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How often to change hydraulic fluid in Splitter???

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by darren_nh, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. darren_nh

    darren_nh ArboristSite Operative

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    I contacted Northstar a few years ago and they said every 50 hours of use.

    I find that hard to believe as you guys that sell wood would be changing the fluid every week at $8 per gallon.

    I have the filters but want to make sure I am not wasting money changing it when there is no need.

    Thanks for the advice.:cheers:
     
  2. AKKAMAAN

    AKKAMAAN AboristSite Guru

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    Thats BS, once a year should be more than ok. If oil is clear and look like "new", I could wait another year to. If system is kept clean, oxidation and moist from air is bascally the only threats. I dont know how much a "oiltest" would cost, thats the way to do it if it wasnt for the cost of it.
    But of course it depends on how much "dirt and water" you let the oil get exposed to. If you dont have any leaks, you dont have to fill oil, and there is less risk for contamination.
    Each time you make a split stroke, oil level go down and up again in tank. Its the volume of the piston rod. If top of tank is dirty and water or snow, that can get sucked in thru fill cap or breether. Of course air is let in when level go down. Air contains moist that can condensate on tank wall when cooling down. That water will pile up on the bottom of tank. Your tank should have a MAGNETIC drain valve at opposite side of outlet house. that valve have to be at lowest point of tank. drain next day before use of system. USE fill strainer, or even better a filter and store your back up oil in a dry place with tight cap. I have seen hydraulic oil barrels, stroed outdoors, suck in a lot of water thru cap, because there was water on top. If you have a barrel, put a little 2x4 under the "cap side" to raise the cap and water drain off. Change filter when you change oil.

    See tan pic in attachment
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  3. Zodiac45

    Zodiac45 Paleostoveologist & Sawwhisperer

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    Yep I have too agree thats very excessive. I use ATF in my splitter slightly cheaper and it's rated for either. I change out the filter every year or so depending on the usage, and have changed the fluid out once so that would every 3 years. Mine splits 6-10 cord a year.:cheers:
     
  4. loknlod

    loknlod ArboristSite Lurker

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    Oil sample

    Someone out there may have access to an oil sample lab which can tell you exactly the condition of your oil. I personally wouldn't be changing it at 50 hour intervals. There are a lot of reasons why you may or may not change your oil and AKKAMAAN hit the nail on the head with his post.

    Oil sampling may cost more than changing the oil and filter but it is a good way to get an idea of how your system is operating. Just an idea.
     
  5. avalancher

    avalancher Arboristsite Raconteur

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    Cant imagine changing the fluid every 50 hours.The filter?Another story. I change mine once every 4th oil change on the engine. I change my oil every 15 hours.Some have commented that this is also a waste, but without a filter on the engine,its cheap preventive maintence.
     
  6. ray benson

    ray benson Tree Freak

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    My splitter is used about 15 to 20 hours a year.
    Engine oil changed yearly or at 25 hours.
    Hydraulic 10 micron filter at 50 hours.
    Hydraulic oil as long as it isn't milky looking and clean - replace in about 10 years.
     
  7. loknlod

    loknlod ArboristSite Lurker

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    Cheap PM is right, if you are using a quality filter. Some people are not aware of the difference in filters, cheaper most likely is not better.

    I won't go into a brand bashing but there are some filter brands that I refuse to buy. I have cut open and inspected many brands of filters, seeing is believing.
     
  8. darren_nh

    darren_nh ArboristSite Operative

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    Mine doesn't have a drain plug, but now is as good a time as any to add one. I think I would be concerned about introducing metal pieces into the tank. I guess I will go ahead and change it. I changed it when I bought it from the first owner in 2001-2002 time frame, so it is probably time.

    I put an hour meter on it becuase I loan it out, but that only functioned correctly for about a month.

    Thanks.
     
  9. triptester

    triptester Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I would consider changing hydraulic fluid every 50 hrs excessive. Hydraulically operated equipment such as, backhoes, bull dozer's,brake presses, molding machines, and other industrial equipment would require weekly fluid changes of 100 to 1,000+ gallons per week. This would be cost prohibitive. How often does the fluid and filter get changed in a automatic transmission?
     
  10. Rookie1

    Rookie1 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Darren My BIL is anal about his equipment and he only changes filter once a year and oil if it is contaminated with water(milky). That happened once when he let someone borrow it.Hes had it for about 20 years and no problems yet. Do a search we discussed this a while ago. Im sure youll find more info.:)
     
  11. ezyelper

    ezyelper ArboristSite Lurker

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    The tank on my splitter holds about 20 gallons so that could get pretty expensive!I split between 75-100 cords a year and change the filter once a year.I have had my splitter for about 5 years and no problems so far.I do store it indoors when not in use to keep rain and dust from getting into the breather cap.
     
