Should a newly rebuilt Log Splitter's hydraulic cylinder leak

loger_gwNovember 26, 2011

Should a newly rebuilt Log Splitter's hydraulic cylinder leak a little initially? Will occasionally stalling the rod cause a good seal to leak?

I had the cylinder rebuilt at the end of last year's firewood harvest. They honed the cylinder, polished the rod, added new seals and I watched the pressure test (w/o noticing the psi). With no challenging wood to split I possibly split 2-3 12" logs every 2-3 months vs letting it sit (w/o any signs of a leak). Yesterday we split some large challenging oak logs and they all split slow but fine due to their age and seasoning cracks (that we worked). After about an hour of constant use I notice the rod's seal area had lost about 2 tablespoons of oil. Before we finished about 2 hours later, I basically noticed no leak after a good cleaning. I called the re-builder and notified him and will send him Pics of the leak while he checks the receipt. This was before I noticed that it basically stopped.

Please share some Comments And Opinions. I saw a 4 year warranty online but not on my receipt and specifics.

Thanks In Advance! loger

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The key to this question might be the use of the word "honed". And now it's broken in.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 6:46AM
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Thanks For The Reply baymee!

This is the feel I got but wanted to hear from individuals that have experiences with the hydraulic rebuilds. This was my 1st experience with a honed hydraulic cylinder case vs combustion engines (if they can be compared as a mating process). I'll send pics to the shop and get their opinion tomorrow. Most Of All ! I feel the splitter and my body are telling me 36" + dia logs vs 12-16" are past our Splitting On The Half Days. loger

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 12:19PM
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Loger : It is not unusual for a small seepage of oil if the unit has not been used for few mths. As you said it seems to have sealed it's self off . Keep and eye on it if it worsens then I would again consult the repair facility for futher assistance .

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 5:40PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

Loger a hydraulic cylinder should not have side load on cylinder that would push rod hard to one side on Gland. There maybe a way to adjust slide on Beam. I have taken thin bushing out base in cylinder, but if has self lining ball bushing not needed. Wood always try's to side load cylinder on wood splitter. A good rule on hydraulic cylinder is leak amount has to be more quart per day operation before fix needed.

A good way check disconnect rod end and move cylinder side to side rod moving one inch way pass center should be OK.
Even cutting pin down by 1/8 on barrel end should give plenty side movement.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 12:53PM
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Thanks gator! You must have been watching our challenge to split some of the un-clean splitting logs. I added a rod guide to try and prevent side pressure due to the length and leverage on the rod. BUT! While trying to split the matted wood with knots, forks, Etc (just a few) we pushed off center. No No In The Future!! Is it common to bend a rod? Is side pressure usually a temp leak?

One quart per day is good to know vs our 2-3 tablespoons in 4 hrs. The shop wanted me to bring it in for inspections. I suggested or asked if I could wait until after another REAL job since it had basically stopped any signs of leaking (vs the extra work and drive). Mainly, after we realized there were 2-3 logs too matted to split vs sawing into smaller blocks. loger

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 8:03PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

Is it common to bend a rod? Is side pressure usually a temp leak?

Its not common to bend rod wood splitter.
Yes side pressure usually a temporary leak until you get long straight marks on rod from two metals of rod and gland sling on rod. Some grading of wood to be split is necessary.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 10:07PM
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Thanks Again gator! Even though I was pushing on one side of the rod's guide I still considered it straight. The Bottom Line "Again"! Some Un-Clean wood is too hard and time consuming to split vs sawing (blocks are good "All Nighters"). loger

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 10:48PM
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I did some log splitting today and observed better for the leak's source (which appeared constant). It appears the end cap on the case is leaking vs the seal around the rod. What would cause this (lack of tightness if that is a pipe thread)? loger

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 11:12PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

I saw photo your cylinder in pass That's ring that thread onto Barrel on outside retains Gland inside Barrel. Gland has backup flat packing ring and o'ring to seal between gland barrel. I think there damage to o'ring when gland installed in barrel like small cut on o'ring. There two other possible one ring was never final tighten are set screw on ring never tighten. This type cylinder has tenacity split end barrel hope not that one be hair line crack in threads once crack get long pass o'ring leaaks. You need take back cylinder shop.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 1:05AM
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Thanks gator! I am on the way back to the shop for an inspection as they requested and I see why. I understand most of what you are mentioning due to opening the cylinder to a point (then seeing them completely open it). I had planned to add a seal kit until I saw the needed tools and "Experience" they had.

