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Crawlers, Dozers, Loaders & Backhoes Discussion Forum


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Phil H

11-23-2007 06:38:54

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I have a Case 450 loader/backhoe and I was wondering if I weld on grip bars to the grousers would this be rough on the transmission and final drives?

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11-25-2007 19:24:57

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 Re: GROUSER GRIP BARS in reply to Phil H, 11-23-2007 06:38:54  
I bought a Komatsu D20 with very worn swamp pads on it and I decided after much slipping and sliding to weld on grouser bars. I used mild steel 1/2 x 1 bar and 7018 rod. Now what I have deduced since then.
The D20 is a grading machine not meant for heavy digging so now instead of just spinning the tracks it wants to stall the motor because I don't have a granny gear in this thing.
Second, I skipped every 3rd pad thinking I might have to much traction. I should have skipped every other pad. It rides lumpy over hard objects. It pushes like a bear when I have a blade full but I know that this probably isn't what the designers had in mind when they designed the transmission. All in all the grouser bars were a good idea. I would have put fewer on if I had had known. Also as stated hereabouts. Loaders take a huge amount of weight on the front end and if the grousers are not slipping something else is taking the strain.
Good luck

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steve n carol

11-24-2007 20:45:48

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 Re: GROUSER GRIP BARS in reply to Bob/Ont, 11-23-2007 06:38:54  
I see that your in San Mateo, right? Ill be in touch. The wife has a son in Pacifica...sl

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steve n carol

11-24-2007 20:34:52

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 Re: GROUSER GRIP BARS in reply to Bob/Ont, 11-23-2007 06:38:54  
Phil, yes I am serious......but, these things are not light. I'll be going back up to the property next weekend. I'll bring them down (they are in a crate) and weigh them and get a quote. I'll need a zip code too.
You can email me at lachney at netzero dot net. I can email you some pics too....sl

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steve n carol

11-24-2007 09:15:23

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 Re: GROUSER GRIP BARS in reply to eric1, 11-23-2007 06:38:54  
Phil, I installed 1-1/2" X14" grouser bars on my 450/loader backhoe 2 years ago. The track chains were already starting to go south at that time. I remaved the chains w/pads intact. i didn't need to seperate the the links, I just removed the sprocket. Anyway, I welded these on and welded some cracked links (hence the chain removal). I ran those tracks to destruction, they lasted about a year. I purchased new chains and sprockets a year ago and retained my old pads w/the grouser bars on them and new bolts (that still don't remain tight).

I need these in my area, slopes and Decomposed Granite. Haven't had any final falure yet, drive it reasonably hard but this side of abuse. Mostly w/o the b-hoe.
If you decide to do this, may I recommend that you remove the pads and weld the bars on. Thus not overheating the pin/bushing and pushing out any lube or roasting any seals.

I am in Southern Calif. and purchased twice the bar stock I needed, You can have the leftover stock if you like. There should be enough to do your machine......sl

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Phil H

11-24-2007 12:19:35

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 Re: GROUSER GRIP BARS in reply to steve n carol, 11-24-2007 09:15:23  
Thanks Steve for your generous offer, I will take you up on it. If it"s all right with you please send it fed-ex, as I am out in the boonies and need to go into town to get parts, and I can have fed-ex hold it for my pickup. Please let me know what the shipping charges are, and any other expenses you incur. My Phone # 650-342-5324. Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!!!!!

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Billy NY

11-23-2007 08:50:13

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 Re: GROUSER GRIP BARS in reply to Phil H, 11-23-2007 06:38:54  
I can't claim to be any expert on the drive train of your 450, but your concerns about the additional grouser height by adding weld on grouser bar are certainly legitimate.

All the crawler loaders I've ever run had the double bar type track pad, they're not tall like a pad found on a dozer, making turning easier and less disturbance to the work area. When they get worn on a dozer, slippage increases, I have seen many warnings to not exceed the original grouser height when re-grousering your pads. Re-grousering the pads is an option to mitigate the slippage from worn pads on a dozer, besides replacing them, but from my understanding the increased traction can be an issue if the finals or the rest of the drive train is not desgined for the increased traction. It may be possible to research what pads where available for that machine, and see what the grouser heights were on the pads offered with the 450.

Like JD said, they will certainly tear up turf and your work area a lot more. I think you would want to research this fully as it is a lot work and some expense to weld those bars on, only to find out the hard way it may not be worth doing. I'd also wonder how it would effect steering, and what the reason is as to why you want or need the extra traction. If you just need the extra traction, for maneuvering, it may be fine, but if you are going to do some heavy pushing, it could be possible to stress something in that drive train, and cause it to fail, it's a valid concern, that sounds like a great machine to own with the hoe on it, I'd want to be real sure about doing that first. I'd also be curious as to increases in shock loads to the finals, especially on hard ground, compared to the typical crawler loader type pads, maybe nothing to worry about, but over time, those shock loads could shorten the service life of affected components.

I've seen excavators on pipe jobs, where the soil conditions had lots of heavy rock, in that application they were using dozer pads and or undercarriage for extreme service purposes, completely different drive train, and no heavy pushing, but have not seen many crawler loaders with dozer pads, just older ones that were built on dozer tractors like the old caterpillars. A neighbor re-groused a 955 cat and did some significant shale excavation with it when he built the new shop, he runs a diesel repair business, but the bars were not excessive in height nor as high as a dozer pad would be when new, I remember seeing the machine blocked up and the work that went into doing it.

