1. #1
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    Default Hydraulic Tool Fluid

    What fluids are you running in your hydraulic rescue tools? Have you changed fluid types or still running the brand that came with the tool? If you have changed, have you noticed any good or bad problems, such as increased rust, better or worse performance, etc?

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    We have our fluid changed once a year by the dealer under a maint. contract to keep our warranty good. The spare fluid we keep on our trucks is not the tool name brand but is the spec. that the tools require.

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    Amkus has recently changed to MV-1 Mineral Base Hydraulic Fluid.
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    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
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    We use the standard Ethyene Glycol in our Phoenix Rescue Tools. We switched our old Hurst unit from Phosphate Ester to Glycol so that we would not need to keep two different fluid types in stock and would not risk someone getting the two mixed up (which produces sludge!).

    I am a fan of glycol because it is water soluable. That means that in a pinch, you can replace lost fluid with water and continue to use your tools. You just need to replenish the lost fluid when you are finished with the evolution.

    There is one problem I have noticed with Glycol that I recently encountered with a person on my maintenance crew. Since you mentioned "rust" I am wondering if you are having the same experience. When glycol dries, it looks very much like rust, when in fact, it is just dried glycol. Glycol is much like dish soap when it dries, except the color is different. To clean it off, all you have to do is rinse the material off with warm water and maybe whipe with a towel or a brush if it is caked on. Then you can use silicone spray on the exposed metal parts to prevent corrosion and you are good to go. In our case, they went after it with WD-40 and made a bit of a mess since that makes "sludge" also... just not enough to cause big problems.

    Hope that helps!
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    The issue I have with the use of ethylene glycol is that it is harmful if swallowed or after prolonged skin contact. Couple this with the fact that is is very slippery.

    All it takes is blown coupling or similar to start spraying the stuff around...
    Luke

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    Originally posted by lutan1
    The issue I have with the use of ethylene glycol is that it is harmful if swallowed or after prolonged skin contact. Couple this with the fact that is is very slippery.

    All it takes is blown coupling or similar to start spraying the stuff around...
    Harmful if swallowed? Maybe if you drink a lot if it. The stuff is basically like soap. Taste horrible, but I have ingested it when I used to demo tools and it never bothered me. Although, I am told that if you drink enough of it, it acts like a laxitive.

    As for prolonged skin contact, I normally whipe it off my skin and tend not to soak in any fluids I find around the station (except for dihydrogen oxide).

    As for being very slick. Every hydraulic fluid I have ever been exposed to seems to be pretty slippery to me. I am not a chemist, but I assume you have to use a fluid that is a base in order to develop hydraulic qualities.

    Phosphate ester is the one that I hate. We had a coupling give away on a scene once and sent two guys to the hospital with that stuff burning their skin and eyes. I am told that it is flammable should it spray out of an opening under pressure.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    Here is a pasted comment on Ethylene Glycol found on the web... search "Ethylene Glycol"...

    "Ethylene glycol and propylene glycol are clear liquids used in antifreeze and deicing solutions. Exposure to large amounts of ethylene glycol can damage the kidneys, heart, and nervous system. Propylene glycol is generally regarded as safe for use in food. Ethylene glycol has been found in at least 34, and propylene glycol in at least 5, of the 1,416 National Priorities List sites identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)."

    Harmful if swallowed?? You are correct, it is anti freeze and it is not as harmless as some try to get you to believe.

    If you don't keep the mix ratio perfect you can also get rust or reaction (pitting, etc)to metal, especially aluminum.

    Overall, in the rescue world Phosphate Ester is still the best way to go.

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    Tidbit of the day: At animal hospitals when an animal comes in for antifreeze poisoning, it is treated with Everclear or someother strong alcholic beverage.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
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    Ryan, so are you saying that if you are to flush your radiator, or jaws for that matter, your should drink plenty of Everclear just to be safe?
    YGBSM!
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    Originally posted by RyanEMVFD
    Tidbit of the day: At animal hospitals when an animal comes in for antifreeze poisoning, it is treated with Everclear or someother strong alcholic beverage.
    No wonder firefighters like the stuff so much! That also explains why I have never developed any of the problems associated with ingesting it... since I always used an alcohol treatment after doing a training session!!

    Ok... let's compare apples to apples... could someone do the same internet research on mineral oil and phosphate ester and post it here?
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    Richard,you probably know this but here goes.Ethylene Glycol is "permanent"antifreeze like what you use in your car.Even trace amounts inqested cause some major long term effects to your innards.As far as slippery goes(for Lutan)I've never seen a hyd fluid that didn't make things slippery.I prefer mineral oil,but everything I work around is powered by it so it's a "me"kinda thing.All the fluids have plus/minus so the choice comes down to what your system uses and personal preference. T.C.

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    Originally posted by Rescue101
    Richard,you probably know this but here goes.Ethylene Glycol is "permanent"antifreeze like what you use in your car.Even trace amounts inqested cause some major long term effects to your innards.
    I guess I am going to die then... been good knowing ya'll!!

    You did hit the nail on the head. There is nothing "perfect" in this world. It all boild down to what you are most comfortable with or what your are required to use by the folks who make your tools.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    Least I won't have to worry about you freezing.At 5000 plus they all can hurt you if you're not paying attention and they all beat a hacksaw when they're working.'Thou I like to have several hacksaws around for the times they don't.Funny thing about mechanicals,they seem to like that forgotten word:Maintainence. T.C.

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    Back to the topic at hand.

    We have our tools serviced & tested yearly.
    We run very very few extrications so we let the Servicer (also the salesman & warranty rep) decide if the fluid needs replacing. Typically we will get a full "Flush & Fill" about every 2-3 years (this includes bleeding all the old fluid out of the hoses and the tools themselves, not just the power units).

    As for spare fluid, we keep a gallon at the station. The Rep. will refill or replace that every time he services the tools so we are always using exactly what they put in the tools. If we should somehow run out of spare fluid we just call the rep & he sends us more.

    Not to get off topic again on tool brands - but it's the level & quality of service we get from our local rep that keep us using the brand of tool we have.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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