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Flexco Lacing info needed

Idaho IMP

Member
I‘m getting my head wrapped around a full track build for my WT Imp 1404. I‘m fairly certain I’ll spend the money and go with belts from Fall Line. I realize that I can get less expensive belts and drill myself but it’s a time thing. My question is regarding belt lacing. My current tracks run Flexco 375‘s. I’m gonna go with 550’s this time for a bit more durability. Do any of you have the critical dimensions regarding hole layout for the 550’s? The factory layout on file at Fallline was for the original plate style connectors which is hard to figure out what they are (unobtainium). I don’t know if the original hole layout will jive with 550’s. I can make a template and drill the connectors myself without issue.
I’m open to discussion and guidance here so let ’er rip!
 

BoyToys

Active member
Can't help you there. When I did my rebuild last fall I just reused the original lacing which appeared to be in good shape requiring 6 holes each. Other than the sticker shock, the Fall Line belts worked fine. If a picture of the original unobtainium lacing would help any I'd be happy to snap a shot of mine.
 

Idaho IMP

Member
Thanks for chiming in. I was hoping you would. The original lacing was a Hans-hall maybe? Pictures would be great. Also, how much was the shipping for your belts and where are you located? Where did you order all of your bolts?

im likely gonna order belts 5” long, then I’ll lay out and drill holes for 550 series lacing. I’ll just have ‘em punch for grousers.
 

Akcat

New member
Shipping to Alaska is insane so I bought belting locally and made my own. I bought new lacing from Mountain Equipment in Canada. The lacing is one piece stainless steel. Really nice lacing. Check eBay for bolts and nuts. I bought grade 8 bolts and nuts for a pretty good price and free shipping too boot.
 

BoyToys

Active member
Here are two picts I took when planning things out with Rich at Fall Line, trying to show hole spacing dimensions. If you need a full picture of the lacing I'll run down to the cat and take one if the lacing is in position for a photo. Can't move the cat since I took off the has tank in prep for painting.
Shipping for the belts was around $60 UPS to central Washington state.
Grade 8 gold zinc plated nuts and bolts I got from Fastenal on-line: bolts 5/16-24x1", part #18795 (575 for $168.59), and nuts YZ8 nylok, part #1137081 (600 for $116.16).
EDIT: added two new picts of current installation, top and underside.
 

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Idaho IMP

Member
Boy toys, thanks for the pictures. It looks like your 550 lacing is noted through the same layout as the first grouser, then the other end bolts through the track, correct? I didn’t think your bolt price was that bad. I do have a Fastenall in Twin Falls, which isn’t too far away. I’ll have to look at my donor tracks and see how they dealt with the lacing. Unfortunately the ends are either in the center of the roll or underneath between the roll and pallet.
 

BoyToys

Active member
Boy toys, thanks for the pictures. It looks like your 550 lacing is noted through the same layout as the first grouser, then the other end bolts through the track, correct? I didn’t think your bolt price was that bad. I do have a Fastenall in Twin Falls, which isn’t too far away. I’ll have to look at my donor tracks and see how they dealt with the lacing. Unfortunately the ends are either in the center of the roll or underneath between the roll and pallet.
Correct. Through one grouser. Because of that the spacing between those grousers is maybe a half an inch less than the rest of the grousers but still engages fine with the sprocket.
You're in, what...in Ketchum? Not too far to Twin. I lived in American Falls late 80's through early 90's, though I spent half my time in an airplane to Chicago and all points in North America. I enjoyed Idaho, and a few trips to Sun Valley too.
Happy to help where I can.

