2 common mistakes NOT to make with your hydraulics

1:  Oil Maintenance

  • Changing filter elements after startup and during regular equipment intervals
    • No matter how clean, water and air free a system is, metal on metal contact when a unit starts up is inevitable based on the tolerances of pumps and motors. This contact creates metal parts that bounce along hoses, valves, reservoirs, and other pumps/motors spreading their damage throughout the system.
    • Changing elements on a regular basis should be a common practice to make sure you have the best opportunity to stop a potentially catastrophic failure from happening to your piece of equipment. “I haven’t changed the filter since I got the unit” or “I change the filter when I change the oil” or “We get our hoses pigged before we put them on, why do I need a filter?”  are some of the best answers I have got to filtration.
  • Periodically checking oil particle count for signs of component degradation.
    • Probably not as common for mobile equipment, but very advantageous for industrial accounts as they generally draw fluid for multiple systems from a common reservoir. They also have quite a lot of filtration, but checking the fluid periodically can give some heads up to one of the systems overheating if the fluid is degrading too quickly and or if high particle counts are found in the reservoir might be a good time to change more than the element of the filter in line or add a kidney loop as the return or pressure filter isn’t enough.
  • Not changing the oil
    • Oil can only last as long as the system lets it.  High heat hydrostatic systems can degrade fluid much quicker than a low pressure low cycle industrial press can.  What I have seen as the most common leader to changing the fluid is hours of service.  This basic principle comes from the automotive industry and does not hold the same truth in the hydraulic business.  Depending on additive package and system conditions oil change times can vary 3 and 4 fold than was is traditionally thought.

2:  Troubleshooting Mistakes

Avoild these trouble shooting mistakes!

  • Missing schematics
    • Units have many components changed in the field over the years; I was once told by a fracking equipment company that at least half the units in the field do not have a schematic to match what is actually on the unit, this can create an all-day troubleshooting project to figure out what components are even on the equipment.
    • Save schematics on your shared drive, intranet or some type of central location to save yourself time and headaches in the future.
  • Don’t waste TIME
    • Consider ROI when you start troubleshooting a system – often if you boil down the problem to a few critical components, replacing those components vs. taking time to diagnose the exact problem in the system can save hours of technician labor.
  • Throwing on whatever pump or motor that “works”
    • The phrase “a pump is a pump and a motor is a motor” doesn’t work. In the world of hydraulics, pumps and motors aren’t commodities – they have to be specifically selected based on the pressure, flow and duty cycle requirements of your system. We’re here to help to understand your system requirements and making sure you can select the correct pump or motor.


More questions on oil maintaince or troubleshooting?  Ask me – at Hydraquip we understand your system and we’re ready to help.

Dalton Hamilton