1. My question to them is do I bring it on or off the splitter and when, to try and let one trip fix the cyl?
2. My next question is will a standard pipe thread caps seal the fluid into the cyl if I remove it to a dolly?


    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 9:14AM
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I returned the leaking hydraulic cylinder off the splitter and the needs are basically the same as they were a year ago today. If I had known a year ago that my little use probably would have lasted maybe years I probably w/n have had it repaired (until it stopped performing vs a year before I needed it again). Since it was leaking more this time I thought the need to rebuild was greater. Basically! 4 hrs and one real use is hard to understand. I would have thought they had my cyl confused with another but I went out to see the damage and minimum needs.

1. The case needed honing due to a spot of surface rust in one year.

2. The rod needed polishing due to a nick and side's wear marks.

3. New seals due to wear and new 5-gal of oil felt to be contaminated causing wear.

4. An addition of a filter on the suction side to help control contamination.

This will be a double investment and lessons learned w/o splitting a stick of my wood vs friends. I'll have to consider letting this monster pay for some of the cost by splitting more wood on the half or Etc. loger.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 8:54PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

4.An addition of a filter on the suction side to help control contamination. I hope that filter on return side not suction side suction side uses wire mess strainer 100 or 200 microns.

3. New seals due to wear and new 5-gal of oil felt to be contaminated causing wear. Condensation does happen in some places more that other's rain or due will go in some tanks cover. Some shops have this honing hang ups. I've never had hydraulic cylinder honed, but have drain off water from bottom of hydraulic tank before start pump up.

2. The rod needed polishing due to a nick and side's wear marks. nicks cause a small leak after new packing the packing don't clean oil out nicks.

side wear we chatted about that earlier so when install cylinder pin base end stop and check side movement of rod end it should be greater than side movement in slide piece on beam.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 9:32PM
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Thanks gator! This is good info and there is no end to learning. It's Breaking Me At This Rate!!

4. Location is marked return vs suction, my error of words which means I might need to retire??
3. He explained the polishing would reduce wear and more economical than replacing a rod.
2 My 1" pins are bent on both ends reducing any noticeable play, otherwise beam's end is more. Do I need to try and rotate pins to get the play active to reduce wear? loger

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 10:55PM
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"Do I need to try and rotate pins to get the play active to reduce wear?"

Gator, I thought of a possible cause to the side wear (other than the 1" pins on the cyl and rod ends being bowed/bent causing the cyl not floating on the pins. My guide on the rod's end is open vs a plate being welded there to push against the logs. I thought this would be good to keep the logs from sliding off. Now I remember this area was packed with wood when I removed the cyl restricting the rod from slightly floating (correct?) in the guide.

1. When I come back from the "Bank" with the cyl, I'll weld a plate on the end of the guide.
2. I feel I need to die grind my pin holes 1/6 or 1/8 ea on the mount & guide since the pins are bending?
3. In the future I feel I can polish or hone (with access to a Mach. Shop) if I knew what seals to get and replace.
4. W/O honing surface rust in the case, would that not damage the seals and do they travel end-to-end??
5. A Busy friend gave me the splitter to move it owns a Mach. Shop and possibly the builder (I need to trade some time with him if needed).
6. What would be a fair way of letting my friends help share the cost? While they avoid the 280.00 per cord.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 12:37PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

If you have one inch pins in wood splitter they to small even hard bar material one inch pin for 2 inch cylinder not 3 1/2 need hard pin that 1 1/2 Diameter ever time pin bends side load change direction or center line cylinder. Oil minus water stop rusting. I take any kit well that's old parts packing to counter at hydraulic store they give loose part's back are package that fit rod and piston some metric kits some are English knowing kit type is good talk for partsman. Split and stacked 80.00 per cord 70.00 second cord stacked that one stacking at splitting location if he helps same price. Half cord pricing first ric 45.00 second 35.00 and ric there after 35.00. all this within 22 miles driving range over 22 miles goes back to 1.00 mile one way from home. Back to pins what makes good cylinder pin D-5 or D-6 track pin seal are dry type.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 2:06PM
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Thanks gator! I feel I/we killed or damaged the splitter from lack of knowledge due to logs we split that bent the pins. I am not interested increasing the pin's size for performance or earning from the public using the splitter vs learning my limits with the 1" pins. What size logs (green/seasoned oak) would you consider as a limit for the 1" pins?

