Log Splitter Ram Won’t Return? Here’s Why.

Does your log splitter’s ram not return? There are a few potential causes to investigate. The piston might be blocked or bent. Removing the blockage or straightening out the ram will solve this. Alternatively, you could be having pressure problems with the pump. In this case, you’ll need to check the hoses and the amount of hydraulic fluid.

The ram is one of the most important parts of the log splitter. It’s the part that will come out and slice through the wood. But sometimes, it will get trapped outside the machine. So, what causes this and how can you solve the problem?

There are a few reasons why you might be having a problem with your ram. This is fairly common and doesn’t necessarily mean that your log splitter is broken. Keep reading to learn some simple ways you can solve these issues.

Close up of log splitter ram at end of split cycle

Related Reading: General Guide to Using Log Splitters

Finding the Problem

There are a few things that might be stopping your ram from returning. These include:

  • Something is blocking the piston
  • Bent piston
  • Build-up of sap
  • Pressure problem
  • The log splitter is pointing downhill

Let’s take a closer look at some of these problems and how they can be solved.

Log Splitter Facing Downhill

Let’s start by talking about one of the easiest problems to fix. Sometimes, the splitter will be on a downhill slope. This will put more force behind the ram as it breaks through the log. However, it will make it hard for the ram to get back into the cylinder, as it needs to overcome the force of gravity. All you need to do is put the log splitter on level ground, and everything should be solved.

Blockage of the Piston

This is one of the most common types of problems. Sometimes, when you are chopping wood, splinters can come off. They can then get caught in the piston. This might be what’s stopping the ram from going back into the piston.

There is an easy way to see if this is what’s causing the problem. First, you need to turn off the machine. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally hurt yourself. Then, you’ll be able to look for splinters. Make sure that you check the base of the piston.

It’s also important to make sure that you look at the plastic spacers. Sometimes, these can fall and get stuck in the ram.

There are a few ways that you can solve this. You might be able to wiggle the splinter-free. If not, you will need to remove the ram. To do this, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  1. Set it 150mm forward
  2. Remove the bolts that are holding the blade in place
  3. Gently remove the piston from the machine.

As you are doing this, the splinter should fall out as well. Then, you’ll be able to place the piston back into the machine. Tighten the bolts again and it should ease back into position.

Bent Piston

When you remove the piston, it’s a good time to check its condition. Sometimes, it might not be going back into position because the piston has been bent.

What you need to do will depend on how severely bent the piston has become. You can test the angle it is bent at by placing it next to a rule. If it’s bent by less than five degrees, you will be able to solve the problem by putting it into a vice. This will apply pressure to the piston, bending it back into the right shape.

However, the angle is worse than five degrees, you will need to replace the piston. You’ll need to take note of the dimensions to make sure that it will fit into your splitter. Sometimes, you might be able to buy a suitable replacement from the manufacturer’s website. You should also talk to the store that sold it to you. They might be able to help you fix it.

Build-up of Tree Sap

One of the most common problems that your ram encounters are a build-up of sap. This is especially common if you are cutting through a lot of greenwoods. Thankfully, this is one of the easiest problems to solve.

All you need to do is apply some grease to the piston. This will break down the sap. You should notice it sliding back into the splitter a lot easier.

Closeup of Hydraulic Cylinder on a log splitter cutting wood

Pressure Problems

The log splitter uses a hydraulic system. This means that it relies on pressure. When the pressure is high enough in the chamber, the ram will go out, the force allowing it to cut through the wood. Then, the pressure is lowered, so the ram comes back into the splitter.

As you can imagine, a pressure problem can quickly turn into a big issue. There are a few things that can be causing these issues. Some of the things to check to include:

  • Shipping plugs. If this is one of the first times that you are using the machine, or you have recently replaced the hoses, it might be worth checking the shipping plugs. These are designed to protect the hoses during transit. To solve this problem, you just need to disconnect the hoses. Then remove the plugs, and put them back in.
  • Check the shaft coupling. If you’ve been using the log splitter for a while, some parts might have shaken loose. This is a common problem. Tighten up any loose nuts, particularly around the shaft coupling, which helps control the connection between the hydraulic pump and engine.
  • Change the hydraulic fluid. Hydraulic fluid doesn’t last forever. In most cases, you will need to replace it every six months. Though you might need to consult with your owner’s manual.
  • Flush the hoses. Finally, you might have a blockage in the hydraulic hoses. There is an easy way to solve this problem. Just remove them from the ram and flush them.

Call a Mechanic

In most cases, the ram not going back into the cylinder is a fairly easy fix. Likely, it falls under one of the aforementioned categories. However, if you’re still having problems, you might want to consider calling in a mechanic.

Final Thoughts

The ram not going back into the log splitter is a fairly common problem. Thankfully, there are a few simple troubleshooting options you can explore. Once you’ve exhausted these options, it might be a good idea to call for professional help.