Tips to Repair Hydraulic Cylinders to Keep Them Working Properly

The extent of repair work that can be performed in-house depends on the extent of damage to the cylinder. Inspect cylinder components regularly to look for damage and ensure proper working of the cylinder.

Here are a few tips that can help repair hydraulic cylinders.

Disassembly and inspection

Generally, the need for cylinder repair is realized when there is internal or external leakage. A thorough inspection of cylinders parts, especially the seals, post disassembly can help identify the problems that might not be evident otherwise.

Piston seal

If the piston seal is eroded, distorted, or missing, the barrel might be oversized. When such is the case, there is a need to replace the barrel or complete cylinder. Replacing just the piston, without replacing the barrel is a short-term solution that requires complete maintenance at the earliest.

Rod seal

If the rod seal is damaged, it is because either the guide bush is worn or the rod is bent. In both cases, the weight of the rod falls on the seal, leading to failure. It is advisable to identify the cause of the problem prior to beginning with the repair job for a long-term fix. You can visit to get more info about hydraulics supplies.

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When cylinders are used in light-duty applications, the rod is usually supported on the head material, which is commonly cast iron or aluminum alloy. A metallic or non-metallic guide bush is equipped between the head and the rod, in applications with high load on the rod. If a cylinder is equipped with a bush between the head and the rod, ensure to replace it as part of the repair.


Inspect the barrel closely to look for internal pitting or scoring. Pitted or scored barrels reduce the effectiveness as well as the service life of the piston. Therefore, either hone the barrel to remove damage or get it replaced. Make sure that the barrel is honed evenly along its full length.


The cylinder pistons used in light-duty applications are generally machined from cast iron or aluminum alloy and operate while being in direct contact with the cylinder bore. Minor scoring on the piston's outside diameter does not harm the functioning of the cylinder, but if piston diameter measures beyond the tolerance ratio, replace it.

Non-metallic wear bands are located between the barrel and the piston, in applications with high loads on the rod. If piston wear bands are fitted in the cylinder, these must be replaced as a part of the repair process.

Ordering seals

If you are ordering seals from a seal supplier, ascertain to avoid the common practice of evaluating the old seals. Seals can either swell or shrink in service, or a seal might have been installed incorrectly. To ascertain that you have the right seals, measure all seal grooves.