Hydraulics Troubleshooting Tips Cheat Sheet

Please read and observe the HYDRAULIC PRODUCT SAFETY SHEET before proceeding further. Your safety is important to us! Gradual or sudden loss of pressure or flow resulting in a loss of power is common in hydraulic system failure. Any one of the system’s components may be at fault. These step-by-step procedures should help you locate and remedy the problem quickly.

January 6, 2024
hydraulic troubleshooting tips cheat sheet

Finding and solving problems

1. SYSTEM INOPERATIVE
• No oil in the system, insufficient oil in the system. Fill system. Check for leaks.
• Wrong oil in the system. Refer to specifications. Change oil.
• Filter dirty or clogged. Drain oil and replace the filter or filter element.
• Oil line restriction. Oil lines are dirty or collapsed. Clean or replace.
• Air leaks in pump suction line. Repair or replace as necessary.
• Worn or dirty pump. Clean, repair, or replace. Check alignment. Check for contaminated oil. Drain and flush system.
• Badly worn components (valves, cylinders, etc.) Examine and test for internal or external leakage. Replace faulty components. Check for cause of wear.
• Leakage. Check all components, particularly the relief valve, for proper settings. Refer to technical manuals.
• Excessive load. Check unit specifications for load limits.
• Slipping or broken pump drive. Repair or replace belts, couplings, etc. Check for proper alignment or tension.

2. SYSTEM OPERATES ERRATICALLY
• Air in the system. Check the suction side of the system for leaks. Repair.
• Cold oil. Allow ample warm-up period.
• Dirty or damaged components. Clear or repair as necessary.
• Restrictions in filters or lines. Clean and/or replace elements or lines.

3. SYSTEM OPERATES SLOWLY
• Oil viscosity is too high; cold oil. Allow the oil to warm up before operating the machine.
• Low pump drive speed. Increase engine speed (check the manual for recommendations.)
• Air in the system. Check the suction side for leaks. Repair.
• Badly worn pump, valves, cylinders, etc. Repair or replace as needed.
• Restrictions in filters or lines. Clean and/or replace elements or lines.
• Improper adjustments. Check orifices, relief valves, etc. Adjust per manual.
• Oil leaks. Tighten fittings. Replace seals or damaged lines.

4. SYSTEM OPERATES TOO FAST
• Wrong size or incorrectly adjusted restrictor. Replace or adjust as necessary.
• Engine running too fast. Reduce engine speed.

5. OVERHEATING OF OIL IN THE SYSTEM
• Oil passes through the relief valve for an excessive amount of time. Return the control valve to neutral when not in use.
• Incorrect oil, low oil, dirty oil. Use recommended oil, fill the reservoir, clean oil, and replace filter elements.
• Engine running too fast. Reduce engine speed.
• Excessive component internal leakage. Repair or replace components as necessary.
• Restriction in filters or lines. Clean and/or replace elements or lines.
• Malfunctioning oil cooler. Clean or repair.

5. OVERHEATING OF OIL IN SYSTEM (cont’d.)
• Insufficient heat radiation. Clean dirt and mud from the reservoir and components.
• Malfunctioning component. Repair or replace.
• Reservoir too small. The recommended size is 1 1/2 times the pump gpm.

6. FOAMING OF OIL
• Incorrect, low, or dirty oil. Replace, clean, or add oil as needed.
• Air leaks. Check the suction line and component seals for suction leaks. Replace.

7. NOISY PUMP
• Low oil level, incorrect oil, foamy oil. Replace, clean, or add oil as needed.
• The suction line is plugged or too small, and the inlet screen is plugged. Clean or replace. Follow the instructions packed with the unit.
• Use a pipe fitting in the inlet. Replace with correct fitting.

8. BLOWN SHAFT SEAL
• Pump: wrong pump shaft rotation. Replace seal. Refer to installation instructions.
• Motor: failure to hook up the drain line. Replace seal. Refer to installation instructions.

9. LEAKY PUMP OR MOTOR
• Damaged or worn shaft seal. Replace seal. Check for misalignment.
• Loose or broken parts. Tighten or replace.

10. LOAD DROPS WITH CONTROL VALVE IN NEUTRAL
• Leaking cylinder seals or fittings. Replace worn parts.
• Control valve not centering when released. Check linkage. Check for spool binding. Repair.

11. CONTROL VALVE DOES NOT CENTER (Binding)
• See the Hydraulic Product Safety sheet.
• Valve linkage misaligned. Repair.
• Tie-bolts too tight (stack valves). Loosen as necessary.
• Valve damaged. Repair or replace.
• Handle bracket screws loose. Tighten.

12. CONTROL VALVE LEAKS EXTERNALLY
• Tie-bolts too loose (stack valves). Tighten as necessary.
• Seals damaged or worn. Replace.
• Back pressure or restriction in tank line. Check quick couplers. Use power beyond when necessary.
• Cracked port or body. Replace. (see Hyd. Prod. Safety)

13. CYLINDER LEAKS EXTERNALLY
• Seals damaged or worn. Replace.
• Rod damaged. Replace.

14. THE CYLINDER LOWERS WITH THE VALVE IN THE “METER UP” POSITION
• Damaged or leaky load check. Replace check.
• Leaking cylinder seal. Replace seal.
• Use of a valve without loadcheck. Replace with the recommended valve.

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