Hydraulic cylinders - checking rod straightness

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As a product group, hydraulic cylinders are almost as common as pumps and motors combined. They are less complicated than other types of hydraulic components and are therefore relatively easy to repair. As a result, many hydraulic equipment owners or their maintenance personnel repair hydraulic cylinders in-house. An important step in the repair process that is often skipped by do-it-yourself repairers, is the checking of rod straightness.

How do bent rods affect hydraulic cylinders?

Bent rods load the rod seals causing distortion, and ultimately premature failure of the hydraulic cylinder's seals.

Allowable run-out

Rod straightness should always be checked when hydraulic cylinders are being re-sealed or repaired. This is done by placing the rod on rollers and measuring the run-out with a dial gauge. The rod should be as straight as possible, but a run-out of 0.5 millimeters per linear meter of rod is generally considered acceptable.

Straightening hydraulic cylinder rods

In most cases, bent rods can be straightened in a press. It is sometimes possible to straighten hydraulic cylinder rods without damaging the hard-chrome plating, however if the chrome is damaged, the rod must be either re-chromed or replaced.

Related articles:

Straight talk about bent hydraulic cylinder rods
A common problem with hydraulic solenoid valves
Pressure intensification in hydraulic cylinders

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