Common Track Problems
Many of the problems that occur with Trackster tracks are covered in the Cushman Manuals. However, I have run across many issues that will effect the wear, tracking and performance of your tracks that are not covered.
If you have trouble with tracks falling off, the problem may NOT be the track tension. There are a number of other factors that may contribute to the problem. Areas to check are the condition of the front torsilastics, the rear carrier assemblies, and the individual bogie assemblies themselves. A thorough check of both tracks systems can be accomplished from start to finish in about an hour.
The front bogies are mounted to torsilastic springs. If the rubber in the torsilastic spring has come loose from the metal mount, the tension provided by this unit will be considerably less than adequate. If you find that just one has broken loose, this can cause uneven tension on the track which makes the track lugs apply constant pressure to one side of the bogie wheels just waiting for a chance to jump off. It is suggested that when the torsilastics are replaced with new assemblies, they are replaced in pairs to provide equal tension to the track.
Another cause of track problems is wear in the rear bogie(carrier)assembly. With use, the center pivot shaft of the left and right bogie sets will wear and allow the sets to move freely from side to side around the track lugs. On tight turns, or rough terrain, the bogies can ride up on the track lug and make the track jam or jump off. One easily noticeable sign of this wear is a tear or complete failure of the rubber shear mount located between the pivot assembly and the carrier. Also, on this assembly, the steel support shaft wears and enlarges the dimensions of the outer square box steel carrier tube. When this gets too loose, the adjuster arms fall out of the track tension adjustment collar. I've seen people weld these adjuster arms to the collar but this ignores the true cause and eventually breaks something else like the weld, the adjusting collar/arms or other suspension components. The best way to repair this problem is to remove the rear assembly and reshape the dimensions of the tube to closely match the shaft size and weld in another 1/4 inch of reinforcement at least one inch wide at each end of the tube.
Finally, besides other wear in somewhat obvious places, wheel bearings and bogie condition are probably the most common cause of track wear, jamming and disengagement problems. If you allow the bogie wheels themselves to wear too thin, they will eventually turn into pizza cutters and slice right through the track. Check your bogies often for breaks, chips and wear especially if you run your machine in sandy or stony environments. Wheel bearings can fail without warning. These too should be checked often and replaced at the slightest sign of wear.
The best way to check the bearings and bogie wheels is to get the weight off the suspension. I use a floor jack with a 2" X 6" X 6' plank under the side that I'm checking and center the jack under it. This applies equal pressure to the entire under carriage. Be sure to place blocks beneath the plank before working on it rather than relying completely on the jack. Others have mentioned to me that they use the chain plate located on the outside of the center support with an engine hoist to get their Trackster off the ground. I find the first method more portable.
Once the track is off the ground, a thorough check can be made of the bogie wheels and bearings. Grab each bogie set and wiggle from side to side to check for any play. Also, check for smooth rotation of the set on the axle. If you find any slop at all, the best you can hope for is that the bearing seal is shot. If action isn't taken, moisture will rust the bearing and failure is eminent. If you find rough, jerky rotation or frozen bogie sets, these too must be replaced or you risk damage to the bogie wheels themselves, the track($) or worse yet, an unrecoverable breakdown 12 miles from the nearest trailer.
I hope this helps you in diagnosing and preventing some of the problems that can occur with your Cushman Trackster.