Troubleshooting Top Link and Side Link Cylinders: A Comprehensive Guide

Product photo of Summit Hydraulics Side Link Cylinder

Summit Hydraulics Top Link Cylinders and Side Link Cylinders are integral components of hydraulic systems used in various machinery, especially in the agricultural and construction sectors. Like all mechanical parts, issues may arise with heavy use. Follow these general troubleshooting steps to get your cylinder back in prime shape, ensuring your machinery continues to operate smoothly. 

1. Cylinder Does Not Extend or Retract:

Possible Causes: 

  • Hydraulic Fluid: Low hydraulic fluid level or contaminated fluid can prevent the cylinder from moving. 
  • Air Trapped: Air in the system can hinder the cylinder’s movement. 
  • Valve Issues: Blocked or malfunctioned control valves can cause this issue. 

Solution: 

  • Check and refill the hydraulic fluid if needed and ensure it’s clean. 
  • Bleed the system to remove any trapped air. 
  • Inspect and clean the control valves. Consider replacements if they’re damaged. 

2. Cylinder Movement is Slow:

Possible Causes: 

  • Fluid Viscosity: The hydraulic fluid might be too thick. 
  • Inadequate Fluid Supply: The pump might not provide enough fluid. 

Solution: 

  • Use the recommended viscosity of hydraulic fluid for your machinery. 
  • Inspect the pump for issues and ensure it provides a consistent supply of fluid. 

3. Cylinder Makes Noise During Operation: 

Possible Causes: 

  • Air in the System: This is the most common reason for noisy cylinder operation. 
  • Worn Components: Parts within the cylinder may be worn out or damaged. 

Solution: 

  • Bleed the system to remove air pockets. 
  • Conduct a thorough inspection and replace any worn or damaged components. 

4. Cylinder Leaks Hydraulic Fluid: 

Possible Causes: 

  • Seal Damage: Over time, the seals in the cylinder can wear out or get damaged, leading to leaks. 
  • Loose Connections: Fittings and connections might not be tight. 

Solution: 

  • Inspect all seals. Replace any showing signs of wear, damage, or aging. 
  • Check and tighten all fittings and connections. 

5. Cylinder Does Not Hold Load or Drops Load: 

Possible Causes: 

  • Seal Damage: Damaged seals can cause the cylinder to lose pressure. 
  • Faulty Valves: Malfunctioning control valves can release pressure unintentionally. 

Solution: 

  • Examine the seals for any sign of damage and replace as necessary. 
  • Inspect the valves, clean them, and replace faulty ones. 

6. Overheating of the Cylinder: 

Possible Causes: 

  • Excessive Load: The cylinder could be bearing more weight than its capacity. 
  • Friction: Internal components might be creating too much friction. 

Solution

  • Ensure the load is within the cylinder’s recommended capacity. 
  • Check for worn components causing unnecessary friction and replace them. 

7. Irregular or Jerky Movement of the Cylinder: 

Possible Causes: 

  • Contaminated Fluid: Dirty hydraulic fluid can hinder smooth movement. 
  • Air in the System: Trapped air can cause sputtering or jerky motions. 

Solution: 

  • Replace the hydraulic fluid and ensure it’s free of contaminants. 
  • Bleed the system to eliminate any air pockets. 

Conclusion: 

Top Link and Side Link Cylinders are robust and designed for prolonged use. However, like all machinery parts, they can occasionally face issues. Regular maintenance, timely replacement of damaged components (especially seals), and using the right hydraulic fluid can ensure longevity and efficient performance. If problems persist after troubleshooting, consult with a hydraulic systems expert, chat with us on our website, or give us a call for further guidance. You can reach us at 602-806-7173.

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