Mastering the Art of Asphalt Paving: A Step-by-Step Guide to Adjusting the Conveyor Chain

Whether you’re a seasoned professional in the construction industry or a novice looking to delve into the world of asphalt paving, understanding the intricacies of equipment maintenance is crucial for achieving optimal results.

We will focus on a key component of asphalt pavers – the conveyor flight chain – and walk you through the step-by-step process of adjusting it. Discover how to adjust your conveyor chains and unlock the secrets to perfecting your asphalt paving technique.

Understanding the Conveyor Chain System

The conveyor flight chain plays a crucial role in operating an asphalt paver. It transfers the hot mix asphalt material from the hopper to the augers and screed, ensuring a continuous flow throughout the paving process. The conveyor chain system consists of several key components:

  • Chain Links: Chain links are interconnected metal segments that form a continuous loop. They are designed to withstand the hot mix asphalt material’s high temperatures and abrasive nature.
  • Flight Bars: Flight Bars are the metal slats connected at either end to the two flight chains. These bars are what moves the material on your machine.
  • Sprockets: Sprockets are toothed wheels that engage with the chain links. They provide the driving force for the conveyor flight chain, causing it to move and transport the asphalt material from the hopper to the screed.
  • Tensioning Mechanisms: Tensioning mechanisms are responsible for maintaining the proper tension in the conveyor chain. They ensure the chain is neither loose nor tight, which is crucial for its smooth operation. 

Assessing the Need for Adjustment

Before delving into the step-by-step process of adjusting the conveyor chain in an asphalt paver, it is essential to understand the signs that indicate the need for adjustment. Some common indicators of an improperly adjusted conveyor chain include rough or jerky movement of the chains, excessive chain wear, and abnormal noises during operation.

A misaligned chain can significantly impact paving performance, leading to issues like material spillage, inconsistent mat thickness, and reduced productivity.

Preparing for Adjustment

Before starting the adjustment process for the conveyor chain in an asphalt paver, it is essential to take necessary safety precautions and gather the required equipment. Safety should always be a top priority, so ensure the paver is turned off and follow lockout/tagout procedures to prevent accidental startup. Read and follow guidelines, warnings, and adjustment steps in the Safety and Operations or service manual for your machine.

Additionally, identify the specific adjustment points for the conveyor chain, which may vary depending on the paver model. For example, it could involve locating tensioning bolts or hydraulic systems, allowing precise chain tension adjustment. By taking these necessary precautions and preparing the required tools, you can confidently and effectively prepare the machine for the conveyor chain for adjustment.

Measuring Conveyor Chain Tension

Proper tension in the conveyor chain of an asphalt paver is vital for smooth and efficient operation. Incorrect tension or slack can result in chain slippage, binding, and premature wear or damage to components. 

There are different methods for measuring chain tension, including manual measurement and a tension gauge. Manual measurement involves applying pressure to the chain and assessing the deflection, while a tension gauge provides a more precise and consistent size.

Adjusting the Conveyor Chain Tension

Adjusting the chain tension in an asphalt paver requires a systematic approach. The following step-by-step process can help you achieve the desired tension:

  1. Begin by loosen the tensioning mechanisms, such as bolts or hydraulic systems. It will allow you to make adjustments to the chain tension more easily.
  2. Adjust the tension evenly along the conveyor chain. Depending on the paver model, this may involve simultaneously tightening or loosening the tensioning mechanisms on both sides of the chain. Aim for a balanced and consistent tension throughout the chain’s length.
  3. Check the chain tension using the method outlined in your Safety and Operations or service manual. It can include manual measurement by applying pressure to the chain and assessing its deflection or using a tension gauge for more precise and standardized measures. Ensure that the tension aligns with the manufacturer’s recommended specifications.
  4. If necessary, repeat the process of loosening, adjusting, and checking the tension until the desired tension is achieved. It’s essential to be patient and meticulous during this process to tension the chain properly.
  5. Once proper tension has been achieved, tighten all adjusters and fasteners removed during the process.

