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Understanding and Addressing Typical Hydraulic System Challenges

Discover effective ways to diagnose and resolve common maintenance and repair issues in hydraulic systems for your service or utility truck.

Maintenance for Service Trucks

Many service and utility trucks rely on Hydraulic Cylinder Repair Near Me hydraulic systems to operate cranes, fluid pumps, and hydraulically driven tools. When these systems are well-maintained, they offer excellent performance and reliability. However, failing to perform  maintenance can lead to some costly repair bills.

Learn how to identify and troubleshoot common maintenance and repair problems that may arise in Hydraulic Cylinder Repair Near Me hydraulic systems.

How Can I Assess Hydraulic Performance?

Key indicators of hydraulic power include flow, measured in gallons per minute (gpm), and pressure, measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Use this formula to calculate hydraulic horsepower:

Hydraulic Horsepower

hp = gpm x psi x .0007


  • gpm = gallons per minute
  • psi = pounds per square inch
  • hp = horsepower
  • .0007 = conversion constant

When comparing systems with the same power, a high-pressure system will have low flow, while a low-pressure system will have higher flow.

What Are the Signs of Hydraulic Cylinder Repair Near Me Hydraulic System Issues?

Abnormal noise, elevated temperatures, and slow or erratic operation are all indicators of potential problems in your Hydraulic Cylinder Repair Near Me hydraulic system. The most common culprits for poor hydraulic performance are particulate or water contamination, clogged filters, high fluid temperature, and the use of incorrect hydraulic fluids.

How Do I Detect Water Contamination in My Hydraulic System?

Water contamination can pose a significant issue in hydraulic systems. If your hydraulic fluid appears milky, it’s a clear sign of water contamination. The presence of water can reduce fluid lubrication, cause metal surface pitting, deteriorate additives, and accelerate oil aging.

To mitigate water contamination, follow these best practices:

  • Adhere to recommended system maintenance intervals for filter replacement and fluid changes.
  • Eliminate water from the system by draining the fluid, cleaning the hydraulic reservoir of contaminants, and adding clean fluid.
  • Regularly operate the system to increase fluid temperature and aid in water removal.
  • Prevent water from entering the system by keeping it sealed and protected from exposure to moisture, ensuring proper vent cap installation.

How Can I Remove Particulate Contamination from My Hydraulic Cylinder Repair Near Me Hydraulic System?

Particulate contamination can also be a concern. Hydraulic fluids typically circulate while filters remove contaminants during normal operation. Properly maintaining your filtration system, including adhering to filter replacement schedules and using filters with suitable ratings, is crucial. Always use clean fluid when adding to the system and follow correct service procedures and component installation to prevent contamination.

Why Do I Hear Unusual Noises from My Hydraulic System?

Unusual knocking noises in Hydraulic Cylinder Repair Near Me hydraulic systems can be attributed to two common factors: aeration and cavitation.

Aeration occurs when air bubbles contaminate hydraulic fluid, leading to banging or knocking noises as the air compresses and decompresses while moving through the system. Air contamination, which causes aeration, often results from leaks on the pump’s inlet side. Proper maintenance of hose connections and oil levels is essential to prevent air contamination. Regularly inspect hoses for damage and address any leaks promptly.

Cavitation, on the other hand, occurs when a vacuum bubble forms on the pump’s inlet side, causing whining and banging noises as the bubble forms and collapses. Cavitation is typically caused by factors such as fluid viscosity being too high for the operating temperature or fluid restrictions on the pump’s inlet side.

To prevent aeration or cavitation, watch for and address issues such as poorly designed inlets, collapsed or restricted intake lines, clogged or undersized reservoir breathers, loose intake-line clamps or fittings, porous intake lines, and low reservoir oil levels.

How Can I Prevent or Resolve High Fluid Temperature?

Elevated fluid temperature can result from factors that either reduce the system’s heat dissipation capacity or increase its heat load. These factors may include excessive workloads, high duty cycles, and worn or failed components with internal leakage.

Hydraulic systems dissipate heat primarily through the reservoir and, if equipped, a heat exchanger. It’s essential to monitor the reservoir fluid level and ensure proper airflow around the reservoir, avoiding obstructions like dirt or debris that hinder heat dissipation. Check the heat exchanger to ensure the core is not blocked. The heat exchanger’s efficiency depends on the flow rate of hydraulic fluid and cooling air passing through it. Inspect all cooling circuit components and heat-generating parts, replacing them as needed.

Consider installing a fluid temperature alarm in your hydraulic system to provide early warnings of temperature-related problems.

High fluid temperature may also result from abnormal internal leakage in components like cylinders, which can increase the heat load on the system. A handheld infrared thermometer or thermal camera can help identify parts with internal leakage, as failed or worn components will exhibit higher temperatures during operation. An undersized or overused pressure relief valve is a common source of excessive heat due to internal leakage.

Why Is My Hydraulic System Operating Slowly?

In a hydraulic system, fluid flow determines the speed and responsiveness of actuators. A loss of speed indicates a reduction in flow at the point of use.

Flow loss in a hydraulic circuit can be caused by external or internal leaks. External leaks are typically more visible, such as a burst hose. Internal leaks can be trickier to identify as they may occur within the pump, valves, or actuators.

When experiencing slow operation under a load, it’s essential to verify the adjustable settings in the system. For systems equipped with variable displacement pumps, a pump-mounted pressure compensator may reduce flow at a specified pressure. Confirm that the set pressure is appropriate. Pressure relief valves are another common component that can limit flow. Ensure that the pressure relief valve’s set pressure is a few hundred psi higher than the pump pressure compensator’s setting to prevent excessive activation of the relief valve.

High fluid temperature and slow operation often occur together because internal leakage influences heat load, reducing viscosity and exacerbating internal leakage further.

To address these issues effectively, maintain the correct fluid level, employ proper filtration, and promptly repair any leaks. Additionally, use the appropriate high-quality hydraulic fluid for your system.