How to Bleed a Log Splitter

An efficient log splitter is the one that will split the wood effortlessly and is quick enough to complete the task in no time. The efficiency of the log splitter depends on its hydraulic pressure to force the wood against the wedge to cut through the log into two. 

If you wish that your machine delivers the desired result at optimum level without compromising the efficiency in all possible ways, take your log splitter to go through a maintenance check! 

A log splitter requires periodic maintenance checks for smooth functioning. Bleeding the hydraulics is one such process that plays the most pivotal part of the maintenance schedule and should not be missed.

Don’t know how to bleed a log splitter? Don’t fret, we are here to help.

If you are a beginner, you must know what bleeding stands for. Defining bleeding a log splitter can be simply put as a process to remove any air pockets trapped in the hydraulics. 

The presence of air in the hydraulic system results in the loss of power in the ram of the log splitter. As the hydraulic fluid is displaced by the air, the pressure that was applied to the ram also reduces. Hence, to bring back the power into the ram, you must bleed your log splitter.

Before you bleed the air out in your hydraulic system, it is necessary to know what type of air exists in the splitter. It could be: 

  • Entrapped Free Air
  • Dissolved Air
  • Entrained Mixed Air

You can only bleed entrapped free air pockets as here the air and fluid are not mixed. The dissolved air however can be removed by increasing the hydraulic oil’s temperature till it is released into the air. 

Usually, the hydraulic oil is likely to be at 10 percent of the dissolved air; hence the temperature of the fluid should be raised only when it is most important.

With the rise in fluid temperature and fall in static pressure, the air solubility decreases which results in the formation of foam or bubbles within the fluid. The release of dissolved air can be defined as gaseous cavitations.

These foam or froth or bubbles are the entrained mixed air with which you just need the hydraulic oil to pass through a screen or gauze which filters the air bubble from the oil. However, at first, we must find out the cause of the entrained air to ensure a sound hydraulic system.

There are many log splitters available that self bleed. You just need to repeat the cycle time of the log splitter multiple times. But if you do not own such a model, you can follow the steps below to bleed a log splitter:

  • First and foremost – things you would need to bleed the air out – safety goggles and adjustable wrench (optional)
  • Start with wear your safety goggles so that your eyes are safe from any flying scrap.
  • Now, push the hydraulic ram extending to its maximum forward position. This can be done by extending the ram control switch on the powered models. If you have a manual mode, you can pump the handle to achieve the same. 
  • Turn the oil filling plug in an anti-clock direction to remove the oil filling plug, using an adjustable wrench or your hand.
  • Rotate the release screw also in an anti-clockwise direction to release the hydraulic ram. Let the ram retract and wait till the hydraulic fluid flow is visible launching out from the oil filling plug hole. 
  • Now, quickly stop the ram from retracting by turning the release screw in a clockwise direction.
  • The final step is the replacement of the oil filling plug once again onto the log splitter. Ensure that you have tightened the plug properly before reusing the log splitter. If the oil plug is left loose, there are high chances that the air will enter again in the hydraulic system.

So by now, you would have understood that it isn’t rocket science bleeding the log splitter. It is quite a simple process and you will soon get adapted to bleeding your splitter as a part of any usual maintenance schedule. Do not forget to substitute the drained hydraulic oil with the fresh one and you are all set to go. 

Though bleeding is a part of a regular maintenance schedule, you must always watch out for any abnormal noise coming from the splitter. It is a sign that your system has trapped some air in it. Since air flows throughout the splitter, it tends to compress and decompress causing noticeable banging sounds.

Additionally, every log splitter comes with an operator manual; make sure you have read it properly. As every machine has its specific maintenance procedure mentioned clearly on the manual, hence reading the operating instructions becomes even important. 

Also, check for the maintenance tips in the manual. Most of the manuals provide tips that are specifically defined for their product. This way you can operate your log splitter in a safer and more efficient manner.