How to Prevent Bent Hydraulic Cylinder Rods

Published: Last Updated: July 18, 2022 How To Series ,

Bent cylinder rods are a common source of hydraulic cylinder failure. Rods bend when they are forced out of alignment by pressurized fluid, when a load’s weight is greater than the pressurized fluid inside the cylinder, or if they are impacted by heavy objects or machinery. Bent rods can scrape the interior of the cylinder and increase the likelihood of corrosion, tear or damage seals, and cause other issues.

Causes of Bent Hydraulic Cylinder Rods

A rod is considered bent when visibly bowed or has a defect that causes the cylinder run-out to go beyond allowable tolerances. Common causes of bent rods include:

  • Rod diameter is too large or too small for the machinery
  • Rods are manufactured from an insufficient material for the application
  • Rods have been incorrectly mounted

Preventing Cylinder Rods from Bending

Bent cylinder rods severely impact your equipment’s functioning capacities, are risky to straighten or repair, and result in unforeseen replacement expenses. However, by taking a few steps to ensure proper installation and operating procedures are followed, you can prevent your hydraulic cylinder rods from bending.

  • Be mindful of side loading. Side load is one of the most common causes of hydraulic cylinder failure, occurring when unequal pressure is not centered on the piston rod. In extreme cases, side loading will bend cylinder rods. Prevent your hydraulic cylinder rods from bending by following correct cylinder mounting practices, using stop tubes or dual pistons, and ensuring precise alignment is achieved during installation.
  • Consult your equipment manual. Always check that you are using the right size rod and the best material for your specific equipment and application. You can learn more about your hydraulic cylinder’s requirements by consulting your owner’s manual.
  • Only use your equipment for its intended purposes. Bent rods occur when hydraulic cylinders are applied in equipment or for applications outside their design parameters and abilities. Always be sure to use the appropriate equipment for your specific job, load size, and environmental conditions.
  • Maintain your hydraulic cylinder rods. Checking cylinder rods for bending, wear, and other damage should be an aspect of your preventative maintenance routine. Keep rods clean and lubricated to enhance their performance and prolong their lifespan.

Demolish Downtime with Built-to-Last Cylinders & How-To Knowledge

When you are unable to prevent a rod from bending, it may be time to purchase a high-quality replacement hydraulic cylinder. Hydraulic Cylinders, Inc. provides a wide range of aftermarket hydraulic cylinders and cylinder component parts for equipment manufactured by leading OEMs. In addition to our same-day shipping on all in-stock products, HCI offers comprehensive how-to guides and knowledgeable blog posts addressing common hydraulic cylinder questions, concerns, or issues.

If you are struggling to select the best hydraulic cylinder for your equipment, are unsure why your cylinder rods have bent, or need further advice on maintaining rods, let us know. Our highly trained technical experts can work with you to diagnose and address your specific issue.