Mark
 

redsqwrl

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
I do a lot of belt work and the Flexco directions are really good on laying out their products on belts. they have a template that puts the correct spacing on the bolts as the outer bolts are farther onto the belting than the inner bolts. ( think 36" wide belting on a conveyor )
* i posted some of the images of the directions on BFT belting threads * BFT does a great job documenting his process and the thought behind his actions....
I have been warned from people with more experience that the having that one spot narrow ( in pitch ) will eat your sprockets quicker than you think. I adopted a snow trac years back and the previous owner had the splice off a 1/4 in at the over lap and I ate a pair of 800 sprockets up in one season. I spend a fair amount of time inspecting the splices on my machines and personally don't care for over lap splicing as I hate hearing the whoompft, Woompft, whoompft sound at speed.

You are doing it right.
 

BoyToys

Active member
I do a lot of belt work and the Flexco directions are really good on laying out their products on belts. they have a template that puts the correct spacing on the bolts as the outer bolts are farther onto the belting than the inner bolts. ( think 36" wide belting on a conveyor )
* i posted some of the images of the directions on BFT belting threads * BFT does a great job documenting his process and the thought behind his actions....
I have been warned from people with more experience that the having that one spot narrow ( in pitch ) will eat your sprockets quicker than you think. I adopted a snow trac years back and the previous owner had the splice off a 1/4 in at the over lap and I ate a pair of 800 sprockets up in one season. I spend a fair amount of time inspecting the splices on my machines and personally don't care for over lap splicing as I hate hearing the whoompft, Woompft, whoompft sound at speed.

You are doing it right.
You're scaring me. I chose to reuse the original lacings as they came with my Imp, and one grouser mounts directly on top of one of the lacing plates (see attached picts) as indicated in the Thiokol Imp manual diagrams. Because of that, the spacing between grousers adjacent to the lacing is 3.75" vs. 4.0" for all the others. My drive sprockets (certainly original OEM) look OK for their age other than one small chunk out of the side of one tooth. I guess we shall see how she goes.
 

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redsqwrl

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
Measure 3 and divide by 2 in three places around your track.

Lots of people over the years use old (stretched) belts as templates for new tracks.. ide bet 90 % of tucker owners that complain about various issues are not aware tucker used 5 7/8 and 6 1/8 pitches.
 

redsqwrl

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
Don't be worried. But for reference, Here is my $1,600 lesson.

Drivers side

Passenger side

The 1/4 inch. Gap

Your sprockets are readily available, easy to get and cheap.
You also have a rubber on radius-ed steel contact.

Personally I love how quiet and smooth my rigs are. I have a tucker in the fleet that will rattle your fillings loose. Like this snow trac the tucker sits in the queue till I feel like working on them.
 

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Idaho IMP

Member
I do a lot of belt work and the Flexco directions are really good on laying out their products on belts. they have a template that puts the correct spacing on the bolts as the outer bolts are farther onto the belting than the inner bolts. ( think 36" wide belting on a conveyor )
* i posted some of the images of the directions on BFT belting threads * BFT does a great job documenting his process and the thought behind his actions....
I have been warned from people with more experience that the having that one spot narrow ( in pitch ) will eat your sprockets quicker than you think. I adopted a snow trac years back and the previous owner had the splice off a 1/4 in at the over lap and I ate a pair of 800 sprockets up in one season. I spend a fair amount of time inspecting the splices on my machines and personally don't care for over lap splicing as I hate hearing the whoompft, Woompft, whoompft sound at speed.

You are doing it right.
Thanks Red sqwrl! That’s funny as my current tracks (non-original) have a 4-3/4” section at the connector. It does feel like the track jumps a bit when it hits the cog.
It’s sounding like I should leave the ends a bit long and use the Flexco template. I understand the layout from the centerline of the belt and lay out from there. That makes sense to me.
A couple questions for you:
1. Does it matter if I run individual vs. Joined 550’s?
2. should I bother with stainless Steel vs just Zinc.

Best, , Pete
 

redsqwrl

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
Thanks Red sqwrl! That’s funny as my current tracks (non-original) have a 4-3/4” section at the connector. It does feel like the track jumps a bit when it hits the cog.
It’s sounding like I should leave the ends a bit long and use the Flexco template. I understand the layout from the centerline of the belt and lay out from there. That makes sense to me.
A couple questions for you:
1. Does it matter if I run individual vs. Joined 550’s?
2. should I bother with stainless Steel vs just Zinc.

