problem with manual hydraulic log splitter

bellacat(UK)November 25, 2005

Hi, my husband and I purchased an Omega 10 ton hydraulic log splitter in August. We've been using it successfully since then and we've effortlessly split about 50 logs. Now we're having a problem that we can't figure out.

There are two levers that you push to control the hydraulic ram. One lever works a large piston, the other a small piston.

We seem to have lost pressure in the small one. We can use it for about ten minutes, but then the strokes get smaller and smaller until there is no pressure at all.

We have bled the system twice and added a bit more hydraulic fluid. The same fluid reservoir feeds both pistons.

It has been quite cold outside, so we thought perhaps that was affecting the oil viscosity, but after bringing the splitter into the house to warm up overnight, we still seem to be having the same problem.

Any ideas would be appreciated!!

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I hope I'm not getting too technical, but check to see if each control valve has it's own pressure relief valve.If so, this could be the problem. If not and there is only one press relief valve it could be the large cylinder still has enough force to split wood even with reduced pressure.
My $.02 worth,

    Bookmark   November 25, 2005 at 8:04PM
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Hi, thank you for your reply, but there are not separate pressure relief valves. The large cylinder does have enough force, but it's extrememely difficult to only use the large one. This machine is made to use both, when it becomes too "labour intensive" to utilise the large one, you need to use the smaller one, which under normal circumstances, would knock the heck out of any bit of wood you've got.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 8:19PM
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Find the ID tag on your splitter and get Omegas phone number. Call them, and they will tell how to fix it. Use Google search, if you can't find Omegas phone number.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 2:04PM
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Just a question, or request for a confirmation. I read you post to say the manual log splitter works great, well when working. These machines have not seen good reviews in the past, but as I recall they were not so much user reviews as comments from disbelivers.

I still use wedge, maul, axe and would be happy to use the hydraulic if it works. I'd also like to be able to split logs up to 20" long, or at the very least 18" long. I'd also like to split some logs that are 1 to 2 feet in diameter. What size logs were you able to work with?


    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 6:01PM
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Hi Jerry, we have been able to split logs about 18" at the longest with this particular log splitter. The largest diameter we've done so far was probably about two feet. We've spoken on the phone to a hydraulics repair company, and the man we spoke to seems to think that because these machines are usually made in "certain foreign countries"... ;) ... , the parts are not the high quality they could be. We're going to buy a new pair of pistons and stick them on to see if that helps. I would definitely recommend a machine of this type (whichever brand) because it saves so much time and effort. And don't forget, even a little woman like me can split very big, heavy logs with minimal effort! And plus it's silent, which over here in England where our houses can be very close together, you won't disturb your neighbours.
Just to add, we did call Omega, but the very nice man we spoke to couldn't help us, and referred us back to Screwfix, the company who distributes these logsplitters. They were quick to offer a refund or replacement (but the item is out of stock til January). So, like I mentioned, we're just going to get new pistons for it.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 7:31PM
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Thanks, I think I'll buy one. I had looked at them with some interest at Harbor Freight, all Chinese made. I have purchased a number of items from them over the years and they do have sufficient quality given the price. That is the "stuff" isn't junk, but it isn't of the quality you need if you're going to work the product 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

I'll look locally too, I know Home Depot has an electric splitter, but interestingly it develops less force, I think it advertises 5 Tons. Seems too the electric at HD is about $300, more than the manual hydraulics.

From what you say it reads "getting new pistons" is an off-the-shelf operation, and I assume that means you plan to buy a dual piston jack that fits the hardware you have. I assume too as you rejected the replacement you figure the piston replacement will result in a better quality unit.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 9:31PM
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I am also looking to buy one of these type of splitters, has anyone seen this unit.
It says on their site it was shown on the David Letterman show.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 5:04PM
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maineman(z5a ME)


I see you revived an old message thread. I considered this type of splitter, but dropped the idea because manual splitting, regardless of how you do it, requires you to supply the energy to do the splitting. Whether you split manually with a maul and/or wedge and sledge, splitting a significant amount of wood is tiring. I prefer to have an electric motor do the work.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 8:08PM
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MM what electric splitter did you go with? How do you like it. I was also lokking at the 4 ton Ryobi splitter sold through Home Depot. for 299.99 I will only need to split 2 to 3 cords of wood a season.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 2:45PM
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maineman(z5a ME)


As it happens, I haven't made my purchase yet. I am going to get an electric model. I don't think the 4-ton Ryobi would handle many of our bigger logs, but if your logs aren't too big, it is cost effective. I will probably get at least a 12-ton model. For more information on this, please click on this link to read the electric log splitters message thread.

I had planned to get a Ramsplitter, but as you can see from reading that message thread, and the links that it contains, there have been quite a few twists and turns in my shopping for an electric log splitter.

Although they cost more, I am currently thinking that I will get a Bachtold HE21 12-ton electric model. I particularly like its log tray feature, which returns a piece to you so that you can conveniently re-position it for another split.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 12:55AM
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Be careful of buying anything from Omega Stores. See the complaint history at (search for "log splitters" or Omega).

