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How can I tell whether my hydraulic final drive is worn?

The final drive of your excavator is a wear part. Final drives, also called travel drives, do not last forever, but you can extend the service life with the right maintenance. In this blog you will learn how to tell whether your final drive is worn and what you can do to extend the service life of your hydraulic final drive.

hydraulic final drives


A hydraulic final drive uses two different types of oils, namely hydraulic oil and gear oil. The hydraulic oil helps the final drive to rotate and the gear oil provides lubrication on the reduction side. There is a mechanical seal between the hydraulic motor and the reduction side which is also known as the gearbox.

It that there is a seal even though the two halves of the final drive are rotating and that the different oils do not come into contact with each other. This seal is also known as a lifetime seal.

Manufacturers recommend that the gear oil is replaced ever 250 hours. This is also the first opportunity to identify any wear. When you collect the gear oil, take a careful look at the oil that comes out. What colour is the oil? Is there any swarf in the oil? This can be the first sign of wear.

When gears make contact with each other they become worn which you can see as iron particles in the oil. If the oil has a strong smell, the final drive may be too hot. Both of these signs of wear can indicate that you should replace the oil more frequently or use a heavy duty oil.

hydraulic final drive


Leaks are another sign of wear. A final drive has a machine side that is fixed and a sprocket side that does move. There is a mechanical seal between these two parts, which is also known as a lifetime seal or a mechanical seal. If there is oil leaking between the two halves, it means that the seal has become too worn.

This is actually unavoidable, although it does help to not leave the machine stationary for too long. This seal has two grinding faces which can become rusty if the machine is not used for a long time. That is why it is better to operate the final drive from time to time if you park your excavator for long periods.


Have you noticed strange noises? This is also a sign of wear. Travel drives have various gear connections and operating the drive automatically means that it will become worn.

If there is too much play in the gears, they will make a creaking or squeaking noise. This means that the Travel drive is becoming worn.

It is time to get a new Travel drive? Order it directly on our website. See the video below for more information about wear to your Travel drive.

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