Machine Questions and Resources
We sometimes get questions on maintenance of our track conditioners. Here are some good tips to make sure you get many years of use from your track conditioner. We have also included conditioner setup manuals for you to download.
How do I avoid getting excessive material build up on the back bar of the rectangular harrow?
- Make sure the machine is level front to back using the turnbuckle
- You can add spacers in between the drawbar and tongue to help level
What can I do to eliminate the ‘slop’ or gaps between the tires on the roller?
Too much play in the tires on your roller usually means they are worn out and should be replaced. L&M can sell one or more new replacement tires if a couple of them are worn out. If you replace less than all of the tires you will have to cut down the new ones to the same diameter as the older ones to keep it level. Having the tires too snug will cause them to lock up and not roll, pushing the material instead of rolling over it. If there isn’t enough room for an entire wheel, stops can be welded around the end cap limiting play to about 3/4”.
Replacing the Brush on a Track Conditioner
- Only use #5 grade bolts, recommended size is 1/4” x 1 1/2”
- Tighten them down until they crimp against the steel frame
- Make sure that broom assembly and brace are adjusted properly to avoid excessive brush wear and vibration
When should I order new teeth?
It is important to keep good quality teeth on the conditioner because wearing away the supporting gussets can be a very expensive problem to correct. Check all the teeth to make sure they are set at a consistent depth across the machine. Make sure the Carbide tips are not excessively worn.
How deep should the teeth cut into the race track surface?
- Standardbred: approximately 3/8” to 1/2”
- Thoroughbred: approximately 3 to 4 inches
How far below the gussets should the teeth be set?
- For both Standardbred and Thoroughbred machines the teeth should be set approximately 1/4” below the gussets.
- For the 8” Square Harrow machine the teeth should be set approximately 2” below the gussets.
How often should we grease the bearings?
Each bearing should be greased for about every 8 hours of use.
How do I avoid breaking holders off when I replace teeth?
The best way to avoid breaking teeth is to clean off the conditioner and then spray each nut with a penetrating oil
such as P-Blasting and let sit for a few minutes before removing.
What kind of maintenance does the track conditioner require?
The answer depends quite a bit on weather conditions, amount of usage and type of track material. Larcom & Mitchell track conditioners are made from the highest quality steel and parts available. Our heavy duty specs mean our machines are built to last for many years of constant use. However, we recommend you periodically check and tighten any loose nuts, check the teeth for excessive wear, confirm all teeth are set at the proper depth, make sure all Whoa Stops are set correctly, inspect the hydraulic lines for leakage. Also, it is imperative that you grease the wheel bearings (1 point) and bearing plates (3 points) about every 8-10 hours of use. We sell all the replacement parts and supplies you will ever need.
How do I adjust the level bar?
The depth of cut for the level bar is adjusted by raising and lowering the gauge wheel. Gauge wheel adjustments are easily made by changing the turnbuckles on each side of the conditioner. Each track will have their own preferences. The moisture content of the track surface will be the primary factor that affects this.
Generally speaking the level bar can be set as follows:
- wet conditions set it higher
- dry conditions set it lower
Reasons to consider adding the optional level bar to a conditioner.
Level bars are designed for grading and leveling the track surface. If your track or farm doesn’t have a grader we recommend that you purchase the level bar with your track conditioner. Adding a level bar can also reduce the need to use a grader as often, thereby reducing time and overall track maintenance costs.
Selecting the right size Race Track Conditioner
Tractor Horsepower: The condition of the track, material type and weather will greatly impact how easy or hard the conditioner will pull, however the following charts provide our minimum recommendations.
Track Size: The location of the crown, overall width of the track and number of passes necessary to maintain the entire surface may be considerations for the right size of track conditioner for your needs. One last thing to think about is width of barn doors and gates into and out of the track.
Weather/Climate: The primary consideration for weather is the size of the roller. The larger diameter rollers tend work better than smaller ones in colder climates. For example most of the Standardbred machines sold into Canada are made with the optional 18” roller.
Budget: Generally speaking the larger machines are more efficient in terms of labor hours and fuel. Our recommendation is to purchase the largest machine you can afford.