  12. AKKAMAAN

    AKKAMAAN AboristSite Guru

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    Flush system and change "milky" oil....

    Heavy equipment like dozers, excavators, logging equipment etc, are a different ball park, and I have 25 years of experience from 10 units of logging equipment and never changed hydraulic oil on schedule reason only (once a year), main reason for change has been WATER. Milky oil in the whole system, 15-30 usg in tank, and 50% out in the system, 10+ actuators and hoses. There is a special procedure to flush the whole system that is that complex. A loggsplitter is easier.
    1.extract cylinder, fully out
    2.turn of pump
    3.Drain tank
    4.fill new oil, just little more than enough for a stroke on cyl (2usg?)
    5.Pull valve lever for detract cylinder,
    6.turn pump (crank w starter or pull coil with ignition off or plug disabled), without starting engine, till piston is fully in
    7. (2.) start over from #2 and repeat, but extract cylinder
    8.check oil when draining tank, repeat from#2 if there still is "milk" in oil

    ps. use the cheapest engine or transmission oil you can find for flushing, if you cant find cheaper hydraulic oil
    ps2. for you guys that have a crescent wrench and a big bucket, deattach the return line from tank, plug tank if lower than oil level, and aim into the bucket..:dizzy:
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2008
  13. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Addicted to ArboristSite

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    wow

    Dads old Lil Brave splitter has to be 30 years old.. She has split a boat load of wood. To be totally honest, it has never been changed. And I doubt it will ever get changed. It still does the job. So no sense in fixing something that is not broke. Oh and it never has had any sort of filter inline. It does have a pighair type filter on the breather cap.
     
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  14. redprospector

    redprospector Addicted to ArboristSite

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    How often you should change the filter, or oil & filter depends a lot on size of pump, and size of tank. An old rule of thumb was 1 gallon of tank capacity for every gpm capability of the pump. So if you're running a 13 gpm pump by that rule you should have a 13 gallon tank.
    Most splitters don't have large tanks. Usually 3 to 5 gallons which causes the oil to run hotter than if it had the bigger tank. Heat will break down the oil.

    My little splitter is an old Duerr 20 ton and only has a little over 3 gallon capacity. So I put 2 & 2 togeather, added 12, and carried 5 and came up with this formula.:laugh: I change my Wix filter every 100 hours of use, and inspect the oil coloration. At 400 hours of use I change the oil. This splitter is 22 years old with a little over 7000 hours on it. It still has the original pump, & cylinder on it.

    Andy
     
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  15. Octane

    Octane ArboristSite Operative

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    We have 2 splitters. The one is over 10 years old and has never had the fluid changed (doesnt have a filter on it either). It still works just as good now as the day we brought it home.
    The other is about 5 years old and does have a filter on it. I think we changed the filter once, but have yet to change the fluid. Same thing, it works like a charm.
    Both of those splitters get used at least 20 hours a year.
    Sounds to me like maybe whoever said that you must change the fluid every 50 hours is trying to make more money by selling more hydraulic fluid/ATF.
     
  16. STLfirewood

    STLfirewood Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Never I have a super splitter :givebeer: :popcorn:

    Scott
     
  17. cmetalbend

    cmetalbend ArboristSite Operative

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    Right on.
     
  18. blackdiesel

    blackdiesel ArboristSite Operative

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    my processor runs anywhere from 1-5 hours per day, depending on the weather, for 4 years and i've never changed the oil.


    Granted i added another 50 gallon tank to supplement the 20 gallon resivour it already had on it, but that was just because i was boiling the oil. Dropped close to 500 on hydraulic oil alone, not looking to replace it ANY time soon
     
  19. ents

    ents AboristSite Guru

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    I've got a Troy Built (price was right (starts with f ends in e)) that I'd like to change the hyd. filter. So I look up the part num. and it's $30 for that filter. Can't imagine changing that filter multiple times a yr. Might as well turn on the heat pump and live with that bill. Are all those filter that expensive? Is there a source for these filters that is more cost effective?

    Later,
     
  20. avalancher

    avalancher Arboristsite Raconteur

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    Take that filter down to your local Napa dealer and get him to match it up to an automotive type filter.To make a happy dealer out of him, pull the filter the night before and let it drain face down overnight. Clean it up real good and they will be happy to assist you.
    No sense in paying 30 bucks for a filter.
     

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