Aligning the Conveyor Chain

Proper alignment of the conveyor chain in an asphalt paver is crucial for its smooth operation and to prevent unnecessary wear and damage. Misalignment can lead to uneven stress distribution, increased friction, and accelerated chain wear. To ensure the chain is aligned correctly, inspect it visually and check for any signs of misalignment, such as skewed or twisted links. If misalignment is detected, make the necessary adjustments by loosening the mounting bolts and realigning the chain to the correct position.

Lubricating the Conveyor Chain

Lubrication helps reduce friction, prevent wear, and ensure smooth operation. When it comes to lubricating the conveyor chain, it is recommended to use high-quality chain lubricants specifically designed for the conditions of asphalt paving. 

These lubricants tend to withstand high temperatures, resist water and contaminants, and provide excellent adhesion to the chain. If available, the lubricant should be applied evenly along the chain, either manually or using automatic lubrication systems.

Verifying Conveyor Chain Alignment and Tension

After adjusting the alignment and tension of the conveyor chain in an asphalt paver, it is crucial to verify the effectiveness of the adjustments. Conduct a post-adjustment check to ensure the chain is aligned correctly, with all links in their correct positions and no signs of misalignment. 

Test the chain under load conditions to confirm that it operates smoothly and without issues. First watch chains run unloaded for any issues. Loaded can be checked by running the paver and observing the chain’s performance while paving asphalt.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

In using an asphalt paver, issues may arise with the conveyor chain, impacting its performance. Two common problems include excessive wear and chain jumping or skipping. In addition, excessive wear may occur due to inadequate lubrication or misalignment, and addressing these factors can help mitigate the issue. 

Chain jumping or skipping can result from incorrect tension or damaged sprockets, and adjustments or replacements may be necessary. Inconsistent tension across the chain can also cause problems, requiring careful assessment and adjustments. Questions should be referred to your manufacturer’s technical support team.

Maintenance and Inspection Guidelines

Establishing a regular maintenance schedule is crucial for ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of the conveyor chain in an asphalt paver. This schedule should include routine inspections to identify signs of wear, damage, or misalignment in the chain. In addition, inspecting the chain allows for timely repairs or adjustments to prevent further issues. 

Additionally, preparing for routine maintenance tasks is essential to gathering the necessary tools, lubricants, and replacement parts beforehand.

Best Practices for Conveyor Chain Adjustment

It is essential to follow some best practices to ensure efficient and effective adjustment of the conveyor chain in an asphalt paver. Regularly monitor the chain tension, alignment, and overall performance to catch any issues early on. 

Establish appropriate intervals for adjustment based on the manufacturer’s recommendations and the specific operating conditions of your paver. It is also beneficial to document the adjustments and maintenance performed, including the dates and details of the procedures.

Ensuring Operator Safety

Ensuring operator safety is paramount when performing conveyor chain adjustments in an asphalt paver. Operators should wear appropriate protective gear, such as safety glasses, gloves, and steel-toe boots, to protect themselves from hazards. It is also essential to follow safety guidelines and procedures provided by the equipment manufacturer. 

It includes proper lockout/tagout procedures and ensuring the equipment is powered off and isolated before starting any adjustment tasks. All safety devices outlined in your Safety and Operations manual such as props, hydraulic locks, chains, jack stands, wood blocks etc. should be employed to support components being serviced. By prioritizing operator safety, we can minimize the risk of accidents and create a safe working environment during the conveyor chain adjustment process.


Following the techniques and best practices outlined in this guide can enhance your asphalt paving projects’ performance, longevity, and quality. Remember to prioritize regular maintenance, inspections, and safety precautions to ensure optimal results. 

If you’re looking for top-notch asphalt paving equipment, we recommend checking out LeeBoy. Contact us and take your asphalt paving endeavors to the next level.