Putting a Track Back on Your Mini Excavator: A Step-by-Step Guide

Reattaching tracks to your mini excavator may seem daunting at first, but with the right approach and tools, it can […]


Reattaching tracks to your mini excavator may seem daunting at first, but with the right approach and tools, it can be smooth and effective.

This article will provide a detailed roadmap that will get you back on track in no time, so let’s learn the way of putting a track back on your mini excavator.

Gathering Tools and Equipment

A well-prepared workspace is the first step towards a successful result. It is important to have the right tools and equipment at your disposal to ensure a smooth process.

Essential Tools

Pry Bar: For maneuvering and prying the track off the undercarriage with precision, this tool allows for effective leverage, making the removal process both safe and efficient.

Pry bars

Torch Wrench: For heavy-duty applications, a torch wrench is your reliable companion for loosening stubborn bolts and nuts. Its durability and strength are unmatched when dealing with the robust components of your mini excavator.

Torch wrenches

Grease Gun and Grease: Once the new track is ready for installation, a grease gun and grease become your allies in ensuring smooth operation and longevity. They are vital for lubricating the track and maintaining the correct tension.

A grease gun

It’s always good to have some helpful items when working with an excavator, for they can make the task much easier and more manageable. Now that you have assembled your toolkit, you are fully equipped to put a track back on your mini excavator.

Understanding Your Mini Excavator

Having a good understanding of your machine will help you select the right parts and follow the correct procedures for your equipment.

Identifying the Model of Your Mini Excavator

Identifying the model of your mini excavator is the first step. Knowing the exact specifications of your excavator will assist you in sourcing the correct track components and consulting the right manuals or guides for your model.

Checking for Directional Patterns on Tracks

Mini excavator tracks often have a specific pattern to optimize traction and reduce material buildup. Created by the arrangement of lugs and grooves, it’s crucial to determine whether your tracks are directional.

Its V-shaped lugs guarantee that the tracks will function effectively, providing the necessary grip and preventing the accumulation of debris beneath the machine.

Familiarizing Yourself with the Undercarriage and Track System

Inspect the undercarriage and track system of your mini excavator. Get familiar with the track tension system and how the grease valves are incorporated into the undercarriage.

Thoroughly understanding your mini excavator, you will get a job well done and be ready to solve the problem.

Lifting the Machine

Utilizing the Blade and Bucket for Lifting

Make sure that the blade touches the ground firmly at the back of the machine. Then lower the arm and bucket located at the front end and use them to push against the ground. T

his will distribute the weight and pressure evenly, making the machine stable and secure.

Alternative Lifting Methods without a Blade

If your mini excavators are not equipped with a blade or in situations where it is not feasible to use it, one alternative method is using the bucket to create leverage by pushing against a solid surface.

You should turn the machine so that the bucket is aligned with one of the tracks and then lower the boom and arm to apply pressure and lift the machine.

Ensuring Your Safety

Ensuring your safety is the most important thing during the lifting. The Pilot Shutoff Lever, also known as the safety lever, plays a vital role.

Before attempting to lift the machine, you must engage the shutoff lever, which cuts off hydraulic pressure to all pilot control valves. This action immobilizes the machine, preventing any accidental movement that could lead to a sudden drop or other dangerous situations.

Releasing the Track Tension

Locating and Accessing the Grease Valves

The grease valves for maintaining the tension of the track system are usually located on the underside of the undercarriage close to the idler wheels.

To access these valves, you’ll need to either crawl under the machine or use a mechanic’s creeper, ensuring you have a clear view.

Releasing Grease and Loosening the Track

Use a torch wrench to loosen the valves counterclockwise when they are located. As you do this, the grease will begin to flow out, reducing the tension on the track.

Relieve the pressure gradually to prevent the track from falling off abruptly or causing any injury. For some machines, you might need to use a chisel bar to help bring the idle wheel in and release more tension.

Handling the Track’s Descent and Removal of the Grease Valve

As the track begins to descend due to the released tension, be prepared to guide it safely away from the undercarriage.

Use a pry bar to gently pry the track upwards and off the idler and sprocket, taking care not to damage any components. Once the track is free, remove the grease valve, ensuring it is stored in a safe place.

Removing the Old Track

Loosening and Removing the Track

A pry bar can be instrumental in applying additional tension.

Position the bar at the track’s juncture with the sprocket and coordinate with the operator to drive the track backward. This generates the necessary tension, drawing the idler wheel closer and facilitating the track’s eventual removal.

Prying the Track off the Idler and Sprocket

With the track sufficiently loosened, the next phase involves prying it off the idler and sprocket.

You need a well-placed pry bar, slid beneath the track’s upper section adjacent to the idler. As you advance the track, the pry bar should be used to gently lift and disengage the track from its resting place on the front idler.

Safety Tips

Throughout the removal, protective gear is essential to shield against potential hazards. The machine should be secured to prevent any unexpected movement, with wheel chocks in place if required.

Clear communication between the operator and the individual removing the track is imperative to avoid any accidents.

The track of an excavator

Installing the New Track

Confirming the Directionality of the New Track

Confirm the directionality of the new track, so that you can install the track in the correct orientation. It can ensure that the track will work effectively.

