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My Harbor Freight 30 ton splitter experience...

Post in 'The Gear' started by Gooserider, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    My idea on the throttle would be something to rev the engine when putting the valve into split mode, then go back to fast idle for neutral and return - if the engine is doing a fast idle already, speeding it up doesn't really do much for the cycle time, but it would be nice to rev up for splits where the pump might actually kick into high pressure mode and load the engine. Depending on how fast the engine will actually respond to a throttle change, it might not actually be that hard to do something along that line...

    Gooserider

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  2. Woodsroad

    Woodsroad Member

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    Well, after 50 hours of use, my HF 30t splitter' cylinder started to leak profusely. As the old Eskimo said, the last thing that you ever want to do is blow a seal, but there it is. I'm going to replace it ASAP, never done anything like this, but it looks easy. I'll take pix. Otherwise, the unit has been ok, no problems...
  3. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Depending on how old it is, give HF a call and see if they will replace it for you - A couple of parts on mine that had problems they just sent me new parts, no questions asked, and didn't even want the old ones back....

    Gooserider
  4. Woodsroad

    Woodsroad Member

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    Well, I bought it in 2007 or so. Maybe 2006, can't remember the month. And HF had no record of the sale. Either way, it's out of warranty and I can't fool them about it.
    What went bad on yours?
  5. cityevader

    cityevader New Member

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    I replaced my pump, valve, filter, and cylinder, still overheated. Best thing I did to mine was sell it.... however, I moved out of the forest and into the city and sold everything relatd to the outdoors....(not neccessarily a good thing) Got a grand for the splitter, broken welds, multiple leaks, overheating and all. If I were to do it all over again.... Supersplit.
  6. Woodsroad

    Woodsroad Member

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    I feel so fortunate all of a sudden.....
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I had small leaks in the valve and the cylinder - both were on the order of a slow drip, not enough to make the machine unuseable, but annoying. I'll admit they were at the level where I probably wouldn't have paid to fix them, but I called to see what HF would do, and they sent me new parts... The replacement valve still drips a tiny bit, but not enough to mess with. My cylinder seems to have cured itself - the leak stopped before I had a chance to change it out for the new one, but I now have a spare if I ever need one...

    I also had an intermittent leak on the filter head, which seemed to resolve by over-tightening the filter several times - however one day the filter gasket blew out, which was quite impressive - hot hydraulic oil fountain, made it a bit of a challenge to reach the kill switch w/o getting burned, and made a really big mess... I opted at that point to replace the filter head - the local hydraulic shop didn't have a replacement filter to fit the existing head, and the one they had carried a much larger filter. That puts this fix on the border between "upgrade" and "repair"

    Gooserider
  8. Woodsroad

    Woodsroad Member

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    I wonder where these machines are assembled. The pump on mine is a Haldex (USA) and my engine says "Made in Japan", so it seems that the chassis, cylinder and valve are made in China and shipped here for further assembly. If HF runs their assembly operation like they run their stores (minimum wage/maximum management stupidity), then this shoddy work is just par for the course and part of their business plan.

    I've gotten good use out of my machine, and for $990, it was the best deal out there. I'm not sure though, given the choice, I would buy another HF splitter.

    Attached Files:

  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I have identical unit.
    I haven't used mine for a while, but the cylinder also leaks.
    The leak goes away after awhile with use.
    Woodsroad, I'd be interested in your seal change experience.
    Where will you be getting the seals?
    HF included some seals with the splitter, but maybe using them isn't the best approach. :)
  10. cityevader

    cityevader New Member

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    I still have a bag of seals that came with my splitter for 5" cylinder if anyone interested...PM me.
  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I don't know, but I would strongly suspect that they are assembled in China - The crate that my machine arrived in had a lot of Chinese labeling on it that wouldn't have been needed if it had been assembled and packed in the US. In addition, there are marketing advantages to being able to say "Made in USA" - and my unit doesn't say so. (Note that it doesn't take much to get a "Made in USA" label - as long as a certain minimum amount of final assembly is done here, it qualifies... I used to deal with this back when I was working for an Israeli company - there are a bunch of countries that won't buy from Israel, so for those custmers, they would ship machines to us, we would do a minimal amount of final assembly, load software on the drives, and run a test program, then slap our Made in USA labels on over the "Made in Israel" labels and ship...)

    Gooserider
  12. Woodsroad

    Woodsroad Member

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    My leak is catastrophic! A gusher.

    I've removed the faceplate of the cylinder, and I'm pretty much stumped on how to proceed. There is another face plate that holds the seal, and I can't see how to remove it. I can't move the shaft more than 1/4" in or out...

    I was going to use the HF seal kit, but, perhaps, you are correct in being just a little suspect as to it's quality....

