How a Hydraulic Cylinder Works



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Hydraulic cylinders are found in many parts of our everyday life. This part is utilized in areas from construction machinery to the trunk of your automobile. Here is how these tools work and how to fix them.

Trapping the Oil 

These cylinders operate by pushing fluids, typically oil, throughout the cylinder while keeping it inside the barrel. An o-ring seals the fluid inside and if it is deteriorated, it can be replaced with an o ring kit. There are a series of rings throughout this piece of machinery, specifically around the rod.

Making It Move

In the middle of the cylinder is a piston made of metal, usually nickel. It is coated so that it is corrosion resistant and can be sized down to work for the application it is being used for. A cap on one end of the cylinder keeps the rod inside the cylinder while the other end is threaded through and wrapped tight with an o-ring to prevent leaks. When the piston is activated, the pressurized oil makes the rod move to make the cylinder perform. It is usually used in conjunction with a hydraulic pump.

Fixing the Problem

To fix this type of tool, you will need to break it down to its base parts. A common problem is the o-rings since these can break down and be less effective. Be certain that they match up in size with the ones you are replacing them with. They will have trouble sealing if they are too large or too small. If the barrel, piston or rod are dinged up or dented, you might need to replace these or refinish them depending on the situation. Once you reassemble the cylinder, you will need to refill it with oil then test it to assure that it is leak proof before reattaching it to its application.