A significant aspect of being proficient in any field, particularly hydraulics, is thorough preparation. One of our members shared an illustrative experience:

While the idea seemed good, the reality was different. The oil components dissolved the zinc coating, something I hadn’t anticipated. Luckily, there’s little more I can do now to further complicate matters.”

Personally, I avoid painting the inside of hydraulic tanks. This reminds me of a client whose Car Lift Repair Orlando machine frequently had its oil-to-water heat exchanger fail, leading to water contamination in the Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic system. When I suggested switching to an oil-to-air heat exchanger, there was a long pause before he said, “Why didn’t I think of that!”

The key is to engineer out potential issues whenever possible. If you don’t use an oil-to-water heat exchanger, cooling water won’t contaminate the oil. If you don’t install pump intake isolation valves, the pump won’t start with the valve closed. And if you don’t paint the inside of hydraulic tanks, the paint won’t peel off.

Sure, these issues can be minimized with proper precautions, such as double-walled oil-to-water heat exchangers, proximity switches, interlocks on pump intake isolation valves, and special paints designed for Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic oils. However, the risk is reduced, not eliminated entirely.

But why paint the inside of a hydraulic tank at all? Consider that other hydraulic components aren’t painted internally. They don’t rust because hydraulic oil contains rust inhibitors.

The Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic tank might seem different because water settles at the bottom and air circulates at the top. Ensure the tank has a drain point and that it’s used. Installing a desiccant breather can minimize rust in the tank’s air space.

And if some light rust forms inside the tank, it’s not a major issue. It might contribute minimally to contamination, likely in the sub-5-micron range, which filters can handle. Unless the system is critical with servo valves, there’s no significant cause for concern.

Having designed and built hundreds of Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic power units, I’ve never painted the inside of a tank and often advised against it. In working with many units built by others, I’d estimate less than two percent had their tanks’ interiors painted—sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

if the piston seal is completely removed from a double-acting cylinder and its ports are blocked, it will hold its load indefinitely unless the rod seal leaks.” This principle also applies to a ram, which supports a load without a piston seal.

For this principle to hold true, the load on the double-acting cylinder must act to retract the rod (positive load). The physics change when the load is negative. Understanding the first scenario is crucial to understanding the second.

Recently, a Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulics technician who follows my teachings wrote to me about a troubleshooting assignment involving drifting cylinders. He began his investigation believing that leaking piston seals couldn’t be the cause of the drift—a conclusion he attributed to my teachings. He tested and eliminated all other components in the circuit until only the piston seals remained as the possible cause. Upon inspection, he found that the piston seals were indeed leaking, much to his surprise.

He then criticized me for misinforming him. When there’s a load on the forks, it acts to extend the tilt cylinders (negative load). In this case, leaking piston seals cause the piston rod to extend, allowing the forks to tilt, which was precisely the issue he encountered.

I explained to him, as politely as possible, that had he paid attention to the entire lesson and thoroughly understood both the rule and its exceptions, he would have recognized which scenario applied to these cylinders and adjusted his troubleshooting approach accordingly.

Inadequate attention to the full lesson or a superficial understanding often leads to such issues. This is why you may encounter individuals with decades of hydraulic experience who still only have a shallow grasp of the craft.

gauges and flow meters?”

While it’s a good question, it suggests a search for an easy solution. The key phrases here are “most effective and efficient method” and “without the aid of…pressure gauges and flow meters.”

It’s natural to seek maximum results with minimal effort, even if it’s unrealistic. To entertain as well as inform, here’s my ‘silver bullet’ answer:

I’ve developed a special troubleshooting paint. When a hydraulic problem arises, simply shake the can well and spray any suspected faulty component. Within minutes, faulty components turn red, and serviceable ones turn green.

It’s a fun fantasy—especially the part about my early retirement.

Before answering the question, let’s clarify: the most efficient troubleshooting method might not be the most effective, and vice versa—likely why diagnostic tools are excluded in the question.

Other tools and techniques can be employed in Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic troubleshooting. One such tool is an infrared thermometer or heat gun. These are inexpensive, quick to use, non-invasive, and can provide very revealing results.

Their usefulness stems from the fact that when hydraulic fluid moves from high to low pressure without doing useful work, heat is generated. Hydraulic components with abnormal leakage generate abnormal heat. For instance, a double-acting cylinder with a leaking piston seal or a relief valve that is passing will usually be hotter than the rest of the system. An infrared thermometer can quickly identify these hot spots.

However, an infrared thermometer is only as effective as the person using it. As I explain in The Definitive Guide to Hydraulic Troubleshooting, the goal of troubleshooting is to prove a component is faulty before replacing it, achieved through a logical process of elimination.

An infrared thermometer can speed up this process, but if the data isn’t clear or conclusive, other diagnostic tools should be used to eliminate doubt.

For example, a recent client concluded a solenoid valve was faulty based solely on temperature measurement. However, solenoid valves can absorb heat from their coils when energized, which could explain the temperature rise. Moreover, in the context of the specific system, this conclusion didn’t make sense.