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Digging over finals

Discussion in 'Excavators' started by sultan, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. sultan

    sultan Senior Member

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    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?
     
  2. bobin35

    bobin35 Well-Known Member

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  3. loudvq

    loudvq Member

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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???
     
  4. Haddy

    Haddy Well-Known Member

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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: Jul 19, 2011
  5. xcmark

    xcmark Senior Member

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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
     
  6. plantman.uk

    plantman.uk Well-Known Member

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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
     
  7. firetruck dvr.

    firetruck dvr. Active Member

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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.
     
  8. bobin35

    bobin35 Well-Known Member

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

    FSERVICE Senior Member

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    bobin35 you hit it on the head. most operators have never even looked at the manual.
    .
     
  10. Haddy

    Haddy Well-Known Member

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

    RonG Charter Member

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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
     
  12. bobin35

    bobin35 Well-Known Member

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

    sultan Senior Member

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    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. bobin35

    bobin35 Well-Known Member

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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. sultan

    sultan Senior Member

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    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?
     
  16. bobin35

    bobin35 Well-Known Member

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    I guess i kinda got off topic,sorry but i would say that digging over the finals does putt unneeded stress on them i tell operator that if at all possible to dig over the idlers they are a lot cheaper to replace than a final drive.
     
  17. Greg

    Greg Senior Member

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    I dig over the idlers when ever possible. One reason is that if you are in a tight spot when pulling toward the machine you don't get material on top of the covers covering the hydraulic hoses which go to the final drives. Granted if you stay far enough away you won't either but sometimes things get tight.,
     
  18. Gavin84w

    Gavin84w Senior Member

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    It,s not so much the final drives that are the issue when digging over them but more so the track motors that hang out on the inside and the associated piping/plumbing with it. It is a no brainer you do not dig over the finals as when pulling a bucket towards them a rock could come and damage the drive motors/plumbing, simple as that end of story and always dig over the idlers for those reasons.
     
  19. mitch504

    mitch504 Senior Member

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    The operator's manual for my Cat hoe makes the point that you should dig and travel toward the idlers whenever practical, because the reason the track tensioners don't butt up to steel, is so that spring will absorb shocks and stresses.There are no springs to protect the final drives.

    If you are slamming into things so hard you are bottoming those big springs and blowing tensioner seals....
     
  20. tootalltimmy

    tootalltimmy Senior Member

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    Well said. If you are digging and then loading a truck directly behind you (180 degrees) it is hard to say where you want the finals. Depends a lot on the circumstances I suppose?