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How to Troubleshoot a Noisy/Vibrating Final Drive Motor


Have you or one of your operators noticed that your final drive motor is vibrating excessively or has become a little too noisy for it to be normal? In this Shop Talk Bog post, you'll learn step by step how to troubleshoot a noisy or vibrating hydraulic motor and what steps you need to take to keep your equipment running.

Issues with Noise and Your Final Drive

Let's start with noise. Two major factors may be causing a final drive to make more noise than it should: either there isn’t enough oil in the gearbox, or the bearings and gears are worn outChecking the gear oil level is a simple task. If it's low, then you can top it off. However, keep in mind that a low gear oil level can signify a leak. Check for either a leak behind the sprocket or a leak that is dripping onto the tracks. This kind of leak would indicate that a floating face seal needs to be repaired. If the leak is coming from the cover or another part of the of the final drive, you really should send it in for inspection and repairs. Regardless of the source of the leak, remember that leaks should never be ignored.

core-final-drive-travel-motor-failed-main-bearing-missing-race-ball-bearings.pngIf the oil level is all right, or you topped off the oil and you are still hearing excessive noise, that means the problem is most likely caused by worn out bearings and gears. Bearings and gears have a finite life, which can be shortened even further through a lack of maintenance or abuse of the machine. If you hear a ton of noise coming from your final drive and the oil level is acceptable, then you need to think about getting the gears and bearings replaced.


sprocket-final-drive-track-motor-travel-motor.pngOne of the primary causes of a vibrating final drive motor is a loose sprocket.  That is actually a simple fix: tighten or replace the sprocket bolts, and the problem should be solved. If that doesn’t solve the problem, and the final drive tends to shudder while turning, that points to a more serious problem. 

Shuddering is usually caused by some serious issues inside your final drive or track motor that will require either repair or a complete overhaul. There are two possible causes for this kind of failure: first, the final drive and/or its components have reached the end of their life, or, secondly, the final drive hasn’t been maintained properly.


If you or one of your operators reports issues like this, take a few minutes to troubleshoot the problem and find out what you need to do. Addressing issues right away will reduce down time and minimize potential repair costs. Abnormal vibration and noise are a sign that there is something wrong with your final drive. Also, keep in mind that it is natural for certain parts like gears and bearings to wear out, and they need to be replaced as soon as they begin to cause symptoms.


Texas Final Drive is your partner in providing new or remanufactured final drive hydraulic motors from a single mini-excavator to a fleet of heavy equipment. Call today so we can find the right final drive or hydraulic component for you, or check out our online store to find your O.E.M. manufacturer brand motor now.

Topics: Final Drive, Final Drive Failure, Final Drive Motor Maintenance, Final Drive Maintenance, Excavators, Mini-excavators

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