A hydraulic power unit can be expensive to repair, so investing in regular service and maintenance is definitely a smart move. If you take care to keep all the individual parts in good working order, you can avoid nasty surprises and system failures that can set your projects back by days or even weeks, depending on the availability of the parts that need replacement. Here are the most important parts of your hydraulic power unit to keep an eye on, and how frequently to service them.
Hoses and hose connections need to be inspected regularly for signs of wear and tear. Even though many hydraulic parts providers and service companies provide mobile hose repair, you’re still better off replacing hoses before they have a chance to fail. Hoses configurations should also be inspected regularly, to ensure that hoses have the proper tension, diameter, and pressure capacity. Once your hoses pass 6 years of age, you should replace them, regardless of whether or not visible damage is apparent.
Because fluids are the lifeblood of any hydraulic system, you must take care to keep fluid levels and purity within the acceptable range. Check the fluids after the first 100 hours of operation, and replace them every 1000 hours after that, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Be sure to keep a close eye on the oil temperature as well, since running your hydraulic power unit with overheated oil can cause a failure. Most machines require the oil to be around 120-130 F. Let the machine run for at least an hour before testing the oil temperature.
Filters keep the hydraulic fluids in your unit clean, and prevent clogs and abrasion that can damage equipment performance and cause the failure of various parts. Be sure to change or clean your filters regularly. Some machines have gauges to tell you when filters need cleaning, but you should also note the cleaning intervals recommended by the filter manufacturer and use them to create a filter maintenance schedule.
Dirty housings on your hydraulic power units can interfere with heat transfer, exacerbating problems with oil and fluid temperature control. Be sure to clean your housings whenever they become caked with dust, dirt, or mud.
In addition to inspecting and/or servicing various parts and components as their manufacturers recommend, you should also schedule general maintenance for the beginning and end of any busy seasons for your equipment. You should check the wiring, cylinders, hoses, mounting bolts, reservoirs, valves, and connections. This ensures that your hydraulic system is ready to go when you need it.