Log Splitter Will Not Retract: Common Issues And How To Fix It

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Are you a homeowner with a faulty log splitter, and it isn’t retracting, but you don’t know what to do or how to fix it? If yes, then you are definitely in the right place.

Log splitter will not retract is an issue that many log splitter users experience. A hydraulic log splitter makes use of pressurized fluid for powering a force behind the wedge to split wood. If the log splitter is weak or not performing as expected, there will be a strong likelihood that something isn’t right, especially when the log splitter ram will not retract. There are many issues that could affect its performance, and you will need to know how to resolve the problem.

In this article, you will get to know about the common log splitter issues, how to know if your log splitter is broken, and how to fix log splitter will not retract among others. Continue reading to get all the answers that you are looking for.

Is your log splitter broken?

It might sometimes appear as though something critical has affected the performance of your log splitter, such as the log splitter ram will not retract, or it appears like there’s no power coming to the log splitter. More often than not, there are small issues that can be resolved with ease.

To start off, you should check the log splitter and the wood that you’re trying to split. If a log isn’t splitting all the way through, the log might be too green or too large, which means that it’ll require a greater force than your log splitter machine can manage. Moreover, ensure that the log is loaded properly, isn’t too long, or isn’t on an angle. 

How to fix the log splitter will not retract issue?

This issue arises if the ram has properly extended and the log splitter will not retract properly and quickly. It is probably because the nut might have come out of the piston. The pressure might have pushed the ram forward and the splitter is not retracting. 

If you want to solve this issue, you’ll have to turn off the engine, hold the bleed valve open, and push back the ram using a narrow rod. Once you’ve pushed it back in, you should remove the loose nut, and then replace it before you use it again to prevent further damage to the machine.

Log Splitter (Ram not working let’s fix it ) #Menditman 🦾👍

How to fix log splitter ram will not retract?

If the ram of the log splitter isn’t returning properly or is jerking after returning, there are multiple ways to resolve this issue. Once it is resolved, you’ll be able to get it back up and running pretty smoothly.

First, you should check that the moving carriage is not obstructed. You can do so by checking under the blade/pusher and down the sides of the carriage for any possible splinters of wood that might be obstructing the carriage.

Moreover, check that the plastic spacers under the blade, on the underside of the splitter, or between the carriage haven’t been dislodged properly.

This one is basic to figure out, but you should also check the log bed for a build-up of sap. You can even apply a thin layer of grease to the bed, allowing it to operate more smoothly.

To resolve this issue, you should use the ram stop for locking the ram in a position around 150mm forward. Then, remove the bolts that are holding the blade or pusher to the carriage, and then remove the blade/pusher. Lastly, unlock the ram stop, if the carriage returns and the arms are bent. 

You can even check the amount of bend with a straight edge. In case it is less than 5mm, you might be able to strengthen them in a vice.

Common log splitter issues and how to fix them

Hydraulic problems in log splitters are typical like shaking or vibration, log splitter will not retract, and more. They are pretty easy to locate and troubleshoot. Hydraulic systems are largely based on the mechanism where the pressurized fluid is released, which will act as the driving force and power the machine to split the wooden logs. If you notice that your log splitter will not retract, or it seems weak to hold the pressure, this indicates that there’s more pressure than the hydraulic pump can handle.

Vibration or shaking

If there’s a vibration or shaking while using the log splitter, you’ll have to check the hydraulic oil level and refill it if needed. Sometimes, low oil levels can also cause vibration in the machine. If the oil levels are at the exact mark, there’s a probability that there is air in the lines.

This problem can be resolved with ease. First, you should open the bleed valve and oscillate the pressure plate 3-4 times. After that, recheck the oil levels before you tighten the bleed valve back. It’ll help you troubleshoot the issue, or maybe your system will have to be flushed thoroughly.

Wedges will not cut properly

Sometimes, everything looks to be running smoothly and precisely in your device, but then, the wedges aren’t able to split the log. In such circumstances, ensure that the piece of wood is placed at the right angle and isn’t too long.

If all that is absolutely in manner, then you’ll have to examine the wedge. After using it for a long time, the wedges can become blunt, and it’ll be difficult to cut as expected. The chances of the wedge becoming blunt are pretty high if you’ve been using it to cut down green or knotty logs. Wedges are pretty easy to dismantle, and they can easily be sharpened using a file to get the log splitter back running again.

log splitter not working

Loss of driving force

A hydraulic log splitter makes use of a hydraulic piston to deliver the driving force. An oil leak or air in the system would cause a loss in the driving force, which results in the plate’s slow movement. Open the bleed valve, check the hydraulic oil level, refill it when needed, and store your splitter in a shelter or garage. This will help keep the oil slightly warmer as oil loses viscosity in cold weather.

If the plate is moving slowly, you’ll have to change your system’s piston. It will also be necessary to clean your filters as a part of the regular maintenance process. Clogged filters can also hinder oil movement through the system as it should, creating a pressure drop.

Cylinder rod won’t move

Sometimes, you might notice that the cylinder rods aren’t moving, and the hydraulics aren’t engaging. In that case, you may have a pretty straightforward solution. If you’re using your log splitter for the first time, you should check the shipping plugs and ensure that they are still in position.

If not, then all you need to do is disconnect the hydraulic losses while removing the socket plugs. You should flush them or change the hydraulic fluid. Sometimes, blocked control valves can also cause the problem and have to be cleared by flushing the hydraulic system.

Another case is that the shaft coupling might have become loose. You should re-tighten the engine-pump alignment for solving this type of problem.


Why is my log splitter not working?

Sometimes, your log splitter might not work as expected, and it could either be the issue with the log splitter itself, the wood being too green, or logs not being set at the right angle.

What is log splitter ram will not retract issue?

Log splitter not retracting issue will arise if the ram has properly extended and the log splitter won’t retract.

Why is my log splitter ram not retracting?

The log splitter ram might not retract because the moving carriage could be obstructed, the plastic spacers under the blade haven’t been dislodged, or there might be a build-up of sap under the log bed.

What are the common log splitter issues?

Some of the common log splitter issues include log splitter not retracting, vibration or shaking issue, cylinder rod not moving, or loss of driving force among others.

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Hi, I'm Mike - but my friends call me Backyard Mike. I'm the founder of this website, and I'm addicted to outdoor power tools. I love to work with wood and share my knowledge here on this website with you. You can find more about me here.