Best, , Pete
1. No, both are fine. joined is just easier.
I use the 375 and skieve the cover off the belting to fit proper. I fit them, Torque them, and then mark and remove the offending bolts I run a end mill in a cordless right through what ever is in the way and put the grouser bolts in. I do use individuals occasionally as the left overs are usually singles. I use those bits mostly on tuckers as the skinny belts lend them selves to the task well.
2. How long do you intend to live. I'm 56 and the cold rolled steel from thiokol in 74 when i was 6 is still going strong on my 1404. I made a belt with tie wire lacing for my buzz saw on a massey furgenson to-35, 10 years ago. TIE WIRE, for re-rod. It has way more hours on it than any of my snow cats, and all the neighbors use it. I put it on there as a joke and to make a template..... so as many of my friends say, " merbach you are over thinking this" so I just leave it, and Yep I was overthinking it.
 

Idaho IMP

Member
Thanks for that Red sqwrl. My splice distance is probably 5” . You’ll see in the photo how high it rides on the sprocket. These were aftermarket tracks built from 2 x 2 .125 angle. Grousers are a bit narrower than a wide track. The grousers are attached with elevator bolts, thus no backing plates. While the steel is serviceable, the rubber is very dry cracked around the bolt heads. Also note the gap between the ends of the belts. They could have drilled them closer for sure. I could get another year out of the tracks, but it’s time to replace. I was supposed to get a second set of tracks when I bought the unit but the owner couldn’t find them. (Long story). They would have been sweet as they had aluminum grousers from the factory. 2 of my lacings were joined with thick galvanized fence wire and it appeared they had been there for years..,,,
 

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redsqwrl

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
This splice is very easy to repair. You have a minimal amount of work to get those to run smooth. the tool for the splice bolts is available I use applied technologies ( national franchise) ebay will have it. make the splice up as it should be with one set of bolts under the grouser and re evaluate your program. Tracks come up for sale from time to time, they are not grossly expensive and the time spent drinking lemonade in the shade has value.
 

Idaho IMP

Member
For the track rebuild, I purchased a set of used tracks from Mary at Sno-trans last summer. They have original grousers. I plan on using them for the rebuild. The belts are horrendous.
I did snag a set of 550 stainless off E-bay this morning with stainless bolts. Which tool are you talking about? The bolt snapper or the HW-1 nut driver?
In regards to the factory grousers, is the correct direction of the grouser so that the open side digs in when driving forward? I.E.: on the top side of the track, the open side of the grouser faces forward?
 

zspryte

Member
Site Supporter
Pardon the dump question, but what determines the correct direction? Does the grouser interact with the sprocket differently?
 

redsqwrl

Bronze Member
GOLD Site Supporter
No.

As near as I can tell there is a class on arm chair internet roasting and people will light you up if your fj40 grill is upside down, you use 10-30w oil in summer or the opening and bolt heads are jammed full of mud and snirt.

I'm sure there is some triangulation when the grouser comes over the top and engagés the snow, packing in a nice bite. Upon deciding to turn the smooth side allows some give. Whilst moving forward.

Ski hill people and trail groomers see hundreds of hours of operation per season.

Most cabin owning fishing people would hardly see 50 hours in a season.

Hopefully someone smart pipes up.
 
Pardon the dump question, but what determines the correct direction? Does the grouser interact with the sprocket differently?
With the J grouser there is better braking action with the install having the "cup" facing forward when on the bottom of the track. This is right from the horses mouth, parts guy at LMC(Thiokol) when they were still in business. Probably not real important for most people but in steep terrain may prove to be beneficial.

Some aluminum grousers have a carbide strip on one side of the grouser tip that is oriented to engage the ground as the cat moves forward to reduce wear. Facing aft on the bottom of the track.
 
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