Mini Final Drives Home > Blog > Final Drive Motors in The Heavy Equipment Vocabulary

Final Drive Motors in The Heavy Equipment Vocabulary

excavator final drive motor

If you’ve spent much time around people in the heavy equipment industry, you’ve probably heard a lot of different terms used to describe a final drive motor for an excavator. As a complete unit, an excavator final drive motor provides the power to turn the tracks and move the excavator. Simply stated, it is composed of two primary components that are sealed and joined together – the first is the hydraulic “motor” that receives energy from the main hydraulic pump. The second part is the gear box, which is called the “final drive,” because it is, as stated in the Google dictionary, “the last (final) part of the transmission system...”

The hydraulic motor is the part of your final drive motor to which the hydraulic hoses connect. Most people simply call this portion the “motor,” but terms like “travel motor,” and “propel motor,” also appear in the industry. Interestingly, a lot of people mistakenly see the hoses on the back side of a final drive motor and think it is a hydraulic pump, but it is not, the central pump is located elsewhere on the excavator and supplies the hydraulic power to turn that final drive motor.

The final drive is the planetary gearbox portion of your final drive which you can see protruding through the track sprocket, and contains a couple gear oil fill/drain plugs (see our other articles about the importance of maintaining that gear oil!). In our experience, 90% people in the heavy equipment industry simply use the term "final drive" to describe a final drive motor, but technically the "final drive" is only the gearbox portion, which would of course not work without the hydraulic motor to supply the rotational power. Due to the relatively high cost of parts and labor to join these two sections, mini and midi excavator final drives and travel motors are rarely sold separately because it isn't cost practical (unlike on much larger machines where it is more economical), so you will likely need to replace both portions with a complete new pre-assembled unit when either reach end of life.

Other slang terms for a final drive motor have cropped up in the industry such as “walking motor,” and “track motor.” As they say, “a rose by any other name is still but a rose,” and that’s true for all the various terms you may have for a final drive motor and its components.

At MiniFinalDrives, we don’t care what you call it – so, for example, if you call us and tell us you need a "track drive motor for Kubota KX91-3 mini excavator", we know exactly what you mean and what you need, which is a complete final drive and travel motor for the Kubota KX91-3, fully assembled and ready to install! Just give us a call to chat - we’re always glad to help you find the right final drive motor solution to keep your machine moving!

Our family at Mini Final Drives has been providing excellent Quality, Value, and Service for over 50 years, and you can continue to count on us for a lifetime of friendly, helpful support for all your final drive and travel motor needs. Call us today at 877-483-2806 or visit our online store at to find and order what you need today for Fast and Free delivery to your door.