Everything You Need To Know About Drive Sprockets and Track Drives

Drive sprocket is one of the most important parts of an excavator. Its main function is to transmit the torque from the engine to the transmission. Thus, allowing drive-train components to transfer power from the engine to the wheels.

Drive sprocket has a strong relationship with the final drive. To utilize your sprocket in the best way possible, it is essential to get familiar with the working phenomenon. What are the signs of wear on Sprockets? How can you prevent the wear on the sprocket? This blog will guide you through all these main points. Sounds exciting? Let’s find out how!


Sprocket refers to the circular plate having a tooth-like formation throughout its circumference. These tooth-like formations take place in the perforations and make projection possible.

The sprocket in the excavator makes this vehicle’s movement possible from one place to another. The final drive provides attachment to the sprocket on your excavator.

Whenever the final drive motor runs, it makes the torque transfer possible to the final drive. This ultimately transfers this torque to the sprocket, which generates rotation. The teeth of the sprocket link with the link on tracks.

This makes the track move in the form of a loop. You can imagine this similar to what a bicycle sprocket does with the chain and turn the wheels.

Drive sprocket teeth are almost similar to the teeth on gears. When you examine them closely, you will notice that they are completely different from the standard teeth on gears.

What is the Process of Attaching Drive Sprocket on Excavator?

Using small machines or compact vehicles, including mini excavators or track loaders. You will get the sprocket in one piece. On the other hand, when it comes to large size vehicles or construction machines. You will get the sprocket in two sections. It is much easier to install or remove the sprocket from larger vehicles.

In both cases mentioned above, you must bolt your sprocket r to the final drive. The number of holes for bolt mounting varies as the sprocket size varies. It is necessary to check the number of mounting holes in your sprocket before ordering a new one. If you don’t do this, you may get the wrong sprocket.

In traditional drive sprockets, mount holes or bolts were not in use. To attach such drives, you need to employ the welding process. These drive sprockets were hard to replace as you need to cut them off to take them out. Modern drives now use a welded adapter that aids in mounting the bolts. Some latest vehicles only use bolted approach.

At Xugong, we recommend taking off your sprocket while sending the final drive motor for replacement or repair. This will reduce the extra weight and cut down shipping costs due to excess weight. It is also true that no manufacturer or repair facility needs a sprocket for final drive performance evaluation.

What are the signs of wear on Sprockets?

Several signs indicate a faulty or weak sprocket. Some of the main signs are as follows:

1.    Faulty Appearance

The wear on the drive sprocket mostly occurs on teeth. This is where you should look first. The accurate and perfectly right teeth have the following appearance:

  • Tall as compared to other sprockets
  • Flat on End
  • Not Sharp/ Dished appearance

When the sprocket experience wears and tear, the teeth diameter on the sprocket gets smaller or decreases. In this case, the final drive transfers torque to the sprocket, but the sprocket fails to transport it further to track links. This represents a total power loss.

2.    Pitch Mismatch

Pitch Mismatch occurs when the teeth are not exactly parallel to the track links. The effect of misaligned teeth on the sprocket is that they wear unevenly. It causes them to become out-of-round along their full length, or in other words, disengage. This will lead to wear and tear on your sprocket or transmission gears, ultimately leading to costly repairs.

Your sprocket cannot transfer the torque with high efficiency and effectivity. This will also affect the performance of your excavator. When this time comes, the only solution is to replace your worn-out sprocket.

3.    Cracks on Teeth

The deterioration of tooth material causes cracks in teeth. Cracks on teeth represent the signs of wear on sprockets. This can be due to one of two reasons;

  • The internal wearing of gears,
  • External wear from either over-loading or excessive resistance in the sprocket

When cracks appear, the teeth get loose and start to separate from their anchor point in the gear housing. These teeth can result in noisy or vibration-causing grinding noises. With time these cracks spread with the speed of sound.

How Can You Prevent the Wear on Sprocket?

Multiple preventive measures exist that you can follow to prevent excessive wear on your sprocket. Some of the key measures are as follows:

1.    Keep Track Tension Optimum

Optimum Track Tension is the track tension setting at which the sprockets have the minimal component of wear. Higher track tension leads to higher wear on sprockets, and lower track tension (less load) leads to lesser wear. It helps keep tracks in good condition, increasing productivity and safety.

The Load Index of the track is a measure of the tractive force a machine can carry. Higher Load Index = Higher Tractor Power. Suppose the track does not have a sufficient Load Index. It will not be able to drive heavy loads and reduce productivity. The Optimum Track Tension must be strong enough to support heavy vehicles without excessive wear on sprockets.

2.    Keep Undercarriage Clean

Cleaning undercarriage is a very important maintenance process. It helps in preventing excess wear on sprockets. The most common wear on sprockets results due to excess dirt and debris that accumulate on the undercarriage.

The high amount of dirt, debris, and grit slows down the performance of your final drive. It also accelerates the rust and corrosion process. It also indirectly has a great influence on your track tension.

You should clean the undercarriage components after each operation, especially when operating in swamps or construction sites.


When your drive sprocket is not in good condition, you cannot make your excavator move or propel in either direction. Applying the above-mentioned preventive measures can make your drive sprocket last longer.

If your drive sprocket faces failure, you can repair it through Xugong.

We’re confident that Xugong is faster, cheaper, and easier than any drive sprocket repair service.

As the number one drive sprocket repair service in China. You can trust Xugong to have your excavator’s drive sprocket repaired correctly and safely.

Drive more and spend less. As we offer a 1-year warranty for all parts. We promise you the best quality at a reasonable price.

Contact us now for a free quote!

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