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Why You Need to Be Repacking Your Hydraulic Cylinders

Repacking hydraulic cylinders should be a regular component of any organization’s annual preventative maintenance routine. The process is relatively simple and serves to keep machinery running in peak condition at all times. Most hydraulic cylinders eventually begin to leak oil from their seals. Repacking the cylinders serves to keep costs down and machinery operational. Taking the time to repackage hydraulic cylinders fixes broken links and extends the cylinders’ life span. That translates to benefits for the professionals who rely on them to complete critical work. If teams fail to assess and repackage their hydraulic cylinders regularly, they could lose out on both profitability and efficiency in the workplace.

The Importance of Repacking

Repackaging hydraulic cylinders is a key component of using them effectively and responsibly. When hydraulic cylinders show sign of leakage, it’s more cost-effective to repair or repackage them than it is to buy new hydraulic cylinders altogether. The average hydraulic cylinder repair will cost a company about $200, while a new one can go for thousands of dollars, which could lead to extensive savings. The repackaging process and other preventative maintenance steps are also a more eco-friendly solution to component issues than making new purchases. Organizations interested in performing their own hydraulic cylinder repacking process will need a handful of tools and conditions to ensure that work runs smoothly:

  • A repacking kit
    • Repacking kits contain replacement parts for various components of the cylinder
    • Often, parts are damaged upon disassembly; it’s important to keep replacement parts on hand so the lift can be reassembled and used immediately
  • A supply of new hydraulic oil
    • Contaminated oil has the potential to damage the new packing
  • A container to catch the used oil
  • A clean workplace
    • Select an area which will not be damaged should any oil spill

How to Repack a Hydraulic Cylinder

Repacking a hydraulic cylinder is a simple process. Working through each step thoroughly will ensure top-quality work and peace of mind once machinery is operational again. The process begins with releasing the cylinder pressure and unhooking the hydraulic lines from the cylinder to remove any remnants of pressure. Then, it’s time to remove the gland and pin from the rod-end of the cylinder before taking the piston rod out as well. It’s crucial to be extremely careful here—rods are easily contaminated and damaged. Once the rod has been removed from the cylinder, the piston must be taken out of the rod. Keeping parts in order during this process will make things easier down the line; some people even take pictures at each step to ensure they remember how the disassembly process worked. From here, the seals and O-rings on the piston and gland can be replaced one at a time. Make sure you stay organized and perform changes one at a time. This is the only way to ensure that each part goes back into the correct space. Check for debris and remove any signs of it while you clean and switch parts. Then it’s just a matter of reassembling the piston to the rod, replacing the hydraulic lines, and testing for leaks. There are a number of maintenance steps you should take before and after repacking a hydraulic cylinder:

  • Inspect the cylinder for corrosion and wear and tear
    • Immediate action should be taken is corrosion or uneven wear and tear appears
  • Physically inspect the piston and cap
  • Properly filter oil to keep it clean
  • Rotate cylinders regularly and inspect cylinder internals
  • Pay attention to accessories too—not just the cylinder—and look for worn brackets, pivot pins, and ball joints

Does Your Hydraulic Cylinder Require Servicing?

Metro Hydraulic is a distributor of numerous top hydraulic cylinder brands, including Enerpac®, SPX, and Simplex. Our cylinders see regular use in construction and manufacturing applications; countless organizations count on our products for a range of heavy-duty industries and applications. If your hydraulic cylinder requires servicing or you’d like to learn more about our products and services, request a quote from us today. A knowledgeable member of our team will work with you to determine your project needs.
Posted in Hydraulic Systems

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