Uncapped hydraulic cylinders - weathered - still good?
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  1. #1
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    Default Uncapped hydraulic cylinders - weathered - still good?

    I have two hydraulic cylinders...10” piston. I accidentally left them uncapped with a right angle adapter, eh, two years ago.

    What are the chances they are still good? Decent?

    Just drain them down/flush, then run them back and forth for a while to check them out?

    I want to install them into a press...but don’t want to build a press around junk cylinders that are likely out of my budget to replace or rebuild (what kind of price should I expect?)




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    Since those are tie rod cylinders it is EASY to take the end caps off and look inside. I would do that before moving them in/out and possibly scratching the bore or ruining the seal (IF it is full of rust).

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    I don’t have that big of a torque wrench...but what would I be able to ascertain from a visual inspection? Rust on the wall would be bad no matter what wouldn’t it?


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    If there is no pitting on the rod and the wiper seal isn't dry-rotted, you'll be just fine.

    The inside will always have an oil film and it won't rust.

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    sounds like i should drop it off at the hydraulic shop and have them tune it up check it out before i install it/design around it. i'm starting to set limits as to what i can/want to do myself.

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    Take the right angle fitting out and put some light clear oil in them.Slosh it around a little and turn them upside down to drain the oil. Catch the oil and inspect for particles. I suspect you won't like the price for a hydraulic shop to pull them apart.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbent View Post
    Take the right angle fitting out and put some light clear oil in them.Slosh it around a little and turn them upside down to drain the oil. Catch the oil and inspect for particles. I suspect you won't like the price for a hydraulic shop to pull them apart.
    No clue on the price...I’m used to paying for rebuilds on smaller cylinders....but I’m not sure how much of a premium they would charge on a 10”.

    Closest I can come to “sloshing” a 10” cylinder is to flip it on its side.


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    If left full of oil, they are probably ok, if you drained the oil, they might have some rust going, if pitted just scrap them. I would open them up to inspect, if good slap a new set of seals in. Unless its an old buddy at the hyd shop, they will probably bang you hard, seal kit is maybe $20-$30, hire a young kid to do the lifting. Rebuilt the lift rams on my JD a few years back, reassembly was a 3 person job iirc, 1 to hold cylinder body vertical, one to control engine hoist holding rod and piston, one to guide the pieces together and make sure seals did not get cut as they entered cylinder.

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    As RobF said, tie rod cylinders are a breeze to take apart. It looks like the fitting was turned down so probably didn't actually rain in it. As mentioned also is that there is always a film of oil on the inside of the cylinder. My guess is that they are fine. I have rebuilt maybe 20 or 30 cylinders of various sizes and was usually surprised at how easy they are to rebuild. The type that will throw you a curve sometimes have a steel internal clip that looks something like a cast piston ring. The clip has to be driven out of a slot which can me fun but you don't have that. You can take the seal head to any good hydraulic shop and they can match up the seals for a very reasonable price.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmatiangirl61 View Post
    If left full of oil, they are probably ok, if you drained the oil, they might have some rust going, if pitted just scrap them. I would open them up to inspect, if good slap a new set of seals in. Unless its an old buddy at the hyd shop, they will probably bang you hard, seal kit is maybe $20-$30, hire a young kid to do the lifting. Rebuilt the lift rams on my JD a few years back, reassembly was a 3 person job iirc, 1 to hold cylinder body vertical, one to control engine hoist holding rod and piston, one to guide the pieces together and make sure seals did not get cut as they entered cylinder.
    Yah, I’ve rebuilt a couple small ones...it’s at least a three hand job. Add to that a few hundred pounds of steel and it’s not an easy job. Especially for a guy with a broken wrist.


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    Looks like the ports have bushings in them, big ones. Pull those out and wiggle your finger around in there or a paper towel on wire, if it comes out rusty then dig deeper. Or an inspection mirror.

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    Put air to them and see what comes out of the other side...Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cole2534 View Post
    Looks like the ports have bushings in them, big ones. Pull those out and wiggle your finger around in there or a paper towel on wire, if it comes out rusty then dig deeper. Or an inspection mirror.
    This would be first step. After looking again at the pics and getting a better idea of the scale of the cylinders it looks like those bushings are 2" or bigger. Remove them and you should be able to see in pretty good. Your just looking for signs of rust. If there is some rust then take off the ends and hope it wipes out easily. If no rust put in some oil on both sides and move them with air (if possible) Are the tie rods larger than 1"?
    In all likelyhood they will be fine, but better to be safe than sorry since seals etc are so big they have to be expensive. That is why I wouldn't move the ram until its know to be clean inside.

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    Ive left lots of cylinders out in the weather,and had them rust up......unless completely full of oil ,and capped ,I would be sure there would be some water in them,and heavy pitting......By all means remove the tierods and inspect ,no other way to be sure.....As cylinders that size would be hard to find,I d be replacing the tube if they are rusty ......you may be able to find some offcuts in that diameter,for cheap.

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    I'm going to be the devils advocate here. Those cylinders are a snap to disassemble to check, clean and repair if necessary. If you are going to invest any energy at all in the press you're building or modifying, why would you start with anything other than a known, good component? To do otherwise would simply be silly, especially as the heart and soul of a hydraulic press is the cylinder.

    Stuart

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    Michigan has bad air. Things that would be ok most places will rust quickly in Michigan.

    Another plus to disassembling the cylinders is you can get an idea of rated pressure. Look at seal design, piston clearance, wall thickness, and tie rod size and compare to catalogue listings. It would suck to design a press for 3000 psi cylinders to find out they were built for 1000 psi max pressure.

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    I agree with Atomarc, get it open, look inside and get it back in good shape before going any further. A new cylinder barrel is easy to make for those tie rod cylinders.

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    Don't forget sods law coming in to play.

    Take apart and inspect etc etc, ......... only to find they are perfect and didn't need all the work.

    Or Cut corners and generally ''chance it'' ...........................only to find oil pissing out all over the place.

    Experience has taught me Sods Law is ignored at my and others peril.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbent View Post
    Michigan has bad air..........................
    Oh them's fightin' words....

    Not all of us have lethal halitosis, FYI.

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    Well there is Murphy's law and then of course Coles Law. Coles law is much easier to deal with because it's just cabbage, a little mayonnaise etc..........sorry.

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