Common Log Splitter Problems And What To Do When They Appear
posted in Flowfit Hydraulics by Flowfit on 10:47 Dec 17th, 2019<< Back to Flowfit Hydraulics
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Hydraulic Log Splitter systems use pressurised fluid to power a force that is used behind a wedge to split wood. If the log splitter seems weak or not performing as it should then there is a strong likelihood that something is not right with how the splitter system is operating.
To begin with, check your log splitter and the wood you are trying to split. If a log is not splitting all the way through then the log may be too green or too large, meaning that it would require a greater force than your log splitting machine can manage. Also make sure the log is loaded properly and isn’t on an angle or is too long. If this is in order, then take a look at the wedge itself, as with heavy use they can become blunt and stop cutting as they should.
If this is not the case, then a closer look at your hydraulic log splitter’s system will be needed.
Experiencing Vibration Or Shaking When Using The Log Splitter?
These vibrations or shaking could be due to the log splitter being low in hydraulic oil. If the levels look correct when checking this could mean that there is air within the oil lines. To fix this the bleed valve needs to be opened and the pressure plate needs to be cycled back and forth a few times.
Make sure the oil levels are correct and that all valves are secure before using a hydraulic log splitter.
Losing Driving Force When Splitting Wood?
This loss of driving force paired with the pressure plate seeming to move slowly can suggest that there is air in the lines, which is alleviated by opening the bleed valve and cycling the pressure plate back and forth. There could also be an oil leak, so check your lines and seals for any potential leaks or wear that could result in a leak.
Temperature could also be the culprit for loss of driving force, as hydraulic oil is more viscose in cold weather resulting in a weak response until the machine warms up.
If it is not any of the above, then the log splitting machine may require a piston or pump replacement.
Check that the shipping plugs are correctly in place by disconnecting the hydraulic hoses and removing the plugs, then place them back.
Is The Ram Returning?
The nut for the ram has possibly come off the piston if the ram has extended but not retracted. With the engine off, hold open the valve and push it back in using a narrow rod. However, with this issue you may need to bring it in or contact one of the Flowfit team to discuss replacing the nut to prevent damaging your hydraulic log splitter system if you use it again.
Log splitters are a relatively simple design, making them easy to maintain and fix, but if issues are persisting or you aren’t confident with fixing this machine then please do seek professional advice.
For more information about the services we offer at Flowfit or for advice from our experts, please don’t hesitate to give the team a call on 01584 879 033 or e-mail us at [email protected]
Log splitter quit running
I didn't notice anything else wrong with the carb but then again, I don't know much about these things. I put it back together and ran it the other day and it was running fine for a few minutes, then started to sputter really bad. It was worse when there was pressure on the engine. It never did die but came close a few times. It let it run a few minutes to see if it would come out of it and it didn't. I siphoned all the old gas out and put some new gas in it and let it run a couple more minutes and nothing changed.
I started to mess with it today and before I started tearing everything apart, I tried to start it and it started right up. It was kind of sputtering a little but not as bad as the other day. So I shut it off and try to start it again and it will not even try to start.
One thing I did notice is there is a metal line that goes from the carb to the side of the motor that has rubber boots on both ends. On the engine side, the rubber boot is cracked pretty bad. Now what does this line do? Is it for air?
Here is a pic of it. From this pic, you can't see where the line goes into the engine, it is below the muffler but the boot looks the same as the other end. I know the line is not connected. I was trying to put my finger over the hole to see if I could feel anything while I was trying to start it.
I thought about taking it somewhere to have them check it out. But like most people, I like to be able to do things myself. The problem is on stuff like this, I am not very good with small parts. I almost always forget how everything goes back together. Like most people, I can take stuff apart no problem but the problem is putting it back together. And plus sometimes I don't have the patience.
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Last Updated on September 30, 2021 by Forest Master
Troubleshooting your log splitter really isn’t as daunting a task as you’d think it’d be. Thanks to the great design of our log splitters, pretty much nothing can go wrong which is unfixable. We stock all the spare parts you could ever need, but first, we need to work out the problem.
