Gehl Skid Steer Hydraulic Problems and [Quick Fix]

Gehl skid steer loaders are renowned for their versatility and efficiency in various construction and agricultural applications. Central to their performance is the hydraulic system, which plays a critical role in powering attachments and ensuring smooth operation. Understanding the fundamentals of Gehl skid steer hydraulic systems is essential for any operator or owner.

The hydraulic system in a Gehl skid steer comprises a hydraulic pump, hydraulic fluid, hoses, control valves, and cylinders. It enables the machine to lift heavy loads, operate attachments like buckets and grapples, and perform various tasks with precision and power. This hydraulic setup is what makes Gehl skid steers so valuable on job sites.

Importance of Proper Hydraulic System Maintenance

Proper maintenance of the hydraulic system is paramount to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your Gehl skid steer loader. Neglecting maintenance can lead to costly repairs, downtime, and even safety hazards. Hydraulic problems can occur unexpectedly and disrupt your work, causing frustration and financial losses.

Routine maintenance not only prevents these issues but also extends the life of your equipment. It helps you get the most out of your investment and ensures that your Gehl skid steer continues to operate efficiently, job after job.

Purpose of the Blog Post

The primary purpose of this blog post is to empower Gehl skid steer operators with the knowledge and tools to troubleshoot common hydraulic problems effectively. We will delve into some of the most frequently encountered hydraulic issues and provide step-by-step guidance on how to identify, diagnose, and resolve them.

By the end of this post, you’ll be better equipped to keep your Gehl skid steer’s hydraulic system in optimal condition, minimize downtime, and maximize productivity on the job site. Let’s dive into the world of Gehl skid steer hydraulic systems and start troubleshooting those common problems.

Common Gehl Skid Steer Hydraulic Problems

Gehl skid steer loaders are renowned for their robust hydraulic systems, but like any machinery, they can encounter issues over time. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most common hydraulic problems Gehl skid steer operators may face, along with detailed information on symptoms, causes, and troubleshooting steps to help you get back to work efficiently.

Low Hydraulic Fluid Level


  • Symptom 1: Slow or weak hydraulic functions
  • Symptom 2: Unusual noise, such as whining or groaning
  • Symptom 3: Overheating of hydraulic components


  1. Fluid Leakage: Leaks in hydraulic hoses, fittings, or components can result in a gradual loss of hydraulic fluid.
  2. Improper Fill Level: The hydraulic fluid may have been initially filled incorrectly, or there may have been fluid loss due to evaporation or leaks.

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Check the Fluid Level: Inspect the hydraulic fluid reservoir or sight gauge to ensure it is at the recommended level. Top up if necessary with the manufacturer-recommended hydraulic fluid.
  2. Inspect for Leaks: Carefully examine the hydraulic hoses, connections, and components for any signs of leakage. Replace or repair any damaged parts.
  3. Check Hydraulic Filter: A clogged or dirty hydraulic filter can impede fluid flow. Inspect and replace the filter as needed, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

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Slow or Unresponsive Hydraulic Functions


  • Symptom 1: Sluggish response when operating hydraulic functions
  • Symptom 2: Incomplete or jerky movements of attachments
  • Symptom 3: Reduced lifting or digging capacity


  1. Low Hydraulic Fluid: Insufficient hydraulic fluid can hinder the system’s ability to operate smoothly and efficiently.
  2. Contaminated Fluid: Dirty or contaminated hydraulic fluid can cause blockages and reduce system performance.
  3. Worn Hydraulic Components: Over time, hydraulic pumps, valves, or cylinders may wear out, resulting in reduced functionality.

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Check Fluid Level: Ensure that the hydraulic fluid is at the correct level. Top up if necessary.
  2. Inspect Fluid Quality: If the hydraulic fluid appears dirty or contaminated, consider draining and replacing it with fresh, clean fluid.
  3. Examine Filters: Dirty or clogged hydraulic filters can restrict fluid flow. Inspect and replace them as recommended by the manufacturer.
  4. Inspect Hydraulic Components: If the issue persists, have a professional inspect the hydraulic pump, valves, and cylinders for wear or damage. Replace or repair components as needed.

