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Help sought fixing small electric log splitter

Post in 'The Gear' started by Apprentice_GM, Sep 17, 2009.

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  1. Apprentice_GM

    Apprentice_GM Member

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    G'day and thanks for reading - I have a small electric hydraulic log splitter that isn't working properly. It's only a 7 ton (and that's the full official specs, it probably does less than that in reality when working properly) but it used to split 12" rounds no problem, especially when cracking or starring a bit. Although only a bit over a year old it doesn't split anything bigger than 4" round now and is definitely nowhere near as powerful as when first bought. Yes, it's a cheap chinese made unit but it did a job for me and I'd like to get it back to full strength if I can.

    I had a mechanic mate check it and he says the electric motor is fine and the fluid levels are good. I dropped it into a hydraulics place for repair but they said it was too small for them to bother with. My mechanic mate suggested it could be the pressure valve has failed or is faulty meaning it operates but with reduced pressure, hence the ability to only split <4" rounds now.

    Can anyone suggest something I can do to diagnose and repair my splitter? Thanks in advance!

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  2. WayneB

    WayneB New Member

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    WY Black Hills area
    I would look for a plug on the pump housing, under it might be a spring and an adjustable overpressure valve that might looks like a strange type of screw and nut, possibly tapered to fit a seat on an orifice. I would lengthen it. Is your oil metallic looking at all? If it is you might have issues with even achieving pressure due to wear in the pump. Just a thought. Have fun.
  3. Dregan

    Dregan New Member

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    Northeastern Ohio
    Another possibility is that you have air in your system. I have (probably) the same splitter, and bleeding or flushing the hydro fluid (6.5 liters or 1.7 gallons of AWC 32 from your local auto shop - they might call it jack oil) might fix your problem.
  4. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    We have a small electric splitter (and a large hydraulic also). Regarding the electric splitter: I have heard that some people have experienced a loss of power. The only 'fix' I've heard of is when they drain the hydraulic oil they are finding small metal filings mixed in with the oil. A good drain out and adding new oil seems to be the fix. Good luck, hope you get it back in working order.

    Shari
  5. Apprentice_GM

    Apprentice_GM Member

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    Loc:
    Central Coast, NSW, Australia
    Thanks for your replies so far guys - much appreciated :)

    1) My splitter info, pics and specs is in my signature, if that helps any more
    2) My mechanic mate who drained the fluid said it looked fine to him, good colour, no metal bits or water or anything, which makes sense given it's only a bit over a year old and probably only used 30 or 40 hours since new.
    3) Would draining, filtering and replacing the oil have cleared any air bubbles if any existed? Or is there something else I can do to clear air bubbles and eliminate that possibility?
  6. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    I just remembered something: On my Ryobi, I have to keep the the hydraulic filler cap slightly loose to allow air pressure to escape when the splitter is in operation. If this cap it too tight, the ram won't run correctly. Does your splitter require this cap to be loose also?

    Shari
  7. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    I dropped it into a hydraulics place for repair but they said it was too small for them to bother with.

    ...now that really ticks me off.
  8. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

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    they probably are not being condescending about the piece of equipment, only that their minimum shop time to diagnose it may take an hour. Also, not likely built to hook up diagnostics since there are not the typical hose connectons to break into. Thus, the time and cost could run $75 or 100 to diagnose some thing where the answer is 'it is broke and not worth fixing'. Then the customer feels cheated of $100 to learn that, leaves the piece without paying, and is a mad customer. Bottom line, shop sees no good can come from any outcome so they don't want to get involved. At least they were up front.

    Assuming there is no warranty or return possibility, I would disasemble the relief valve if you can find it, try the cap venting thing. If those don't solve it, then take everything apart that is removable. You may find something. You may not, but it is toast anyway so not much to lose.
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    My electric splitter has a little screw that has to be opened when splitting.
    It's operating on a level surface? Same kind of wood.
    Just obvious stuff is what I can think of.
  10. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    First I would ask: When the splitter can't split a piece of wood, how does it stop? Does the motor still spin fine and the hydraulic ram stops motion or does the electric motor bog down and/or stop?

    If the electric motor is spinning fine it could be several things in the hydraulics. Bypass valve opening too soon or leaking, bad seals on the ram allowing fluid to bypass, bad seals in the pump, blocked intake to the pump, improper ventilation to the reservoir and probably a few things I left out. You can check the simple things first - plugged/dirty filter, blocked intake will usually show up as small bubbles/foam in the hydraulic oil. If there are any unused fitting, installing a hydraulic pressure gauge would give you a good window on the operating pressure and any possible leakage of pump or ram seals - or if there is a location you can install a "T" and a gauge, that would work too.

    If the motor is bogging down/stopping it could be low voltage on your electric line, too long / too thin of wire on any cords, burned out winding(s), bad start or run capacitors.

    FWIW, splitters are a flowing hydraulic system, I've never known them to build 'air bubbles' - at least not in the way we commonly think about having to bleed brakes (which are a closed system). Large bubbles are usually forced right through the splitter hydraulic circuit automatically. Though small bubbles or foam from intake blockages - or sometimes breakdown of the additive package (anti foam additive) in the oil - can cause slow operation, but this is usually accompanied by a 'whining' noise from the pump.

    Corey
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