The rollers that hold the carriage and allow it to move front to back run in or on the "Ways". They are the tracks. If they aren't straight and parallel and smooth, it can create problems in the quality of the cut and how smoothly it operates.
The bearings on the carriage that hold the motor are mounted on one side on special bolts that allow you to remove any play on the carriage, it is important that they should be not soo tight that they bind.
You should get a manual for your particular model and familiarize yourself with this particular adjustment it will make your saw cut staright and with little effort.
Have fun and be safe…..
HokieMojo, Trust me, cast iron will wear out, especially in a commercial shop. I don't like to think about how many radial arm saws I have worn out over the years, exactly where you 're talking about. In a hobby shop, that's not near as likely, but it happens. jerryz is right about the eccentric adjusting bolts. Often you can take up the slack here. I know some of my older Craftsman RAS's had replacable rods in the ways. They could first be flipped over when worn, then replaced. I wish Delta had done that on my 12" saws. I still have one that is worthless because of the wear in the track.
thanks for the info. I'm hunting for old dewalts at the moment. I'm worried when buying a machine this old, I'll likely get something that has seen some serious use.
You never know, but I guess the best you can hope for is that the seller can tell you the owner history. hopefully it was family owned and a kid just doesn't have an interest in woodworking or more specifically, in a RAS. Even then, I'd be going on a strangers word. I'm generally pretty trusting, but sometimes people just don't know enough about the item they are selling to give an accurate answer.
Hopefully I can keep the price low enough that I'm not gambling too big. It would be more a matter of wasted time.
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