Excessive Hydraulic Noise


  • Symptom 1: Loud, unusual noises such as banging, knocking, or screeching during hydraulic operation.


  1. Air in the System: Air bubbles trapped in the hydraulic fluid can cause noise and reduce system efficiency.
  2. Worn Components: Worn hydraulic components may produce excessive noise during operation.

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Bleed the Hydraulic System: To remove air from the system, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for bleeding. This typically involves operating the hydraulic functions while allowing air to escape.
  2. Inspect Hydraulic Components: If noise persists, have a professional inspect hydraulic pumps, valves, and cylinders for wear or damage. Replace or repair as necessary.

Leaking Hydraulic Fluid


  • Symptom 1: Visible puddles or drips of hydraulic fluid under the skid steer.
  • Symptom 2: Reduced hydraulic fluid level in the reservoir.


  1. Damaged Hoses or Fittings: Wear and tear or impact damage can cause hydraulic hose or fitting leaks.
  2. Loose Connections: Improperly tightened hydraulic fittings can lead to leaks.
  3. Worn Seals or O-rings: Over time, seals and O-rings in hydraulic components may deteriorate, allowing fluid to escape.

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Locate the Leak: Carefully inspect the hydraulic system to identify the source of the leak. Clean the area to make leaks more visible.
  2. Tighten or Replace Fittings: If the leak is due to loose connections, use appropriate tools to tighten them securely. If hoses or fittings are damaged, replace them.
  3. Inspect Seals and O-rings: Have a professional inspect hydraulic components for worn or damaged seals and O-rings. Replace as needed.

By following these troubleshooting steps, you can effectively address common hydraulic problems in your Gehl skid steer loader, ensuring it continues to operate at peak performance on your job site.

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Troubleshooting Gehl Skid Steer Hydraulic Problems

When faced with hydraulic issues in your Gehl skid steer loader, it’s essential to follow a systematic approach to identify and resolve the problem. Here, we’ll outline a step-by-step troubleshooting process to help you get your skid steer’s hydraulic system back in working order.

Safety Precautions Before Troubleshooting

Safety should always be your top priority when working on hydraulic systems. Before you begin troubleshooting:

  • Turn Off the Engine: Ensure that the skid steer’s engine is completely shut off.
  • Release Hydraulic Pressure: Engage and disengage the hydraulic functions to release any built-up pressure.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Wear appropriate PPE, including safety glasses and gloves, to protect yourself from hydraulic fluid and potential hazards.
  • Isolate the Machine: If possible, isolate the skid steer in a safe area to prevent accidents or unauthorized access during troubleshooting.

Checking Hydraulic Fluid Level

1. Proper Procedure

  1. Locate the hydraulic fluid reservoir or sight gauge on your skid steer.
  2. Clean the area around the reservoir to prevent contamination.
  3. Remove the reservoir cap or access cover.
  4. Use a dipstick or sight gauge to check the fluid level. Ensure that it falls within the recommended range indicated by the manufacturer.
  5. If the level is below the recommended range, proceed to add hydraulic fluid.

2. Adding Fluid if Necessary

  1. Obtain the correct type of hydraulic fluid recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. Slowly pour the hydraulic fluid into the reservoir to avoid overfilling.
  3. Periodically recheck the fluid level to ensure it remains within the recommended range.
  4. Replace the reservoir cap or access cover securely.

Inspecting Hydraulic Hoses and Fittings

1. Signs of Damage or Leaks

  1. Visually inspect all hydraulic hoses for signs of damage, including cuts, abrasions, or bulges.
  2. Look for any visible leaks around hose connections and fittings.
  3. Feel for wetness or the presence of hydraulic fluid on hoses and fittings.

