Hydraulic System Overheating

Published: June 9, 2021 Last Updated: June 15, 2023 How To Series ,

hydraulic cylinder fluid

Whether you have a welded rod cylinder or telescopic cylinder, chances are you already know how destructive cylinder issues like fluid leaks can be. While leaks are known to cause cylinder issues, system overheating can be less obvious but just as pervasive. Hydraulic system overheating problems can be caused by different factors, including high heat hydraulic oil temperatures as well as system design pressure issues.

Common Causes of Hydraulic System Heat Contamination

Hydraulic system heat contamination issues can be caused by different factors. With heat loading issues occurring from different sources, it is important to determine the correct cause of overheating for your hydraulic system. Common causes of hydraulic system overheating include:

  • Hydraulic fluid temperature
  • Fluid flow issues
  • Incorrect system adjustments or upgrades
  • Pressure concerns

Hydraulic Fluid Temperature Issues

Hydraulic fluid temperatures should stay within operating norms. Elevated or hot hydraulic oil can increase the chance of a system breakdown. High heat on hydraulic oil can increase oxidation, decreasing the oil’s performance and ability to maintain proper temperatures.

Higher hydraulic fluid temperatures can also create low viscosity issues. Maintaining normal viscosity levels allows your hydraulic system to function without added concerns about pump and valve wear and damage due to low viscosity.

  • Normal operating temperatures range from 110°F to 130°F. Some systems are equipped to have normal operating temperatures up to 160°F
  • Fluid temperatures above 180°F can cause excessive system damage

Fluid Flow Issues

Lack of fluid flow throughout your hydraulic system can cause motor issues as well as pump malfunctions and failure. Damage to your motor or pumps can require repair or component replacement.

System Upgrades

When systems have component repair or replacement, there can often be incorrect upgrades or adjustments that adversely affect your system’s operating temperature.

Pressure Concerns

Pressure issues can cause lack of fluid flow through your system. Pressure drop can occur due to lack of fluid flow through your system, resulting in higher operating temperatures and overheating.

Solutions to Prevent Heat Overload for Hydraulic Systems

While system damage from heat load can occur at any time, there are ways you can reduce and minimize system overheating. Troubleshooting tips for preventing hydraulic system overheating include:

  • Check fluids and viscosity levels
    • Check the reservoir for any blockages or contamination concerns
  • Inspect potential pressure valve and pump malfunction issues
  • Visually inspect components and system locations where misalignment can cause issues
  • Decrease the heat load/pressure drops
  • Stop operating a cylinder system that has high fluid temperatures/overheating

Want to know more about hydraulic cylinder maintenance? Learn how to prevent hydraulic cylinder failure from our informational blog posts.

Keep Your Hydraulic System from Overheating

Need performance-built replacement hydraulic cylinders or components? HCI stocks a wide inventory of high-performance hydraulic cylinders and component parts. We also design custom hydraulic cylinders manufactured with American-made machined parts.  Contact us to discuss your hydraulic requirements with us today.

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