As I think I said, we'll have to leave some of the limited free logs (as wood period) or saw them into usable blocks. loger

    Bookmark   December 7, 2011 at 8:51PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

I don't have any advice on what wood you split with one inch pin.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 7:59AM
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Gator & Other Log Splitter Techs, If and when I get my splitter going:

1. Is there a filter that would address the moister rusting the cyl?

2. It is stored under a car-port tarpped and it never gets wet. Is outside or heat a contributor?

3. Did I cause a problem venting the tank by drilling 1/16 holes hor and ver and adding a small nail to allow air only in or out from plug's side vs top?

4. Should I store it with the light wedge end elevated a ft sending any moisture to back of cyl and tank? About how close to the cyl's end will seals travel? I can check for moisture at tank's bottom back hose connection, while the front is elevated? Surface rust in one year is quick IMO?

5. Reducing my logs dia & capacity will be a must with the 1" pins since all is designed around 1" pins. I will use a die grinder to give the cyl some play. The cyl had side lines that just occurred in the last 2 jobs that Shop's Tech said would give me some more use after he polish the rod. Exactly where is that damage coming from and is that what is contaminating the oil??

My pins appeared to be bowed/bent to still give the rod a straight push but we know that was not true due to the side wear? With the guides on some rails it appears they are to restrict the rod's end movement. Please comment on that since I feel I am understanding some end play will reduce side-wear?

6. Honing the cyl is causing the need for over-size or metric-size seal which might be causing a hold-up? Does side-wear cause internal case wear and parts wear internal also or just seals??

7. With my limited personal use and limited wood, I'll probably adjust to a smaller compact splitter and wood if I ever see one that is worthwhile and affordable for my use.

Thanks In Advance For All The Needed ??? Help And Long Post! loger

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 12:18PM
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I did the dreaded oil drain and some inspections and was surprised of what I thought were some good finds.

1. A gallon of oil from the bottom of the 5 gal tank showed new looking oil color, no moisture appearance but metal particle contamination was noticed. In the one gal I collected about a 1/4" dia "flat" vs round was attracted with a strong computer hard drive's magnet.

2. The cyl's two 1" pins were bowed/bent approx 1/8" on the force sides (with equal bow/bends).

3. There was at least 1/8" of play between all pin's holes and pin's dia allowing cyl movement.

4. There was play between the rail and rod's guide to say there is more play but possibly not enough due to wear.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 6:02PM
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I have Pics of the findings if anyone would be interested in seeing them. Is it a way to send a private message through this site to send Pics attachments vs uploading addresses to pics? Uploading is a little painful probably due to not having a paid version of etc vs sending simple attachments. loger

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 8:32PM
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I got the cylinder back with a filter kit fair and reasonable IMO. My goal is to address the rust signs in the cylinder (again in one year) and would appreciate some opinions and Ideas to compare with mine.

1. How can I remove moister in the bottom of the Hor cyl below the hose ports? Will moisture just sit there or will it move with the fluid.

2. Since I noticed the rust on the rod's end toward the wedge, would elevating 2-4" move it away from seals?

3. I'll plan to add a "T" with a drain plug at the back/bottom of tank's return conn when I plumb the filter in (elevated, that will be the lowest point of tank and fluid).

4. Am I just spinning my wheel and need to spread out my splitting monthly vs as seldom as I can?

Thanks for any Suggestions! loger

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 1:11PM
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Loger: As I advised last yr Go with Synthetic Oil and you will not have the moisture fouling issues as you have with mineral based oils . You could add a dirt pocket (drip leg) if you wish as a precautionary measure as is normal with fuel oil tanks and drain via elevation as is specified. The most important ingredient is the OIL :)

Note: Heat and Cooling causes (moisture) or condensation with these units better now recoginzed as dew point ! Just like within your stove pipe laddy :)

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 2:49AM
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Ewalk, The moisture concern is not contaminating the fluid vs causing a rust spot in the bottom of the cyl that I feel will wear moving seals on the rod. I feel with either synthetic or mineral base some moisture will settle, Correct? That is why I wanted to get it back to the tank's "T & Plug" for draining (no way). North TX heat in the SW dir Car-Port plays a part because even a parked car will sweat there at times. I'll try Out Living It! LOL

The 4 hr old fluid is like new w/o moisture but very little fine metal (per gal drained from the tank) after this rebuild. The tech said to cycle the splitter with the filter on the return side for about 30 minutes w/o a load to filter the fluid. I'll take it a step further by using compressed air to send the fluid in the 5 gal tank through the filer then reverse it. loger

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 6:29PM
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Loger: Mineral based oils subjected to thermal cycles (hot & cold) will over time absorb moisture and usually discolour (milky) .Synthetic oils to not absorb moisture and are designed to prevent corrosion much better. The cause of your rod corrosion could be moisture related , packing should not cause any oxidation unless the rod is exposed to air . If you have air within your system then your pump would be very noisy . The cycling of the system prior to usage is a good practice .

