A hydraulic cylinder is an expensive item to have and you must make sure that you maintain it properly so as to extend its lifespan. Although maintenance on hydraulic cylinders is quite complicated, there are a number of reasonably easy things to do that will protect the machine as a whole. This is why the most important thing about maintenance is making sure your cylinder is actually clean. All you have to do is make sure that your cylinder stays clean, which will protect the entire machine. Never clean your cylinders by using a high pressure spray nozzle, however. This is because they allow the cylinder or bearing to have dirt forged into it.
You can also do quite a bit of maintenance on the individual parts. First and foremost, maintain your piston rod. As a minimum, your piston rod should be retracted to its minimum position once a month; for pistons exposed to sea water, this should be bi-weekly at least. Do make sure that you check the oil on the piston rod to ensure it hasn’t gotten damaged in any way, leading to environmental damage on the parts itself. Regularly review your entire rod to see if there is any damage and cover the parts that do not get covered in oil with Denso-tape. Check the tape itself as well on a regular basis. You also have to check the cylinder body. This is painted so that it remains protected from various environmental threats. If you notice that this paint is disintegrating (cracks or bubbles), repaint it as soon as possible. If you do not fix this damage, it will start to corrode, eventually causing it to break down. This is why you should also look into the silicone seal. You should only use water resistant silicone if you do have to perform repairs. Then, there are the rod eyes on the bearings. You have to inspect them monthly and grease them as well. Should you find that your bearings are starting to make noises, they will need greasing. If there is any metal to metal contact, you can throw your hydraulic cylinder away, not in the least because of the heat that this causes. However, if your bearings are maintenance free, it is a little bit different. Since these have protection flanges, they should not be greased. Lastly, make sure you have clean oil and clean oil filters in place. Take samples bi-annually.
With these simple steps, you should be able to enjoy your hydraulic cylinder for longer. If your system is still pressurized, don’t disassemble or open it. And if you’re unsure, call in a hydraulic cylinder repair expert.