log splitter's ram/cylinder's seal leaked

loger_gwOctober 12, 2010

My log splitter's ram/cylinder's seal leaked a little oil for the first time today while trying to split some serious dry and seasoned logs. I'll have to do some disassembling and etc to try to find specs on the ram/cylinder. The splitter was given to me and it has been modified and was the first time I have seen it back-off a 2-3' log or leak at the cylinder's piston seal. My plans were to take off outside layers if needed (from my manual log splitting days) but I had split these size red and live oak logs before not dry vs green.


1. Is it common for a ram/cylinder's seal to leak from over-loads/stalking in splitting in checking cracks?

2. Can most seals be compressed/tightened to stop leaks (as this was little and stopped at times)?

3. Is it a danger of a seal blowing out and causing danger?

4. Should the fluid be changed due to moisture signs in the tank? Can moisture cause stalling/leaking?

5. When the Ram stalls, is it time to call off splitting vs giving it 2-3 more tries in different positions?

6. What are signs to stop trying to split vs stalling? I feel I see my 4 X 4 X 1/4" thick main beam flex?

Thanks In Advance For Comments And Help! logger

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If your splitter's built like most, the only time the rod side of the cyl. has full pressure is when it bottoms out on the return stroke. It's possible you've bent the rod slightly, which would cause the seal to leak.
If there's evidence of water in the system, it definitely needs to be flushed good and new oil put in. Very much moisture in a hyd system will cause all kinds of problems, rust being the main one.
Unless the wood is very hard and knotty, it sounds like the wedge needs some redesign done to allow it to pass thru the wood easier w/o stalling. Stalling forces oil past the pressure relief valve which will quickly heat up the oil and cause excessive pump wear.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 10:16PM
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Thanks for the reply mla2ofus!

You hit some good points. IâÂÂll include some linkes showing the design of the log splitter.


1. I switched the forward/reverse pressure line to move the ram forward when the handle is in forward. I felt the pressure was the same in both directions. I must admit it was more bottoming in both directions than ever during this job. Most of all did switching the lines cause a force problem? The force did look greater than in the past and the log were the hardest I have worked.
2. A real concern, the splitterâÂÂs ram d/n have a guide to resist bending, youâÂÂll see my guide effort.
3. I feel the wedge is fine and will try to post a pic showing it.
4. The only evidence I saw of moisture was a milky look on the fill plug when I checked the ý full fluidâÂÂs level. I will pull the drain plug and if true moisture is there, it should come out first correct?
5. How will I know or can tell if the oil is getting hot? Could the leak be an indication of hot fluid? Will the splitter feel hot at the cylinder or tank?
6. Last, can you relate the splitter to a brand/model? I feel it was originally manual with mower grade small wheel vs the larger wheel and etc I have added.

Thanks For Any And All Help In Advance! Loger

Links to copy/paste/open are below of the splitter.





    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 1:58PM
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I missed commenting above that the usual loud hydraulic pump was quieter at the end of splitting 2 cords vs as in the past.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 10:06AM
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Loger: Just back from Moose Camp , got the Cow in the Freezer . Just thought I would lend my two cents . As for the Operating Pressure should be same in either Stroke Direction. The Rate of Travel will vary normally due to the directional valve spool port sizing . Some units have the Hyd Hose size govern the rate of flow to speed up the return (back) stroke. As for Moisture within the Hyd oil system the Thermal Cycles that the oil goes through will always produce some moisture that appears as white . Just like in your car engine you may see evidence of this on the inside of the filler cap . No Biggy , just ensure the Oil Reservoir vent is clear to assist with wicking away the hot vapours that collect . Also most Quality Hyd Fluids have additives that both protect metal from moisture and also help lubricate the Seals or Leathers . I do not look at photo buckets so do not see where you tell us how old the unit is or any other visual design info . I would suggest you install a pressure gauge so you can accurately identify any operating issues . Oil getting hot can be normal . Oil in the tank becoming extremely foamy can indicate low level and air entrainment from either pump cavitation or extreme heat . You would know this . I suggest oil change at least every 2 yrs. Also I have added 2 pressure gauges and even a temperature guage on the hyd oil reservoir . The Slight oil seal leak could be age related or a sign of a over pressure situation where the relief valve lagged prior to dumping back to the tank. I have never seen a catastrophic seal failure , only a few hose failures due to vibration issues . I would suggest to change out the seal before next season . The newer EPDM design seal are much better quality than you current unit probably anyway and are not hard to install , once you drain down the cylinder . Would be a good time to freshen up the hyd oil and clean the tank filter and check the pump head internal condition accordingly .

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 10:07AM
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Thanks Ewalk! Way to Go On Getting That Cow.

I appreciate all the help I can get due to my lack of experience with hydraulic splitters.

1. IâÂÂve learned that I do not want to loan the splitter or split too many friendsâ logs due to maintenance.
2. I do not know how old the unit is and I feel it has been modified from manual unit and it works well.
3. I had vented tankâÂÂs plug 1/8â added smaller nail, is that a problem? It needed a vent per your info??
4. I failed to mention a 3000 lb PSI gauge that pegs in both dir. stalled. Where would a bypass stop PSI?
5. I noticed one of the tankâÂÂs hoses sucked down when it stalled in one direction or both, is that normal?
6. The 2 travel rates appear the same w/o loads. I have no issues with speed vs a maul these days.
7. I enclosed my pump in foam fill PVC trying to reduce the noise. Could that cause pump heat problem?
8. This was a good example of splitting green live & red oak vs seasoned (3 cords green was no problem.
9. Is there a link you can suggest to view in changing seals? OR! Is it the same as hydraulic jacks?

I think I covered all of your good info. What did I miss and need to know from the feed back? Will this s/w allow you to add replies behind my lines to save time (if you copy/paste my lines as your reply and add your responses)?

Thanks You And All For The Help! loger

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 3:03PM
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3. The Reservoir should have as large a vent size as possible 1/2 " is nominal c/w mesh screen for dirt prevention.
4. Bypass conditions only occur when the spool is positioned to a neutral position or an over pressure situation is put in-place and the system overpressure (relief valve) dumps the fluid back to the tank or in some cases to ground.
5. I think what your are noticing is the line depressurizing when the line bleeds down , this is normal .
6. Some people install an adjust flow rate regulator valve to allow a form of travel control on the return stoke for Safety Reasons .
7. I would say that the PVC would not cause any overheat concern since the majority of system heat is caused by the frictional loss or resistance to flow and the pressure differentials throughout the system via the pump , associate lines and control valves (spools) dump valves . Therefore the larger the Fluid Reservoir the larger the tanks surface area is for conventional heat loss (cooling)and venting of heated vapours via the atmospheric vent . I have seen numerous more expensive systems add cooling Recirc-loops (Finn Coils) for additional fluid cooling .
9. The Seal changing is very similar to that of conventional Hyd Jack just in a larger scale .

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 6:58PM
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You are Great Ewalk! Is the CowâÂÂs processing similar to the Deer here in East TX? I only like my uncleâÂÂs smoked deer sausage which probably has a little pork in the pre cooked meat (vs steaks etc). Thanks Again And Take Care! Loger

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 8:47PM
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Yep exactly the same with moose although you hanging approx 800 pounds of animal . Last Yrs Bull 58 inch rack deboned (meat in the freezer) at 580 lbs . About 4-6 hr job compared to my 225 Buck which I processed in about 2 hrs lol .

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 1:14PM
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