Hydraulic Fluid Overheating: Causes and Remedies

Blog | December 10th, 2018

A system malfunction is taking shape, and a hydraulic fluid overheating problem is causing major headaches. If the equipment owner is to avoid popping a painkiller, he needs to know what’s behind the heat generating riddle. On identifying the thermal energy source, only then can a remedy be implemented. Let’s start with a quick fluid temperature check, just like the ones patients undergo when a nurse approaches with a thermometer.

The Hydraulic Fluid Is Overheating

On measuring the temperature of the system fluid, the gauge needle is wobbling around the 80°C mark. That’s a worry, and the operator isn’t going to run the equipment while it’s this hot. The elastomeric seals and hoses start to deteriorate when the oil is roasting hot like this, and the rigid equipment alloys seem warm enough to fry an egg. If the temperature rises higher, the fluid is going to degrade while the seals experience permanent damage. Turn the gear off until a solution can be traced.

Finding Fluid Overheating Causes

Referring back to a human patient, low blood pressure problems cause the heart to work harder. Likewise, low fluid pressures occur because of obstruction. Like a clogged artery, a blocked hose or sharply bent fluid channel stops the oil from flowing. Undersized components are also responsible for this pressure attenuating effect. With the fluid hampered, the system responds by generating thermal energy. Next, has the equipment been altered? Someone maybe felt the gear needed a little more “oomph,” so they jury-rigged the pump compensator. Finally, when aging components don’t work productively any longer, they produce heat, which is then transmitted into the oil.

Get the Remedies Ready

It’s not always easy to find that single aging part, not from the outside. Happily, a temperature measuring instrument can find the culprit part by measuring thermal gains across discrete components. As for clogs and undersized parts, they’re correctable, too. Replace the components and remove all sharp hose turns. And, here’s a problem that shouldn’t occur, don’t let amateur hour workers ruin expensive pieces of hydraulic equipment. Don’t let someone introduce a radical system improvement. Pump compensator should only ever be adjusted by a trained repair engineer.

The main culprits have been identified and addressed, but there are always other problems to deal with when mobile hydraulic equipment runs hot. It’s a serious problem. The equipment is aging, the seals are failing, and the oil is separating. Worse still, a serious burn is likely because someone could fall against a hot metal part. If the issue continues, call out a qualified repair technician, for this situation cannot be allowed to persist.

Mobile Hydraulic Specialties Pty Ltd

Factory 89, 38-40 Popes Road
Keysborough, Victoria, 3173

Phone: (03) 9798-6511

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