Track adjusters: types and functions

Repair parts - 05/04/2022

Track adjusters maintain the chain’s tension in tracked vehicles of all sizes through a combination of actions.


The first article on track adjusters delves into the types, functions, and components of this essential part of earthmoving machines.

Track adjusters maintain the chain at the correct tension in tracked earthmoving machines of all sizes. That’s why it’s essential for the machine’s operation. Before digging deeper into its functions, let’s look at its components. The main parts are the following:

  • the yoke, which connects the idler wheel to the other parts;

  • the recoil spring, which serves as a shock absorber, protecting the undercarriage from impacts and overload and adjusting to uneven soil;

  • the cylinder, which adjusts the track and tensions the chain. It includes a grease cylinder. Moreover, the track cylinder can be installed outside or inside the spring, with its pros and cons.

Track adjuster functions

The track adjuster is designed to carry out a set of essential functions inside an earthmoving machine. In detail:

  • It exerts a bending action and guides the track via sliding supports and the idler wheel;

  • It pre-tensions and adjusts the chain;

  • It protects the undercarriage from external overload;

  • It ensures safe shock absorption.


How many types of track adjusters are there?

There’re several, even though they all serve the same purpose. Depending on the components’ layout and the type of tracked vehicle, we can divide track adjusters into two groups. Let’s look at them and see how they differ from each other.


1. Front track adjuster with separate track cylinder  




Gruppo tendicingolo anteriore con tenditore separato



2. Front track adjuster with built-in track cylinder


Gruppo tendicingolo anteriore con tenditore integrato


The recoil spring and the hydraulic track cylinder 

The recoil spring and the cylinder are two essential parts of the track adjuster. Both parts serve a specific purpose.

The spring absorbs the shocks applied to the front idler when the machine meets an obstacle. Moreover, it adjusts the chain’s tension by injecting grease inside the cylinder through a control valve that moves the recoil spring forwards through hydraulic pressure.

On the contrary, the recoil spring moves backwards by making grease leak from the valve, thus reducing the chain’s tension. The recoil spring is loaded when the machine moves backwards.

The cylinder holds the spring with the cylinder body (sleeve). This way, it keeps the spring constantly preloaded. This part is highly resistant because it receives a heavier load when the spring is compressed than when it’s preloaded.

Generally, the recoil spring and the cylinder can include the following components:

  1. Spring

  2. Cylinder

  3. Piston

  4. Tie-rod

  5. Flange

  6. Seal

  7. Oil scraper

  8. Nut

This is what they usually look like:

Recoil spring



Gruppo molla ITR



Hydraulic track cylinder



Gruppo tenditore idraulico ITR


Recoil spring with built-in track cylinder




Gruppo molla con tenditore integrato ITR



The next article will dig deeper into the recoil spring. 

Want to know more about ITR’s track adjusters?

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Any manufacturers’ names, brand or product names, trademarks, part numbers, symbols, drawings, images, colours and descriptions appearing in this document are for reference purposes only, and it is not implied that any part listed is the product of these manufacturers. All trademarks and registered trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

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