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The 4 Most Important Tasks for Maintaining Final Drives

final drive parts and repairFinal drive repair can be a difficult maintenance task, but it doesn’t have to be! From our experiences at Mini Final Drives, we have found that the maintenance for final drive motors, like the IHI 35J, can be broken down into a four-step process. For a final drive motor for a Bobcat, final drive motor for a Caterpillar, etc, using this process extends its life, helps it run better, and (most importantly) cuts down on costs.


Four Steps for Maintaining your IHI 35J or Other Final Drive Motor


  • Check the Gear Oil

  • Change the Gear Oil

  • Check the Case Drain Filter

  • Check for Leaks


Check the Gear Oil


In terms of final drive parts and repair, experts say that gear oil levels should be checked once after every 100 hours of operation. When looking at the cover plate of your IHI 35J final drive or travel motor, there should be two or three plugs. Arrange your final drive so that one is at the 12 o’clock position and the other at 3, you should be able to remove any debris. If the gear oil level is low, then of course, you’ll need to add oil through the 12 o’clock opening until it comes out at the 3 o’clock opening. After topping off the oil, simply plug and go!


Change the Gear Oil


As a general rule of thumb, your final drive gear oil should be changed at least once a year. Change the oil when it is warm because it will drain better. In order to change the gear oil, you should move the plugs into the 3 and 6 o’clock positions. The 3 o’clock opening is for venting while the other allows the oil to drain. Always remove any debris from the plugs. Remove them, starting with the bottom first. As the oil drains out from the 6 o'clock plug, ensure there are no metal shavings or flakes in the oil. Metal in oil indicates a problem within the gear hub. This means your final drive needs immediate attention. When you add fresh oil, arrange the final drive so that the openings are in the 12 and 3 o’clock positions, adding fresh oil through the 12 o’clock opening until it runs out of the 3 o’clock opening. DO NOT mix different types of oil!


Check the Case Drain Filter


In terms of final drive parts and repair, it’s important to know your machine. You will only find a case drain filter on Bobcat final drive travel motors. However, knowing where it is and how to ensure proper performance matters for the longevity of your final drive motor. Case drain filters are supposed to filter out impurities from the hydraulic fluid. If the filter is left unchecked/unchanged, it can become clogged, which would cause incredible pressure build-up in the travel motor. In order to check the case drain filter, you must locate the case drain line. After removing the filter from the drain line, plug up the drain lines to avoid contamination and/ or loss of hydraulic fluid, and then examine. If the filter element is any color other than bronze, it’s time to replace it.


Lastly, Check for Leaks


When thinking about final drive parts and repair, a leak is absolutely a problem that needs immediate attention. Leaks can be easily detected with regular checkups. When it comes to your IHI 35J or other final drive motor, there are two types of leaks that you might find:


  1. hydraulic leak

  2. gear oil leak


A gear oil leak is usually due to the mechanical face seal and should be addressed ASAP! Hydraulic leaks, however, involve a thin fluid that originates from a leaking hose or an issue in the hydraulic part of your final drive. If it’s not because of a leaking hose, it’s most likely a clogged case drain filter. However, if you do find an excessive amount of fluid leaking, it’s most likely hydraulic fluid.


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 www.minifinaldrives.com to find and order your IHI 35J or other final drive motor for Fast and Free delivery to your door.