Hydraulic cylinder honing for rebuild and repair

Hydraulic Cylinder Honing for Repair and Rebuild

There are many different applications for hydraulic equipment in a variety of modern systems, ranging from small systems in automobiles to the heavier systems used in larger machinery like mining equipment.

Any downtime results in lost production time and money, but if you can rebuild or repair the Component you can significantly reduce costs associated with downtime of your equipment, resulting in improved productivity.

What Is Hydraulic Cylinder Honing?

Honing is a unique abrasive machining process utilising hard tooling and perishable abrasives such as stones or diamonds. The stones are rotated with a lubricant under controlled pressure to produce a cross-hatch pattern on the surface of the cylinder. It is a simple process and a smaller part of the total process of a hydraulic cylinder repair or rebuild.

Why Hone Hydraulic Cylinders?

Hydraulic cylinder honing

Oil leaks are the most common prompt that a cylinder needs repair; when leaks are present, there is a risk contaminants will enter the system. These contaminants can create scratches and other irregularities in the cylinder wall which accelerate seal wear and cause internal leaks. Leakage leads to a shorter service life and decreased performance.

A properly honed cylinder creates a secure seal, smooth operation, and extended seal life for any hydraulic cylinder. The primary objective when refinishing the cylinders is to make the walls as straight as possible, improve bore geometry, and create the right amount of crosshatch surface finish for good oil retention and ring support. In effect hydraulic cylinders are very similar to the engine in your car, however few people consider the bores of hydraulic cylinders with the same level of importance.

Advantages of honing:

  • Improved lubrication
  • Uniform wear
  • Longer seal life
  • Correct minor surface irregularities
  • Correct geometrical issues

Honing can also be considered an inspection tool due to its ability to highlight surface imperfections after a light hone using a rigid tool. These surface defects may indicate a more severe condition which can be appropriately managed.

When Should You Hone a Hydraulic Cylinder?

1.      When a cylinder is resealed

Light honing should be performed as part of a thorough repair, as honing when resealing will save you time and money.  The costs of more frequent rebuilds, shortened seal life, and lost time can be mitigated to achieve maximum life, peak performance, and reduced downtime with a correct process.

Trends and Recommendations

Vitrified stones don’t wear at a consistent rate which makes it hard to predict how much metal the stones are removing, necessitating a start-stop process to finish honing the cylinder.

The trend today is towards diamond honing because it is less expensive over the long term and gives a more consistent cross-hatch finish.

Final Word

In some instances, cylinder damage is too severe, and in such cases, Hydramech’s hydraulics team and extensive range of precision machining equipment make them the first choice when you require hydraulic cylinder precision machining and fabrication tasks such as refurbishing, repair, and rebuilds. They will measure your cylinder bore and suggest the best way to keep your component in service.

Reducing hydraulic equipment operating costs

Reducing Hydraulic Equipment Operating Costs

Many businesses that require hydraulic machinery in day-to-day operations are under increasing pressure to reduce their costs and spending each year. More than $600 billion per year is spent by the industry in general on repairing damage caused by wear. (Source: Machinery Lubrication).

Reduce the cost of running hydraulic equipment by considering factors including maintenance, physical inspection, hydraulic fluids, repair, and subsequent downtime.


Most in the industry would understand the importance of predictive maintenance and the impact it can have on the overall running cost of used hydraulic equipment.

Although it takes time and resources, predictive maintenance fixes small issues before they become large ones, therefore extending the life of hydraulic components and avoiding the need for replacements.

Used hydraulic equipment can lose power or underperform if it hasn’t been properly maintained or repaired. This affects the productivity of machinery and puts a strain on other hydraulic components in the system.

There are three kinds of maintenance: scheduled, predictive, and preventative, all of which aim to keep your equipment calibrated and in good form to maximise productivity and minimise issues.

There are three key factors in ensuring that maintenance is carried out correctly:

  1. Communication – Sharing information between team members to identify problems and potential solutions.
  2. Accountability – Building a new and clear process encourages people to take responsibility and work together to solve problems, rather than hiding or ignoring them.
  3. Timeline – A proper schedule and checklist that is completed on-time is critical to the maintenance of used hydraulic equipment.

A regular maintenance routine can streamline all tasks to reduce downtime and operating costs.

Hydraulic Fluids

The fluids used in hydraulic equipment affect the productivity and life of those components. The viscosity will change the component’s efficiency and the small amount of internal fluid leakage acts as lubrication to reduce wear between moving parts.

At the optimum temperature and pressure, hydraulic equipment can operate with high efficiency. It’s common for hydraulic systems to run at higher-than-optimal temperature, which can cause them to lose an up to a third of their efficiency.

The wrong hydraulic fluid and too high temperature will cause accelerated wear, inefficiency and increased operating cost. This issue can be tackled in three stages:

  1. Use the right hydraulic fluid – Choosing a fluid with the correct operating viscosity for pumps, etc. will maintain hydraulic performance
  2. Store & handle hydraulic fluid correctly – Contamination of fluids during storage is harmful to hydraulic equipment performance. Contamination can be caused by unclean containers, mixed products or use beyond the product’s shelf life.
  3. Monitor & assess incidents – Record incidents of leakages, mishandling, mixing, and usage to determine where you can optimise your process.

Repair & Exchange

Hourly costs of equipment downtime are usually one of the highest operating costs.

