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How to Disassemble a Hydraulic Cylinder

Hydraulic cylinders are essential parts of many hydraulic systems. The cylinders make it possible to do work that would otherwise be rather difficult, if not impossible, to do manually. From printing presses to construction vehicles, hydraulic cylinders make pressing, pushing, pulling and lifting much more manageable and efficient.

Disassemble a hydraulic cylinderLike other hydraulic parts and components, hydraulic cylinders require regular inspections, maintenance and repairs to ensure they continue to function correctly.

Reasons You Need to Disassemble Your Hydraulic Cylinder

There are several reasons why you may need to disassemble your hydraulic cylinder, such as:

  • Hydraulic oil is leaking out of the cylinder.
  • The piston rod is bent or will not move in and out of the cylinder housing.
  • The cylinder housing is damaged.
  • The piston rod is broken.
  • You need to replace the piston seals.

Preparing Your Hydraulic Cylinder for Disassembly

Before you start disassembling the hydraulic cylinder, there are some preparatory steps you will need to complete.  For a start, you want to ensure that the machine or piece of equipment has been properly shut down and the appropriate lockout/tagout protocols are in place.

The second step to prepare your cylinder for disassembly is to clean dust, dirt, grease, and hydraulic fluid off the cylinder housing and attached hydraulic hoses. Once the cylinder is clean, you can disconnect the hydraulic hoses from the cylinder ports. Make sure to plug the cylinder ports and hoses to prevent debris from getting into them.

Once that is done, remove the clevis pins from the cylinder mounts to detach the cylinder from the machine or equipment. Next, you will want to have a clean location to strip down the cylinder, with the appropriate tools.

Repair processes are much easier when you can remove the cylinder from the machine or equipment. Once the cylinder has been removed, you will want to secure it to a floor vice or bench vice, depending on the size and type of cylinder.

How to Disassemble a Hydraulic Cylinder

There are different types of cylinders, so the disassembly and repair process will vary. However, the two most common types of cylinders are threaded head cylinders and wire ring cylinders. As you go through the cylinder repair process, it is essential to clean all parts and components in an appropriate petroleum-based solvent.

Once cleaned, the parts and components should be set aside until they have thoroughly dried. You can also use an air compressor to blow dry the parts and components if necessary.

Most importantly, any parts and components you are reusing must be coated with clean hydraulic oil before they are reinstalled into the cylinder housing. Furthermore, the inside of the cylinder housing should be lubricated with clean hydraulic fluid before reinserting the rod assembly.

Disassembling a Threaded Head Cylinder

On the end cap, on threaded head cylinders, there may be a set screw you will need to loosen and remove making sure to set it aside so you do not lose it or the gland may unscrew using a conventional  or C spanner. Next, carefully remove the rod by pulling on it to remove it from the cylinder housing.  As you do, the gland assembly, piston, and rod will come out of the cylinder housing.

If you need to remove the piston, there is normally a piston nut on the rod end you can loosen to detach it from the assembly.  Lastly; slide the gland assembly / end cap off the rod. You will want to remove the seals and replace them with new ones.  Check the cylinder bore for scoring, distortion and or rust damage  Check the rod for scoring, bending and other damage, if necessary the bore can be rehoned or replaced if the rod is damaged in most cases the cheapest option is to replace but it can, if necessary,  be ground and replated.  To reassemble the cylinder, simply perform the steps in reverse order.

Disassembling a Wire Ring Cylinder

Disassembling a wire ring cylinder is a bit more complex. First, you will need to remove the end cap, if there is one,  with a pipe wrench to expose the top of the gland. Next, make sure the rod is extended from the cylinder housing.

Now you want to remove the wire ring from the cylinder head. To do this, you will need to turn the gland in the bore, to eject the ring through the hole on the side of the cylinder, it should be possible to see which way the gland needs to turn by the angle of the hole.. Once the wire is fully ejected it should be possible to pull out the piston, rod and gland assembly.   Check the area  of the bore where the gland was to see if there are any O rings fitted, remove for replacement.

From there, the disassembly process is similar to the threaded head cylinder. Just remember to remove the plastic ring from the internal grove on the rod. In addition, all seals should be replaced before reassembling the cylinder. Finally, perform the steps in reverse order to reassemble the wire ring cylinder.

Crucial Things to Look For During Disassembly

As you disassemble the rod, it is important to carefully inspect all parts and components for signs of wear and damage. Inspect the O-ring seals for unusual wear or deformations. Check the piston nut for damage and replace the lock nut , holding the piston on the rod if needed.

Take the time to verify metal rings are not bent or broken. Next, carefully check the rod and piston for pitting, scoring, or bending.  Also look inside the cylinder housing for scoring, pitting, or scratches. The inside of the housing can be rehoned for minor scratching and pitting. However, for more severe damage, you should replace the cylinder housing.

Find the Cause of the Problem

If you are disassembling a cylinder for a problem other than regular maintenance to replace the piston seals, you need to determine what caused the problem. Simply repairing the damage without knowing what caused it could lead to the problem recuring later.  If you don’t diagnose the cause of the problem you will almost certainly have to repeat the repair again later.

Benefits of Using White House Products, Ltd. for Hydraulic Cylinders

Hydraulic cylinder repairHydraulic cylinder repair requires understanding of how to locate problems and resolve them correctly.  Beyond basic cylinder maintenance, complex repairs require years of experience and knowledge. I f you are having trouble finding the cause of cylinder problems, the experts at White House Products, Ltd. can provide assistance. Additionally, we offer a cylinder repair service.

Please feel free to browse our selection of hydraulic cylinders, cylinder parts, and other hydraulic components or contact White House Products, Ltd. at +44 (0) 1475 742500 today for all your hydraulic cylinder and hydraulic part, repairs and maintenance, needs.

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