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EMPIRE231

Lift not working right (Stacker)

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Hey guys, the lift in my new to me stacker is not working right.  It has a gemini platform lift, It functioned fine when I bought it, going up and down multiple times.  My first trip and put a little weight on there (kids rzr 170 and LT80 quad) it lifted it just fine as high as I could go.  I then loaded my car, and dropped the lift to the locking position.  I get to glamis, hit the button and the lift wont rise.  It sounded like it's sucking air.  I checked fluid and it looked like it had sucked everything out of the reservoir.  I added 2 quarts of ATF, which was enough to get it working again.  Now I am pretty sure it got air in the lines, because it seems to be hesitating and wont go to the very top position... it starts to struggle about 5-6 inches from the top latch, with and without weight on it.

so a few questions... 

1. what is the best way to bleed the air out of the system?

2. Do I need to drain all the old fluid out (this might be difficult, because the pump is in the center of the floor, and with the lift in the down position, I have no access to that pump)

3. Do you guys lubricate the inside of the posts? if so, what should I use.

 

I also noticed the front is rising a little slower than the rear, so I will be adjusting the cables to get them more even (currently about 1/2 inch off)

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The easiest way to bleed the air out is to just run it through 3 or 4 cycles full up to full down.  Just wait a few minutes between cycles so as not to over heat the pump motor.  Also make sure the reservoir never gets to low as to suck air in again or you will have to start all over.

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27 minutes ago, CaliforniaSand said:

The easiest way to bleed the air out is to just run it through 3 or 4 cycles full up to full down.  Just wait a few minutes between cycles so as not to over heat the pump motor.  Also make sure the reservoir never gets to low as to suck air in again or you will have to start all over.

I did that after our first trip, and it seemed to be working fine in the driveway.  Then we loaded back up for our second trip and it did the same thing when we got to the desert.  There is no way it could have sucked in more air at that point, because there is plenty of oil in the reservoir.  I am wondering if there is a way to bleed air out of the ram? 

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The ram is essentially self bleeding when it is fully compressed.  On mine, i fully compress ram (lift down iirc) and then top off fluid in the reservoir.  Not too fun when u add too much fluid when ram is extended....

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3 minutes ago, 1newbie said:

The ram is essentially self bleeding when it is fully compressed.  On mine, i fully compress ram (lift down iirc) and then top off fluid in the reservoir.  Not too fun when u add too much fluid when ram is extended....

then mine must be binding somewhere.... because I've done several of the up/down cycles.... unless the ATF is not jiving with the hydraulic oil in there.  I would just drain it all out, but the pump is in the ground, center of trailer, and with the lift all the way down... I have no access to it lol.

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You have to be able to get to the pump for service.  Can't you just raise the lift and lock it place with the safety locks.  For added safety put a jackstand at each corner.  If you addrd ATF to a system with Hydraulic Oil I'm sure the two don't like each other.  Even if it was working fine I wouldn't leave that combination of fluids in the system.  Use the fluid recommended by the pump manufacturer.  The wrong fluid can destroy the seals in the pump.  Trust me I found out the hard way many years ago.

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4 hours ago, CaliforniaSand said:

You have to be able to get to the pump for service.  Can't you just raise the lift and lock it place with the safety locks.  For added safety put a jackstand at each corner.  If you addrd ATF to a system with Hydraulic Oil I'm sure the two don't like each other.  Even if it was working fine I wouldn't leave that combination of fluids in the system.  Use the fluid recommended by the pump manufacturer.  The wrong fluid can destroy the seals in the pump.  Trust me I found out the hard way many years ago.

Yes I can raise the lift and access the pump. But I was told to drain all the fluid out, the lift needs to be all the way down.... is that correct?

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Well yes and no.  You can drain the reservoir with the lift in any position as long as you have it supported so it doesn't drop.   The problem is you will always have fluid in one side of the cylinder.  The only way to get the entire system emptied is to disconnect the cylinder rod at the cable block and manually run the cylinder to full retract and then to full extension.   Of course you need to remove the hoses from the pump side and put them in a bucket so as not to squirt fluid all over the place.  It's definatley a messy job but it might be your only solution.  

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You don’t want to use atf in there. If you don’t have hydraulic fluid you can use 15-40 Oil that would work well. You can use a hand pump from the top of the tank to remove oil from the tank while the lift is down, and refill with the proper fluids. 

There’s no way to get air in the lines without knowing you have a leak. Hydraulic systems have high pressure so essentially it would push out instead of pull in, except the line from the tank to the pump. You can essentially Top your tank off with Hydraulic oil or 15-40 and cycle it through a few times and that should get any air out that was sucked from a low tank. 
 

Edited by B0NES

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Thanks for all the feedback guys... so is anyone lubing the inside of the posts like the manual suggests? or is this a big NO for us desert people (sand / dust)

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You can use dry graffite spray. It puts a nice coating to keep it protected but doesn’t let the dust stick to it. We use it on heavy equipment in some areas of the machine because of the dirt exposure. But even if you lightly greased it I’m sure you would be fine. 

