Hydraulic log splitters are often preferred over their manual-style counterparts because they're more powerful. The increased power of a hydraulic splitter means that there's less human effort required to split each log.
In order to prevent the leakage of hydraulic fluid, these log splitters are fitted with rod seals. With this in mind, it is important for homeowners who own and use hydraulic splitters to prevent the failure of these seals. This article discusses two common causes of rod seal failure in hydraulic log splitters for the benefit of DIY-minded homeowners.
Damaged Piston Rods
Damaged rods are often responsible for the failure of hydraulic rod seals. In a large number of cases, damage to piston rods occurs in the form of bent and/or broken rods. The piston rods in a hydraulic log splitter may bend or break when exposed to sudden impact (e.g. the impact created by a wayward piece of the log falling on the splitter).
Piston rods may also get damaged if they're not rightly sized for the splitter. Piston rods that are not correctly-sized are often installed when DIY-minded homeowners are replacing faulty piston rods. The right size of piston rods is often indicated in the user manual for different hydraulic splitters.
Finally, piston rods in a hydraulic log splitter may suffer damage as a result of moisture infiltration. Moisture may penetrate into the piston rods when the log-splitter is stored in a leaky basement (for example).
Damage to piston rods interferes with the alignment of the hydraulic cylinder in relation to its load. This misalignment exerts excess pressure on the rod seals, often leading to their failure.
Contaminated Hydraulic Fluid
Damage to rod seals may also occur when the hydraulic fluid used in a log-splitter is contaminated. Hydraulic fluid is considered to have been contaminated if it contains suspended particles (e.g. disintegrated pieces of metal from the hydraulic cylinder material and loose debris from the atmosphere).
The mentioned particles often have an abrasive effect on the rod seals in the machine. This causes the seal material (often rubber or polyurethane) to wear out. Worn out rod seals will easily allow hydraulic fluid to leak through.
The presence of water in hydraulic fluids is also considered a form of contamination. Because water will often be insoluble when mixed with hydraulic fluids, it's relatively easy for the DIY-minded homeowner to identify water-based contamination in the hydraulic fluid used on a log-splitter.