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Thread: Digging over finals

  1. #1
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    Digging over finals

    I hear people go on all the time about how great a sin it is to dig over the final drives, and that one should only dig over the front idlers, but in reality, how important is it to follow that rule? Is it really that harmful to the machine? Has anyone ever seen premature final drive failure because of this? (all the failures I've seen/heard of seem to be either from old age or from lack of oil changes)

    I usually try to dig over my idlers whenever possible, but there are occasional instances when I have to dig on both sides of the tracks or I just need to dig a little behind me and it would be awkward to turn around the undercarriage just for a little digging. The only clear benefit of digging over the idlers that I see is safety: pushing the travel levers/pedals forward should move the machine forward. When the controls are reversed due to facing backwards, theres a risk of carelessly tracking in the wrong direction, with potential dangerous consequences in some situations.

    What do you guys think? How important is it to only dig over the idlers?

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    just an example for you say if your digging on a bench and mostly underneath you and say your digging hard rock with more so 250t and bigger if you have enough power to pick up a bucket and if you have big rocks to deal with it has been known you can punch the finals with the rock and if you damage one of them most likely you would want to start looking for a new job just an example. keep in mind forward is forward and reverse is reverse all I was ever taught but the tree incident is interesting,I would be questioning if you are working in trees wouldnt you have a mesh front for that exact reason of a tree coming through the glass???

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    I would have thought that if there is a risk of a branch or tree coming thro the glass you need mesh ( minimum ) alright . If a branch etc is going to go thro the glass it is just as likely to go thro YOU . DON'T PUT YOURSELF AT THAT MUCH RISK . If that happens who gives a **** what direction the levers are facing . If one of our guys used that arguement about what direction the have the machine facing they would be down the road so fast it wouldn't be funny
    Last edited by Haddy; 07-19-2011 at 03:53 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member xcmark's Avatar
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    My feeling is it puts less strain on the final drive componets working over the idlers, the slack in the chains help cushen the drives so they done see the entire forces pushing and pulling . .02c

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    I was always taught to have the idlers at the back,finals in the front when digging because..IF something should go wrong you push your feet/pedals forward and use both hands on the joysticks to get yourself out of trouble and also there is less chance of damage to the idler ram seals from the force of whatever you are excavating...(this is only my opinion)..it works for me

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    On a machine that is "tippy" (to big bucket, thumb, pin grabber, long stick) it is good to have the drives behind you for extra weight also.

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    Heres an idea LOOK in the operators manual who knows there may be some useful info in there

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    Senior Member FSERVICE's Avatar
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    bobin35 you hit it on the head. most operators have never even looked at the manual.
    .

  10. #10
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    Well , what does your manual say ? Can't find anything about this in mine , covers just about everything else .

  11. #11
    Charter Member RonG's Avatar
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    The Caterpillar manuals that I have read tell you to dig over the idlers,not the final drives/sprockets.Ron G

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    thanks fservice and rong if some of these manuals got looked at instead of being used as backrest padding.............

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobin35 View Post
    Heres an idea LOOK in the operators manual who knows there may be some useful info in there
    I have looked in my John Deere's manual, but it doesn't say anything about digging over the finals or idlers. The manual explains how to dig, but it doesn't even mention anything about which way the undercarriage should face.

  14. #14
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    OK at the risk of oversimplification,if you took the excavator,regardless of brand to the dealer/repair shop/or your field mechanic and told them you wanted the right final drive rebuilt how do you suppose they would identify the right from the left,simple when sitting in the operators seat and idlers to the front the right one is on your right.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobin35 View Post
    OK at the risk of oversimplification,if you took the excavator,regardless of brand to the dealer/repair shop/or your field mechanic and told them you wanted the right final drive rebuilt how do you suppose they would identify the right from the left,simple when sitting in the operators seat and idlers to the front the right one is on your right.
    I'm not asking what end of the undercarriage is considered to be the front. Thank you for the information, but I already knew that. Neither am I asking about pushing trees.

    What I'm asking is: Does digging over the final drives harm an excavator in any way? I realize that digging over the finals would increase the force acting on them, but are they not designed to tolerate the stress?

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