2. Replacing or Repairing Damaged Components

  1. If you find damaged hoses or fittings, replace them with new, manufacturer-approved parts.
  2. Ensure that all connections are tightened securely to prevent leaks.

Checking Hydraulic Filters

1. Importance of Clean Filters

  1. Clean hydraulic filters are crucial for maintaining proper fluid flow and preventing contamination.
  2. Clogged filters can lead to reduced hydraulic system performance and damage.

2. Replacing Clogged Filters

  1. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for filter replacement intervals.
  2. Locate and access the hydraulic filters on your skid steer.
  3. Carefully remove and replace clogged or dirty filters with new ones, ensuring proper installation.
  4. Dispose of old filters following environmental regulations.

Testing Hydraulic Pump

1. Assessing Pump Performance

  1. Operate the skid steer’s hydraulic functions and observe their responsiveness and power.
  2. Pay attention to any unusual noises, such as whining or grinding, which may indicate pump issues.
  3. Measure the hydraulic pressure and flow rate using appropriate testing equipment if available.

2. Replacing if Necessary

  1. If you suspect a faulty hydraulic pump due to poor performance or abnormal noise, consult a professional technician for further diagnostics.
  2. If a pump replacement is required, have it done by a qualified technician to ensure proper installation.

Inspecting Control Valves and Cylinders

1. Identifying Issues with Valves and Cylinders

  1. Operate the hydraulic functions associated with control valves and cylinders.
  2. Look for uneven or jerky movements, which may indicate issues with valves or cylinders.
  3. Check for visible damage or fluid leaks around control valves and cylinders.

2. Repair or Replacement Options

  1. If you detect problems with control valves or cylinders, consult a professional technician for a thorough inspection and potential repair or replacement.

Bleeding the Hydraulic System

1. Procedure for Removing Air from the System

  1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for bleeding the hydraulic system, as procedures may vary depending on the model.
  2. Typically, the process involves operating hydraulic functions while allowing air to escape from designated bleed points.
  3. Continue the bleeding process until all air bubbles are purged, and the hydraulic system operates smoothly.

By following these troubleshooting steps and safety precautions, you can effectively diagnose and address common hydraulic problems in your Gehl skid steer loader. However, if you encounter issues that you are unsure how to resolve or if problems persist, it’s always advisable to seek the expertise of a professional technician to ensure the proper functioning of your skid steer’s hydraulic system.

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Preventive Maintenance Tips for Your Gehl Skid Steer

Ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of your Gehl skid steer hydraulic system requires more than just troubleshooting when problems arise. A proactive approach to preventive maintenance can save you time, money, and headaches in the long run. In this section, we’ll explore essential preventive maintenance tips to keep your skid steer running smoothly.

Regular Inspection Schedule

Regular inspections are the foundation of effective preventive maintenance. By sticking to a routine, you can catch issues before they become major problems. Here’s how to establish a regular inspection schedule:

  • Daily Checks: Start your workday with a quick visual inspection. Look for any obvious leaks, damaged hoses, or loose fittings. Ensure the hydraulic fluid level is within the recommended range.
  • Weekly Inspections: Set aside time each week for a more detailed inspection. This includes checking for signs of wear on hydraulic components, examining filters, and verifying that all hydraulic functions operate smoothly.
  • Monthly Checks: On a monthly basis, conduct a comprehensive inspection of the entire hydraulic system. This involves inspecting control valves, cylinders, and the hydraulic pump for any signs of wear or damage.

Keeping Hydraulic Fluid Clean and at the Proper Level

Maintaining clean and adequately filled hydraulic fluid is crucial for the performance and longevity of your skid steer’s hydraulic system. Here’s how to ensure your hydraulic fluid is in top condition:

  • Regularly Check Fluid Level: Monitor the hydraulic fluid level according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Top up the fluid as needed with the correct type of hydraulic fluid.
  • Change Hydraulic Fluid: Change the hydraulic fluid at intervals recommended by the manufacturer or when it appears dirty or contaminated. Properly dispose of old fluid following environmental regulations.

