John Deere Maintenance Monday: Water in a hydraulic system | Living the Country Life

John Deere Maintenance Monday: Water in a hydraulic system

Learn what to do if you get water in your hydraulic system.

Radio interview source: Shane Louwerens, John Deere Ag Tech Instructor, Northwest Mississippi Community College

In this edition of Maintenance Monday, we're answering a question from Tony in Florida. The hydraulic oil in his utility tractor has turned a milky color. His neighbor says there's water in the hydraulic system, but how did it get in there?
Shane Louwerens is a John Deere ag tech instructor at Northwest Mississippi Community College. He says the most common reason for water in the hydraulic system is a machine left out in the rain. Over time, rubber seals develop cracks, and water seeps in. Condensation is another factor, especially in humid climates.
"Humidity in the air itself condenses in there, especially if your tractor sits up for long periods," he says. "Then you go out and use it, the condensation itself from it  just sitting there will gather inside your case. Because you know, the cases are not 100% full of oil, they're about half-way. You have to have room for air, and the movement of the oil, and the cooling of the oil. With time and temperature variations, condensation happens."
Water in the system coagulates, and plugs up the hydraulic screens and filters. The pump starves for oil, and you'll hear whining and chattering. Hydraulic functions, such as raising and lowering a bucket loader, will be much slower. 
Louwerens says getting the water out is tough, but it can be done.
"The only thing you really can do is drain it, change your filters, and some dealerships, parts houses and stuff like that have a flush procedure to get rid of all that stuff," says Louwerens. "But there are definitely some different types of additives that you can put in your oil in order to help get that residue, which is the best way to put it, out."
Prevention is the best way to keep water out of the hydraulic system. Store your tractor inside, and replace rubber seals when they start to show wear. 

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