Dismantling a Hydraulic Cylinder

Lead Image
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 25-125
What You'll Need
Wrench kit
Bench vise
Socket extension

A hydraulic cylinder is used in many mechanical applications, from cars to sophisticated robots. The components of hydraulic cylinders are actually pretty basic despite their complicated functions. Fluids are used by hydraulic cylinders to apply a pushing force to a mechanism and to get the function done. A cylinder is composed of a body, rod and piston. The pressure in a cylinder can be applied to either the rod or the piston; this is the double-acting feature of hydraulic cylinders. Retraction or extension force is generated by the hydraulic pressure.

Maintenance of hydraulic suspensions is often regarded as hard work, but it pays to do it well. It requires replacing the seals in a cylinder, which means you have to do some dismantling.

Step 1: Remove the Cylinder from the Vehicle

Remove the hose from the hydraulic cylinder using a wrench. You need to identify the type of cylinder installed in the vehicle, since there are many types of cylinders that can be installed in cars.

Step 2: Drain Fluid from the Cylinder and Clean It Up

Hold the cylinder upside down to drain the fluid from it. Draining the fluid will make the dismantling process less dirty. After making sure that all the fluid has been drained, place the cylinder in a bench vise. Position it right across the biggest part of the cylinder. Secure the cylinder tightly by using clamps.

Step 3: Loosen the Cap Attached to the Bottom of the Cylinder

You need to use a pipe wrench to do this one. It’s easy to locate the cap; it’s the only portion of the hydraulic cylinder that is threaded. After loosening, remove the cap and put it aside.

Step 4: Remove Rod and Piston

Make sure to extend the cylinder to its full length. Once this is done, remove the rod and piston by hand.

Depending on the type of repair or maintenance that you need to do, you will need several tools to complete the task. A model-specific diagram of the cylinder’s insides will come in very handy. It is necessary to be able to reassemble and disassemble a hydraulic cylinder properly.

Replacement shaft seals are important for the proper functioning of the cylinder. You can purchase them straight from the manufacturer of your vehicle or you can choose them from online wholesalers.

When repairing your hydraulic cylinder, watch out for instances of ballooning of the cylinder tube or the bending of the piston rod. Failure to identify such instances can cause great damage to your hydraulic cylinder and will render it useless.