New Year's resolutions, as sincere as they may be, are often not kept. However, we'd like to suggest a resolution all you equipment owners out there: maintain your final drive motors.
Here are some additional Shop Talk Blog posts you might find useful:
- #1 Cause of Final Drive Failure
- 5 Final Drive Maintenance Tips
- 6 Cost Saving Ways to Manage Fleet Maintenance
Change the Case Drain Filter
If you own a Bobcat machine, there is a good chance that you have an inline case drain filter between your final drive motor and the hydraulic tank. Its purpose is to filter out contamination -- especially contamination generated within your final drive -- from the case drain flow before it returns to the tank. This is a good thing but it has a serious drawback: if you don't replace that case drain filter regularly, it can get clogged. This might not seem like a big deal, but over time enough pressure can build up to actually blow the cover off your final drive.
To prevent a clogged case drain filter from totaling your Bobcat final drive motor, we recommend that you replace it with a new one whenever your change the other hydraulic filters on your machine.
Checking Your Gear Oil
Something else that we cannot emphasis enough for compact equipment owners -- regardless of brand -- is that you check and change your gear oil.
Gear oil levels should be checked after every 100 working hours. Checking your gear oil is important for several reasons. For one, you don't want to have your final drive running without sufficient lubrication. That can seriously shorten the life of the gears and bearings within the planetary hub and result in expensive repairs. If you gear oil levels are low, you can top them off.
However, if you find yourself topping off the gear oil too often, then it could be a sign that one of the seals is wearing out and a leak has developed. Worn-out seals can let damaging contaminants have access to the inside of your final drive. We've opened up more than one final drive gear hub only to find dirt and debris in the gear oil -- and that is never good.
If you keep topping off the gear oil, you should check the final drive for potential leaks. If a leak is present, it is imperative that the seals involved be replaced as soon as possible to prevent catastrophic damage to the final drive.
Changing the Gear Oil
You also want to keep up with changing out your gear oil on a regular basis. Experts recommend that it be changed out at least once a year. Over time, the additives in gear oil can degrade and compromise its performance. If your final drive motor has been running a bit on the warm side, that can speed up this process. When you don't bother to change your gear oil, the result is a thick, smelly sludge that honestly does more harm than good.
Here at Texas Final Drive, we repair, rebuild, and sell final drive motors. It's in our best financial interest for your motor to wear out -- but we don't operate that way. In fact, it pains our operators to see a motor that has been neglected or abused. Please take good care of your final drive motors -- they keep you running!