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17 hours ago, B0NES said:

You can use dry graffite spray. It puts a nice coating to keep it protected but doesn’t let the dust stick to it. We use it on heavy equipment in some areas of the machine because of the dirt exposure. But even if you lightly greased it I’m sure you would be fine. 

Magic spray:

https://www.amazon.com/CRC-03084-Lubricant-Aerosol-Spray/dp/B0013J62P4/ref=sr_1_4?gclid=CjwKCAiAlajvBRB_EiwA4vAqiMwz5ZNAXucbfviMwbZp8YxxdtKejxIX3iSYtP50aRDnZf7MrtA3qhoCTA0QAvD_BwE&hvadid=367761923517&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9061197&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1t2&hvqmt=b&hvrand=7061753045067984100&hvtargid=aud-836718182849%3Akwd-298869844063&hydadcr=16506_9854930&keywords=dry+moly+lubricant+spray&qid=1575653275&sr=8-4

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10 minutes ago, EMPIRE231 said:

does this go on clear? white / black?

Dark grey-ish.  White option (lithium grease):

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Blaster-11-oz-High-Performance-White-Lithium-Grease-16-LG/202529735

You spray them all on like spray paint, so if there's a surface you don't want it on for appearance's sake, just mask it off.

Edited by Rockwood

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cables adjusted to get it rising evenly.... still having the problem.

next step is to pick up some dry lube and try that out.

I think it is not "self bleeding" because the lift wont go all the way up.  It gets about 1' from the top and starts hesitating, and when I check the fluid level, there is still plenty in there.

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Most lifts use one hose to extend or retract the cylinder which raises the lift.  The solenoid opens a valve which (helped by gravity) causes the lift to lower (does your pump run when you lower it?).  My guess is that you have fluid on the wrong side of the piston in your lift.  Check the hydraulic cylinder and see if it has two hoses going to it or does one end have a 'breather' only (should look like a pipe plug with tiny hole in it).  If it has a pipe plug with no hole in it, that might be your problem.

If I transport without the lift sitting on the pins, a small amount of fluid will leak past the piston in the cylinder, out the breather and on to the floor of the stacker.

Edited by 1newbie
update

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7 minutes ago, 1newbie said:

Most lifts use one hose to extend or retract the cylinder which raises the lift.  The solenoid opens a valve which (helped by gravity) causes the lift to lower (does your pump run when you lower it?).  My guess is that you have fluid on the wrong side of the piston in your lift.  Check the hydraulic cylinder and see if it has two hoses going to it or does one end have a 'breather' only (should look like a pipe plug with tiny hole in it).  If it has a pipe plug with no hole in it, that might be your problem.

If I transport without the lift sitting on the pins, a small amount of fluid will leak past the piston in the cylinder, out the breather and on to the floor of the stacker.

I will check this tonight, and get some pics of my setup.

the pump only runs on the way up.  when I click to go down, it just releases pressure.

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58 minutes ago, EMPIRE231 said:

I will check this tonight, and get some pics of my setup.

the pump only runs on the way up.  when I click to go down, it just releases pressure.

sounds like it is plumbed the same as mine.  One hose to extend the ram which lifts the lift and releasing the solenoid (and gravity) cause it to go down.  If it is coming down on it's own with gravity; I doubt friction at each corner is your issue.

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10 minutes ago, 1newbie said:

sounds like it is plumbed the same as mine.  One hose to extend the ram which lifts the lift and releasing the solenoid (and gravity) cause it to go down.  If it is coming down on it's own with gravity; I doubt friction at each corner is your issue.

That's what I was thinking, unless somehow the friction / binding is happening in the last 1-2' of travel towards the top....

I appreciate all the feedback, hopefully get this problem figured out soon.

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5 hours ago, 1newbie said:

sounds like it is plumbed the same as mine.  One hose to extend the ram which lifts the lift and releasing the solenoid (and gravity) cause it to go down.  If it is coming down on it's own with gravity; I doubt friction at each corner is your issue.

Here is what I’m working with... I don’t see anything that looks like a breather?

AC765A8D-DC44-4D9F-9783-84E5A33E833F.thumb.jpeg.2a2db675a1683b5a291d63298e341fc7.jpeg

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It may have been mentioned earlier, I didn't read all the replies, but is there a chance the lift posts are bent at the top, or out of square enough to keep it from raising all the way with weight on it?

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The breather would be at the end of the hydraulic cylinder that does not have the hose going to it. 

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1 hour ago, 1newbie said:

The breather would be at the end of the hydraulic cylinder that does not have the hose going to it. 

Sorry I’m not familiar with hydraulics at all... would that be this location? AF7D336D-76C6-4D27-912A-596210CD75F8.thumb.jpeg.e8382ebe66f47a03eadfa8a637e6c7a9.jpeg

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