June 30, 2017
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Does Your Skid Steer Drive Motor Need Service?

The hydraulic drive motors on your skid steer are the key to keeping it functional, and when they go out everything comes to stop.  In this Shop Talk Blog post, we are going to talk about five signs you skid steer final drive motor is in need of service — before it fails!


Sign #1:  Drive Refuses to Turn

A drive that refuses to turn is a serious problem, but it doesn’t necessarily have to do with your hydraulic motor.  If the drive isn’t turning, first check that the brake is releasing and then check that the hydraulic fluid is actually reaching the drive.  If those two things check out, then your hydraulic motor may be worn out and need replacement.  Notice we are focusing on the drive and not the wheels – the wheels not turning can be do to many things like a damaged drive shaft or chain.


Sign #2:  Excessive Noise or Vibration


If your hydraulic motor is making a lot of noise or if its vibrating, that can mean your bearings are worn out.  Worn out bearings can lead to a serious damage inside your hydraulic motor. The damage that results from an extreme bearing failure really can’t be repaired. If someone notices excessive vibration, it would probably be a good time to get your hydraulic motor serviced.  You don’t want to wait until the damage reaches the point that the entire motor has to be replaced, as is the case with the final drive shown .  The extreme damage you see was all due to a bearing failure that wasn’t caught in time.


Sign #3: Skid Steer Lacks Power


As with a drive motor refusing to turn, a skid steer that just doesn’t have any power can have problems that don’t directly involve the hydraulic motor.  It might be that it just can’t make it up that hill, or it can’t seem to move with the same load it had no problem with a few days before.  As with the case of a drive refusing to turn, the problem may not be your hydraulic motor.  You should eliminate the other possibilities before you send in your drive motor for service.

First, you should check the hydraulic pressure at hydraulic motor.  If the motor is variable speed, make sure that it isn’t stuck at high speed; higher speeds mean less torque and less turning power.  If those aren’t the problem, then you probably need some service on your hydraulic motor.

Sign #4: Steers to One Side

The same information applies for a skid steer that keeps steering to one side, except that means that it’s just one of the hydraulic motors lacking power.  The motor that is the cause of the problem will usually be on the same side that the skid steer keeps turning.


Sign #5: Leaks

If your hydraulic motor is leaking fluid, that means you could be having trouble with either the seals or the bearings.  Failure of either of these parts can lead to a domino effect of disaster, resulting in a totaled hydraulic motor that needs to be replaced.  Regularly perform a quick visual inspection on your skid steer motors to check for leaks, and get those leaks checked out as soon as they are detected.

You Can Keep Your Skid Steer Rolling

Your hydraulic motors are what keeps your skid steer rolling and working for you, so if you have any of these signs be sure to get it serviced before the problems develop into something that can’t be repaired.  If you do end up needing to replace your hydraulic motor, keep in mind that reman final drives are an option, too.

Still have questions?

Check out these other Shop Talk Blog posts …


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