Replacing Filters as Recommended

Hydraulic filters play a pivotal role in keeping your system clean and efficient. Follow these steps to maintain your filters properly:

  • Refer to Manufacturer Recommendations: Adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines for filter replacement intervals. Typically, filters should be replaced annually or as specified.
  • Inspect Filters During Routine Checks: During your regular inspections, examine the condition of hydraulic filters. If they appear clogged or dirty, replace them promptly.
  • Proper Installation: When installing new filters, make sure they are correctly fitted and securely in place to prevent leaks or contamination.

Lubricating Moving Parts

Lubrication is essential for reducing friction and preventing wear on moving parts within the hydraulic system. Here’s how to approach this aspect of preventive maintenance:

  • Follow Lubrication Schedule: Consult your Gehl skid steer’s manual to identify the lubrication points and recommended schedule. Lubricate as instructed by the manufacturer.
  • Use the Right Lubricant: Ensure you use the appropriate lubricants recommended for your skid steer’s components. Using the wrong type of lubricant can lead to damage.
  • Clean Before Lubricating: Before applying lubricant, clean the components to remove dirt and debris. This ensures that the lubrication is effective.

Storing the Skid Steer Properly

Proper storage practices are vital for preserving your skid steer’s condition during periods of inactivity or when not in use. Consider the following tips:

  • Clean the Machine: Thoroughly clean the skid steer, including the hydraulic system, to remove dirt and debris. This prevents contaminants from affecting the hydraulic components.
  • Store Indoors When Possible: Whenever possible, store your skid steer indoors or under cover to protect it from the elements, including rain, snow, and UV exposure.
  • Use Protective Covers: If indoor storage isn’t feasible, consider using protective covers designed for skid steers to shield it from the weather.

Operator Training for Hydraulic System Care

Properly trained operators are your first line of defense in preventing hydraulic problems. Ensure your skid steer operators are well-informed and skilled in hydraulic system care:

  • Training Programs: Provide comprehensive training programs for your operators that cover proper machine operation, routine maintenance procedures, and recognizing early signs of hydraulic issues.
  • Safety and Maintenance Manuals: Supply operators with safety and maintenance manuals provided by Gehl to serve as reference materials.
  • Regular Refresher Training: Conduct periodic refresher training sessions to keep operators up-to-date with the latest maintenance techniques and safety protocols.

By implementing these preventive maintenance tips and investing in operator training, you can maximize the lifespan of your Gehl skid steer’s hydraulic system, reduce downtime, and ensure that it continues to perform reliably on your job site. Remember, proactive maintenance is the key to long-term success with your skid steer loader.

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In the world of construction and agriculture, your Gehl skid steer loader is a trusted workhorse, and its hydraulic system is at the heart of its power and versatility. With proper care and attention, you can keep this essential component operating at peak performance for years to come.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored common Gehl skid steer hydraulic problems and provided step-by-step troubleshooting instructions to help you diagnose and resolve issues efficiently. Remember, a well-maintained hydraulic system not only saves you time and money but also ensures the safety and productivity of your operations.

We’ve also emphasized the importance of preventive maintenance, which can’t be overstated. Regular inspections, clean hydraulic fluid, and timely filter replacements are all part of the equation. Lubricating moving parts and proper storage practices can extend the life of your skid steer loader even further.

Lastly, we stressed the significance of operator training. Well-informed operators are your first line of defense against hydraulic issues, and ongoing training ensures they’re equipped to spot problems early and follow best practices for maintenance and safety.

By following the advice and guidelines provided in this blog post, you can keep your Gehl skid steer loader’s hydraulic system in top-notch condition. Remember that safety always comes first, and if you encounter issues beyond your expertise, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional technician.

With a commitment to regular maintenance, operator training, and troubleshooting know-how, you can make the most of your Gehl skid steer loader and tackle your construction and agricultural tasks with confidence. Here’s to many more productive and trouble-free days on the job site!

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