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Avoid ‘Dry Starts’ of Hydraulic Motors ben lee

How to Avoid ‘Dry Starts’ of Hydraulic Motors

We recently had a motor brought to our attention that had failed after only 600 hours of service. Having been expected to have a service life of over 7,000 hours, this seemed particularly strange. What could cause such a negative result? Upon inspection, it became evident that there was not enough lubrication of the bearings in the motor. In fact, there was hardly any oil in there.

Unfortunately it’s a mistaken belief that the oil that is circulating through hydraulic components is enough to maintain all parts of a hydraulic system. This simply isn’t true and each component should be taken care of and given attention in its own right to prevent this type of mishap from occurring.


In this situation, the case of the hydraulic motor should have been filled with hydraulic oil when it was installed, before the case drain line was connected. Without any oil in a piston-type motor, it’s almost guaranteed that it will fail prematurely upon starting.

Although it could be possible that the motor may have some hydraulic oil in it caused by internal leaking that is unlikely to be the case without the motor or the pump having been damaged. Until the component fails, that damage will not be known about – and this could take anywhere between 100s and 1000s of service hours to be discovered.

Our customer got back to us and told us that the warranty claim was rejected for this component. It was not installed properly, so the customer had to handle the expense of getting it repaired himself. It can be very costly to fail to install or commission components properly.

Although we aren’t a manufacturer of standard hydraulic systems, we do have some experience in how to maintain and take care of them. However, our speciality is mobile hydraulic systems. If you need to find out more, contact us today. 

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