Anyone else here have a trenching tractor?

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Dirty Water, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799


    We have this model, (not ours in the picture).

    I just finished doing a 1700 yard telephone trench. While doing that, I broke two chain rollers and one pin.

    The chain has 1200 hours on it. Is this chain shot? I replaced the two rollers, but I think the chain may be giving up.
  2. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    Chain wear has as much to do with maint. and age as it does to trenching hours. And the type of trenching makes a BIG difference. If those 1200 hours were in heavy rock or light sand, and the machine was kept outside over a period of years, I would say your chain might be toast. BUT, I've seen chains that were 20 years old that were fine and had LOTS of hours on them. How loose are the linkages, etc.?
  3. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    We have only had it for the last 400 hours, and those have been in heavy rock, or heavy clay.

    The trencher is stored outside. There are no maintenance points on the chain, aside from keeping it clean after each job. Each roller is riveted together, there is no obvious slop between links.
  4. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    Sounds like your in good shape if nothing feels "loose". By maint., I'm not talking about grease zerks, but if it is going to be stored for a prolonged period, oiling it like you would a drive chain will reduce the rust. Keeping it outside makes keeping an oil film on the chain a little harder, but the worry areas hold oil anyway. The teeth and outside are going to rust first, but come out clean the first time you start digging again. It really isn't that hard to break a chain, and just because you break one, doesn't mean the chain is trash. You've got to work a trencher day in and day out to wear out a chain.
  5. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    Chances are the chain is not shot, but not impossible. If the tension on the chain was not correct and the chain was too tight, there may be some stretch. The chain is worn out when you don't have enough of the teeth plates left to bolt the teeth onto.

    As far as pins breaking, that is a common occurance when trenching in rocky soils. Just keep a handful handy.

    Kee[ the chain oiled, and the sprockets greases and check the tension on the chain.

  6. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    We used to have a Case articulating trencher (similar to yours) that was pretty old. It was tough to keep straight and you needed many hours on it to get the feel. Only time I broke the chain was when trenching through hardpan. I can install up to 3" diameter glue-together (not gasketed) with our Ditch Witch 1020 because it has widened carbide teeth and followers. We now use a Bobcat 773 with backhoe attachment for our larger problems.

    Like others have already stated keep the chain oiled, bearings greased and the proper tension on it and it should last.

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