Positioning the Track on the Sprocket and Carrier Roller

Confirm the directionality and position of the new track atop the sprocket and the carrier roller. This requires a coordinated effort between the operator and the person handling the track. The track’s alignment should be precise, for it affects the track’s function and avoids any issues during operation.

After finishing these steps, you will set the stage for a successful track installation, ensuring that your mini excavator is ready to tackle the challenges of any excavation task with its newly installed track.

Securing the Track in Place

After the meticulous preparation and positioning of the new track, the focus now shifts to securing it in place with precision and care, ensuring a seamless and reliable fit for your mini excavator.

Utilizing the Pry Bar to Force the Track onto the Idler

The pry bar is an essential tool to apply the final force needed to guide the track onto the idler. With the track partially seated, you’ll need to carefully insert the pry bar between the track and the idler wheel, using it as a lever to push the track into place.

Make sure that the track is correctly aligned and fully engaged with the idler without causing any damage to the components.

Ensuring Proper Seating of the Track

After making contact with the idler, it’s time to confirm that the track is securely seated on both the sprocket and idler. The track should be evenly positioned, with the lugs making full contact with the sprocket teeth and the track’s edge firmly seated against the idler.

Double-check the track’s engagement and make minor adjustments if necessary to guarantee a perfect fit.

Solutions to Common Issues

If you encounter any difficulties, please remain patient and methodical. Common issues can often be resolved by relieving additional tension from the track by releasing more grease, or by slightly repositioning the machine to create better leverage.

In some cases, it may be necessary to disengage the track slightly and reapply force with the pry bar to achieve the correct seating.

With the track firmly in place, your machine is one step closer to resuming its full operational capabilities.

A Mini Excavator

Adjusting the Track Tension

Cleaning the Grease Valve and Access Hole

Before reinserting the grease valve, you must clean both the valve and its access hole. Use a clean rag or paper towel to remove grease and debris, ensuring a clean surface for a secure fit. A clean environment for the valve will help prevent leaks and maintain the correct tension.

Reinserting and Securing the Grease Valve

With a clean access hole, carefully reinsert the grease valve, ensuring it is properly aligned and securely tightened. The valve plays a pivotal role in maintaining the track’s tension, so it must be correctly installed to prevent any issues.

Applying Grease and Achieving the Correct Track Tension

Once the valve is secured, use a grease gun to apply fresh grease to the valve.

The goal is to achieve a track tension where there is a slight give, about the width of a finger, between the center of the track and the undercarriage’s inner ridge. This tension is crucial for the track’s performance, providing a balance between stability and flexibility.

Running the Machine to Readjust and Confirm Proper Tension

After applying grease and setting the initial tension, it’s time to put the machine through its paces. Start the mini excavator and run the track forward and backward to allow the track to settle into its new position.

Pay attention to the tension as the track moves; it may need further adjustment to ensure it remains at the correct level. Always end the test by moving the track backward to avoid over-tensioning.

Post-Installation Checks and Maintenance

After installing the new track on your mini excavator, remember to have an inspection and set up a maintenance plan to ensure the track’s longevity and performance.

Further Adjustments After the Initial Operation

The new track needs some time to settle and stretch as it adapts to the machine’s movements. After a few hours or the first day of operation, recheck the track tension.

It may have loosened slightly, necessitating additional grease to be applied at the valves to restore the correct tension. This fine-tuning ensures that the track remains at peak performance and reduces the risk of derailment or other operational issues.

Regular Maintenance Tips

To get the most use of the new track, regular maintenance is key. Keep a schedule for inspecting the track for signs of wear, damage, or excessive tension.

Lubricate the track regularly to reduce friction and prevent the buildup of dirt and debris, which can affect the track’s performance and lifespan.

Additionally, monitor the grease valves for any leaks or signs of damage, and ensure that the undercarriage is kept clean to facilitate easy inspections. Following these maintenance tips will help extend the life of your track and keep your mini excavator running smoothly and reliably.

A consistent maintenance routine can help you enjoy a well-functioning track and mini excavator.

A man using an excavator


From lifting the machine to maintenance, one needs to spend enough time to ensure the proper installation of tracks on a mini excavator. With this guide, you are now better equipped to know track replacement.


Q: Why do tracks keep coming off my mini excavator?

A: Improper installation, where the track is not correctly seated on the undercarriage components, can lead to derailment. Lack of maintenance can cause increased friction and debris buildup. Worn or damaged undercarriage parts can fail to retain the track properly. Additionally, incorrect track tension can also contribute to the issue.

Q: How do you adjust the tracks on a mini excavator?

A: First ensure the machine is turned off and stabilize it on a level surface. Locate the grease valves on the undercarriage near the idler wheels. Then, use a wrench to loosen the grease valves, making the track lower and release tension.

Add or release grease through the valves as needed. Finally, lower the machine and test the tracks by operating the excavator to confirm proper tension and function.

Q: What happens if you over-tighten excavator tracks?

A: Over-tightened tracks can cause premature wear or even breakage of undercarriage components, reduce flexibility and mobility, cause overheating and potential track damage. In severe cases, lock up the track and prevent the excavator from moving, leading to a dangerous situation.

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