Maintaining Your Hydraulic Log Splitter
A hydraulic log splitter is a very robust piece of machinery that works with high hydraulic pressures. Proper maintenance will ensure prolonged safe use of the machine.
Step 1 – Read the Instructions
Your hydraulic log splitter will come with an owners hand book that will contain instructions for the maintenance of your specific machine.
Step 2 – Hydraulic Pipes
The hydraulic pressure pipes are what transfer the hydraulic fluid from the reservoir to the ram cylinder. The pressure within these pipes can be several tons per square inch, so it is important that you inspect these pipes regularly to check for wear and tear. If you suspect that a pipe is leaking do not try to discover the leak with your hands. Hydraulic fluid under pressure is quite capable of stripping the skin from your hand or a finger. Use a piece of stiff card and hold it near the suspected location of a leak. The fine spray of fluid will discolor the card.
Step 3 – Hydraulic Fluid
It is possible for hydraulic fluid to become contaminated over time by water from condensation. This will make a difference in the efficiency of the log splitter but can be so gradual that it is not noticed. Once a year check the hydraulic fluid in the reservoir for water content.
Step 4 – Hydraulic Ram
Ensure that the hydraulic ram on a used log splitter is well greased and not showing any signs of rust. A well greased ram will not rust, but if a dry patch on the ram has allowed rust to form it could damage the seal at the end of the ram housing.
Step 5 – The Gas Engine
The gas engine on a vertical log splitter needs to be maintained in the same way any gas engine does. Check the oil in the sump to ensure that the valves and crank shaft are properly lubricated. Check the points in the carburetor to ensure the engine is running at best efficiency. Remove the spark plug and check the plug gap and the condition of the electrodes.
Step 6 – The Pull Cord
Ensure that the cord in the pull start is not frayed. It is easier to replace this cord rather than wait for it to fail.
Step 7 – The Hydraulic Pump
The hydraulic pump is driven by the gas engine usually using a power take off (PTO) coupling. Check for any loose play in the coupling. If it is possible, check to see if there is excessive play in the central spindle of the pump. This could indicate damaged bearings and could cause the pump to fail under pressure.
Step 8 – Excessive Vibration
Run the engine of the log splitter to check for excessive vibration. Since the only places that this vibration can originate are the hydraulic pump and the engine, this could indicate a problem with one or the other.
In reality there is little to go wrong with a log splitter, but regular maintenance will prevent most major problems.