Common Hydraulic Pump Problems and How to Solve Them

Hydraulic pumps are crucial components in various machinery and systems, converting mechanical power into hydraulic energy. Hydraulic pumps play a vital role in powering hydraulic systems, from heavy industrial equipment to everyday machinery. However, like any mechanical device, they are susceptible to problems affecting their efficiency and performance.

In this article, we’ll explore some common hydraulic pump issues and provide practical solutions and troubleshooting advice to address them effectively.


1. Fluid Contamination: One of the most prevalent issues with hydraulic pumps is fluid contamination. Contaminants such as dirt, debris, water, and air bubbles can compromise the performance and lifespan of the pump. Contaminated fluid can lead to increased wear and tear on pump components, reduced efficiency, and potential system failure.

Solution: Regularly inspect the hydraulic fluid for signs of contamination. The best way is to send fluid samples to a lab for spectrometric analysis. Ensure that the fluid is clean and free from impurities. Use high-quality filters and perform routine maintenance, including fluid changes and filter replacements, as the manufacturer recommends. Additionally, keep the hydraulic system sealed properly to prevent contamination from entering.

2. Leakage: Hydraulic pump leaks can occur due to worn seals, damaged hoses, loose fittings, or cracked components. Leakage results in fluid loss and reduces system pressure and efficiency.

Solution: Inspect the hydraulic system for any signs of leakage, such as puddles or damp spots. Replace worn seals, tighten loose fittings, and repair or replace damaged hoses and components promptly. Regularly check hydraulic connections and fittings for tightness to prevent leaks from occurring.

3. Cavitation: Cavitation is a common issue characterized by the formation of air bubbles or vapor pockets within the hydraulic fluid due to low pressure. These bubbles can implode near the pump’s surfaces, causing damage to the pump components and reducing efficiency.

Solution: To prevent cavitation, ensure the hydraulic fluid is clean and properly filtered to remove any air bubbles. Maintain the appropriate fluid levels and system pressure as recommended by the manufacturer. If cavitation occurs, identify and address the underlying cause, such as a restriction in the inlet line or excessive pump speed.

4. Overheating: Overheating is a significant concern for hydraulic pumps and can result from excessive friction, inadequate cooling, or insufficient fluid levels. High temperatures can lead to premature wear of pump components and seals, leading to leaks and decreased system efficiency.

Solution: Monitor the operating temperature of the hydraulic system regularly. Ensure proper lubrication and cooling of the pump by maintaining adequate fluid levels and using cooling systems such as fans or heat exchangers. Avoid overloading the pump or operating it at high speeds for extended periods, as this can contribute to overheating.

5. Noise and Vibration: Unusual noises or vibrations coming from the hydraulic pump can indicate underlying problems such as misalignment, worn bearings, or damaged components.

Solution: Inspect the pump for any signs of wear or damage, including loose or misaligned components. Replace worn bearings and realign the pump as necessary to reduce noise and vibration. Additionally, ensure that the pump is properly mounted and supported to minimize vibrations.

6. Loss of Pressure: Loss of hydraulic pressure can occur due to various factors, including leaks, worn seals, or pump inefficiency. Reduced pressure can affect the performance and functionality of hydraulic systems.

Solution: Conduct a thorough inspection of the hydraulic system to identify the source of pressure loss. Check for leaks, damaged seals, or worn components that may be causing the pressure drop. Repair or replace faulty parts and ensure that the pump is properly calibrated to maintain the required pressure levels.


In conclusion, hydraulic pumps are critical components in many industrial and mechanical applications, and encountering problems with them is inevitable. However, by understanding the common issues that can arise and implementing proactive maintenance and troubleshooting measures, it’s possible to mitigate these problems effectively. Regular inspection, proper fluid management, and prompt repairs are essential for ensuring the reliable performance and longevity of hydraulic pumps and systems. By addressing issues promptly and implementing preventive maintenance strategies, operators can minimize downtime, reduce repair costs, and optimize the efficiency of hydraulic equipment.

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The power plant’s Electrohydraulic Control (EHC) system plays a crucial role in the reliable operation of a power generation plant, and its efficiency depends on several key factors, including oil cleanliness and Total Acid Number (TAN). The EHC system utilizes EHC fluids like hydraulic oil, often a phosphate ester fluid, to precisely control and move critical components such as turbines, steam turbines, valves, and actuators.

The cleanliness of the oil is of utmost importance 

Acting as a lubricant and coolant within the EHC system, any contaminants present in the oil, such as dirt, debris, or particles, can lead to abrasion, wear, and damage to both internal and external components of the hydraulic power unit. Such issues may result in increased friction, reduced efficiency, and, in severe cases, catastrophic failures. To prevent these complications, it is essential to conduct regular oil analysis and filtration to maintain the required cleanliness level. This proactive approach ensures smooth operation and extends the overall lifespan of the EHC system.

The Total Acid Number (TAN) of the oil is a critical parameter to monitor. 

Hydraulic systems that contain acidic oil are prone to corrosion of metal surfaces and degradation of seals and gaskets. The presence of water and acids further accelerates the oil’s deterioration, compromising its lubricating properties and overall performance within the EHC system.

Regular monitoring of the TAN number 

Monitoring through oil analysis allows for early detection of acid buildup, enabling timely maintenance actions like oil replacement or chemical treatment to neutralize acidity. By controlling the TAN within specified limits, the EHC system operates reliably, minimizing downtime, and mitigating the risk of costly repairs or unplanned shutdowns.

Use Fire Resistant Fluids

To address these challenges effectively, utilizing fire-resistant fluids, such as phosphate ester fluids, is highly recommended. These fluids not only offer improved fire safety in the power plant environment but also exhibit better resistance to degradation, reducing the risk of acidity formation (thereby, fluid degradation) and enhancing the longevity of the EHC system.

PIon Exchange Technology

Additionally, implementing ion exchange technology for water removal in hydraulic oil can significantly contribute to maintaining oil purity. Both old and new EHC systems can benefit from off-line oil filtration and water removal systems, which play a crucial role in ensuring the optimal performance of the EHC system.

In conclusion, the power plant’s electrohydraulic (EHC) system relies on various factors to operate reliably and efficiently. By focusing on oil cleanliness, controlling acidity levels with regular TAN monitoring, and utilizing fire-resistant fluids like phosphate ester fluids, the power plant can enhance the performance and safety of the EHC system. Additionally, incorporating ion exchange technology and off-line oil filtration further contributes to maintaining the purity of the hydraulic oil, ensuring uninterrupted operation and reinforcing the overall reliability and safety of the power generation plant.


For assistance in maintaining oil purity and optimizing EHC system performance, do not hesitate to contact us. Our expert team is ready to provide the necessary support and solutions to meet your specific needs.