wood splitter hydraulic pump problems

A Comprehensive Guide to Solving Wood Splitter Hydraulic Pump Problems

Hydraulic systems use fluid to generate pressure from mechanical energy when they need to power a force. In a wood splitter hydraulic pump, the pressurized fluid is used to generate a force to split the wood. This is what makes the wood splitter easily cut through the wood. Although wood splitters don’t develop many issues, wood splitters’ hydraulic pump problems may arise from time to time. It might be due to some problems, either with the way of operation or with the engine itself.

Fortunately, being able to recognize a log splitter hydraulic pump problem is quite easy. First, you need to pin down the problem. Take a look at your actions before investigating the hydraulic system. You may need a good knowledge of the capability of your log splitters and how they work.

10 Common Wood Splitter Hydraulic Problems

The most common presentation of a faulty hydraulic log splitter is when the log splitter keeps shutting off and won’t stay running. This is usually a result of a power issue or connection. Other wood splitter hydraulic problems include:

1. Wedge won’t cut

Sometimes your hydraulic wood splitter may run finely but will not be able to cut wood no matter how many times you try. When this happens, check that the wood is placed in a proper position and is not too long.

If that doesn’t seem to be a problem, then you may need to check the wedge as it could have become blunt, especially when used for a long time. If the wedge is blunt, it can be removed easily and sharpened in other to get it back working.

Wood Splitter-Manual Log Splitter Diamond Wedge
Manual Log Splitter Diamond Wedge

2. Loss of driving force

Hydraulic log splitters make use of a piston, gear, or other inclusions together with hydraulic fluid to get the driving force for cutting wood. A loss of driving force may arise which leads to the wood splitter being unable to cut through the log. If you discover a loss of driving force and the pressure plates are appearing to be slow, it can be a result of oil leaks or the presence of air n the lines.

Check that the filters are not clogged and are well maintained. Also, consider the temperature as oil may become more viscous in cold weather. If all these are checked and ruled out, then your log splitter may require a piston or gear replacement.

3. Cylinder rod not moving

A cylinder rod not moving is another example of a hydraulic log splitter problem. A cylinder rod that won’t move is commonly caused by a blockage in the hydraulic hose.

The solution to a cylinder rod that will not move is straightforward depending on how long you have been using your hydraulic wood splitter.  If you are using your splitter for the first time check the plugs to be sure they are well-positioned. If they are not well-positioned, remove the plug and disconnect the hydraulic hose. Replace the hydraulic fluid with a new one.

wood splitter Hydraulic Cylinder rod
Wood splitter Hydraulic Cylinder rod

4. A vibrating or shaking wood splitter

Vibrating or shaking is another common problem associated with a hydraulic pump log splitter. When this happens, it might be caused by low oil levels and the presence of air in the hose.

To fix this problem, you need to first check the hydraulic oil level, if the oil level is low, fill it with a new one. If the problem persists after filling up the oil to the required mark, open the bleed valve and oscillate the pressure plate a few times. Tightening the bleed valve and running. The problem should be fixed now.

5. Ram will not retract

Sometimes, an issue can arise when the ram extends but will not retract quickly. The most common cause is because the nut has come out of position in the piston. The high amount of pressure can push the ram forward to an extent that the splitter won’t come back.

To troubleshoot the issue, turn off the engine and open the bleed valve. Retract the ram, tighten or replace the loose nut and restart the engine.

wood splitter

6. Low Oil Pressure

One of the most common hydraulic pump problems in wood splitters is low oil pressure. This problem can be caused by various factors such as worn-out parts, clogged filters, and leaking hoses. If you notice that the hydraulic system is not producing enough pressure, you may hear unusual noises or experience slow or jerky movements.

To solve this problem, you need to first identify the cause of the low oil pressure. This can be done by checking the hydraulic fluid level, replacing worn-out parts, cleaning or replacing clogged filters, and fixing any leaks.

7. Leaking Seals

Leaking seals are another common hydraulic pump problem in wood splitters. This problem can be caused by worn-out seals or incorrect installation of new seals. Leaking seals can cause the hydraulic fluid to leak out of the system, resulting in low oil pressure and reduced performance.

