If any of your vehicles are fitted with hydraulic hose assemblies, you can expect them to work well and last for quite some time. Remember, however, that they are designed for high-pressure conditions ,and much is riding on their overall performance. You need to take whatever steps you can to make sure that they don't fail, and you must be proactive. What should you be looking for specifically, when it comes to caring for these hose assemblies?
Keeping a Watching Brief
You may imagine that these hoses are very well built and should last without you paying too much attention, but in reality, it's impossible to know how each specific hydraulic hose will perform. Much is dependent on the way that the hose was made at the factory, the type of pressure it is subjected to on an ongoing basis and the organisation's maintenance policy. Typically, a rubber hose should last for years, but it could fail unexpectedly a long time before that. This means your maintenance crew should be on the lookout for any potential problems.
Why It Pays to Take Action
It probably goes without saying, but the cost of a brand-new hose assembly is much lower than the cost of repairing critical components that may be damaged, should it break. Remember also that the vehicle will be off the road and not producing, and there is also some risk of injury through failure.
Set up Issues
In general, make sure that hoses are never installed in such a way that they can be twisted or crushed. They may certainly have to move to a certain extent when the vehicle is in motion, but not overly so. If you find this to be the case, find a different route for the hoses in order to attain the end result you need. You may consider placing a swivel component in the line to connect hoses properly. Each manufacturer indicates the maximum bend radius for the hose, and you should adhere to this at all times.
If you ever see some of the reinforced wire through the surface of the hose, it needs to be replaced immediately. Also, action is needed if any oil is leaking from the connections, while signs of rust and corrosion on the metal couplings should prompt repair.
Checking for Leaks
It can sometimes be difficult to find a leak in a pressurised hose set-up. Be very careful if you need to look for such a leak when everything is pressurised, and only use a tool that is designed for this purpose. Ideally, you should depressurise before inspecting, and never use your hands as a way of locating the problem area.
Looking for Trends
Whenever you replace a hose or part of the assembly, keep a note in a ledger in your back office. Note down why you made the replacement and keep an eye out for any trends. This will allow you to anticipate other issues or to take steps to rectify whatever is wrong.