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I am trying to understand / interpret one recommendation I read on a Caterpillar website for maximizing excavator life:

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Never dig over final drive.

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Can anyone explain what this means? What's the "final drive" and what does digging over it mean?

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    $\begingroup$ A what excavator? D: $\endgroup$ – cat Jun 11 '17 at 12:16
  • $\begingroup$ An excavator refers to a hydraulic excavator with a set of tracks, a rotating house, boom, stick and bucket $\endgroup$ – Todd Takala Nov 8 '17 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ A backhoe has rubber tires, and an excavator has tracks. I believe there is nomenclature problem. $\endgroup$ – Todd Takala Nov 8 '17 at 3:29
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The final drive is the planetary gear set and hydraulic motor that move the track. Not digging over it means not operating the arm over that area as it stresses the components unnecessarily - so to avoid this it means positioning the machine correctly before starting work or changing its position during work.

final drive

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    $\begingroup$ An excavator has two sets of tracks. The final drives are planetary gear sets with hydraulic motors attached to rotate. Each final drive has sprocket segments bolted on the housing which engage the track bushings to move the track. Digging over the final drives can cause loaders to be applied to the roller bearings inside which reduce life if the excavator is rocking / tipping during operation. Digging over the track idlers on the opposite end of the track frame is advisable because the idlers use a pin and bushing instead of a roller bearing. The pin and bushing design carriers loads better $\endgroup$ – Todd Takala Nov 8 '17 at 1:21
  • $\begingroup$ None of our tracked machines had two sets of tracks - too expensive an investment. also not all excavators are tracked. $\endgroup$ – Solar Mike Nov 8 '17 at 3:28
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    $\begingroup$ Caterpillar excavators are tracked. Backhoes have rubber tires. I do work as an engineering manager at a Caterpillar distributor, and have been in the business for 20 years. Please see Caterpiillar's description of these machines. backhoe. excavator $\endgroup$ – Todd Takala Nov 8 '17 at 5:23
  • $\begingroup$ There are 2 sets of track assemblies of each tracked machine. Two sets of tracks, not 4. $\endgroup$ – Todd Takala Nov 8 '17 at 5:32
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    $\begingroup$ Can this all be summarised as: "Only cut earth in front of the idlers, do not cut earth behind the driven axles or to the sides of the tracks. Once the bucket is full, you can empty the bucket at any angle relative to the tracks."? $\endgroup$ – user6335 Nov 9 '17 at 9:39

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