Hydraulic Jack, a useful device commonly found in the automobile, marine, material handling, and construction industries and it is operated using pressurized hydraulic fluid. The duty of a hydraulic jack is to lift heavy objects with a minimum applied effort. Ease of operation and the capability for lifting heavy loads will make hydraulic jack popular in the industry. Working of hydraulic jack is based on Pascal’s law and we have already explained it before. This blog will provide basic details on hydraulic jack maintenance along with common problems and its solution.
For every equipment, maintenance is an unavoidable part. A lot of issues arises if the system lacks proper maintenance. This is the same for hydraulic jacks also. The operation of hydraulic jack is directly related to the safety and efficiency of the work handling. Just consider a situation when a floor jack lifting a car unexpectedly fails. It can be a severe accident that can even lose life. This is why regular maintenance is necessary for hydraulic jacks for troubleshooting issues immediately whenever arises. Hydraulic jack failures can be identified by observing its operations and the system will exhibit different symptoms when it encounters any problem. Reasons for common hydraulic jack problems and some solutions are discussed below.
Unable to Lift Weight: When a hydraulic jack fails to lift the load, it means that the ram is not working properly. The common reasons for difficulty in lifting the load are overloading, trapped air, lack of lubrication, rust, and high/low oil level. The solutions to the mentioned problem are:
- Every hydraulic jack will be having a specified lifting capacity and the operator needs to purchase one considering the specifications in manual. Otherwise, issues like overloading occur.
- Properly tightening the caps and replacing worn seals and fittings will prevent the entry of air and foreign particles.
- Rust in between the metal parts can cause leakages or will make the components stuck due to friction. Also, it will generate more heat and affect fluid properties.
- Use a compatible high viscosity fluid for lubricating the moving parts. This will help for the jack to smoothly lift the loads.
- Checking the fluid level at regular intervals and maintaining the desired oil level is the solution to overcome issues related to high/low oil level.
Hydraulic Oil Leakage: There is internal and external hydraulic oil leakage. Internal leakages are difficult to be detected and resolved but for external oil leakage, it can be identified through visual inspection. Damaged seals/rings and inappropriate fittings selection are common reasons for hydraulic oil leakage. Replacing the damaged seals/o-ring with a new one and upgrading the fittings are the only solution. Damage of metal parts resulting from corrosion can also cause the hydraulic jack to leak.
Restricted Jack Wheel Movement: The rolling of the jack wheel is necessary for moving the hydraulic jack from one place to another. If the jack wheel doesn’t roll properly, then it will negatively impact the portability of jack and also make it difficult for the technician/operator to perform multiple duties. The squeaky or damaged wheels will create excessive noise and it is one of the mostly found symptoms that indicates jack related issues. Lack of lubrication and corrosion are the main reasons for these mentioned issues. The use of premium quality lubricating oil will reduce friction and offers a smooth wheel operation. Keeping the hydraulic jack at places with low moisture content will prevent the rusting of metal parts.
Overload Valve Turned on Accidentally: The overload valve is a check valve that protects the hydraulic jack from overloading. When a load greater than that of the specified hydraulic jack capacity is applied, this overload valve will help to prevent the lifting. If this overload valve is turned on accidentally in the wrong direction, then it will change the tension of the spring and affect jack functionality.