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LTV Kid 8X8 Plastic Cleat Upgrade to Factory Steel Tracks
A few of you have wondered how my plastic cleat upgrade to Grendel's (my Kid) steel tracks was done and how they perform. I didn't get to give them the torture test and try them last duck season due a wiring meltdown on my truck. But I have listed some recent videos of them. I now have a new truck and won't miss this coming duck season in the flooded ponds with it.
Originally I thought about rubber track pads, like tanks have, and then I saw some videos of the Adair tracks. I was thinking of totally changing the steel tracks for the Adair tracks, and also save some weight. But my budget was a little sparse. I spoke to them and got some tech advice then decided to try this first as an experiment. I made the track cleats from UHMW (ultra high molecular weight) plastic from Interstate plastics. They ripped the 1" thick plastic to my specs and shipped it UPS in 5' lengths. I cut them to 12" lengths and shaped them to be bolted onto each of the steel tracks. (If you want more tech info PM me). Parts cost was under $600 (add labor).
I made the cleats 1x1-1/8x 12. 1" high to provide at least 1/2-3/4" of wear depth before the steel track turned edges would contact the ground. Also the track/ wheel well clearance at the front axles narrows and this size cleat still provided 1/2" clearance to the wheel wells. 1-1/8" wide to provide enough width to drill and countersink the attachment bolts without weakening the cleats. 12" +-wide to match the track shoes. Then both bottom side ends received a curve to ease contact with the ground. Attached with 2- GR8 1/4" bolts and lock nuts to each track (144 each side). This also lifted the Kid 3/4" for more ground clearance.
In drilling I made 2 discoveries; 1) the tracks are HARDENED steel, and 2) the rubber track bands have STEEL BAND CORES! So it takes awhile to accomplish this. And of course it can only be done with the tracks off of the Kid so it was a good time to change out bent side pieces, track segment connecting bolts and to grease the outer bearings!
First run on concrete was a DREAM! It was like spinning on oil on the concrete. Better than tires! Not the usual steel tracks gouging the concrete and stressing the track bands. So FULL speed on concrete! Even in turns! Loading up solid aluminum ramps seemed actually better than the steel tracks.
So far 2 thumbs up!
There was always rumors to not go into the water with the steel tracks as VERY heavy. Well, I have added foam filled PVC tubes to sides and rear but that is for water surface-area stability, like outriggers more than any real floatation gain. Well I went into the pond with tracks cleats and all and it did fine. About twice the propulsion of just tires, nothing fantastic but did seem to pick the front end up. (In one of the water videos I go into a deep hole)
In initial sand, marsh and light water test they did great. The cleats sink down further than the steel tracks did and give more pull, actually you then have 3 biting surfaces in the dirt. So, turning in sand was slightly slower than tracks alone, but understandable. In gravel mixed with dirt you have to slow down for turns as the cleats grab.
I don't get into snow but I don't doubt they would be any less effective than the steel tracks. After all, the tracks are not "open design", even though the cleats are added, the original track shoes provided an almost solid surface, albeit you may like wider tracks. You can work the plastic just as if it was wood. The plastic cleats could also be cut longer or wider to add some surface area also.
All in all a VERY successful experiment , better than the dually experiment and I'm keeping them on all the time. Especially with the cost savings from other track alternatives. Time will tell how the cleats wear and if the Grade 8 bolts that are countersunk into the cleats, will hold up. I have been told that this type plastic wears like steel and I believe it. The UHMW plastic looks scratched but does not seem to be wearing at all. But this is only recreational use.
Good Luck with your Kid projects!
UHMW plastic supplier:Interstate Plastics
LTV Kid 8X8 with plastic cleats over steel tracks 1st drive. - YouTube
VIDEO0100 - YouTube
VIDEO0104 - YouTube
VIDEO0103 - YouTube
Southern Comfort Kid
Nice job with the cleats. I always thought these kids were bigger but look to be about the size of a mud ox. I like the 6 wheelers better than the 8's but this is probably my favorite 8 wheeler. This cleat thing might lend itself well to the argo supertracks. if anything might ease some of the strain on the chains and bearings. One of the benefits to the adair track system is it's ability to slide laterally.
I'm thinking of going with the UHMW cleats but I would really like to go with black UHMW rather than the burgandy. I see that Interstate Plastics carries a black virgin UHMW that doesn't read to be as durable as the burgandy. Did you compare the black with the burgandy and get any info from Interstate on the two? I only plan to build up my KID to look military and use it mostly for parades etc. What do you think, will the black work for me?
Last edited by billr; 12-10-2012 at 09:35 PM.
Great vids. I'm jealous, I want one of these machines really bad, just haven't found one within reasonable driving distance from me. It seemed to float very well. Great job on the cleats.
Black versus Burgundy UHMW cleats
I think for your purpose of slow speed parades the black will be fine. I wanted a black color but took the more durable Burgundy so I wouldn't have to redo them anytime soon (I hope). I'll be interested to hear how the black holds up, especially for cuts and scratches. If attached like I did at the ends of the cleats they still flex in the middle of the cleat when encountering an obstruction. Overall you will love the performance on concrete/ asphalt! There is still some track slap against the wheelwells at times due to the small clearance at the front axles.
My next experiment - I think I will pull the engine after hunting season and attempt a change to a small Caterpiller C1.1 3 cyl diesel I recently obtained, or rebuild the engine.
Last edited by Southern Comfort Kid; 12-13-2012 at 12:18 PM.
Southern Comfort Kid
Thanks for the info. I plan to get the black and put it on sometime in January. I'll let you know how it turns out and holds up.