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adding ATF to hydraulic fluid. Login/Join 
Green grass and
high tides
Picture of old rugged cross
posted
So I have a 8-10 yo woodsplitter. The B&S engine had carb issues and would not start. Took in to my small engine shop. Which I trust.

They cleaned up the carb so the one speed B&S engine will start and run now. The unit had been sitting for a few years in my shed. I noticed it looked like hydraulic fluid had leaked out some not sure if it is the pump or where for sure.

The mechanic who worked on it helped me load it. He said it was maybe three qts low on hydraulic fluid. So they added andn topped it off with ATF. He said that is a normal thing to do as it cheaper and works as hydraulic fluid just fine.


Thoughts?


Thanks guys.



"Practice like you want to play in the game"
 
Posts: 14080 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hydraulic fluid is commonly available in 5gal pales. It's hard to locate it by the quart in my experience.

I wouldn't top off a skidsteer with it or anything high dollar like that. A log splitter... I doubt it will cause issues. Some hydraulic fluid contains an anti foaming additive. And without it, you can wreck $3000 hydraulic pumps.


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Posts: 1411 | Location: Near Austin, TX | Registered: December 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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While not recommended to mix fluid types it should be fine and not give you any problems.
Any idea where the fluid is going?
Just keep it topped off if your loosing fluid.
 
Posts: 16450 | Location: DFW | Registered: December 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Green grass and
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Thanks guys. I appreciate it. I figured as I would have be shocked if they did something that would be a no no as they are good folks and have around quite a while and their mechanics have been on staff for a long time.

Mustang, There is lever on what I think is the pump that engages the splitter. I am thinking it is leaking there. Not sure if it is the hose connection or inside the pump.



"Practice like you want to play in the game"
 
Posts: 14080 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
On the DL
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I needed some mil spec 5606 hydraulic fluid. Aircraft maintenance shops buy it in 55 gallon drums.

I just took a clean container to an aviation mechanic and she sold me what I needed for a very reasonable price.



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Posts: 21863 | Location: Central Florida (near Orlando) | Registered: January 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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ATF is a hydraulic fluid. Whether it has the right viscosity, additives and other properties for this application is another question. It probably won't hurt anything. And if your machine needed that much, you'd better fix the leak.
 
Posts: 22747 | Location: Johnson City/Elizabethton, TN | Registered: April 28, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As a formulator of lubricants, may I offer caution making the substitution. The ATF is used in transmissions with a pump, but hydraulic and ATF fluids are formulated with very different components to meet very different specifications. If you want more technical details, I could share them.


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Posts: 3307 | Location: Commonwealth of Virginia | Registered: January 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by egregore:
ATF is a hydraulic fluid. Whether it has the right viscosity, additives and other properties for this application is another question. It probably won't hurt anything. And if your machine needed that much, you'd better fix the leak.


This. ATF is formulated with a lot of different detergents than Hydraulic fluid. It most likely won't hurt anything, but it is NOT the same. IIRC Hydraulic fluid is sold in gallon containers in stores such as NAPA and Advanced. Your log splitter most likely uses AW 46 (weight) and ATF is 32 weight. Again most likely won't hurt in a log splitter, but I'd put the correct stuff in it. Not sure how ATF is even considered cheaper as AW 46 is $2o something a gallon. I see people interchange it a lot in the marine industry on steering that operates at a low psi......have never seen it put it in a stabilizer system operating at 900 psi.
 
Posts: 18175 | Registered: June 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Not really related, but still an interesting story about using wrong hydraulic fluid. In the 1980s I worked in a town that had an Air Force base nearby. I had a rash of auto brake systems contaminated with a red hydraulic fluid. But auto brakes take a completely different fluid. Any petroleum-based fluid like this, power steering fluid, etc., will attack and swell up the seals in the system, starting in the master cylinder. A really bad case of it locked the brakes up altogether. It seems the airmen were working on their cars in the hobby shop and thought, hey, free hydraulic fluid.
 
Posts: 22747 | Location: Johnson City/Elizabethton, TN | Registered: April 28, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Different fluids. Heck, the auto manufactures can't even agree on one type of transmission fluid.

8 or 10 years old...
Has the original fluid ever been changed?
If not... This now means you now have an even better reason to do it.



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Posts: 2539 | Location: Middle Tennessee | Registered: February 07, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I recently learned ATF is what is used in my hydraulic levelers on my motorhome. Who knew?


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Posts: 12092 | Location: Snowbirding in the RV | Registered: July 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
On the DL
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quote:
Originally posted by egregore:

Not really related, but still an interesting story about using wrong hydraulic fluid. In the 1980s I worked in a town that had an Air Force base nearby. I had a rash of auto brake systems contaminated with a red hydraulic fluid. But auto brakes take a completely different fluid. Any petroleum-based fluid like this, power steering fluid, etc., will attack and swell up the seals in the system, starting in the master cylinder. A really bad case of it locked the brakes up altogether. It seems the airmen were working on their cars in the hobby shop and thought, hey, free hydraulic fluid.
Yeah, the hydraulic fluid that you refer to is plentiful at military aviation facilities. The mil spec hydraulic fluid that I mentioned in an earlier post in this thread, was H1506-R (or was it 5606-R --it was a long time ago) hydraulic fluid. It was red. I think that is what the 'R' stood for.

It was used in the last two airplanes I owned. Earlier of the two was a Cessna 210, the landing gear and flaps were hydraulically actuated and used this stuff, and it was also used in the brake system.

The last airplane I owned was the V-Tail, where this fluid was used in the brakes (landing gear and flaps were operated by electric motors, so no hydraulic fluid).

Back in the 1950s I was a missile geek in the Navy, working with the Regulus missile. The control surfaces were actuated hydraulically, using this fluid.

My 1978 BMW R100RS motorcycle used the same stuff in the fork, for front wheel suspension, but used DOT-4 for brake fluid.



A mind is a terrible thing.
 
Posts: 21863 | Location: Central Florida (near Orlando) | Registered: January 03, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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