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6 ton hitachi - rubber to steel/pads

Discussion in 'Compact Excavators' started by Canuck Digger, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. Canuck Digger

    Canuck Digger Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Location:
    Mission, BC, Canada
    The rubber shoes on my 6 ton hitachi are pretty much done. Got about 1500 hours out of the oem's so can't complain.
    Got a quote for steel track group with rubber bolt on pads installed for about $5500 CAN. I'm about 3K for replacement rubber tracks plus install, so less than half.
    Seems to make sense to only do the tracks once and forever (steel). Couple of the benefits I'm thinking/hoping switching to steel will bring: bit more weight on the bottom of the machine, less bounce/stability over the side (no rubber to flex), no chance of damage/chewing/tearing up a track.
    My questions are....
    what are the drawbacks of going to steel/pads vs. rubber? (other than maybe more lawn damage and noise)
    Why are not more operators switching to steel tracks or dealers selling more of of this size machine with steel tracks.?

    Around here, I bet 99% of 5-6.5 ton excavators are rubber tracks from dealer and are kept that way forever. There must be a reason! Thx.
     
  2. heymccall

    heymccall Senior Member

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    My PC95-2 ate its rails before 2800 hours. Meanwhile, I'm getting 4 to 6k hours on my rubber tracked TB180FRs and TB53FR.
     
  3. Tags

    Tags Senior Member

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    I find the biggest benefit to having rubber tracks is the fact that I don’t need to lay plywood down when traveling over a paved or concrete surface, saves a massive amount of time instead of laying out plywood or mats. Just need to mind the surfaces that you or your employees work on, if it’s a ton of rock and they turn, twist, and constantly spin the tracks the rubber ones have no chance in lasting. If you are working in rock a lot and don’t need to worry about tracking over sensitive surfaces all the time I would replace with steel, you may even be able to get wider pads which will make the machine more stable.
     
  4. Canuck Digger

    Canuck Digger Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Hence the rubber pads over the steel goursers. Should take care of the hard surface crossing issue. Yes, trying to see if I can get my hands on 18" pads.

    Interesting. Assuming the rails alone would not be a ton of $. What brand rubber tracks are you using? There is no chance I'd get 4k hours out of a set of tracks. I consider myself a pretty careful/mindful operators and

    I'd be lucky to get 2k hrs out of a set. Hasn't happened to me yet but I know it has to many. If I blow a chord or rip a track on concrete, rebar etc. chances are you're going to replace both tracks and keep the other for a spare. Once incident of that sorts and the steel tracks are paid for. It's bound to happen eventually.
    Keep your thoughts/experiences coming!
     
  5. heymccall

    heymccall Senior Member

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    My TB53FR got 4k on OEM bridgestones. Tried a set from Vtrack...they were elastic and were sent back. Put Bridgestones on again. Machine has 9k hours now, and should have gotten new tracks a year ago (700hrs), but they still keep hanging on. Have ITR tracks sitting, waiting.
    The TB180FR machins (4 of them) all got over 4k on OEM (Bridgestone) and I've since been running ITR tracks. They average over 5k before breaking. Two of my TB180FR have over 11k hours now.
     
    CM1995 likes this.
  6. Don.S

    Don.S Well-Known Member

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    We have a deere 35d with 5800 hour on the original rubber tracks and they just keep on going. I sit in that seat the most and can definitely say ive done stuff to them in the name of productivity that i probably should not have. We also have a tb180fr with steel tracks and i would trade them any day for rubber. Dragging around ply wood to protect surfaces gets old fast.
     
  7. uffex

    uffex Senior Member

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    Good day
    May be worth a thought steel tracks with rubber inserts might give you what you are looking for.
    Kind regards
    Uffex Rubber pads.jpeg Rubber pads.jpeg Rubbershoe.jpeg
     
  8. Canadian_digger

    Canadian_digger Senior Member

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    I think the original post said his quote was steel with rubber pads. So no issue with working on delicate surfaces.

    I had a 8 ton kubota with rubber tracks, I now have a 8 ton cat with steel tracks with bolt on pads. For this size machine I would never go back to rubber tracks.
     
  9. heymccall

    heymccall Senior Member

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    My TB180FR are rubber tracked, and I'd never go to steel, even road liners, or rubber pads.
    My smallest with steel track..Caterpillar 314 machines. All four have steel triple grousers with bolt on rubber pads.
    The labor to swap UC parts at 5k hours is ridiculous (I've done all four here).

    For the time, money, effort and overall durability, I'd never, ever put steel tracks on my mini excavators, ever.
     
  10. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    My $.02 is the Bridgestone tracks are far superior to anything else. I know we're talking mini's but the Bridgestone's have lasted 1000 HRS and 3 years on one of my 279D's - I've never got that out of any other track. The B's are worth the money IMHOP.
     
  11. RTSmith

    RTSmith Senior Member

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    I've not had rubber tracks on a ex, but I've had the steel tracks with bolt on rubber pads on a 307 and a 310. While they weren't too bad on my concrete or asphalt, I was surprised at how hard they are on regular yard turf. The rubber sinks in, leaving a large hump in between the rubber pads wich then sticks up as you pass through. More so than even my D4G. And boy the traction on rock or such is awful. Just no bite.
     
  12. Canuck Digger

    Canuck Digger Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    Business Owner, Equipment Operator, Fishing Guide
    Location:
    Mission, BC, Canada
    Thanks for all the replies to all. Oh and by the way, you were no help. lol. jkn. Right where I started.... Still not sure which way to go.
     
  13. Batkom

    Batkom Well-Known Member

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    I don’t know if you made a decision yet, but I ll throw my 2 cents in!
    I have had 2 rubber tracked machines, hitachi ex50 and a JD 60G.
    The tracks on the 50 were pretty wore out when I bought it, and they were pretty easy on the lawn when I had to go on it.
    The 60 was brand new, and it messed up the lawn as the lugs on the track would leave deep impressions.
    Also I did tear those up a bit when I was in rocky areas, even being careful.
    The PC75UU2 I have now, has steel track’s, and is actually much easier on the lawn than the 60G was, even though it’s 4000 lbs heavier.
    As far as using the way I do most of the time, on rocks, dirt, and in the woods.
    Overall I much prefer the steel tracks.

    Even on asphalt they leave almost no marks if your reasonably careful.
    They do scar up concrete though, and will break the edges of the concrete if you don’t protect them.
     
  14. suladas

    suladas Senior Member

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    I just put new rubber tracks on my TB153FR, 1300 a piece and had good reviews so as long as they last like previous set i'm happy. I never knew they'd last that long, I bought machine with 2900 hours and the tracks were not close to new looking then and at 4300 hours now. They were still ok, but about 3 links snapped. I didn't think that would be the thing to go, I thought surely it would be the cords as some were exposed for awhile. I'm wondering now if maybe they were the original tracks still? They were Bridgestones.

    Steel with rubber pads I think would be nice but costly and I don't want the extra weight. It is surprising what the rubber tracks will take though.