257B2 skidsteer rebuild
DIY Repairs,  Machinery,  Uncategorized

257B2 Skid steer undercarriage rebuild

This rebuild started with a simple replacement of the tracks. That is not a simple task either but upon taking the tracks off we discovered a few other issues that needed immediate attention.

To get the tracks off requires loosening the tension on the tracks by adjusting the tension arms. The arms on this machine have not been turned in some time.

Skidsteer CAT 257B2 track maintenance.
Skidsteer CAT 257B2 track maintenance.

Upon loosening the track we noticed a loose front idle wheel. We knew at that point there was more work to do here.

The first task at hand was to jack up the skid steer to suspend the undercarriage in the air. We could of just used the loader arm and the dirt bucket to press the machine in the air but not knowing how long it would take to perform the task, from a safety aspect we chose to put the whole machine up on blocks. Glad we did.

Once we got the track off, that front idle wheel fell off. The bearings were long gone.

Cat Skidsteer 257B2 front idle wheel axle
Cat Skidsteer 257B2 front idle wheel axle

Time to assess the condition of the undercarriage parts.

CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage assessment
CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage assessment

Time to take it all apart and see what needs replacing. I have never attempted something like this. Learn as I go along with limited tools and knowledge.

CAT 257B2 skid steer disassembly
CAT 257B2 skid steer disassembly

One of the most difficult parts to this process was removing the snap rings. I had borrowed a pair of Snap-On snap ring pliers. Broke those almost right away. Then I bought a set of another brand and they were not that great either. Broke them within 5 mins and brought back to the store. They would not refund, but offered a replacement. I had to figure out a way to loosen the snap rings (I don’t have a torch). Borrowing from our carpentry tools, I put the palm nailer to good use and it actually did the trick.

CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage disassembly
CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage disassembly

Funny how the snap rings being the simplest part caused the most grief. Finally got them all out and managed to salvage 22 of the 24 rings.

One of the next steps in disassembly was to detach the undercarriage from from the drive sprocket housing. Its attached with one big bolt.

257B2 skidsteer rebuild
Trying to remove the drive sprocket housing bolt.

The half inch drive impact gun I have is pretty good but no match for this task. I had to call in Chris MacDonald from North Riverside Welding in Boylston, NS, to swing by.

CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage disassembly
Milwaukee tools to the rescue.

It took some convincing but the larger impact gun got the job done.

With the undercarriage removed it’s time to asses the remaining parts, like the tension arms.

CAT 257B2 skid steer tension arm.
CAT 257B2 skid steer tension arm.

Then to take a look at the wheels and see if anything needs replacing.

CAT 257B2 skid steer bogie wheels assessment.
CAT 257B2 skid steer bogie wheels assessment.

Mid bogie wheels shown above are in good shape. The front idle wheels clearly need replacing. So too the rear steel idle wheels. The steel wheels are fine, just the hubs need replacing.

CAT 257B2 skid steer rear steel idler wheels assessment.
CAT 257B2 skid steer rear steel idler wheels assessment.

The frame itself while in pretty good shape, the axle holes for the front and rear idler wheels would have to be drilled out and sleeved at a machine shop. Called around and the quotes given were almost as much for brand new frames.

CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage frame assessment.
CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage frame assessment.

The next step was to contact Toromont Caterpillar in Dartmouth, NS, to discuss the terms of my surrender of almost $9,000 dollars for the parts needed to rebuild the skid steer. First up, select the parts needed. They were very co-operative and sent me diagrams to select the parts. I circled the parts I thought I needed and then them back the diagrams. Then a quote was prepared. Reviewed, Revised. Reviewed again. Revised again. This took over a week.

CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage frame diagrams.
CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage frame diagrams.
CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage frame diagrams.
CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage frame diagrams.

Then it was a matter of waiting for the parts to arrive. It took three weeks.

CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage new parts.
CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage new parts.

At this point I am looking forward to new parts making for an easy rebuild. Should of known. Nothing comes easy. First up, the new tension arms arrive and are nowhere near the same size.

CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage new tension arm assembly.
CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage new tension arm assembly.

I figure ok, maybe its a redesign to work with the new frame.

CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage new undercarriage frame.
CAT 257B2 skid steer undercarriage new undercarriage frame.

But wait, the new frame doesn’t look like the old frame. Does the new tension arm fit the new frame?

CAT 257B2 skid steer new tension arm does not fit new frame.
CAT 257B2 skid steer new tension arm does not fit new frame.

So, which is it I wonder. Wrong tension arm. Wrong frame? Both wrong? What else is different?

The old frame is 3-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches in size.

CAT 257B2 skid steer old undercarriage frame.
CAT 257B2 skid steer old undercarriage frame.

The new one is 3 x 3 inches.

CAT 257B2 skid steer new undercarriage frame.
CAT 257B2 skid steer new undercarriage frame.

Back to talking with Toromont. They decided to send me two new tension arms that will fit. They arrive. Do they fit? Well sort of, but the build quality is just, well, disappointing. You can sense my frustration at this point.

I decide to not use new tension arms and will recover the old ones. that requires a trip to Chris’s business to pull off the old tension arms on the old frames. Easily done for him, he has all the necessary tools.

Skip ahead another week and I’ve since repacked the wheels with bearing grease. Now to attach the new frame to the torsion axles.

CAT 257B2 skid steer new undercarriage frame.
CAT 257B2 skid steer new undercarriage frame.

But look at that, the new frame is not the same length as the old frame. I had to borrow an ancient come-along to pull the two torsion axles together enough to slip the new frame on.

Using a come-along to draw the axles together.
Using a come-along to draw the axles together.
Using a come-along to draw the axles together.
Just because it’s old, doesn’t mean it’s not useful.
Old tools are the best tools.
Old tools are the best tools.

The chain on the come-along was just long enough to get the job done. Now its time to slide the track in place and figure out how to slip it on.

CAT 257B2 skid steer new undercarriage assembled.
CAT 257B2 skid steer new undercarriage assembled.

Getting the tracks on has proven to be a lot more difficult that anticipated. So we are going to have to call in some expertise to get the job finished.

CAT’s roadside service came by and in about an hour and a half we got them on. Funny thing is, the first one went on in like 10 minutes. The other, not so fast. But we got it done.

20201214_152457-skidsteer-rebuild-complete
Rebuild complete!

Now to find a an electrical issue that seems to be drawing voltage on the battery, deadening it. Never a dull moment.

A Newfoundland born Canadian with a life long interest in woodworking, baking and anything else that peaks my curiosity.

2 Comments

  • Justin Will

    Nice Video, But at the end you mentioned electral issues and that is what is going on on mine same machine, i was curious to see what the problem was with the dead battey.

    Thanks,
    Justin

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