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     The most generic and common complaint hydraulic equipment owners and users make about their hydraulics is the "not enough power" one, most often sounded or spelled like "my ... (insert machine's name)... doesn't have enough power (alt. force)". The logics behind the statement is direct - since the machine is hydraulic and the power produced by the engine or motor is transmitted by means of hydraulics, it is therefore the hydraulics' fault that the ...(insert machine's name)... is suddenly running slow.

    It is obvious that any hydraulic rig in question does run slower or less effective than before, otherwise the complaint wouldn't have been made in the first place, but if I were to classify the "not enough force"  incidents, I'd divide them in two groups - a) cases when the "loss of force" is caused by the system components efficiency losses, and b) cases where the "not enough force" is simply not enough force, meaning that the system power demand is higher than the prime mover can supply.

    While in the first group the hydraulics is the guilty one, and the only way to solve the problem is to replace or re-adjust the faulty component, in the second group it is true only for half of the cases. Very often it is the prime mover itself that is "tired for some reason", and the poor hydraulics gets unfairly blamed for somebody else's poor performance. However, when a hydraulics technician is called on site to solve such a "hydraulic problem", he will spend half of his time re-checking the adjustments of a most certainly well adjusted circuit, and the other half striving to prove his client that lack of power is sometimes nothing else but lack of power. In any case, every hour of the assistance cal is billed, and the client, aside from this expense, is to pay for yet another one to the guy who will troubleshoot the prime mover.

     The machines break and malfunction all the time, and prime movers aren't an exception, but I've seen situations where the prime mover's problem was so simple and perfectly detectable, that it seemed incredibly unbelievable that people would blame hydraulics and pay for an expensive assistance call to troubleshoot a loose phase wire or a clogged fuel filter. And I am not talking about one or two isolated cases, I am talking about repeated situations I witness on a monthly basis!

     Take a look at the video below. After a two hour drive, and another couple of hours spent re-checking the already well adjusted system that "didn't have enough force...", it turned out that the beautiful inline six cylinder 150 bhp air cooled (!) diesel was starving for air due to the completely clogged air filter. In fact the filter was so clogged, that the air intake tube was collapsing! By the way, before making the video, I asked the operator to start the machine and then to accelerate the engine, to better catch the collapsing tube -  by chance the machine was left in "reverse drive", and when the fellow hit the throttle the machine charged in my direction - hence the shaky images as I was jumping away...
      In any case - there's no shame in calling in a specialist whenever you feel that the failure diagnostics is beyond your expertise, however there's a certain amount of shame in calling in an expensive technician just to point at a clogged filter or a disconnected wire, or any other simple and basic thing you should've thought about! The best practice in any troubleshooting process is checking simple things (even when they aren't the most probable cause of the malfunction) before checking complicated things. Why? Because they are simple, and therefore easily and promptly doable. If you are an equipment owner - it can save you money, if you are a "troubleshooter" - it can save you time!

    And yes - sometimes "not enough power" is simply not enough power...