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Old 10-09-2018, 01:49 PM
Blackfoot Tucker Blackfoot Tucker is offline
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Default Tucker idler wheel options...

Rubber belted Tuckers have many virtues, and they have some areas of concern; especially in units with more hours. One of those areas is the idler wheels (some call them bogie wheels) which attach to the carrier spindles, and are what keep the tracks in contact with the snow. Different track lengths have different numbers of idler wheels. A 1300 series machine has four on each carrier for a total of 16, a 1500 series has five per carrier and a long track Tucker has six per carrier. These wheels have a center aluminum casting and a hard rubber "tire" bonded to the wheel. (De-icer wheels are located at the rear-most position on all four carriers and the tires are made of different materials harder than the standard idler wheel tires, though polyurethane seems to be perhaps the most common.)

Over time pieces (or chunks) of rubber break off, and if it gets bad enough, the idler wheel needs replacement. Of course one can buy brand new ones from Tucker. A company called Fall Line in Reno, NV recovers wheels with polyurethane in different "hardnesses" which is measured by durometer. Another firm is Mountain Services Group in Golden, CO. (This company was formerly known as Okners.) I called both for current pricing. I should point out I recently got a quote for a new idler wheel assembly from Tucker and the price was $350. I did not price the cost of a de-icer wheel.

Fall Line recovered wheels (and drive sprockets) are distinguished by their bright yellow material, (which I believe is a polyurethane). You can specify if you want the softer (idler wheel) or harder (de-icer wheel) compound on your wheel. The price is identical at $240 per wheel. I also priced narrow seven tooth drive sprockets in the square tooth style. Those cost $252 each. They are also yellow, and it is the softer compound.

Mountain Services offers only one material for wheels and it's a black urethane. The wheels could then be used in either an idler position or a de-icer position. The cost for recovering a wheel is $235. The cost for a seven tooth narrow square tooth sprocket is $245.

The very early rubber belted Tuckers had wheels that differ from the later ones in that the aluminum wheel was a larger diameter and the rubber tire was thinner, though the overall diameter was about the same. Later style wheels have "Tucker Sno Cat" in the aluminum wheel casting whereas the earlier wheels say "R & K". I believe Tucker gets their current production wheels from R & K with their unique wheel casting. I Googled R & K wheels and their website mentioned they offer wheel recovering. I contacted them for pricing and was quoted rubber at $189.14 and polyurethane at $265.14. They made a point of saying credit card orders are charged an additional 3.75% fee.

This past summer I won an auction for a ride-on floor scrubber to clean concrete floors. When I picked up the machine it was apparent the front tire was toast. It too is solid rubber and bonded to an aluminum wheel and I thought "No big deal; maybe $75 for a new one" (smaller than a Tucker wheel). Yeah... List price on a new tire/wheel combo was (no kidding) over $600. That was almost twice what I had paid for the whole unit and I felt there had to be a lower cost solution. Polyurethane wheels were available for less money, but I wanted to stick with rubber if I could. After more than a little research I brought the defective wheel to a company in SLC called Rema Tip Top. The manager is a very nice guy and he thought they could do the job. No guarantees, but for $150 it was worth a shot. I thought afterward I wonder if they could recover Tucker idler wheels, called the manager and discussed it. He thought maybe but wanted to see a wheel before committing to it, or quoting a price. I haven't been there yet, so I can't provide any more information. But if I can get the original equipment manufacturer to recover a wheel for $189, I'm not sure it's worth pursuing.

There may be more options I'm not aware of...
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Old 10-10-2018, 03:06 PM
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Default Re: Tucker idler wheel options...

In my experience the FallLine recovered wheels and sprockets wear much longer than the stock ones and don't seem to chunk as badly when they do.
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