Before diving into how to fix your log splitter issues, let’s cover the different ways can fail.
There are four main categories of troubleshooting; power issues, log splitter ram fails to move correctly, oil leakage or the log splitter fails to split logs.
If your log splitter is much like triggers broom and you want to upgrade – you can find our selection of award-winning log splitters on our website.
Is my log splitter broken?
It may often appear as though something critical has affected your log splitter, such as the ram failing to move or it appears as though there’s no power getting to the log splitter. More often than not, there are small errors that can be easily fixed.
Let’s look into some quick fixes which will quickly tell us if the log splitter is indeed broken.
If you’re not comfortable playing around with your log splitter – let us take a look for you. We offer a log splitter repair service, no matter the brand. We offer a full repair of your log splitter. This includes collecting your machine, repairing it in our workshop and delivery back to yourself. The repair may include a full strip down, rebuild or fitting replacement parts.
If you like to tinker and fix with your own hands – let’s move on with our top troubleshooting tips.
Quick Fix #1: Handle Issue
This may sound silly or obvious, but trust us when we say that this is actually a common error when operating the log splitter.
Check that the plastic knob of the lever is screwed on fully. If this becomes unscrewed it then prevents the lever from being pushed right down, and this prevents the log splitter from operating.
Quick Fix #2: Low Oil
The oil level in your log splitter may be running low, you can check this by using the dipstick. You can also run a quick test by raising the front end of the log splitter on a block of wood or something similar. If you raise the front of the log splitter and the log splitter then starts operating as normal, then this is a clear sign that you are low on oil.
Quick Fix #3: Log Splitter Pointing Downhill
This is similar to the last, but when the log splitter is pointing downhill it struggles to circulate the fluid right around the machine. This causes it to fail when operating.
The log splitter should always be operated on level ground or be pointing uphill.
Log Splitter Power Issues
Now that we’ve covered the most common issues and quick fixes. Let’s look at some of the more rare problems which can affect the performance of the log splitter.
Gentle Humming Noise (non operational)
A humming noise will result in the log splitter blowing a fuse and typically means that the motor is tight.
First, turn the log splitter over and close off the air vent, remove the motor and pump 3 x 13mm headed bolts and 1 x support bolt.
Place the log splitter back upright and try the splitter again, if it produces the same noise then loosen the bolts a little from the end of the pump (13mm) and try again.
No power to the motor
Fuse blown or RCD Tripped
First, check the fuse in the plug. If this is blown then replace it with a working 13 amp fuse, we also recommend installing a 13 amp slow blow fuse which you can purchase directly from our website.
You should also check the RCD for the ring main has not tripped. If the RCD has tripped, try the machine on a separate ring main.
If the RCD repeatedly trips then unplug all other equipment from socks on the ring main and switch these sockets off. You can then try to start the motor.
Another possibility is that the capacitor in the electric motor has failed from misuse over time.
The capacitor in the electric motor can fail from misuse over time. When operating the log splitter, we strongly advise that you press the power button before operating the lever, this allows time for the motor to gather speed before attempting to split logs.
Pressing the lever before the button can also often result in blown fuses.
There are many different reasons why there may not be any power to your log splitter:
If you’re using an extension lead, ensure that the extension cable itself is a wider diameter than the power lead of the electric log splitter.
As stated previously, the capacitor failing will also stop the motor from starting up. After you have checked the previous solutions, unplug the log splitter from the mains. Then remove the six screws on the outside of the switch cover, take the switch cover off and you will then see the capacitor.
If the capacitor has failed, you will sometimes see burn marks on the capacitor itself.
Replacement capacitors are available on our website – Click here to purchase.
Log Splitter consistently trips RCD or blows a fuse
There are a few different fixes to this;
It’s possible that the motor is jammed. First, check that the motor turns freely. You can do this by removing the black fan cover, then it should be possible to turn the fan with slight pressure from one finger. If this isn’t possible, check for obstructions of the fan.
Another possibility is that the operating lever is loose or not bent correctly, this would prevent the valve from operating correctly. To fix this, check that the face of the lever that operates the valve is bent through a full 90 degrees in relation to the mounting face. If not, remove the lever and correct the bend in a vice.