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 6:50PM
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Bingo! Bingo! I just ran the splitter about 40 minutes priming and filtering oil as recommended and split 4 normal logs (at the end) and all looked good. The Log Splitter Whipped Me Good Yesterday, BUT! I Stopped yesterday (after about 6-8 hrs) because there is no end to servicing, adjusting and maintaining equipment that is being used. I spent 50% of my time on maintenance needs, design and parts vs adding the rebuilt cylinder and new oil filter kit.

The 4-6 hrs used oil looked fair with fine metal flushed from the 5 gal reservoir 3-4 gals of oil. Hopefully the filter and clean wood vs challenging splitting will reduced this in the future. The AW 46 oil is 14.00 a gallon.

Questions and please add comments +:

1. Should I add a gallon of oil if I go from 7â deep to 5â in the 5 gal tank when extending the rod?
2. Is cheaper Transmission fluid as good, if all is changed vs mixed in the future?
3. I elevated and tilted the tank to accept the filter w/o extending out of existing frame and made the filter the lowest point to hold moisture, is that a problem or possible?
4. Why am I not seeing oil filters on splitters at Northern Tools and Etc?
5. Is it pump wear or all mechanics to cause the fine metal? The oil appearance and magnet collections were similar to an automatic transmission oil change.

IâÂÂll post some links (after some rest) if anyone has an interest. Thanks To All! loger

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 5:16PM
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You said there was a nick in the chrome?

That would be most likely the cause to your leak.

If the rod was only polished and not dot welded and polished/re-chromed than the rod diameter is probably to small where the nicks were at and is allowing hydraulic oil to bypass around your U-Cup in the gland.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 8:01PM
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Thanks for the reply Jason, The one small nick and minimal side wear marks was so small that I felt they were no issue and almost normal. After priming and cycling the system I put 2,500 psi on it 2-3 times (by fully extending the rod + and saw no signs of leaks. The wood I split yesterday and normally split takes about 1,000 - 1,500 psi due to my target of seasoning cracks on large dia wood. I was too sore to put the finishing touches on the Monster But I'll Get Them! loger

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 10:03PM
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I got back to the splitter and added guard-rails to protect the filter, added a flat plate on the push guide's front vs wood wedging the rod,s end (restricting some play) and etc maintenance.

I contacted the donor to Confirmed Over Kill On Fluid! The Log Splitter was Initially Manual and had grown to Hydro before I continued it. It had to be a Monster Manual Bottle Jack splitter and I'll respect it as a 10 ton with the Hydro Cyl 3.5" ID X 24" X 2" rod. Plus, due to the 4X4X.25 rail X 1" pin and adjustable wedge. I H/N found one that compares.

"This Explains All I Thought About The Splitter". I felt it was originally manual with the small wheels and front handle. Except, the plate for the tank and pump were throwing me off. The Donor who is a machinist and perfectionist explains the plate that I thought was Factory added (due to how it was formed and welded). He explained the 5 Gal Hydro Fluid tank could have been 2-3 Gals. The 5 Gal tank was the easiest to find vs welding up one or using the 4X4 rail as the tank as many. I'll still test it good with 4 Gals (which has never shown any signs of heat (Why?), "at the pump's 3 GPM rate as below", plus specs below in the same range or above this splitter suggest 3.5 Gals which sounds correct. Too Much To Spell/Grammar Check! LOL. loger

PS. I'll be looking for some wood for next season soon!!

Let's look at some of the specifics of these components to see how a real hydraulic system works. If you take a trip down to your local building supply center or a place like Northern Tool and Equipment and look at the log splitters, you will find that a typical backyard log splitter has:
1. A 5-horsepower gasoline engine
2. A two-stage hydraulic oil pump rated at a maximum of
11 gallons per minute (3 gpm at 2,500 psi)
3. A 4-inch-diameter, 24-inch-long hydraulic cylinder
4. A rated splitting force of 20 tons
5. A 3.5-gallon hydraulic oil tank

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 9:42PM
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