Author Topic: REPLACING TRACKS  (Read 399 times)

autocar925

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REPLACING TRACKS
« on: March 17, 2021, 10:32:22 AM »
I’ve tried various methods of releasing tension on the idler so I can remove the tracks, but
none seem to work very well and it’s always a fight to get the tracks off and on. What is the best way to compress the idler springs?

brit plumber

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Re: REPLACING TRACKS
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2021, 10:49:13 AM »
I’ve not put a track on but when I took mine off, I loosened off the adjuster nut until the spring had no tension and the cap was free to move. I then removed the outer idler wheel half and with a crow bar levered off the track a little and rotated the idler with a long box section. Then repeated until it was free, it was a 70+ year old stiff track and took about 10 minutes to remove. I think supple track could be off much quicker.
1942 VEP GPW

Cleprechaun

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Re: REPLACING TRACKS
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2021, 02:33:19 PM »
It takes me about an hour per side by myself. Here is how I do it: 1) Place a spacer block between the two large nuts that are bellow the return rollers. This keeps your bogies from sagging when you jack it up. 2) jack up both tracks about 4” off the ground and leave in neutral. This way you can spin the tracks if needed. 3) clean and oil the threads on the large bolt used to compress the track tension spring. This bolt has a 1 13/16” head on it. 4) place the head of a sledge hammer (or similar object) between the end of the tension bolt and idler pivot arm and screw in the bolt as far as you can! That extra distance/slack that hammer head gives you is the trick. 5) Remove the outer idler flange and pry the tracks off with the longest pry bar you got.
PUTTING TRACKS ON:1) When putting new tracks on, make sure you have placed that spacer (sledgehammer head) between the tension bolt and idler arm. It really helps. 2) lay the tracks right next to the vehicle and start by placing them on top of the drive sprocket. 3) tap the tracks under the bogies as best you can and also set the tracks on the return roller. About this time I start using a rolling engine hoist, I long pry bar, and hydraulic ram (harbor freight) to lift and stretch the track. A little dish soap between the idler wheel and tracks helps too. If you place that ram between various places on the bogie assembly and the area of the tracks near the idler wheel, you can get the tracks to slide on.

timmo65

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Re: REPLACING TRACKS
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2021, 02:43:49 PM »
Would love to see a video of this if you can do next time!

Ma Deuce

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Re: REPLACING TRACKS
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2021, 05:07:51 PM »
I used a screw boomer to compress spring. Worked good. Look close by spring you’ll see it, chained to rear idler and bogey cross member.
Mike
INMVPA
1948 Willy’s CJ 2A
1953 Willy’s CJ 3A
1947 Bantom T3-C trailer
1943 White M3A1

steve1973

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Re: REPLACING TRACKS
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2021, 08:15:07 PM »
To compress the idler spring, back off the nut all the way. Once this is done I used a air impact deep socket as a spacer between the idler arm and stop screw and carefully drive the stop screw in thus compressing the spring more. Just need to be careful not to let the socket slip out. Track mounting and dismounting is really a two person job. Two long pickle forks are a must. Taking the top roller off doesn't hurt also. Remember, new tracks weigh approx. 550 lbs.

Steve A.

autocar925

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Re: REPLACING TRACKS
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2021, 09:23:30 PM »
Thanks for all the suggestions.  I think my halftrack must have something a little different about it.  To get the proper tension, the idler nuts are backed off all the way, so I can’t go any farther to relieve tension.  I try to raise the crab higher by using the turnbuckles around the support housing in addition to using studs into the crab.  The volute springs are so stiff, I can’t compress them much so that’s kind of useless.  I pick the track with a forklift by laying long 2x4’s across the forks to keep the track straight.

I like the idea of a spacer between the stop bolt and the idler.  It didn’t look like the bolt would line up very well when the idler started to swing forward but I guess it must based on your experience.  I also really like the idea of the load binder ratchet around the idler and cross tube.  I think I will try that first as it looks like the safest method.  I’ll let you know how I make out.

Smadge

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Re: REPLACING TRACKS
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2021, 10:28:22 AM »
Mine is a single spring and I just disconnected the spring and shaft altogether at the mounting point towards the front.  Then connected a ratchet strap from the idler to the crossmember and it was easy as could be.  I had a friend help with one side and I put the other side on by myself.
1941 M2-232 Autocar (restoring)
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steve1973

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Re: REPLACING TRACKS
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2021, 11:45:51 AM »
Here are some photos of what I did. bogie suspension clamps.



I was not able to back off my nuts so I compressed them using the stop bolt and a impact deep socket.



If you are putting on new tracks they are a pain the first time. Again, two people is a must and two long pry bars. You don't need to compress the volute springs. Hope this helps.

Steve A.