When it comes to hydraulic system operation, fluid flow and pressure levels are of the utmost importance. There are many different ways that hydraulic systems regulate pressure and maintain adequate flow. Relief valves are one of those ways. Unfortunately, those valves aren't impervious to problems. Here are some things you should know about testing your relief valves and recognizing when you may need to call for a hydraulic repair technician.
The Valve Assembly Must Be Disconnected To Test It
You can't test a relief valve while it's still connected to the hydraulic system and the fluid lines. You need to disconnect those lines so that you have the relief valve, the pump, and the pressure gauge isolated.
You need to disconnect and cap the lines on either end of the assembly. The lines must be capped to prevent fluid loss through the system. You can use screw-on caps to do this, and all you'll need is a wrench to disconnect the lines.
Check The Valve's Pressure Regulation
The first thing you need to test is the valve's pressure regulation. Locate the valve's adjuster, then start the pump. Watch the pressure gauge while you tighten the adjuster. The pressure should increase as you tighten it. If it does, the relief valve is regulating pressure correctly. If it doesn't, you'll need to reach out to a hydraulic repair technician to have the valve inspected and possibly replaced.
Test The Valve's Fluid Flow
In addition to pressure regulation, you also need to be sure that the valve is permitting adequate fluid flow. Remove the return line from the valve, then connect a hose to the return line port on the valve.
Put the open end of the hose over the reservoir on the pump so that any fluid that passes through goes into the pump reservoir. Start the pump and make sure that the fluid is flowing. If it isn't, your pressure problem is likely due to a clog that will need a repair technician to locate and clear. If the fluid does flow but you still can't regulate the pressure with the adjuster, that means your valve is faulty and needs to be replaced.
Reach out to a hydraulic shop or repair technician today for the repairs you need to keep your relief valve functioning as it should. This will help to preserve the pressure levels inside your hydraulic system, which protects it from failure.
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