Hydraulic systems are dependent on a balance of pressure and fluid flow to keep the system functioning properly. Because the system needs to be so properly balanced, it's not without its vulnerabilities. Some of the most common problems with hydraulic systems occur with the relief valves. Even if you have an onsite hydraulic repair specialist, it's in your best interest to understand how to test those valves because problems can occur even when your repair technician isn't available. Here's a look at what you need to know about testing the relief valve in your hydraulic system.
How To Isolate The Relief Valve
Before you can test the valve, you need to isolate it so that the circuit you're working with contains only the pressure gauge, the pump and the valve. To do this, you'll need to disconnect the plumbing that's attached to either end of that circuit. Cap off the pipes so that everything is secure. In most cases, you can do this using an open-end wrench and a set of screw caps to seal the pipes.
Steps To Test The Relief Valve
Start the pump and monitor the pressure on the gauge as you start tightening the adjuster on the valve. If you can increase the pressure in the system by adjusting the valve itself, the relief valve is functioning properly. However, if you cannot alter the pressure in the system in any way by adjusting that relief valve, you may have a worn or damaged valve that needs attention.
To further check the condition of the valve, disconnect the return line. Attach a small hose to the port on the relief valve where the return hose was connected. Then, hold the open end of that hose over the pump reservoir. Start the pump again and watch for fluid to exit the line. If the fluid flows through but you still cannot alter the pressure, it's time to replace that valve. If fluid doesn't flow through, you may have a clog that needs to be cleared. A hydraulic service technician can help with this.
If your hydraulic system fails or the pressure is inconsistent, this can hinder the operation of your entire production line. If you want to be sure that your hydraulic system is consistent and sustaining pressure, you need to be sure that the relief valve is functioning as intended. With the tips here and the help of your hydraulic service technician, you can test the valve, spot potential problems and even have it replaced to keep your system functioning at its best.
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