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  13. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I wonder how much a pro would charge?
  14. Woodsroad

    Woodsroad Member

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    OK, I got it apart!
    The cylinder was not empty yet. I removed the valve and drained the cylinder. I was able to remove the piston by overextending it and wiggling it back and forth while pulling on it.
    There is no apparent seal damage. However, the nut that holds the rear end of the piston on was very loose, almost falling off. I imagine that this would introduce enough play in the shaft to allow a leak at the front seal. I'm replacing the seals, anyway.

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  15. Woodsroad

    Woodsroad Member

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    Detail of piston ends and the loose end nut...

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  16. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Ouch! Good thing you caught that when you did... I could be wrong, but that looks like the kind of failure that could have been catastrophic if the nut had come all the way off... If it had, I would have expected the rod to have been extended rapidly, with no control as soon as you put the valve into extend or retract mode...

    It would seem like a safety problem that the nut could come off easily, I'm surprised there wasn't a cotter pin or at least a self locking nut to prevent it from coming loose... (If you have the tools to drill the rod, it might be worth doing before putting the cylinder back together...

    Gooserider
  17. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Great stuff!
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    For whatever it's worth department (not much...) I just called HF customer support, and then got referred to their tech support department, and they tell me there is no way for them to tell if there have been any changes to the inside of that cylinder to prevent this kind of problem...

    Interestingly, I recalled seeing THIS THREAD that I made a while back passing on the information about a recall on Brave and Iron Oak splitters, that had a "rod retention failure"

    From the report (emphasis added) -
    I called both CPSC and Brave, and couldn't get any additional information as to the exact nature of their failure that prompted the recall, but it sounds like the symptoms are similar, and would be consistent with that kind of nut coming loose...

    Since I'm not the person experiencing the failure, I'm not sure I can file a full report, but it might be worth going to the CPSC website and filing a report... They told me to go to the CPSC webpage www.cpsc.gov and scroll down to the "consumer complaint form" option. I may try it to see how far I can get...

    Gooserider
  19. Woodsroad

    Woodsroad Member

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    I just a returned an email to HF tech support...I'm going to call them now....

    EDIT:
    I spoke with a Harbor Freight tech CSR who stonewalled and offered to sell me replacement parts. I explained to this person that their splitter could have killed me, and she replied "Yes, I know sir, but it is out of warranty".

    OK.

    I asked to speak to her supervisor, and a very attentive woman took my call, expressed great concern, seemed to understand the situation, and said that she would get back to me. She gave me her email, and I sent her the CPSC recall notice and a recap of our conversation.

    I wait.
  20. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well I tried looking at the CPSC website, and their form didn't really seem to apply, and it asked for a lot of information that I didn't have, so I decided it was more appropriate to send them an e-mail, which the website also suggests as an alternative to filling out the form. So I have sent the following to the CPSC....

    Gooserider
  21. Woodsroad

    Woodsroad Member

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    Purchased Feb 2006

    Otherwise, spot on. Thanks. (Yes, it IS the 91840)

    The cylinder and overall construction of the recalled splitters are very similar to the Harbor Freight units. The HF manager did seem a bit alarmed about the retaining nut problem. I'm pretty shaken up myself. It was a very close call.

    The HF rep just called me back to let me know that she has sent the problem on to their QA department, and that she would get back to me tomorrow with more info.

    Now, sit and wait

    (Damn, I really have to get splitting, though, cold weather is on the way....)
  22. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Wow, scary. Maybe threadlocker would do the trick. What was the fix on the other brand recall? New cylinder?
  23. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I have the electronic version of the owners manual, if you need it.
  24. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    It appears the fix on the Brave recall was to replace the cylinder. IMHO this is the only really practical solution at the consumer point, as I don't think that most consumers would have the tools / skills needed to open the cylinder (Which BTW, the HF manual on my splitter says should only be serviced by a professional hydraulic tech) Without looking at the economics, this is somewhat speculative, but what I would probably do if I were in charge of a recall like this is do some sort of cross-ship of refurbished cylinders - require the customer to supply a credit card number, (or return the old cylinder first,) then send out a new / refurbished cylinder, and a UPS call tag to return the old one, maybe also a check for some amount to pay for an OPE / Hydraulic shop to change out the cylinder or compensate the customer for the trouble of doing it himself. As the old cylinders come back, get them refurbished and fixed for sending to the next batch of customers... This does the dual purpose of getting the old, potentially liability causing, cylinders out of circulation, and avoiding the need to buy huge numbers of replacement cylinders....

    Once into the cylinder, as a repair technique, thread locker might work, but I don't know that I'd want to trust it given the environment and that there is no practical way to check on the nut at a later time. Thread locker can work, but it is somewhat critical that the surfaces be properly prepared and so forth, I don't see it as completely reliable... I would be more inclined to cross drill the piston rod and put in a cotter pin, as that is about as fail safe as one can get... Failing that a self locking nut of the correct sort might also work, or even the old trick of buggering the protruding threads...

    Gooserider
  25. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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