The hydraulic equipment is designed with hydraulic quick couplers that allow the users to connect and disconnect the hydraulic hoses rapidly. In addition, these couplers allow the flow of fluid when the female and male sides are locked.
These couplers make it easy to change the lines. However, if the coupler gets stuck, it will hinder fluid flow. For this reason, we are sharing some solutions that you can try out.
How to Fix Hydraulic Quick Coupler Stuck?
- Pressure Issues
In most cases, high pressure in the system can cause the stuck quick coupler. It doesn’t matter if you are using a skid steer or a tractor, you have to release the pressure from the system to free the coupler.
For this purpose, you have to cycle the hydraulic levers of the vehicle but make sure the vehicle is turned off when you cycle the levers. It’s recommended that you repeat the process multiple times to release pressure from the system.
Another way of relieving the pressure is to turn off the skid steer or tractor, put the key in the ignition, leave the parking brake, and move the levers to release the pressure.
However, make sure that the area around the vehicle is cleared up. In case you have a recent model, you might have the option to bleed the pressure from the outside.
Secondly, many people suggest that you connect the hydraulic couplers by pulling back the collar while you connect the hose to make sure there is sufficient space for the coupler to connect.
As far as the pressure is concerned, it happens when the transmission flushing machine is overfilled. This is because more fluid can pressurize the tank and the fittings will be stuck. So, if you’ve added more fluid, you’ve to hold the socket extension in the unit and slam it on the floor to clear the pressure.
If the pressure is built on the implement side, you have to make the pathway to release oil from the sealed system. For this purpose, you can use the open-end wrench and open the line fitting but make sure you put a rag below the fitting.
Then, loosen the line fitting a bit and the oil will trickle out, resulting in pressure release. Once the pressure is released, make sure that you tighten the fitting.
Another option is to use a waite tool. This tool is designed to press the male end’s plunger to make it even when it is trapped under pressure.
This is a suitable choice for mechanics to release the pressure manually without opening the closed system. Also, the waite tool is available in different sizes, so make sure you purchase the one according to the coupler’s size.
Last but not least, if the pressure is built on the tractor side, you have to turn off your vehicle and move the loader stick in different directions to relieve the pressure.
In case the hydraulic circuit is the third function that needs the electric relay to be turned on, you must turn off the vehicle but put the key in the “on” position.
- Rust Buildup
If your skid steer or tractor is old, there are chances that rust is causing an issue with the coupler’s movement. For this purpose, we recommend that you locate the quick coupler in the vehicle and see if it has rust.
In case there is rust, you can use a rust cleaner to clear it off but make sure you use a scrub pad with it to make sure it’s properly cleaned.
If the rust doesn’t come off, you should submerge the coupler in the rust cleaner for a few minutes as it helps soften the rust, making it easier to clean. Once you are done cleaning the rust, coat the coupler with a thin layer of oil to ensure free and smooth movement of the coupler.
Secondly, there are various penetrating oils available on the market, which can be used to clear the rust.
However, using penetrating oil is an extensive process as you have to add oil and leave the coupler for a few hours to make sure the rust is cleared. The penetrating oils are readily available at a mechanic or automotive shop.
Many people don’t pay attention to the oil leaks but a low level of oil in the vehicle can cause performance issues and a stuck coupler is one of them. The leaks are caused by damaged O-rings, loose fittings, or partially-connected hoses.
So, inspect all these points, and if the oil is leaking from the coupler, there are chances that the O-ring in the coupler’s female end is damaged and needs to be replaced.
If the coupler is still stuck but the tractor or loader is lowering or raising properly, there are chances that the collars on the female end aren’t moving properly. Ideally, the collars should slide back and forth to the male side as it’s essential to lock and free the couplers on time.
So, check the collar movement, and if it’s disturbed, we recommend that you check for debris or dirt in the collar because it can hinder the movement.
The dirt or debris can be removed with the help of a small brush, but if it doesn’t work, you can use a low-pressure solvent or lubricant.
This is because the dirt or debris will create a partial connection, which might feel solid but won’t allow smooth movement of the collar. The cleaning solvents are readily available at automotive shops.
Another option is to clean the barrels with the help of a solvent or spray oil. The barrel can be accessed from the rear side of the vehicle but you have to force it towards yourself (make sure the lever points at you). You’ve to move the barrel like this a few times to make sure it starts working.
- Hose Terminal
If the coupler is still stuck, there are chances that the hose terminal or junction is blocked. For this purpose, you have to remove all the plugs and fittings at the hose terminal or junction.
In addition, if there are ball spacers, springs, or balls, we recommend that you take them out and use a solvent to clean these parts. Moreover, when the hoses are disconnected, you’ve to connect the loose ends to the hose terminal to prevent contamination in the hydraulic system.
- Nose Piece
The damaged seal in the nose piece can also restrict the coupler’s movement as they are connected to each other, which is why you’ve to replace the seal. To replace the seal, you can try out the following steps;
- Take out the nose piece and wash it properly in a cleaning solvent and dry it
- Push the poppet with the help of a screwdriver until it stops and take out the old seals (be careful because the seal groove shouldn’t be scratched)
- Now, clean the groove and use some hydraulic oil to lubricate the new seal
- Then, fold it into the U shape and put it in the groove
- The next step is to push in the poppet and insert the seal into the groove to the end
- Once the seal is installed, the nose piece will start working
The Bottom Line
The hydraulic systems can be a bit intimidating but following the right steps should resolve the coupler issue. However, if you don’t have the expertise to open the vehicle or release pressure, it’s better that you hire a mechanic.
Also, if you’ve been using the vehicle for a long time, it would be better if you replace the coupler because it might be worn out. Last but not least, make sure that you purchase high-quality replacement. Ideally, you should use couplers that were used by the vehicle manufacturer.