Troubleshooting Your Hydraulic Log Splitter
Winter’s coming and you’re dreaming of lazy afternoons spent with your hydraulic log splitter. You expect that everything will perform satisfactorily, but if it doesn’t, here is some basic troubleshooting that you will need to remedy the problem and get your log splitter back into action.
Gas-Powered Engine Troubleshooting
There are a variety of things that can happen with the engine of your gas-powered hydraulic log splitter. The most basic is that the engine doesn’t start. If this happens, check to make certain the choke valve is open, that there is gas in the tank, and that the spark plug is clean. If the engine runs roughly or makes pinging noises, you may be using the wrong type of gas or your gas may have water in it. If you have plenty of gas in the tank and the engine stops abruptly, it may be signaling that the engine oil is low. A sluggish engine can be the result of a dirty air filter or the choke being partially closed.
The Logs Won’t Split
The size and positioning of logs in your yard machine log splitter is very important. Check that the log is positioned correctly and that it doesn’t exceed the maximum dimensions for your log splitter. If you have cut a lot of logs with it, it may be that the wedge is dull or nicked. Sharpen the wedge and replace it. Check the fluid level of the hydraulic oil and top off if necessary. Also, check for a hydraulic oil leak by placing a piece of cardboard under the pump while you split logs, and replace any worn out parts.
Problems With the Pressure Plate
As you split logs, notice if the pressure plate advances with a jerky motion or if it vibrates excessively. If so, your log splitter may need hydraulic oil. If the oil level is correct, then there may be air in the system. Remove any air that may have mixed with the hydraulic oil by opening the bleed valve and cycling the pressure plate back and forth three or four times. Remember to tighten the bleed valve when you are finished bleeding the system and replace oil to the proper level.
Hydraulic Oil Leak
If you discover an oil leak in your hydraulic log splitter, first check that the bleed valve is properly tightened. The next step is to replace the hydraulic oil seals, as worn seals will allow oil to leak out of the system.
A properly functioning hydraulic log splitter makes relatively easy work of splitting logs. For gas-powered engines, check that the choke is open before you start it up, that you have enough gas and oil, and that the spark plug and air filter are clean. For all hydraulic log splitters, position the logs correctly and cut logs that are too large for your splitter. Pay attention to the movement of the pressure plate and bleed air from the hydraulic system if necessary. Finally, periodically check your hydraulic log splitter for oil leaks.