works well for this.
  7. Lay cleaned shoes on clean track chain
  8. Pour some heavy oil (80-90W) is best, dip bolts thread deep or about an inch into oil to lubricate the threads and install through shoes and links. This helps with tightening and makes future removal easier.
  9. Start nuts onto bolts by hand, making sure you have the treads started well. Using a criss-cross pattern run each bolt down until your gun just starts to impact, make sure the nut is “seated” in the link. Stop and go onto next bolt.
  10. Torque bolts: This can be done by referring to your machine’s manufacturer service manual for specs. If the specs are not available, use a metal marker and place 2 vertical lines on your socket 180 degrees apart to use as a visual aid. Again using a criss-cross pattern tighten bolts ½ of a turn after gun starts impacting. From our experience, this will always put you within the + or – torque range of manufacturer  specs

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