Pump gears binding is an issue that can sometimes present itself within log splitter which would cause a trip. This is easily fixed by loosening each of the 6 bolts on the back of the pump by ¼ of a turn and then checking to see if the motor turns freely.
Pump gears can also get jammed. To fix this you should remove the 6 bolts from the pump and separate the motor and pump. You can then check the gears for any silicone sealant or other material. When you’re reassembling, the torque for the bolts is 12 ft-lb, 16 N m.
Log Splitter Ram
If the ram of the log splitter is not returning fully or is jerking upon return, there are a couple of fixes you can perform to get it back up and running smoothly.
First, check that the moving carriage isn’t obstructed. You can do this by checking underneath the blade/pusher and down the sides of the carriage for any splinters of wood that may be obstructing the carriage.
Also check that the plastic spacers underneath the blade, between the carriage and the underside of the splitter, have not been dislodged.
This one is fairly simple to figure out but check the log bed of the splitter for a build-up of sap. You can then also apply a thin layer of grease to the bed to allow it to operate more smoothly.
In order to fix this issue, use the ram stop to lock the ram in a position about 150mm forward. Remove the 4 bolts holding the DuoCut blade or pusher to the carriage and remove the blade/pusher. Unlock the ram stop, if the carriage returns then the arms are bent.
You can check the amount of bend with a straight edge, if it is less than 5mm then you may be able to straighten them in a vice.
Another possibility is that the ram is bent. Remove the DuoCut blade from the splitter. If the ram does not return after removing the DuoCut blade, loosen the 2 rear lock nuts on the carriage arms and remove the 2 nuts in front of the crosspiece. You can then remove the carriage from the log splitter. If the ram does not return then the next part is a bit tricky so give us a call.
Nothing is worse than setting aside time to get a job done and discovering your machinery isn’t working as it should. This is especially true if somebody is depending on you to provide a service, and you need to find a quick and efficient solution to keep working. Although log splitters don’t generally have many issues associated with them, depending on the type of model you have you may have a bit of exploration to do in order to discover what is causing your problems. The simplicity of the design, however, can help you pinpoint your exact concern.
If you have a basic knowledge of how your splitter works, then you have the foundation for what you need to narrow down your issues. Luckily, many problems can be corrected in a timely manner on your own, and this guide helps explain some of the most common issues to help you narrow down your log splitter troubleshooting to get you back up and running.
Most Popular Log Splitter Types and Power Source Problems
The most popular log splitters use hydraulics to power the force needed to split various sized logs. Because of this the most common log splitter problems deal with either the power source provided to the hydraulics, or the hydraulic pressure. Because of this article is broken down by power source and hydraulic troubleshooting to help you narrow down the source of your issue.
Gas splitters are powered by a 4-stroke engine that requires regular maintenance. If you neglect your engine, chances are you may have problems with your log splitter working properly. This is especially true if your splitter won’t start or stay running.
Keep your engine in proper working order by providing the right levels of engine oil and gas, and be sure to drain these fluids when placed in storage for long periods of time. Old oil and gas can clog up your carburetor, causing it to stop running. Your spark plug should also be checked regularly and replaced if a carbon build up is present. This is often one of the main reasons why the engine won’t start.
Be sure to clean or change air filters as well, especially after use since fine sawdust easily clogs a filter, blocking airflow and bogging down the engine. Luckily, gas engines are a simple design and easy to work on. Start pulls, hoses, and other various parts are very easy to replace as you narrow down the problem.
The most common problem with an electric engine not starting is your power source. Always check your outlets to ensure they are in working order, and check to make sure you aren’t blowing a fuse. Sometimes the extension cord you are using is the problem as well. Overtime these can dry out and crack, creating a poor electrical connection, or breaking the wires inside. Dispose of any extension cord you feel is not working properly and always use a cord rated for the amount of amps you are drawing for optimal performance.
Unfortunately electric engines are not something you can work on easily. Often they require a professional if you feel the problem in located in the engine, and many times the cost of the engine repair is more than what a new splitter might cost.
