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Hydraulics Tech - Troubleshooting and FAQ - FAQ / Troubleshooting Guide

Most of the information found in this troubleshooting guide was compiled from the forums section of the site, specifically the hydraulics category. We'll occasionally add more to this guide as new questions are answered in the forums. Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

Q. The motor spins but the car doesn't go up.
A. The oil level in the tank may be too low. You might have a broken key. There may be a bad check valve or dump valve. The motor could be spinning the wrong direction. The pump head could be blown, broken or have a leaky or cracked seal. The pump head seal to block could be leaking or the pump head is not tight enough on the block. If you have a pressure relief valve it could be set for too low of a pressure.

Q. The car goes up but will not come back down.
A. Make sure the slow down valves are not closed all the way. The dumps may be pressure locked - relieve the pressure by temporarily loosening the hose fitting and then, next time, don't lay on the switch so long or buy some high qaulity dumps to prevent future pressure locks.

Q. One side of the car goes up slower than the other.
A. Check your fluid levels and bleed the hoses. It's also possible a bent cylinder or something else is causing more resistance. If your pumps are hooked to separate banks of batteries, check that all batteries are fully charged.

Q. How do you bleed the hoses?
A. First raise the car so there is pressure in all your hoses. You bleed one hose at a time and can start with any cylinder, it doesnt matter. Get a rag and cup it around the cylinder so oil wont get every where. With a wrench, SLOWLY start to unloosen the hose where it connects to the cylinder fitting. When fluid starts to come out, let it bleed until you see no more air bubbles in it or the milky color is gone. Then tighten it back up. Repeat at each cylinder.

Q. A solenoid sticks open and the motor keeps running or burns out.
A. Low batteries! Improperly grounded solenoids. Too many or not enough solenoids (a good rule of thumb is 3 high quality 12v solenoids per pump). Motor armature could be shorting internally, brush plate insulators could be burned up and melted, the commutor could be wrapped around shorting the motor and drawing excessive amps causing the solenoids to burn out prematurely.

Q. I hear a grinding noise while the car is lifting.
A. Low oil level. With the car fully dumped, fill the tank so the oil level is 1" below the filler hole.

Q. What type of oil should I use in my pumps?
A. Hydraulic Oil 68 or 10W30 non-detergent motor oil. ATF (automatic transmission fluid) is not recommended but can be used to speed things up, however, be prepared for more leaks and bad seals in the future.

Q. What's a frame wrap and how is it done?
A. The short and sweet answer is steel (usually 3/16" or 1/4" thick) simply welded along some or all sides of the vehicles frame. Either the entire frame is wrapped or just some of the problem areas, such as the cross member and the rear humps over the axle. It is done with an experienced welder that knows what he is doing!

Q. How do you three wheel and why can't I get it to?
A. Fully raise all four cylinders and then dump a rear corner. If the car is capable of a three wheel then the front corner opposite of the dumped rear corner will come off the ground. The more weight in the dumped corner, the better. This is one reason you'll usually see the batteries stored in the rear corners of the trunk. If you can't do a standing three, you may be able to do a rolling three: While driving (in a safe, legal and off-road area, of course) and with the car fully raised drop a rear corner and at the same time do a sharp turn to the opposite direction of the corner you dropped. For example, start turning to the left and drop the right rear corner - the front left wheel should come off the ground. If you've tried all this and you still can't three wheel, you'll probably need taller rear cylinders, more weight, more pumps (at least one to each rear cylinder is recommended for 3 wheeling), or even a different car - the balance and design of yours may not be able to three wheel. - FAQ / Troubleshooting Guide

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