How to Flush a Hydraulic System

Hydraulic systems are interesting pieces of machinery that leverage hydraulic pressure in order to amplify mechanical output. Hydraulic systems make possible the day-to-day operations of heavy and light machinery, ranging from warehouse forklifts to massive construction cranes. Because hydraulic systems are under such constant and consistent pressure, however, it’s extremely important they’re maintained and cared for correctly.

There are several aspects of hydraulic maintenance in Minnesota that must be performed in order to keep your hydraulic systems running as intended. Regular cleaning, inspections and hydraulic flushing are all necessary to keep your systems running their best.

Here are a few of the steps necessary to properly flush a hydraulic system:

  • Drain the fluid: The first thing you’ll need to do is drain out all of the old operating fluid. This should be done when the fluid is at operating temperature. Be sure that all of the reservoirs, lines, filter housings and cylinders are completely clear of the old operating fluid.
  • Clean the cavities: Next, use a clean, lint-free rag to thoroughly clean the cavities of your hydraulic system. Be sure to keep an eye out for any pitting that may have occurred while you’re cleaning the interior of the hydraulic system. Remove all of the sludge and deposits from the system.
  • Fill with flushing fluid: You should use a flushing fluid that has a viscosity similar to the machine’s operating fluid. Fill the system up to 75 percent capacity, and frequently stroke the valves. This will ensure that the fluid is pumping through the system, removing excess debris and gunk that you weren’t able to get with your manual cleaning. Drain the filters, and clean the reservoirs once again.
  • Fill with operating fluid: Next, you’ll need to refill the operating fluid, and prime the pump. Once the pump is primed, run the machine intermittently for no more than five minutes, then allow it to rest. This ensures that it is flushed correctly. Then, you can run the pump continuously for several hours, allowing the new fluid to cycle through the system.
  • Replace the filters: Shut down the system, and run it again at five-minute intervals, regularly bleeding excess air from the machine. Then, replace all of the existing filters in the machine. If it looks like there may be cross-contamination, you’ll need to drain and flush the system again, starting from the beginning of the process.

Since 1976, M & M Hydraulic Company has been the premier source of hydraulic maintenance in Minnesota. We are proud to be the Twin Cities’ foremost experts on hydraulic system care, cleaning and repair. Our company offers a comprehensive service range. You can count on us to keep your operating equipment in prime condition. Our highly skilled and knowledgeable team is capable of working on hydraulic outfits of any size and capacity. To learn more about the ways that we can help you protect your operating capital and reach your company’s fullest possible potential, reach out to one of our friendly representatives today.

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