You might believe that repairing a hydraulic cylinder is an easy enough task. But without the right tools and know-how, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. When one of your hydraulic cylinders fails, you need it repaired quickly and accurately the first time, as they can be quite critical to your productivity.
What Causes the Breakdown of a Hydraulic Cylinder?
There are many causes that can contribute to the breakdown or leak down of your hydraulic cylinder. Your hydraulic piston seals can simply be worn down in old age with time, affecting their effectiveness to the point that they fail to maintain a full seal.
There could also be internal damage to the seals, piston, barrel or any other internal components. This can be caused by a loose piston nut, wear on the strip and bearings causing a metal on metal situation, dirty hydraulic oil, a separate hydraulic component failing, metal particles flowing through your cylinder, casing damage, or a worn out cylinder barrel.
Hydraulic Cylinder Repair Preparation
The first thing to do when you are getting ready to disassemble your hydraulic cylinder for repair is to clean off the unit so you can prevent dust, oil and debris from getting into the unit. Keep in mind that all repairs should be conducted in a clean environment. While this might not be possible in emergency situations in the field, it’s always best to do any maintenance or repairs in an area that is as free from dust, dirt and moisture as possible.
Once it is clean, you can disconnect the hoses and both ports and hoses should be plugged. Now, you can open the cylinder ports and let the hydraulic fluid drain.
Hydraulic Cylinder Repair
There are a few different types of hydraulic cylinders out there, so the repair process will depend on what type you are trying to repair. The most common types of hydraulic cylinders are wire ring or threaded head. Keep in mind that all components should be cleaned using a petroleum based solvent, blown dry using compressed air and then coated with hydraulic fluid before they are installed.
Common Aspects of Hydraulic Cylinder Repair
While processes are different depending on what type of hydraulic cylinder you are repairing, there are certain things that are common between them. As an example, if you find yourself having trouble pushing the cylinder back in because of the pressure, it is likely that the input valves need to be loosened a little.
In addition, all polished surfaces should be inspected carefully, seals should always be replaced if they are removed, and specific torque values should be used when tightening important components. Lastly, if you incorrectly reassemble the hydraulic cylinder or fail to properly install seals, then this can result in more serious and costly damage.
Hydraulic cylinder repair involves great attention to detail as well as careful inspection visually. These take years of experience to truly master. A majority of repairs should be done by professionals, as they have the skills required to troubleshoot and fix any issues at hand in a safe manner.