Steps to Adjusting the Tension on a Compact Track Loader

  • Written by Luis
heavy equipment operator uses blocks to lift the Kubota CTL up

The tension will need to be adjusted on a compact track loader after placing on new tracks.

Use the following steps to perform this process.

Step 1: Blocking
a Kubota SVL-75 lifted off its' tracks using the boom and bucket

Place blocks at the back on the machine. Use the boom and bucket to lift the compact track loader as it will pivot up onto the blocks. The entire machine will now be up in the air as you can now work on both tracks.

the operator raises up the compact track loader using the Kubota bucket
Step 2: Remove Grease Valve Cover
heavy duty mechanic uses a 1/2-inch drive ratchet to remove the bolts on a compact track loader

The cover is located near the sprocket as there will be two 17mm bolts holding it in place. You can use a 1/2-inch drive ratchet to remove the bolts. Other types of machines will also have the same type of grease valve cover. Once the cover is removed, put it in a safe place so that the cover does not become lost.

Inside the machine is a grease valve, called a track adjuster grease valve, that holds the grease in when you adjust the tension on the track. This grease helps to keep the track tight on the machine.

Step 3: Clean Grease Valve

Clean off the grease valve before placing on the grease pump. You want to check to make sure it is tight. If the grease valve doesn’t work, it cannot be repaired. It will have to be replaced. You can get a replacement grease valve from an OEM dealer.

mechanic cleans the Kubota compact track loader grease valve before placing on the grease pump
Adjusting Track Tension: What YOU Need To Look Out For
Step 4: Place in the Grease

You can use a manual, electric, or pneumatic grease gun to pump grease into the valve. Begin pumping grease into the machine as the track will begin to tighten up.

demonstrating how to pump in grease for a Kubota SVL75
Step 5: Check the Tension

When the tracks are new, they are going to break-in during the first 4 hours to 5 hours of use as it will become looser and more flexible. To initially adjust them, get the tracks nice and tight so there is not a lot of bounce. Have the operator run the track forward and backward as the track will settle in and bend into shape. Then you can recheck the tension.

demonstration of track tension testing on a CTL

Also, by having the operator run the track back and forth, it can clean out the track on jobsites with mud, dirt, snow, ice or debris. When there are obstructions between the track and the idler, and the track and the sprocket, the obstructions can create too much of a gap once the stuff is removed when the compact track loader is in operation.

Step 6: Place on the Grease Cover
mechnic opens the grease valve on a compact track loader

Wipe up the excess grease around the grease valve. Place the grease cover back on using the drive ratchet and 17mm bolts.

Things to Keep in Mind

You want to put new tracks on tighter as they break in. When readjusting the tracks, you won’t need the blocks as you can just lift the machine up on the back idler. There should be a two-inch gap between the lower roller and the track during the adjustment.

There is a rule of thumb when adjusting the tension: “When the track is looser on the compact track loader, the faster the track will fall out. If the track is on tighter, the faster the track will wear out.” To decide on whether to have a loose or tight track, evaluate the experience of the operator. A good operator can have a looser track as the track can last longer. A more inexperienced operator should have a tighter track so as to keep it on longer.

Rent1 heavy equipment rentals logo

For more information about adjusting track tension on machines, speak with a rep at Rent 1.

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