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Jumat, 10 September 2010

Air, a big tip on hydraulic troubleshooting

/ On : 22.03/ Thank you for visiting my small blog here. If you wanted to discuss or have the question around this article, please contact me e-mail at mozabani@yahoo.com
Hello again Air,

In your last hydraulic maintenance email, I explained
how to prepare your spare hydraulic cylinders
for long term storage - and how to do it safely.

Today I want to switch gears and talk about one of
my favorite subjects - hydraulic troubleshooting.

As I explain in my book 'Insider Secrets to Hydraulics',
hydraulic troubleshooting involves a lot of science and
a bit of art.

While there's no substitute for knowledge, the right tools
and experience, you can approach any troubleshooting situation
like a pro - just by starting with this one step:

Check and eliminate the easy things first.

Now, in case you're thinking this advice is too obvious
to be useful, consider this troubleshooting situation
I was involved in recently:

The machine in question had a complex hydraulic system,
the heart of which comprised two engines driving
ten hydraulic pumps. Six of the pumps were variable displacement
and four of these had electronic horsepower control.

The symptoms of the problem were slow cycle times in combination
with lug-down of the engines (loss of engine rpm). The machine
had just been fitted with a new set of pumps.

The diagnosis of the mechanic in charge was that the hydraulic
system was tuned above the power curve of the engines, that is
the hydraulics were demanding more power than the engines
could produce, resulting in lug-down and therefore,
slow cycle times.

The other possible explanation of course, was that the engines
were not producing their rated horsepower.

Due to the complexity of the hydraulic system, I knew that
it would take around four hours to run a complete system check
and tune-up. So in order to eliminate the easy things first,
when I arrived on site I inquired about the condition of
the engines and their service history.

The mechanic in charge not only assured me that the engines
were in top shape, he was adamant that this was
a "hydraulic" problem.

Four hours later, after running a complete check of the
hydraulic system without finding anything significant,
I was not totally surprised that the problem remained unchanged.

After a lengthy discussion, I managed to convince the mechanic
to change the fuel filters and air cleaner elements
on both engines.

This fixed the problem. It turned out that a bad batch of fuel
had caused premature clogging of the engine fuel filters, which
were preventing the engines from developing their
rated horsepower.

Had the relatively simple task of changing the engine fuel filters
had been carried out when the problem was first noticed,
an expensive service call and four hours of downtime
could have been avoided.

The moral of this story and troubleshooting lesson 101 is:

ALWAYS check and eliminate the easy things FIRST.

For more tips on troubleshooting hydraulic problems,
read Chapters 7-11 of 'Insider Secrets to Hydraulics'

Yours for better hydraulics knowledge,

Brendan Casey
Author of 'Insider Secrets to Hydraulics'; and
'Preventing Hydraulic Failures'.

If you no longer wish to receive the valuable guidance
provided by the 'Inside Hydraulics' newsletter
and associated mailings, point your browser to this page:


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