There are a number of causes for hydraulic system faults, however, contaminated fluid is the cause 80% of the time. This is quite a substantial statistic (and one we understand you’d rather not be part of), so what can you do to protect your hauler from hydraulic component failure? Here are some helpful tips.
What causes contamination?
The three types of contamination include solid particles, air and water. All of these cause some form of component wear or sticking, causing problems for your hauler.
Solid particle contamination is caused by:
Metallic or non-metallic particles entering the system, such as sand, soot or even threads from cleaning cloths.
Air and water contamination is caused by:
System not bled properly
Poor suction conditions
Poor valve design
Leaking suction pipe
Poor reservoir design / low oil level in reservoir
Too much water contamination in the system
What are the symptoms of contamination?
Not meeting your scheduled fluid services and treating the contamination, may result in your hauler underperforming and experiencing the following symptoms.
Symptoms of a solid particle contamination include:
Total pump failure
Sludge accumulation in oil
Wear and tear of components
Acceleration in oil ageing
Symptoms of an air or water contamination include:
Becomes very noisy
Total pump failure
Damaged suction hose
System slow to respond
Eroded pump components
Damaged seals in cylinders
Damaged pump and valve components (cavitation)
How can you limit contamination?
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of hydraulic fluid contamination. Most importantly, meet your scheduled fluid services. Other steps you can take are:
Ensure your ports and fittings are free of dents, contamination, and are clean when being installed. In addition, service your fluid and keep your reservoir and tanks clean.
If components are stored in a cold environment be sure to remove any condensation that may occur as the components warm up.
Keep your hoses capped until ready for installation.
Handled exposed cylinder rods with care to avoid scratching and dents.
Motor, pump shafts, and splines should be kept clean and free from physical damage
Fluids should be clean and free from particle and water contaminants and stored correctly in a cool, dry place on its side to avoid water collecting.
Any surface or component in contact with the fluid must be clean and free of contaminants and damage, including all caps and nozzles.
Did you know?
Even a small leak in your hydraulic system can cost you a lot of money over time. For example, one small steady drop per second could have the following impact on your fluid levels:
1 minute = 4ml
1 hour = 230ml
1 day = 5.50 litres
1 week = 38.50 litres
1 month = 154 litres
Ignoring a small leak for as little as 1 month you could cost you an additional 154 litres of fluid. To avoid unnecessary cost we advise that you always service your trucks at the specified times.
These are some simple steps you can put in place to help protect your investment and reduce downtime.