Troubleshooting a Trash Compactor: Ram Is Stuck

A common problem for your trash compactor ram is for it to get stuck. Whether this means that it is stuck in a downward position and will not move upward or if it is stuck in an upward position and will not move down, there are several different problems that can cause this to happen. Here are some of those causes and how you can identify them.

Objects may be in the Way

The most common problem that causes the trash compactor ram to get stuck is if the area is blocked. This is the easiest issue to correct, just check to make certain that there is no food, trash or other objects wedged in the way. You want this area to be clean so that your trash compactor can function properly.

Broken or Damaged Drive Belt

If you determine that no foreign object is the cause of your stuck trash compactor, the next thing to check is your drive belt. A drive belt can commonly become weak or come loose and this can cause your ram to stick. To find out if it is your belt that is the problem, take a look at it. Does it appear cracked or damaged? Try tugging on it gently and see if it is attached firmly and tightly.

If you notice any looseness with your drive belt, try tightening it to see if that helps. If it is damaged, then it will need to be replaced. Remember that a faulty belt can not only cause your ram to get stuck, but it can also lead to your chains and other parts of your trash compactor becoming damaged, as well. It wouldn't hurt to periodically take a look at the belt to ensure it stays in good condition.

Broken or Damaged Chain

Some trash compactors do not use belts. Instead, they use chains. Chains can also become damaged or loose, so if you have them, they need to be checked. Look carefully for any sign of damage to your chains and make certain that they are fitted on tightly.

Broken or Damaged Gears

There are several gears in your trash compactor and they too can become damaged. To see if it is the gears that are causing your problems, inspect them and make sure they are in good condition. Are any of the teeth broken? Locate the biggest gear and try to turn it by hand. The gears should turn properly, interlocking without hitches or getting caught. If there are any problems, they will need to be replaced.

Stripped Power Nuts

Your trash compactor has rods that are attached by a plastic sleeve with power nuts. When the rods are turned, these should move up and down to lower or raise the ram. Check and see if these nuts have become stripped or if they have broken away from the ram entirely. If they are damaged, then they will need to be replaced.