How To Troubleshoot Common Issues With Your Final Drive Motor

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In 2009, the revenue of machinery maintenance and heavy equipment repair services in the U.S. totaled around $29 billion. If you’re in the excavation business, chances are you’ve got quite a bit of money invested in your final drive motor and you want to make sure it’s performing to the best of its ability.

Whether you’ve got a final drive motor for a John Deere, a Caterpillar final drive travel motor or some other type of final drive motor, here are some ways to take care of common problems that arise with final drive motors.

When something’s wrong with your final drive motor for a John Deere, the first thing you’ll probably notice is that your final drive motor will act differently.

  • If your final drive motor is spinning backwards, this problem can usually be fixed by swapping the return and input lines on your hydraulic motor. If your motor continues to veer to one side or the other, you’ll need to check the final drive on that side to figure out what’s really going on.
  • Another common problem with a final drive motor for a John Deere is a lack of power. When you’re going uphill or carrying a large, heavy load, a lack of power indicates you’ve got a problem. It may not be the final drive motor that’s got an issue and you want to be sure to check swivel joints, brakes and charge motors among other things. Depending on the surface on which you’re carrying the load, you may have friction problems as well.
  • If your final drive motor is vibrating or is too noisy, a number of things could be the reason for the problem. It might be worn out bearings or worn out gears, too little gear oil or contaminated gear oil or a loose sprocket. If you’re hearing high pitched noises, chances are a weak charge pump is to blame.
  • Another thing to keep in mind with your final drive motor for a John Deere is the condition of the machine’s hydraulic hoses. If one of the hoses fails or leaks, it’s going to affect how your motor performs. Make sure to check them from time to time to save yourself from having an issue like that pop up at the wrong time.

Regardless of what issues you’re having with your final drive motor, you want to take the time to eliminate external causes that may be affecting the machine. Basically that means that if your final drive motor isn’t function correctly, that doesn’t mean it’s the fault of the final drive.

Some common external causes of problems are:

  • Drive sprocket issues
  • Blockage in the case drain line
  • Little or no hydraulic pressure being fed to the final drive
  • A weak or damaged charge pump
  • A final drive that’s possibly trapped in high speed mode.

Bottom line: eliminate external causes first before replacing your final drive motor. If you don’t, you’ll end up just running into the same issues with a new motor.

With whatever kind of motor you’re using, you want to make sure and periodically check to make sure it’s functioning as it should. Final drive gear oil should be checked about every 100 hours of operation or once a month. If you have to troubleshoot, do so methodically to find the exact cause of the problem and eliminate external causes before you decide to replace your final drive motor.

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