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Old 05-02-2019, 10:00 PM   #1
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A neat little trick you might be able to use

I have spent several days trying to troubleshoot a hydraulic issue with my stabilizers. We have decided ( meaning myself and two hydraulic techs.) that it's time to replace the hydraulic pump.

It's a messy job as the reservoir, that has six quarts of fluid in it, first needs to be drained so I can disconnect the intake hose going to the pump. Not to mention the cost of the lost fluid.

Here is a little trick I learned from the pros: Remove the filler cap and apply a suction to the reservoir with a shop vac. Have a plug ready and when you disconnect the hose plug it off. You will only loose a few drops.

I could maybe see using this technique on a hydraulic steering system.

In this case for the plug I used a tapered wooden plug that comes in those emergency kits you see in the marine stores, and I have a small kit of adapters that go onto the end of a shop vac hose to reduce the size of the hose. So I was able to insert the shop vac into the filler hole instead of holding it over the hose. You might want to be careful that the fluid level is not close enough to the fill hole or you will suck fluid up into the shop vac.
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:48 PM   #2
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Nice trick, thanks.
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:51 PM   #3
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I have heard of people doing that with a fuel tank in order to replace a fitting on the tank. Plug up the vent and put the vacuum hose in the deck filler. Then be quick about replacing the fitting. Have not tried it myself...
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Old 05-02-2019, 11:30 PM   #4
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I have heard of people doing that with a fuel tank in order to replace a fitting on the tank. Plug up the vent and put the vacuum hose in the deck filler. Then be quick about replacing the fitting. Have not tried it myself...
Donít do that with gasoline. The Myth Busters turned a vacuum into a jet engine.😏
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:15 AM   #5
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Good point, of course I was thinking of a diesel tank.
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Old 05-03-2019, 05:20 AM   #6
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Donít do that with gasoline. The Myth Busters turned a vacuum into a jet engine.😏
I read a story once about a father who killed himself and his little boy, using a shop vac to clean up the leak of an old gas fuel tank.

Diesel is certainly way more safe, but I'd still be hesitant - has anyone actually done that?
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Old 05-03-2019, 09:04 PM   #7
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I have done just that to repair a leaking home heating oil tank.

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Old 05-03-2019, 09:32 PM   #8
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I used to do the same thing when changing out oil pan drain plugs. Only difference is I used a air powered vacuum setup that connected to the valve cover.
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Old 05-04-2019, 05:19 AM   #9
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I have used the shop vac to clean out diesel tank vents and it worked well. Had all kinds of cautions / arguments on here explaining why it's a bad practice but... I had no issue and will likely do it again before launch to make sure vents are clear.
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:35 PM   #10
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We used a shop vac to get the coolant out of the main engine.
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Old 05-10-2019, 01:48 PM   #11
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I used a vacuum pump on hydraulic systems, had caps with a fitting for different equipment. Remove the vent and plug the hole let the pump run for several minutes and have a plug ready to plug the 1.5Ē line from tank to pump. Would lose a little but better than a 60 gallon oil bath.
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Old 05-17-2019, 01:45 PM   #12
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I've turned the hose around to the other side on the shop vac so your blowing and not sucking and sometimes blows the dirt out of the vents, not sucking it in to dirty my diesel tank. Maybe that's what you meant anyway.
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:23 PM   #13
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I recently had casue to doubt the fuel tank vents' integrity on the side of my boat. They are a type which does not allow for visual or probing inspection. I reversed the hose on my wet/dry vac and held the end of the hose over the vent exit on the hull to blow into the vent while laying a piece of paper over the open fill. When the paper blew upward (windless day), my confidence in the integrity of the vent line was renewed.
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:14 PM   #14
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I have seen it done on oil tanks.

We had a diesel tank explode about 50 years ago. The tank was being welded on. The tank had not been flushed and cleaned and it turned out that the truck that filled the diesel tank had pumped gas at the stop before filling the diesel tank. So there was most likely a small amount of gas mixed with the diesel. It is very easy to get a small amount of gas mixed in to a tank of diesel which can become a bomb.

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Old 05-17-2019, 05:15 PM   #15
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I have seen it done on oil tanks.

We had a diesel tank explode about 50 years ago. The tank was being welded on. The tank had not been flushed and cleaned and it turned out that the truck that filled the diesel tank had pumped gas at the stop before filling the diesel tank. So there was most likely a small amount of gas mixed with the diesel. It is very easy to get a small amount of gas mixed in to a tank of diesel which can become a bomb.

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Old 05-17-2019, 05:46 PM   #16
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Doesnít take much gas to make it go off. We were trying to light a pan of diesel to demonstrate use of fire extinguisher. We even put a lit road flare in the diesel and it would not light. Finally put about 1/4 ounce of gas and it lit explosively. Once the diesel was hot it would relight pretty easy.
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:35 PM   #17
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Great idea but I would be cautious of using a shop vac on hydraulic fluid and then using the fluid again. Even the smallest amount of dirt could make the system inoperable.
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Old 05-18-2019, 05:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russell Clifton View Post
I have spent several days trying to troubleshoot a hydraulic issue with my stabilizers. We have decided ( meaning myself and two hydraulic techs.) that it's time to replace the hydraulic pump.

It's a messy job as the reservoir, that has six quarts of fluid in it, first needs to be drained so I can disconnect the intake hose going to the pump. Not to mention the cost of the lost fluid.

Here is a little trick I learned from the pros: Remove the filler cap and apply a suction to the reservoir with a shop vac. Have a plug ready and when you disconnect the hose plug it off. You will only loose a few drops.

I could maybe see using this technique on a hydraulic steering system.

In this case for the plug I used a tapered wooden plug that comes in those emergency kits you see in the marine stores, and I have a small kit of adapters that go onto the end of a shop vac hose to reduce the size of the hose. So I was able to insert the shop vac into the filler hole instead of holding it over the hose. You might want to be careful that the fluid level is not close enough to the fill hole or you will suck fluid up into the shop vac.
When I was an auto tech, I used that trick to replace leaking drain plugs in engine, transmissions, and sometimes cooling systems.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:31 AM   #19
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Great idea but I would be cautious of using a shop vac on hydraulic fluid and then using the fluid again. Even the smallest amount of dirt could make the system inoperable.

He's not vacuuming the oil out. Just creating a vacuum in the top of the tank so that the oil won't flow down the hose.
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Old 05-19-2019, 08:33 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Russell Clifton View Post
I have spent several days trying to troubleshoot a hydraulic issue with my stabilizers. We have decided ( meaning myself and two hydraulic techs.) that it's time to replace the hydraulic pump.

It's a messy job as the reservoir, that has six quarts of fluid in it, first needs to be drained so I can disconnect the intake hose going to the pump. Not to mention the cost of the lost fluid.

Here is a little trick I learned from the pros: Remove the filler cap and apply a suction to the reservoir with a shop vac. Have a plug ready and when you disconnect the hose plug it off. You will only loose a few drops.

I could maybe see using this technique on a hydraulic steering system.

In this case for the plug I used a tapered wooden plug that comes in those emergency kits you see in the marine stores, and I have a small kit of adapters that go onto the end of a shop vac hose to reduce the size of the hose. So I was able to insert the shop vac into the filler hole instead of holding it over the hose. You might want to be careful that the fluid level is not close enough to the fill hole or you will suck fluid up into the shop vac.

Put a valve on that hose so you won't have to do this again if you need to change something down line of the reservoir in the future.
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