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Excavator Final Drive Problems

Here are some basic tips and pointers to help with final drive troubleshooting.

Don’t forget that the original machine manufacturers procedures should be followed where available.

Final Drive Breakdown?

If you have drive motor problems, or if your final drive is weak or won’t move, it doesn't necessarily mean the cause of the fault is with the drive. Even if there is damage to the gearbox or motor, that damage could be the symptom of a fault elsewhere on the machine.

Here are some things to look for:

  • Is there sufficient oil in the hydraulic oil tank?
  • Does the engine run at full speed?
  • Are the tracks too tight?
  • Is the machine stuck in high speed mode?
  • Are the tracks, track rollers and idlers in good condition?
  • Is the machine delivering the correct oil pressure, and flow, to the track motors?
  • Are there any internal leakages in the swivel joint?
  • Is the excavator final drive leaking?
  • Is there back pressure, or a blockage in the motor case drain line?

Don’t run a repaired or replacement drive unless you are certain you understand the reason for the original failure — and have rectified the fault

Final Drive Troubleshooting

Work through the chart below to help to with excavator travel motor troubleshooting.

Symptom Problem   Possible Cause Solution
Oil Leak Excavator final drive leaking oil from gearbox cover 1. Distorted gearbox cover or casing caused by physical damage Replace the cover and cover O-ring, have the casing machined to remove distortion
    2. Pressure build-up in gearbox caused by motor or external problem Contact your FDC Partner
  Oil leaking from behind the sprocket 1. Damaged or worn floating (lifetime) seal Replace the floating seal
    2. Pressure build-up in gearbox caused by motor or external problem Contact your FDC Partner
Gearbox oil level too high Hydraulic oil leaking from the motor into the gearbox 1. Worn motor shaft oil seal or bearings Replace accordingly
    2. Excessive pressure in motor casing Contact your FDC Partner
Excessive noise Insufficient oil in gearbox   Gearbox oil leak or lack of maintenance Gearbox / motor requires overhaul
  Worn bearings or gears   Gearbox / motor has reached the end of its planned service life or failed through a lack of maintenance Replace drive with new or reconditioned unit from the Final Drive Centre.
Excessive vibration Sprocket loose   Sprocket bolts loose Tighten or replace bolts
  The gearbox 'shudders' while turning   Gearbox / motor has reached the end of its planned service life or failed through a lack of maintenance Gearbox / motor requires attention /  overhaul
Excessive heating Gearbox casing is hot to touch or steams when wet 1. No oil Add oil
    2. Worn Bearings Gearbox requires overhaul
    3. Brake does not release properly Check brake operating pressure and brake piston seals
    4. Hydraulic oil excessively hot Check oil cooler & hydraulic system
Excavator has one track faster
or will not climb steep gradient
or steers to one side or one excavator travel motor slow
Lack of power 1. Hydraulic pressure low Check hydraulic pressure at the travel motor
    2. High external friction Check track chain tension and condition of track rollers and idlers
    3. Travel motor stuck in fast mode Check speed control system
    4. Travel motor excessively worn Repair or replace travel motor
    5. Gearbox excessively worn Repair or replace gearbox
Drive does not turn Motor works but not driving gearbox   Motor shaft or 1st sun gear broken Replace both motor shaft and 1st sun gear (with coupling if required)
  Nothing turns 1. Gearbox / motor has reached the end of its planned service life or failed through a lack of maintenance Contact your FDC Partner
    2. Brake does not release Check braking system if external brake control fitted
    3.   Check brake piston seals if internal brake is fitted
Drive freewheels Brake does not function 1. Residual; pressure in circuit Check hydraulic system
    2. Worn brake discs Replace discs
    3. Broken motor shaft Replace motor shaft