To solve this problem, you need to identify the location of the leak, replace the faulty seal, and properly install the new seal.

8. Cavitation

Cavitation is a hydraulic pump problem that occurs when the pump is trying to draw in more fluid than it can handle. This causes the formation of air bubbles in the hydraulic fluid, which can cause damage to the pump and reduce its performance. If you notice unusual noises, vibrations, or reduced performance, you may be experiencing cavitation.

To solve this problem, you need to identify the cause of the cavitation, which can be due to a clogged intake line, a worn-out impeller, or a damaged inlet valve. Once you identify the cause, you need to fix it by cleaning or replacing the clogged intake line, replacing the worn-out impeller, or repairing the damaged inlet valve.

9. Overheating

Overheating is a hydraulic pump problem that can be caused by various factors such as low fluid levels, dirty filters, and a damaged pump. Overheating can cause the hydraulic fluid to break down, resulting in reduced pump performance and damage to the hydraulic system. Symptoms of overheating include excessive noise, reduced performance, and a burning smell.

To solve this problem, you need to first identify the cause of the overheating, which can be due to low fluid levels, dirty filters, or a damaged pump. You can fix this problem by topping up the hydraulic fluid, cleaning or replacing the filters, or replacing the damaged pump.

10. Noisy Pump

Another common hydraulic pump problem in wood splitters is a noisy pump. This problem can be caused by various factors such as worn-out parts, the air in the hydraulic system, or cavitation. Symptoms of a noisy pump include unusual noises, vibrations, and reduced performance.

To solve this problem, you need to identify the cause of the noise, which can be due to worn-out parts, the air in the hydraulic system, or cavitation. You can fix this problem by replacing the worn-out parts, bleeding the air from the hydraulic system, or fixing the cause of the cavitation.

How to Prevent Wood Splitter Hydraulic Pump Problems

Preventing wood splitter hydraulic pump problems is important to ensure the longevity and efficiency of the machine. Regular maintenance is crucial to prevent problems before they occur. This includes checking the hydraulic fluid level, inspecting the hydraulic lines, and cleaning or replacing the filters. Proper use and storage of the wood splitter can also prevent hydraulic pump problems. For example, you should not overload the machine or use it for tasks that it is not designed for.

Choosing the right hydraulic pump for your wood splitter is also important. You should choose a pump that is compatible with the wood splitter’s engine and hydraulic system.

Finally, troubleshooting tips can help you identify and solve problems before they become major issues.


How to change the hydraulic fluid for the hydraulic log splitter?

To change the hydraulic fluid of your hydraulic wood splitter, simply take the following steps. Get a suitable container that is big enough to collect the used fluid and place it under the tank. Ensure that the engine is not running and has stopped about 1 hour earlier. Disconnect the suction hose from the reservoir tank. You can flush out the tank by using kerosene; this will help to eliminate any contaminant in the system carefully un-thread the inlet filters and clean them with oil. Open the dipstick and unscrew it to allow the oil to drain into the container. Refill the tank with hydraulic fluid and be careful, not t overfill. Replace the dipstick and tighten it securely.

How to choose the correct hydraulic pump wood splitter?

To choose the correct size of hydraulic log splitter for your purpose, you must decide the amount of wood and how often you want to cut. Hydraulic wood splitters come in two variants of performance – based on GPM. The higher the GPM the smaller the cylinder. The splitting force depends on the cylinder therefore you should choose a wood splitter with a cylinder size according to your requirement

Is it possible to make a DIY log splitter at home?

Yes, you can make your log splitter at home. A DIY log splitter is possible since the parts needed, the calculations required and the techniques required are all available. If you want to make a DIY log splitter you can get a DIY log splitter kit to get started. However, you must be knowledgeable with machinery to be able to do this.


We’ve seen some common causes of wood splitter hydraulic pump problems and an easy way to troubleshoot them. Whenever any of those problems arise, it is best to stop working and troubleshoot the issue until it is resolved to avoid further damage to the hydraulic pump wood splitters. Most of these problems arise due to prolonged usage and can be fixed by the replacement of filters, seals, and hoses. The best way to avoid hydraulic wood splitter problems is by regular engine maintenance and daily inspection.

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