If you work with heavy equipment, you know that over time the seals on the hydraulics can begin to leak. A cylinder that is leaking is typically not holding the pressure it should work properly. As a result, the equipment may not be doing its job properly or it could even be unsafe to operate.
How Hydraulics Work
Hydraulic systems are pretty simple when you look at how they work. The system has a pump and reservoir, some fluid lines, and a cylinder that does the actual work. The pump takes the oil from the reservoir and pumps it through the lines under pressure to a valve the operator opens and closes with the controls of the equipment. The result is oil flowing to the cylinder and making it move in or out to create the action that you desire with the equipment.
Leaking Cylinders or Valves
Because the work is done with pressure, a leaking cylinder or valve in your system may reduce the pressure needed for the system to work because some of the oil and pressure is passing the seal. If this is the case, the seals need to be replaced and the two alternatives are to replace the cylinders or rebuild them. If you choose the rebuild them, there are kits available that you can buy that have all the parts needed. If you don't have a good working knowledge of these systems and the cylinders themselves, rebuilding might be too much for you and that is okay because you can buy the cylinders for most equipment at the local dealership.
Having the Work Done For You
Many dealers and hydraulic cylinder repair shops offer mobile services for equipment and will come to your location with a van or truck that has all the tools they need to replace or repair your hydraulic issue on site. These mobile units often carry their own power supply and include a small working space inside the van or truck. If you would rather have the cylinders rebuilt then replaced, talk to the technician and see if he can do those in the field. If he has the parts with him for your cylinder and the tools on the truck, he most likely will rebuild them for you. While he is there, have the tech go over the machine and check the lines, valves and other cylinders for damage or wear. If they need replacing, it is better to do it while the tech is there working on the machine.