Nicholas Fluhart

September 27, 2009

Followup on the Forklift Hydraulic Repairs

Filed under: Project: AC Forklift,Trucks & Equipment — Nicholas Fluhart @ 10:02 pm

This is a followup on the short lift cylinder repair. To see the later hydraulic repairs, click here.

Overall, the hydraulic repairs on the forklift were a success. The cylinders that we overhauled aren’t leaking a drop. The only notable issue we now have is with the lift cylinder we installed the new packing in. Often times when new packing is installed the cylinder is a little more stiff in operation until the seals and such seat in. This may be magnified slightly by the seal modifications made by the hydraulic shop (see the original post). With a double acting cylinder, this is rarely even noticed. However, with a single acting cylinder like the one I am dealing with, it can complicate operation.

The Issue: The cylinder powers up fine, but until the packing wears in it has made the cylinder a little too stiff for gravity to pull the forks back down. So when I pull the lever to lower the forks, they don’t move. Typically, what goes up must come down. Not so anymore; it’s a one-way street. The only way to get them back down is to apply a load of at least 300 lbs.

Solution: The more I use the forklift, the better it gets. However, since I only use it occasionally, it may be a substantial amount of time until the cylinder wears in. Until then, I’ve developed a short term solution. First, I added fork extenders. This is a two-fold benefit: it gives me additional fork reach, and it adds about 150 lbs to the forks which helps my cylinder issue. Second, I added about 330 lbs of low-profile weights to the forks.

These are actually some type of linkage component, but they weigh 11 lbs each and they are slightly raised on one end making them stack together perfectly. I purchased about 75 of these for less than a buck a piece at an auction with this specific purpose in mind.


I calculated that I could stack about 15 of these on each fork and place them directly at the base. I placed an axle through each stack with a close diameter to the holes in the weights. This holds them stacked and in alignment even when they get bounced around. I then used winch cable to tie each stack in place.

Fork Weights

Success. So far, it’s proven to be a good solution to the short term lift cylinder issue. I’ve used it to load a variety of types of materials ranging from crates to scrap iron and the cylinder operates better and better all the time. The low profile weights keep them out of the way and the extended forks more than make up for the used space. I can comfortably leave the weights on the machine indefinitely until the cylinder wears in properly.

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