It’s one of the simpler maintenance chores you can do, but adjusting the tension on the tracks of your compact track loader is critically important. If your tracks get too loose, they may spool off the undercarriage and put you in a bind – replacing tracks in the field takes at least two people and often auxiliary equipment. If your tracks are too tight, they can damage the undercarriage and lead to premature wear.
We teamed with Leland Garrison, service technician at Thompson Tractor in Birmingham, Alabama, for a quick lesson on the proper way to tension the tracks on a Cat CTL. Note that different brands of CTLs will have different ways to accomplish this task, so consult your owner’s manual or your dealer and follow their instructions for the brand of machine you have.
And don’t miss our video of this guide below where Garrison takes you through each step of this process.
1. Jack up the machine
Raise one side of the machine with a jack and place a suitably rated jack under the jacking points fore and aft on the machine.
2. Remove the cover plate
This will allow you access to a special grease zerk connected to a cylinder that increases in length to stretch out or tighten the track.
3. Add or remove grease
Use a grease gun to add grease to tighten the track. Remove grease to loosen the track.
4. Measure the track sag
The top of the lower run of the track to the bottom of one of the rollers should measure about 1 inch for optimal performance. Once that’s achieved, replace cover plate, lower machine and repeat on the opposite side.