I do know on some machines if you were to do this, it could definitely cause a final drive to fail under heavy load or abuse, especially if it had excessive hours and needed service, that extra stress has the potential to be the straw that broke the camels back, but this is just an opinion from some very basic knowledge on the subject, not an expert by any means.

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11-23-2007 17:27:29

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 How about this one? in reply to Billy NY, 11-23-2007 08:50:13  
The photo shows where you can go a little overboard with grouser height.

Generally speaking - I never noticed any difference in drivetrain wear after adding 1" or 3/4" grouser stock to flat loader pads. I worked at three Deere dealerships - and it was a common request for crawler-loaders that got used mostly in soft dirt and mud - especially log-lots. We also ordered in many new - with high grouser pads - on Deere 350s and 450s. We did have some trouble with such pads curling when used a lot on hard ground. I assume - that since most crawler loaders have longer tracks than their dozer counterparts - it is possible to get too much traction under certain conditions. We saw so many broken crawler parts anyway - dozer and loader - it's not easy to tell cause-and-effect. So, how about this Cletrac?

third party image

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Billy NY

11-23-2007 17:38:52

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 Re: How about this one? in reply to jdemaris, 11-23-2007 17:27:29  
Thats an oliver right ? They always looked stable for slopes with the wide gauge, + there were others built like em, cletrac maybe, but that is the most bizarre addition to a track pad, so I'd guess it was for more clearance like a high crop/ high clearance tractor would provide for row crops, those sure are odd.

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11-23-2007 17:54:04

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 Re: How about this one? in reply to Billy NY, 11-23-2007 17:38:52  
The guy added two transmissions to it to slow it down - I suspect those pad-additions made it go pretty fast.

Cletrac and Oliver - all the same thing as far as the little crawler goes. Oliver bought Cletrac and it's a HG or OC3 in the photo. Late HGs and OC3s are identical machines and are of Cletrac design - and when the later OC4 came out, Oliver made some changes and additions to it. Oliver also offered a aux. transmission kit that used a Ford Model A transmission.

There are several small farm tractors based on the same drivetrain (Hercules engine, Clark transaxle) - e.g. Avery or Minne Moline BF, Cletrac General, etc.

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Billy NY

11-24-2007 06:45:34

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 Re: How about this one? in reply to jdemaris, 11-23-2007 17:54:04  
I missed where you wrote it was a cletrac, they are kind of one in the same for most part aren't they, I've seen a few for sale with a 3 pt hitch, and in really decent condition. These look light and being kind of wide, I always wondered what the most popular use of them was, orchards and vineyards or other ag type work ? I've seen em at a few shows in the past, small light crawler that has good flotation with 3 pt looks useful for soft soil conditions, where your wheeled tractor may bog down, one of these with wide pads would be even better.

Those stilt like additions to the pads are really different, I was always of the belief that excessive grouser height could be trouble due to the increased traction and the extra related stress, maybe it's more practical to be careful with tractors that were known to have weaker finals in that regard, but those must have been for a specific purpose to either gain height or poke through soft material to hard ground or something, some people are really good with modifications when they need something you can't get unless you build it yourself.

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11-24-2007 07:42:08

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 Re: How about this one? in reply to Billy NY, 11-24-2007 06:45:34  
The little Cletrac HGs were originally intended to be used as row-crop farm tractors - not as dozers and loaders. Especially the 68" widetrack models i.e. HG68s. As they got more popular with dozers or loaders installed - usually the 42" wide HG42s - other problems popped one. The main problem is - they are geared way too fast to be very useful for pushing or loading dirt. That's why Oliver offered the aux. transmission kit. The OEM Clark transaxle is a three speed - same was used in Bombadier crawlers as well as early Case/Terratrac crawlers.

In regard to a three-point hitch on an HG or OC3 - I've never seen one except for home-made rigs. I used to live and work in Orange County New York - around the black-dirt onion farms in Chester and Florida. The main tractors used in the wet fields were John Deere 350 wide-tracks and they all had factory three-point hitches. I never saw the Cletracs until I moved up to dairy farm country here in Otsego County late 1970s. At that time, there were wide-gauge Cletrac HGs all over the place. I still know where there is a dozen of them sitting around locally - including two of my own. My neighbor has six of them.

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11-23-2007 06:59:52

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 Re: GROUSER GRIP BARS in reply to Phil H, 11-23-2007 06:38:54  
We used to install a of them on crawler-loaders. They don't cause mechanical problems - but - tear up the ground something awful with a loader that makes a lot of sharp turns.

At the shop, we bought grouser-stock in 10' or 20' lengths and cut to fit and welded to the pads.

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11-24-2007 01:54:56

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 Re: GROUSER GRIP BARS in reply to jdemaris, 11-23-2007 06:59:52  

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11-26-2007 12:02:31

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 Re: GROUSER GRIP BARS in reply to STRESSFREE, 11-24-2007 01:54:56  
I will second the one half inch rebar!! I welded it on a 850 case loader used daily held up great even in shot rock. It took a little time but well worth it. It was not to much grip to cause tran slipping and heating Put the gd on each pad and alternate passes ,no warp! Set the machine on crib blocks so you can take a come a long and turn the tracks as needed

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