Cat® Parts: A Guide To Steel Undercarriages And Delaying Heavy Equipment Repair

Close-up of a dozer’s muddy Cat® Steel Undercarriage with steel tracks.

If your steel undercarriage isn’t working properly, your business isn’t either. The undercarriage is the most important part of your heavy machinery and ensuring that it’s in prime condition is imperative for any successful operation.

If you’ve been using the same one for a while, it might be time to upgrade.  Undercarriage damage hurts your job site’s safety and efficiency and puts your heavy machinery at risk of breaking down entirely.

Why You Need A Cat Undercarriage:


The undercarriage is the component on the bottom of your heavy machinery made up of tracks, wheels and many other parts that enable it to move around, usually over rough surfaces and terrain. Because it consistently absorbs force from the ground, it wears down faster than any other component, and in turn, averages around 50% of your owning and operating costs.

However, Caterpillar engineers design undercarriages to last longer and give you better value. Here’s how:

Using Heavy-Duty Cat Parts: Tests have shown that a Cat undercarriage lasts twice as long as the ones from competitors; this is because they get checked against strict specifications and quality standards. Using long-lasting components helps lower industrial equipment maintenance costs because you don’t have to pay for undercarriage repairs as frequently.

Expert Engineers: Caterpillar engineers know how certain materials and conditions affect undercarriages, so they build them as a system to take on specific situations and terrains. That means whether you have to trudge through mud, sand or navigate a mine, every part of your undercarriage was built just for that reason. This lets you work more efficiently.

Less Heavy Equipment Servicing Gives You A Bigger ROI: Because each undercarriage is built by experts as a system using durable parts, they have longer lifespans so you get a lower cost per hour and increase your investment return.

How To Minimize Heavy Equipment Repair And Undercarriage Damage


Neglecting to maintain a machine’s undercarriage can be costly to your business in the long run. Small damages can jeopardize job site safety and lead to larger, more expensive construction equipment service, hurting efficiency and slowing productivity.

Here are some heavy machinery maintenance tips you can follow to prolong the life of your steel undercarriage and decrease day-to-day wear:   

Heavy Equipment Maintenance Checklist


Perform Daily Equipment Inspections: Stand back and walk around your machine to see if anything looks off with your undercarriage. Seal off any leaking fluids, check if the sprockets or bolts are worn down and inspect guide plates, rollers and links to see if any are missing or loose.

Remove Excess Materials: Use a power washer, air compressor, track spade or at least a hose to clear out any mud or excess debris lodged into the tracks. Creating a regular cleaning schedule can help save you time and money by keeping your undercarriage in top-notch shape.

Measure Your Track Tension: Having loose or overtightened tracks is harmful to the undercarriage and can cause maintenance issues over time. You’ll need to measure your track sag if you find that it’s hitting components during operation. Here’s how to measure yours to prevent further damage and know if you need a change.

Check out our “Tips From Techs” blog to see more preventative maintenance measures you can take to prolong the life of your undercarriage and other heavy machinery components.

How To Know If You Need Heavy Equipment Service For Your Excavator And Dozer Undercarriage Parts


While it’s important to check your undercarriage for damage as much as possible to avoid more expensive construction equipment repairs, knowing what to look for isn’t always as easy. Aside from measuring your track sag, which we discussed above, checking for missing or warm parts, excessive wear and abnormal noises can help you determine if you need an undercarriage fix. See below for a full checklist of what to look for:

Uneven or Excessive Wear: You’ll need to replace the tracks if one side is more worn down than the other. This problem could lead to even more expensive repairs down the line.

Damage To Undercarriage Parts: Regularly check your rollers, idlers, sprockets, track shoes and other components for damages. If you find any cracks, dents, worn-down sprocket teeth or broken parts, it’s probably time for a replacement.

Loose Track Tension: As mentioned above, you can spot potential long-term issues by measuring your track sag. Look for a noticeable sag between the sprocket and front idler and make sure it’s not too tight or loose.

Abnormal Noises and Vibrations: Watch out for any vibrations or noises that are out of the ordinary. This could be a sign of track misalignment, leading to expensive repairs if left untreated.

Warm Joints: Warm joints are a sign of excess friction. Use the back of your hand or a thermal gun to see if some are hotter than others.


Delay Heavy Equipment Maintenance By Getting The Best Cat Undercarriage Parts


If you do need a new undercarriage, Boyd CAT has you covered no matter your application. See which one works best for you:

General Duty Undercarriage: Components on the General Duty undercarriage can be swapped out with the heavy undercarriage, so it’s a great option if you’re taking on a wide range of tasks. It’s the most affordable Cat undercarriage and gives you a low cost per hour in lighter earthmoving applications.

Heavy Duty Undercarriage: The Heavy Duty undercarriage is built to handle hard rock applications with moderate-to-high impact levels and take on jobs requiring more than 5,000 hours of wear life. It’s the go-to option for harsh applications with rough conditions.

Cat Abrasion™ Undercarriage: This undercarriage has the lowest cost per hour on the market and is perfect for high-abrasion, low-to-medium impact conditions. It lasts 50% longer than a conventional undercarriage, helping you increase operational efficiency.

Heavy Duty Extended Life (HDXL) With DuraLink™ Undercarriage: This is an addition to the Cat Heavy Duty Undercarriage that extends wear life. It has a lower hourly cost than most competitors and is perfect for tough applications with medium abrasion and high impact. It features additional wear material, heat treatment and more sealability before and after bushing turns. It also includes an updated link design that reduces scalloping and vibrations and an updated nut seat window to stop cracking.

Rubber Track Undercarriage: Rubber tracks can be customized for different terrains to improve traction, reduce machine wear and increase operator efficiency.  Caterpillar rigorously tests every unit for fit and performance.


Boyd CAT Can Help You Repair or Replace Your Steel Undercarriage


When you do eventually have to replace your undercarriage or make a larger repair, Boyd CAT will take care of anything you need. Our service team can help you with:

  • Rebuilding track roller frames, including straightening and realignment.
  • Rebuilding links and re-grousing track shoes.
  • Turning or swapping out pins and bushings.
  • On-site undercarriage field repairs and rebuilding services.

Contact Boyd CAT to schedule service or change out your undercarriage.

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