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Bulldozer Grouser Bar: Get a Grip!

Bulldozers have a wide variety of tracks.

Except for the small ones you see in the city with rubber pads on their treads, they all rely on the shape of their tracks to keep them moving, to give them manueverability, and/or to give them flotation.

Assuming that you’re not working in a soft bog, the most important of these is probably traction, or the ability to keep going even when the blade is piled high with material. You can imagine how much force it takes to move tons of rock – it’s a tremendous amount, and sometimes the tracks just spin.

A good operator doesn’t let this happen to much, but a certain amount of it is inevitable. However, every time a track moves and the machine doesn’t, it means the track is rubbing across the ground. In hard rock, this can actually create enough heat to crack the rocks, and create smoke.

This will reduce wear in the dozer track, and if it’s not taken care of, the raised part of the tread will wear down smooth.

That’s where grouser bar comes in. Grouser tends to come in a vartiety of shapes and composiitions, but they all serve the same purpose: to build the track back up to where it can bite into the Earth again. It’s a tedious job, done by welders. It can be done on the machine, or when the tracks are taken off and laid out flat. Portable welding trucks can go right to the job site and have them done for you before the weekend shut-down is over.

Most times, it requires gouging out the previous grousers, and shaping the metal for the msot effective weld. Gouging is done with carbon rods and a lot of high-pressure air – it literally carves grooves in the metal by making it heating it, then blowing it out with a shaped blast of air.

The grouser bar is then stood up in this groove, and welded in with a rod that is more tough than it is hard. 7018 is the usual rod of choice, as it resists forces from all sides. That’s something that the grouser will face as the machine twists and turns over all sorts of rock.

While learning to run heavy equipment generally doesn’t teach you how to weld as well, it will give you enough knowledge about what’s required to keep your machine running well, and with enough traction that you can get the job done.

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