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Preventative Maintenance: Hydraulic Pumps

There’s no such thing as a part that doesn’t need maintenance, and that includes hydraulic pumps. Proper maintenance not only keeps parts working in the short term, but it reduces maintenance and replacement costs in the long term as well. The alternative leads to many minor problems in the short term that can become disastrous if left unattended. Preventative maintenance gives the best of all possible results.

For a hydraulic pump, preventative maintenance can be a fairly complex, multi-step process. Regardless of what else you’ll be doing to your pump, the first step is always to disconnect it from the power supply.

Basic Maintenance
Generally, the next step is to check the level of hydraulic fluid inside the pump. When all of the actuators are fully extended, the fluid level in the pump should be able halfway from the top. If it needs fluid, obviously, you should add more — if it seems to need fluid often, you should check the system for a leak.

Every so often (as dictated by your owner’s manual) you should drain the fluid from your hydraulic pump and give it a flush. Basically, you’re washing out the inside of the system, getting any particulate that might damage your hydraulic cylinders or other moving parts out. Then, refill with fresh hydraulic fluid.

Preventative Maintenance Example
Your owner’s manual should also explain how often you ought to clean the pump. While every system is different, a common example follows:

  • Remove the screws that attach the motor and pump assembly to the reservoir. Be careful not to damage the gasket or jolt the filter or pressure regulating valves while you extract the pump and motor.
  • Clean the inside of the reservoir, and refill with a suitable flushing fluid.
  • Place the pump and motor assembly back onto the reservoir, and attach with at least two screws on opposite sides of the mounting.
  • Run the pump for several minutes to clean it and flush out the system, then remove the motor and pump again.
  • Drain and clean the inside of the reservoir a second time.
  • Reassemble the entire unit completely, and fill with fresh, clean hydraulic fluid up to the fill line.