You are the power source for a manual hydraulic splitter, and these simple designs are pretty easy to troubleshoot simply because there is not much to the overall design. If your foot pedal or rods are not moving as they should, give them a good oiling to help break up any rust or dirt that may have gotten stuck in the joints. Also make sure they are properly attached if they can be removed for storage purposes.
Hydraulic Problems and What to Do
Hydraulic issues are common and generally easy to pinpoint. Hydraulic systems use pressurized fluid to power a force. In a log splitter the engine pressurized fluid which, when released, powers the driving force behind the wedge to split the wood. If your splitter is bogging down under pressure or seems weak, chances are there is something not right with how this system is operating in reference to the size of the hydraulic pump and what it is capable of.
So what can you do about it?
Know Your Splitter’s Capabilities
First off, you need to narrow down the problem through your observations of what is occuring. You also need to take a look at your own actions before blaming the hydraulic system. A good knowledge of what your splitter is capable of and how a log splitter works is a great place to start. If your log is not splitting all the way through, it may be too green or too large and require a greater force than what your machine can handle and you should check the tonnage. If you know this is not the case, then taking a closer look at the hydraulic system is in need.
Wedge Won’t Cut
If everything seems to be working as it should but the log isn’t being split, first make sure the log is loaded properly and isn’t on an angle or is too long. If this is in order, take a look at the wedge itself. With heavy use wedges can most definitely become blunt and stop cutting as it should. This is especially true if you have been using it on green or knotty logs. Wedges are easy to remove and sharpen to get back to working order.
Vibration or Shaking
If you experience vibration or shaking during operation, chances are you have a low hydraulic oil level. Check the level and top it off if needed. If the levels are correct, then you may have air in the lines. To fix this problem open the bleed valve and cycle the pressure plate back and forth a few times. Always recheck your oil levels after doing this and re-tighten the bleed valve.
Loss of Driving Force
If you are losing driving force and the pressure plate seems to be moving slowly you may have air in the lines, which can be fixed as described above, or you may have an oil leak. Check your lines and seals for leaks and wear which can occur over time and replace as needed.
Also consider your temperature as oil becomes more viscose in cold weather, causing a sluggish, weak response as the machine warms up. If you have ruled out low oil levels and pressure, it is not cold outside, and you are sure you are not leaking- it may need a piston replacement.
It is smart to keep your filters clean as well as part of the regular maintenance. Clogged filters will keep the oil from moving through the system as it should, creating a drop in pressure.
Cylinder Rod Won’t Move
If your cylinder rod won’t move and the hydraulics are not engaging you might have a pretty simple solution If this is the first time you have used your splitter. First, check to see if the shipping plugs are still in place. All you have to do it disconnect the hydraulic hoses and remove the plugs and then put them back on.
If this isn’t the first time you have used your splitter, and it just started, something else might be blocking the hoses. You can remove the hoses and flush them, or change the hydraulic fluid: referring to your owner’s manual. You also may have a blocked control valve which can also be cleared by flushing the hydraulic system (notice the pattern?).
The shaft coupling may have come loose. If you think this may be the issue all you need to do is tighten the engine-pump alignment.
Ram Won’t Return
If the Ram has extended and won’t retract the nut probably came off the piston and the pressure may have pushed it forward. With the engine off, hold open the valve and push it back in using a narrow rod. You may need to bring it in to have the nut replaced and the loose nut removed before you use it again to avoid damaging the system.
As seen, common issues surround engine maintenance and hydraulics. Many problems are simply from regular wear and tear and are simple to fix with new filters, seals and hoses, but if problems persist or seem worse despite your attention to oil levels and care- you may need to take a closer look at the piston and have it replaced.
Log splitters are made for heavy, long term use and the materials used in their design are durable and efficient. Because of this most companies also provide excellent customer support to help you narrow down any issues you may be experiencing and easy to read manuals to help solve your problems. Always register your machine upon purchase and contact the company if you feel the problem is beyond your capabilities.
Let us know below if you have any questions or comments, and, as always, please share!
Shutting log off keeps splitter
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