Replace Skid Steer Tracks Without Other Heavy Equipment

There will be times when you may have to replace the tracks on a skid steer while you are out in the field. The tracks may be ripped, gouged, or damaged. Other times, the track may be worn out or you want to replace a snow track with a more all-purpose track that works in gravel, mud, snow, and rocky surfaces. Here are the steps to use the replace the track when you do not have any other heavy equipment to help.

Track Replacement In The Field Tutorial
Step 1: Raising the Machine

You want to raise the machine based on which side you will be removing the track. Place 2 wooden blocks at the back of the unit closer to the side that will have the track replaced. Next, flip the bucket up front and push the tip into the ground. The machine will begin to slowly rise. Tilt the bucket forwards a little bit so the machine does not slide off the blocks as it moves up.

Heavy equipment operator demonstrates how to lift a Kubota skid steer using the bucket
Step 2: Remove the Grease Valve

With the track in the air, you can release the tension on the track by removing the grease valve. The grease valve is located in the side compartment on the machine of most skid steers although it may be towards the back on some Bobcats. Using a 19mm wrench or a 19mm deep socket (some Bobcats need a 9/16 inch wrench), back the grease valve off and set it aside to release the pressure.

Arrowing pointing out where the heavy duty mechanic is removing the grease valve on a skid steer
Step 3: Loosen the Track

You can help loosen more of the track off the idlers and sprocket by standing on it. This tactic will force more of the idler to come in as more grease comes out. If the grease will not come out because it is too cold, you can use a pry bar along the top sprocket to help bring the idler in more. Have an operator fire up the machine and slowly walk the track back. The pry bar along the sprocket increases the tension on the track and pulls the idler in.

Step 4: Remove the Track
HD mechanic prying a rubber track off a Kubota skid steer

Place the pry bar along the sprocket and as the track is moved around, you can pull and pry it to walk it off the gear. Do the same thing with the bottom back idler. Keep pulling and working on the track until it comes off.

Step 5: Placing on the New Track
HD mechanic demonstrates how to put a rubber track on a Kubita SVL95

You may need two people to push the old track out of the way and bring the new track closer to the machine. You can either manually lift the track up onto the idlers and sprocket or lower the skid steer so that you do not have to lift the track up so high. Once the track is over the top sprocket, work it in place using a pry bar. Then get the track over the front wheel before moving to work on the back wheel. You can have the operator run the machine to pull more of the slack along the track to the back to get it over that idler.

Step 6: Place on the Grease Valve
HD mechanic shows us how to insert the grease gun into the valve on a skid steer so the tension can be adjusted

Place the grease valve back onto the grease valve compartment. Now you can tighten the track by adding grease into the machine. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions or the OEM’s instructions on the amount of tension the track should have on the skid steer.

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