The estimated lifespan of your typical hydraulic hose is around ten years. This may vary depending on the material used in construction, the intensity of use, where it’s used, and the stress it’s placed under. However, all hydraulic hoses run the risk of developing leaks, surface wear, and open splits given enough time. Any hydraulic system used outside or regularly exposed to the elements is at particular risk of critical failure.
A hydraulic hose break can decrease the overall efficiency of the hydraulic system, gradually drain the liquid reservoir, or even stop the hydraulic machinery from working altogether. It is unsafe to continue using a hose that you know to be damaged, particularly if the machinery it serves is used in heavy lifting or load suspension. When the tell-tale signs of a damaged hose begin to appear, it’s definitely time to find, scrap, and then completely replace the offending item.
This process often proves easier than you might think. Here’s our simple, four-step guide to no-fuss hydraulic hose removal and replacement.
1) Locate The Damaged Hose
The first step is to identify which part of your hydraulic relay is faulty. Always make sure the equipment is switched off, depressurised as much as is possible, and not under load before you examine it for damage. Loose boom arms and suspended moving parts should ideally be chained to the ground.
Wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) such as goggles is highly recommended. Never check a hydraulic pipeline with your bare hands – use a long piece of cardboard and gloves. Some fluids may be boiling or toxic and equipment can remain pressurised for long periods after deactivation.
Check carefully for signs of oil or fluid close to or on pipelines, particularly consistent drips or trails. Worn or punctured outer casings are another good clue that something’s wrong. Critical leaks can result from small holes in the hose, so you may have to look for evidence rather than a visible tear. Larger, more obvious breaches suggest an overpressure burst or loose fittings on either end of the hose. If the problem isn’t with the line(s), check the hydraulic pump for any faults instead.
The faulty hose is most likely to be located on or near a part that has not been serviced recently, or one that is showing signs of wear and decreased efficiency. However, ‘new’ hoses that have been left in storage for long periods before installation run a high risk of malfunctioning.
2) Collect All The Tools You’ll Need To Replace The Broken Hose
Once you’ve found your problem hose, you’ll need to remove it and attach a new one. What you’ll need to do this depends on the type of fastening and if you need to cut and fit a new hose to length while on site.
You might need:
• A wrench kit.
• Suitable, quality cutting equipment (such as a Stanley knife).
• A new length of hydraulic hose, rated to PSI and durability standards as needed. Having it pre-made to your exact specifications by a custom manufacturer is recommended. Temporary replacements with tubes made from non-rated materials should NOT be attempted. Death or serious injury could result.
• Two size-altering hydraulic adapters for either end (if used within your hydraulic system).
• Lubrication fluid.
• Plastic bucket.
• Disposable cleaning cloth or rag.
• Tape measure.
• Tissue paper.
3) Remove The Broken Hose
If possible, drain your hose of any remaining hydraulic fluid via the reservoir pump. Detach your broken hose from its fittings, using a wrench that matches the size of the attachments to loosen the seals on both ends from the O-ring, valve, or any other fastening.
Once detached and drained, safely dispose of the broken hose. Clean the fittings and surrounding area thoroughly of dirt, oil, and other debris while plugging both openings with tissue paper. Detritus intruding into a closed hydraulic system can cause extensive damage. Always keep the system closed and offline while you prepare the new hose.
4) Attach & Fit The New Hose
Make sure your new length of hose can safely follow the route of the previous one without too much slack. Try to avoid causing kinks or excessive torque while mounting the pipeline.
If you’re cutting the new hose to size on site, measure out the length needed carefully and then use the crimpers (or another cutting tool) to get the exact piece you need. Once you have the new length of hydraulic hose, attach the two adapters to either end (if applicable). As with any fittings, make sure the new hose is completely cleaned of dirt and debris.
Thoroughly lubricate the hydraulic hose fittings and attachments. Insert or attach the hose at both ends, then use the wrench to tighten both attachments. The seals at both ends should be firm and airtight, yet still movable. Overtightening the seal may permanently damage your system.
Test the hydraulics again on a low-pressure setting while keeping a careful lookout for any further leaks. Make sure the new hose is secure and functioning correctly before operating your hydraulic machine or vehicle under stress.
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