Three causes of Seal Failure in Hydraulic Cylinders


Failing seals on hydraulic cylinders leads to lost time and revenue for your company, which is why we take the seal manufacturing process seriously. There is usually one of three reasons that a seal may fail: improper installation, chemical erosion, or contamination. The sooner you can identify the cause the faster your cylinder system can be up and running.

Improper or poor installation is a primary reason for hydraulic cylinder seal failure. Upon installation it’s important to watch for cleanliness, prevention of nicks or cuts, and appropriate lubrication. Over-tightening the seal gland, folding over a seal lip, or simply installing the seal upside down are also ways installation can be compromised.

Poor installation also results when the wrong seal is chosen for a particular job. Seals are typically mass manufactured, meaning they aren’t made for specific jobs, and if the wrong seal is chosen it can cause havoc. If you are unsure what seal is best we recommend talking with your Allegheny York representative.

Chemical breakdown of a seal is most often the result of poor material selection and can result in poor seal lip interface, softening of seal durometer, excessive swelling, or shrinkage. This type of erosion can be prevented by initially properly matching the seal material with the chemical involved in the hydraulic equipment. Depending on the type of lubrication, some materials will wear more together than others.

Hydraulic system contamination is another way seals can fail. Outside elements, such as dirt, mud, or powder, can attach to the piston and dirty the hydraulic seal. One can easily identify seal breakdown due to contamination by scored rod and cylinder bore surfaces or excessive seal wear and/or leakage. Insuring clean and proper seal installation can prevent contamination.

In order to have the best results with your hydraulic cylinder seals we recommend connecting with our Allegheny York team. They will be knowledgeable about what best fits your needs and how to prevent seal failure in the future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s