Here is a link that might be useful: Omega Stores - Big hustle!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 4:29AM
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Well...I just took the plunge and purchased an Omega 9-ton splitter. I'll let you all know how it goes when I get it.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 10:59AM
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Seeing this thread has been revived I jump in to say I purchased the Harbor Freight, at a local store outlet, 10 Ton manual splitter for $79.99, on a $30 off sale. This looks to be identical to the Norther Tool unit that lists for $149.99, now on a $10 off sale, plus shipping, which could be high considering the weight, 100 lbs.

I've only briefly tested mine, and it works. I note some logs I cut too short will not split. The piston travel goes only about 8" so a 12" long log can't be pushed into the wedge. Most of my wood is in the 15 - 18 inch range and that works in the splitter.

It also helps if the logs are cut at a 90 degree angle, not on a slant, as some of mine are. I hadn't taken too much care in the "bucking" of logs because splitting with a maul didn't require a "perfectly flat" face on the end.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 11:14AM
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I gave the HF manual splitter a workout on about 20 rounds of Eastern Red Cedar. This stuff splits so easily that there was no need to use the low speed pump/side. The splitter is rated at 10 Ton, and I'm sure one has to put some muscle behind the low speed pump to generate that pressure. I'd guess the cedar splits with less than 1 ton pressure.

The splitter worked well, if slow. Clearly an electric rated at only 4 tons would handle cedar easily and be a lot faster. I do split hardwood too, so I may need the higher pressure when doing that wood type.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 9:09PM
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maineman(z5a ME)

You will need considerable pressure on oak, particularly where knots are involved.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 1:18AM
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I have the same problem and have determined it to be the speed the oil flows in to the pressure piston when cold. Try placing the splitter at a greater angle with the pump low and the wedge high. I found this will help. I'm going to also try lighter oil.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2008 at 7:43PM
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I have a manual 10 ton hydraulic log splitter (purchased from Northern Tool) and I also have a problem with a loss of driving force. At first I thought that I had lost some hydraulic fluid so I bought some more fluid. Then I stood the splitter on-end with the reservoir end up (wedge down). I did this thinking that if air had gotten to the cylinder it may rise in to the reservoir. I then unscrewed and removed the fill plug - I also removed the relief valve (it has a knurled hand knob). When I tried to fill the reservoir (through the fill port) the added fluid just ran out. Then I tried to add fluid to the hole that normally holds the relief-valve - again the added fluid ran out. Repeating this procedure with the splitter at a 45 degree angle (reservoir up) gave the same results. I think this all means that the splitter is not low on fluid. Your comment about the fluid becoming more viscous when it is cold may be correct ( I have been using it in 20 degree (F) weather ). I have found that a delay interval of 3-6 min brings back a small amount of piston movement but as you can imagine this really delays completion of the work. I didn't see different oil weights in our stores so I'd be interested in how light oil works. An earlir response in this thread said bringing the splitter in the basement (to warm up) didn't improve function.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 8:59PM
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hydraulic systems are very delicate and it important to keep all their little elements very clean. This is the case, for example, of overcentre valves: if they are dirty all the system (as the hydraulic log splitter) could work very badly.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2008 at 4:40AM
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An "old" man once told me that his log splitter would split more wood than I could with my maul. Chuckling As he had recently retired from Florida and lived in Georgia, I had split many a cord from 8 years old on (I was a big kid). My maul splits when I want it to not when the parts arrive to fix the hydraulics/engine/motor. I am interested in a new "axe" The Vispukes Axe I've seen on youtube video they run ~200 imported to US. He uses a tire on splitting stump to prevent logs from flying off. Seems very efficient Anyone have one? I'm 29 and slinging a 20lb maul still straightens my back out

    Bookmark   December 14, 2008 at 5:14PM
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Gimmy is right. Dirt and contamination in your hydraulic oil will break down the seals inside the cylinder and valves that hold the oil in the right places.

Hydraulic force is very powerful but not "intelligent"!! It will always follow the path of least resistance.

You may have a bypass in your system or internal leak. If you need any additional help, post a question in our hydraulic repair forum...we would be glad to help with any individual problems.

Here is a link that might be useful: Akron Hydraulic Repair Forum

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 10:20PM
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Yes I am totally agree with the "Don" view because in past year I also have this kind of problem with my log splitter but after when I put my logsplitter greater angle with respect to pump low then the pressure is automatically maintained

Here is a link that might be useful: Log Splitter

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 9:45AM
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I have had similar problems with my manual /hydraulic splitter from Harbour Freight. Whatwas described inthe past posts sounds to me as if the small steel ball at the base of the small bore pump has some build up or debris on it. This ball will lift when the pump draws in fluid from the reservoir and will reseat when the pump applies pressure. If it does not seat properly a little amount of fluid leaks bak to the reservoir. I also had problems withe the "O" rings wearing out in the large bore pump. I disassembled the Large bore pump and replaced it with a #10 "O" ring I boughts at Lowes for $2.49/10. I hope this helps someone.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2014 at 1:28PM
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