If equipment can’t be immediately fixed onsite, it needs to be sent to a workshop to be rebuilt.  There are several options available to you; rebuilt live end assembies, service exchange, and component repair.

The best option would be to use remanufactured parts from a premium service whose focus is getting your  components back onsite ASAP. Hydramech’s repairs are carried out to the highest standard possible using speciality materials.

Gettingcomponents back onsite reduces downtime and associated operating costs so you can be up and running again as soon as possible. At Hydramech, we offer a free exchange program so while your used hydraulic equipment is stripped and quoted for repair, we’ll send you a refurbished part from our stock to keep you up and running.

Our inventory is constantly evolving: Check out our current stock here

Hydramech specialises in mobile mining machinery components including hydraulic cylinder services for underground mining equipment within Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

Contact us today for your hydraulic machinery needs.

Hydraulic cylinder issues, service and repair

Hydraulic Cylinder Issues, Service & Repair

Repair and service of hydraulic cylinders is a crucial process that should be done regularly. This will stop any issues from developing and will also extend the lifetime of the cylinder, minimising the downtime and expense associated with a broken cylinder.

A hydraulic cylinder functions as the primary driver at the heart of many kinds of machinery. Small issues can have larger knock-on effects to the rest of the associated parts as well as potential injuries to those operating it.

Hydraulic Cylinder Issues

It’s important to take note of any little signs that may signal the need for repair or service such as:

  • Components scored, pitted, corroded, blown out or broken
  • Leaking
  • Cylinder heating up
  • Rod kicking up at the end of stroke or not retracting
  • Loss of hydraulic power

Also take note of any overheating, hydraulic fluid leaks, irregular noise, and other dysfunctional activities.

Why do Hydraulic Cylinders Fail?

Failure can occur for many reasons, the primary reasons for hydraulic cylinder failure are damage to the rod shaft causing seal failure,  contamination of hydraulic fluids, overloading and the failure of a component within the cylinder. Others include:

  • Lack of bearing support
  • Intensification of internal pressures due to over-loading
  • Threads worn
  • Deformation of cylinder tube
  • Corrosion
  • Incorrect clearances
  • Internal leakage
  • Port blockage
  • Hydraulic pump failure
  • Lack of lubricant

Small issues can be corrected through regular service, but larger issues may require skills and knowledge not available onsite, in which case you should seek a professional to repair or rebuild the cylinder. Scheduled servicing is the smartest tool to prevent unplanned downtime of your machine, and increase productivity.

Hydraulic Cylinders Repair & Service

hydraulic repair workshop

Check the seals regularly for lubrication and replacement. They are a small part of the cylinder, but if they fail, seals can cause severe damage to other components within the hydraulic cylinder such as the rod by causing overloading or an absence of lubrication.

If the rod is scored, pitted, or corroded it will cause friction which increases the load on the cylinder and causes further damage in a downwards spiral. A scored or damaged rod can cut seals causing external leakage and a loss of hydraulic power.

Service can extend the life of a hydraulic cylinder up to a point, but then repairs or a rebuild by professionals may be needed to keep everything moving.

Hydramech’s team and extensive range of precision machining equipment make them the first choice when you require cylinder precision machining and fabrication tasks such as cylinder: refurbish, repair, rebuildexchange and sales.

Managing Hydraulic Components Wear

Managing Hydraulic Components Wear

Hydraulics operate under enormous amounts of pressure. Due to a combination of factors, these components will wear over time, creating serious problems and potential risks.

Repairing or replacing worn hydraulic components can be a costly and timely process, affecting your productivity. By acknowledging that these components will be exhausted throughout their life by high-pressure hydraulic solutions and other factors, you can effectively manage and prevent any issues.

Causes of Component Wear

Contamination: The contamination of lubrication by water can cause problems corrosion of the bore, loss of fluid power and wear to equipment.

Abrasion: Friction between component surfaces from loss of lubrication triggers loss of particles into the hydraulic fluid.

Erosion: Hydraulic fluid with contaminants can damage seals and bores eroding hydraulic component surfaces, affecting distancing in delicate machinery.

Adhesion: Component surfaces can transfer materials onto one another when heated by friction.

Cavitation: When vapor or air bubbles form and collapse near metal surfaces within the hydraulic fluid, they cause damage to that surface.

Fatigue: Fatigued hydraulic bearings and gears can crack and break off into the solution.

Corrosion: The chemicals in hydraulic fluids can corrode metal surfaces within hydraulic components, such as pumps and valves, especially in the presence of water.

Identification of Wear

In hydraulic hoses, valves, and components, it’s up to the team and supervisors to monitor the output and condition of machinery to determine if it is being affected by wear. Some key signs to look out for include:

  • Components creeping or not holding position.
  • Performance drop
  • Noises, visible defects, unusual odours, or leaks of any kind
  • Formation of sediments
  • Abnormal events of any kind


Equipment users should be able to identify the initial signs of wear through physical or machine-assisted means. Complete regular system checks to ensure safety and minimise the costs and downtime caused by component wear and imminent failure.

The common forms of wear outlined above can affect many different components, such as cylinders, valves and hoses within your hydraulic machinery. Wear is not avoidable but complete failure/heavy damage is. Keep your oil clean, and watch for any performance issues with the machine. By doing so you can extend the service lifeof your hydraulic components, and decrease your operating costs.

Hydramech’s team and extensive range of precision machining equipment make them the first choice when you require cylinder precision machining and fabrication tasks including cylinder refurbish, repair, rebuildexchange and sales.