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Winter Operations: Hydraulic Lock In Cold Weather

10 Sep 2023


mainHydraulic lock is often overlooked when starting diesels in cold weather. Equipment designed with the hydraulic pump direct connected/coupled to the engine will turn over less easily and at a slower RPM because of the increased drag from the cold oil in the hydraulic system. The result may be that the diesel engine does not spin fast enough to start readily.

Improve cold weather starting by installing a Universal Preheater™ (sized for the tank capacity) on the outside of the hydraulic reservoir as close to the pick-up tube that is inside the tank as possible. This position provides the heated oil as the first oil available to the hydraulic pump. The heated hydraulic oil helps to reduce the drag on the engine at startup and makes starting easier.

To improve cold weather starting and operations even more, install the Universal Filter Preheater™ on the hydraulic filter housing to avoid filter bypass and supply even more hot oil directly to the hydraulic pump. Available in 12v, 24v and in dual grid voltages in the same Preheater™ 12v/120v, 24v/120v and in regular voltages 120v and 240v. Two springs and nylon ties hold it in position.

Diesel engines must have a fast spin to create the compression in the cylinders that cause efficient combustion of the fuel. Heating the oil pan lube oil with the Universal Preheater™ installed on the outside bottom or side of the oil pan helps the starter and battery achieve the fast spin and easier cold weather starting. With injectors and the injection pump in good shape the engine will be ready to work soon after starting. Preheated engine oil shortens the wait time to achieve operating temperature that leads to profitable operations.

During cold weather operations engines achieve operating temperatures after starting and continuous operations until shut down. At shut-down, the hot engine internal components are suddenly exposed to cold temperatures and this may create condensation that drips down inside the crankcase into the engine oil in the oil pan. This cycle repeats itself each time the engine runs up to temperature and is shut down. The accumulation of the condensation in the oil pan can combine with the byproducts of combustion to form acid. This can lead to etching of the bearings.

The best practice here is to plug in the Universal Preheaters™ for the hydraulic reservoir and the engine oil at shut down allowing them to heat continuously until start up again. This practice helps to maintain heated oil and avoids the formation of condensation that creates water in the oil. Water (condensate) in the engine oil does not lubricate but instead creates excessive wear throughout the engine especially in the crankshaft and bearings.

By starting with hot oil there is a much shorter warm up time for the engine and the hydraulic system. Getting to work faster is a real economic benefit. Universal Preheaters convert the metal of the pan into a large heat transfer element with low watt density per square inch. The low watt density insures that the oil is not burned as happens with some other types of engine warmers.

E TIP, Inc. offers a wide range of sizes in the Universal Preheater™ that are designed to deliver the heat necessary to make winter starting easier and to deliver several other features that help to extend engine and hydraulic system life. Take a look at our Diesel Fuel Filter Preheaters that prevent plugged fuel filters caused by gelled diesel fuel.

Permanently mounted on the outside of the housing (no leaks)"Peel N Stick" Universal Preheaters™ are thin silicone pads designed to deliver heat directly to the engine oil pan or the hydraulic reservoir. These are available in 120v and 240v and should be sized according to the capacity of the engine oil pan or the hydraulic reservoir. Exclusive flexible ceramic insulation pads are added on top of the Universal Preheater™ to drive more heat into the housing. Universal Preheaters™ do not burn the oil.

The 'Peel N Stick' kits offered by E TIP, Inc. deliver easier, faster starting and warm up to operating temperature quicker. When the Universal Preheater™ is continuously energized even after engine shut down the formation of condensation inside the engine and the hydraulic reservoir is controlled/prevented because the hot temperatures are maintained until operations are started again. The continuously heated oil in the pan and reservoir (without burning the oil) drives out any moisture to atmosphere through the breather. Universal Preheater™ users have reported icicles forming at the engine breather in very cold weather as the condensation escapes. E TIP, Inc. PO Box 83, North Aurora, IL 60542-0083 | FAX 630-801- 9569 • (Veteran Owned Small Business)

800.530.5064 // //


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