Hydraulic Hose Repair or Replace? When to Know Its Time
When your hydraulic hose fails you, it will bring your hydraulic system to a standstill, can put your employees at risk, potentially damage your system, and can lead to a mess of environmental ramifications. The best way to prevent this from happening is to recognize the signs of impending failure, perform replacements before failure occurs, and take measures for foreseeable failures.
Hydraulic Hose Basics
The Hydraulic hose is used to transmit fluid through your hydraulic system, often at very high pressures and speeds. They are vital to the correct operation of your hydraulic system, whether it be a hydraulic power unit or an airport runway, or the hydraulics that power an excavator.
The Main Job of a Hydraulic Hose
Hydraulic hoses must contain fluids while they are being transferred while also protecting the fluid from outside containments. Hose failure means that 1. The hose is no longer able to contain the fluid and/or 2. It can no longer prevent outside containments from getting into the fluid. When a hose fails, it not only affects the system’s performance but can also lead to serious damage and expensive repairs to other components within the system.
Common Hose Issues
Your hydraulic hose should last you between a year or two years with many lasting up to ten years, so if you notice your hoses are failing in less than two years, then there are some external factors that are reducing its lifetime. Temperatures more than the recommended operating temperature, especially if the hose is making direct contact with a component that has extremely high temperatures, can cause a hose to fail. Contact with components that are involved in vibratory motion will lead to surface wear, abrasions, or cuts that can shorten the useful life of a hydraulic hose.
Chemical compatibility can also be another issue that compromises the integrity of the hose and can include the fluid used in the system or external chemicals that the hose comes in contact with. The material of the tube should always be selected to be compatible with the media that will be flowing through it. If there is incompatibility, the hose can weaken and eventually fail.
Also, using a hose that is not rated for the operating pressure of the hydraulic system can lead to damaging surge conditions whether the pressure is too high or too low. This incompatibility may be the result of the type of hose material of the type of reinforcement used in the hose. In addition, hydraulic fluid contamination can lead to wear within the hose as well as premature hose failure.
Lastly, your hose assemblies must be put together correctly, and the type of fitting must be compatible with the port it will be used with. The fittings themselves must be installed correctly as well or there can be a risk of a leak or other issues.
It’s important to check your hoses for heat exposure, sun exposure and signs of again to prevent it from hardening and cracking. You should also look for kinks or excessive twists in the line, which will limit flow and lead to pressure buildup. Flat areas in your line indicate bad routing and could mean that the hose is pulling a vacuum or been pinched.
Check to make sure your hose is not rubbing on anything sharp and that no parts of it are worn or deeply cut. You should also inspect for leaks, especially at connection points, which are the most common points of failure.
Repair or Replace?
Deciding if you should repair or replace a hose relies on one simple rule: when in doubt, replace it. Any type of damage to the length of the hose will compromise the integrity of its walls and can prevent it from holding fluid under a certain pressure, so you’ll want to replace it. Often, the damage occurs at the end of the hose or at a point of connection. Sometimes, to fix it, you’ll need to simply tighten a fitting, but in other cases, you might need to replace the O-ring. In some cases, the fitting breaks but there is enough room left at the end of the hose. If that is the case then you’ll need to remove the fitting and install a new one.
However, in some cases, such as with a brake flex line, the hose should be replaced. Smart preventative services can also be taken, such as installing hose protectors at the first sign of any minor wear. Never open or attempt to repair a hose that is under any type of pressure, and always, always wear appropriate eye and hand protection.
Hoses keep things flowing, and with regular maintenance checks, they can do their job. Now that you know what to look for in a hydraulic hose, you can take smart action at the first sign of any wear or tear.
If you’re looking for any type of hydraulic hose repairs or services, the All Phase Hydraulics team is here to help! We offer hydraulic hose repair for your machinery! Contact us for more information.