Your lift truck needs power to move the mast up and down and its forklift hydraulic parts that provide the muscle. If the engine is the heart of your forklift, hydraulic fluid is its blood. Hydraulic cylinders are attached to the mast and cause it move up or down depending upon the pressure in the cylinders. A hydraulic pump brings hydraulic fluid into the bottom of a cylinder barrel which holds a piston. The fluid forces the piston in the cylinder to move up and down or back and forth. A lift cylinder handles the lifting mechanism while a tilt cylinder enables the forks to tilt sideways when necessary.
The main parts of the hydraulic cylinder are the cylinder barrel, a cylinder base and cap, the cylinder head, the piston and piston rod, and the rod gland which contains various O-rings and seals including one that wipes off dirt from the piston rod when it moves back into the cylinder. The two types of hydraulic cylinders are the tie rod cylinder and the welded body cylinder. The welded body cylinders are narrower and shorter than the tie rod variety. For this reason, most forklift trucks and other mobile equipment prefer the welded body hydraulic cylinders.
The troubleshooting and inspection of hydraulic cylinders for most brands like Clark, Hyster or Toyota trucks are basically similar. This process for a Yale forklift is a good example:
With a clean cloth, you should wipe down the rods then raise the forks. If there is more than a thin coat of oil on the rods, the seals may be worn out and need to be replaced. Next check the hydraulic fluid level visually or with a dip stick. If it is not full, air will enter the cylinder and damage the seals within and cause the forks to jerk while moving. If the forks continue to jerk even when the hydraulic fluid is full, the hydraulic fluid pump may be clogged or damaged. Wipe off the hoses and lines. Move the forks a few times and check for leaks on the hoses themselves or in the connections.
Oil leaks in the hydraulic system are the main symptom of damage and show that it’s time to replace forklift hydraulic parts. In general, oil leaks will result in insufficient oil and lead to deterioration of parts. Check for leaks in the hydraulic control valve. Incorrect hydraulic pressure can contribute to leaks, damage seals and reduce the truck’s lifting capacity. In the lift cylinder, leaks can cause load drift problems and contaminate the operating environment. Tilt cylinder leaks will result in uncontrolled mast movement. Hydraulic hoses can be damaged by bent sheaves while a clogged hydraulic filter will interfere with good oil flow and increase the truck’s system pressure. Defective hydraulic cylinders in the steering system can result in steering loss and hasten the wear and tear of hydraulic parts.
Hydraulic fluid is a favorite way of providing muscle with low pressure input. Proper maintenance of your forklift hydraulic parts will make sure that you have all the power you need all the time.
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