Track Failure Article

Page 1

SnowTech Magazine

December 1999, p.76-78

Track Failure Analysis

Maybe you felt your sled hit something, maybe not.  It could have been in the shop with the sled up on its side that you noticed it.  Whenever you see it, you cringe, knowing a new track costs $400 and more.  What happened, why did it happen, was it a defect, or was it something stupid?

SnowTech Magazine presents the following track failure analysis guide.  Knowing the different types of track failures and what their causes are will help you identify problems and hopefully avoid them in the future.

Most track failures are caused by one of three things; use of the improper track for the snow conditions; hitting an object; and inadequate lubrication for the hyfax.  Improper track for the conditions refers to a track that is designed for certain conditions being


operated in other conditions, like riding a 2” deep lug track on hard packed trails.  Hitting an object is pretty simple; riding in a ditch, spinning the track, you hit a post or stump, and a chunk of track is removed.  Inadequate lubrication for the hyfax can happen to any track, but higher lug tracks are more susceptible in marginal conditions.  If it gets above freezing one afternoon, the next morning the trail can be rock solid with no loose snow available for lubrication and cooling.

In all or any track failure cases, you need to closely examine the track ahead and behind the area of damage.  Usually there will be physical evidence, or “witness marks” of what happened.  Ahead of and following the area with the most damage, in the lugs leading up to the damage, you’ll see a nick-nick-cut-cut-gouge-gouge-tear, and something similar following.  This evidence suggests the track hit something, and like hitting a tree with your car, would not be covered under a warranty.  The snowmobile

manufacturers have no problem replacing tracks that are truly defective, but too many times a track that has failed due to other reasons is presented for warranty coverage.


Delamination is described as the track layers cleanly separating.  If the tracks clips show signs of overheating (hyfax material stuck to the clips, blue or discoloration to the clip metal) and the track separated at low mileage, the delamination could be caused by poor adhesion of the layers during track manufacturing.  In this case, it could be a warranty item.

This kind of damage can also occur due to marginal snow conditions.  The track clips may be discolored or blued, or plastic hyfax material is melted and stuck to the clips.  In this case, the track failure is 

not due to a defect, it is caused by the track getting too hot.


Track Failure Analysis Article - part two
Track Failure Analysis article - part three
Track Failure Analysis Article - part four


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