What To Do When Your Forklift Mast Won’t Move

Forklift Service

Does your forklift mast get stuck at its peak or starting position when trying to adjust the height? Maybe the lift mechanism slows and churns as you try to move it up and down? Do you ever see the mast raise or lower erroneously?

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot and even fix the issues you see in your forklift mast, so you can keep your Indiana material handling fleet running at peak performance.

Check & Maintain Your Forklift’s Hydraulic Fluid

The most common cause of problems with your forklift’s mast is an issue of hydraulic fluid and oil. A low level of hydraulic fluid won’t allow your forklift to generate enough power to raise the mast and lift heavy loads, which can also manifest in how the forklift moves and turns. Your first step in diagnosing a forklift mast problem should be to check the hydraulic fluid level.

Sometimes it’s as simple as topping off your lift truck with some additional hydraulic fluid, but some unlucky forklift owners may find that they have a fluid leak, typically in a hose or in one of the hydraulic cylinders. If it’s a simple leak in a hose or pump, you may be able to seal it yourself to buy a little time before getting it fixed by a professional. If it’s a cylinder leak, however, it’s best to get it immediately serviced by a certified forklift mechanic.

Inspect Your Hydraulic System Filters

The second most common cause of the forklift mast misfiring during lift is in your hydraulic system’s filters. Inspect and clean out your hydraulic system and pump filters, removing any dirt or debris that could inhibit function. If debris clogs a filter, it could prevent the proper flow of fluid, causing overheating or improper alignment in the lift carriage. If possible, get a technician to properly test your filter function to ensure there isn’t any unseen danger.

Give Your Forklift Mast Channels Some Attention

A little more uncommon root of mast lift problems could be in the channels. Especially in two or three-stage mast assemblies, the channels can fill with dirt or debris, causing friction, wear, and forcing your hydraulic system to work harder. Thoroughly clean out the channels, and lubricate them for a smoother lift.

Don’t Overload

It’s rare, but it still happens – some forklift operators experience lifting and mast sticking issues because they’re putting too much weight onto their lift trucks or using them for something they’re not intended. This usually happens with improperly trained operators or when a company buys a used forklift from a less-than-trustworthy seller who may overstate the forklift’s load capacity. If you have any questions about forklift operator training or what the specific load limits of a forklift in your fleet are, get in touch with one of Tynan’s pros.

To talk about any forklift mast issues your fleet is experiencing, if you’re in the market for a new or used forklift, or just have some questions you’d like answered, give our team a call at 317-597-4003.
A stuck forklift mast can halt your material handling in its tracks.

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