How to Replace a Log Splitter Valve: RuggedSplit 700-Series

This Tech Corner takes you step-by-step through how to install a replacement valve on a RuggedMade 700-series log splitter. This single spool hydraulic directional control valve features a power beyond circuit that is well suited to multiple valve set-ups, which the 700-series of wood splitters have, thanks to its hydraulically powered log lift. If you are experiencing a leaky valve situation, this video will show you one option that may solve the issue.


It can be a messy job, so wear hand and eye protection as you follow along at home!

Video Transcript

I'm Jared with RuggedMade. In today's tech video, we're going to go over the installation of a replacement valve on a 700-Series Log Splitter. The 700-Series ships with a couple of different valve configurations. You may have received two identical valves, like this, and if for some reason there was an issue with one of the valves, you would receive a replacement which might look more like this style of valve. It has essentially the same functions but it connects a little bit differently, so the kit you would receive would include a few different fittings and a few different hoses.

So, today, we're going to walk through how to remove this valve and replace it with this one.

So we're going to start by disconnecting our hydraulics. Remember; with hydraulic systems, until you're positive that there's no pressure in the system, you want to wear eye protection and protect your skin. But, then, once those are removed, we're just going to bag them and tag them so they don't leak everywhere and then we'll start removing the fittings, because some of these fittings are going to move over from the valve that you have currently on your machine onto the new valve, and then there are a few additional fittings that you can see in our close-up of the kit contents.

So, let's get started. So, before we disconnect anything on our hydraulic system, let's just cycle our valves back to neutral and release any system pressure. But, we still have our skin protected and eye protection on. So, now we're going to disconnect these hydraulic hoses. And, most of them are going to stay on the machine, so we're just going to use zip ties and baggies to kind of keep them out of the way so they don't dribble everywhere while we go to work on the valves.

So, with these 37-degree compression fittings, it doesn't take much to break them loose, just like it doesn't take very much to tighten them. And, with just about an eighth of a turn, they're already hand loose. No fluids come out, so we know our system is depressurized. So one trick with this type of compression fitting is if the hose has some tension in it and it's cocked to one side, these can be a little bit harder to move. If you just straighten it out these will swivel very freely, and here you can see some fluid weeping out. That's normal. One tip is to just throw a baggie of some kind over the top. The baggie not only helps cut down on the mess, it also prevents any contaminants from getting into your open system. With these hoses near the top it's kind of hard to get them to stay up high, but what we can do is zip-tie these to each other. Get these levers off the valves just so we have some room to work with. The big wrench - just drop them down like that - keep these here so they do not get lost. One thing to note, when you're using a big wrench like this to get these off is it's very easy to go a little bit too far, and if your wrench isn't really tight, you get this action and you will damage the threads. So two tips: one, make sure your wrench is really snug so there's no play, and two, don't let the ends of the wrench go past the flat part of the fitting.


We got lucky because it came off the fitting to what we wanted. This is the valve that we're going to reuse and then we're all done with this valve. So one of the biggest differences between the original setup and the new setup is that this valve has its own return line. So, we're going to install this three-quarter elbow here. And, we need to do it now because if we wait until after it's installed on the other valve there's not enough clearance between the two. And we're going to remove this cap and install the Power Beyond sleeve and then we can mate the two valves to each other.

So if it's been a while since you did an NPT fitting, let's just go over how to tape them. You're using a PTFE type of thread seal tape. It's available at any hardware store. We also have it available. Get a nice clean piece, and the trick here is to wrap it in the correct direction. If you wrap it in the wrong direction, when you go to thread this into the hole, you'll be unwinding it and it'll bunch up and won't do its job. So you want to do it in this orientation. If the fitting is considered fixed, you want to wrap the tape in a clockwise direction around it. You want it to be pretty snug, so I'm applying tension as I apply it and I'm going to do two, maybe three, wraps. Depends. If you didn't put on quite enough and you find that this fitting goes too deep into the port, you can just take it out and reapply with more tape. But, less tape is better than more tape. If you put on too much, it will get pushed off of the threads as this is inserted and it will not be doing its job. It will not remain between the male and female threads and it won't provide any sealing action. So two, maybe three, wraps is usually enough. Also depends on how thin the tape is. Some tapes are thinner than others like, Blue Monster, it's very fine. You might want to go three or four wraps with that and, just to clarify, this is our NPT end of the fitting. This particular fitting has two different standards. This end has a very subtle taper and these threads are going to actually mesh and slightly deform with each other creating part of the seal the thread tape will make the seal even better. This other end is going to go back onto a hydraulic hose and it's using the 37-degree compression method of sealing. So don't get those mixed up and never apply tape to these fittings.

This is where a nice big table bench vise can be really handy. So, I've got it pretty much snug. It's pointing, when this valve is mounted onto the platform, these ports will be facing up. So this is the up direction. I can fine tune this after I have it on the machine. I can go back a little more. I can't come any more vertical but I probably want my hose pointing up and back a little bit. And, we've already cleared this area, so now we can proceed with installing our Power Beyond sleeve. So I'm just going to leave that the way it is. It can get a little tighter without being over-tight but if I go another 360 it'll probably be over-tight and I risk damaging the threads or the casting. So we're going to leave that one like that for now and now we'll take off this Power Beyond port cap. So, notice this is sealed with an o-ring and the Power Beyond sleeve that we're going to be replacing it with also seals with an o-ring. There's an inner seal here, that's part of the Power Beyond galleys, but this is the primary seal right here. So those pretty much are direct replacements for each other. The threads are parallel. So all we're doing is a mechanical compression to compress the o-ring for sealing. There's no need to apply thread tape to this fitting. You can get that almost all the way down just with hand tension and then we'll just use the wrench to do that last little bit of compression on that o-ring.

So, now, where the original valves had this straight fitting with NPT male threads on both ends, we're going to replace that with almost the same thing; it just is longer to provide additional clearance for this additional return elbow, which did not exist on this earlier valve. But, we do need to apply the thread tape to this because it's NPT. And, you can see why the sequence of installing these fittings is important. If you did this first you wouldn't be able to get a 360-degree spin on the elbow. So, our replacement valve has been prepped, we've got an additional return elbow port, we've got our straight fitting installed with tape, and now this is ready to have the second valve mounted back on it.

A couple things to check because this has been installed before we've got some residual PTFE thread seal tape in the threads here, so we're just going to take a rag and maybe a toothbrush just to make sure we get all that potential contamination out of there before we put new tape on this fitting and mate the two together.

So now we've got thread seal tape on the other end of our straight fitting, we've cleaned out the female port on this valve, and we're ready to mount these two.

And when you need to line up two things like this, it's better to stop before you get past perfect, so if you need to make adjustments they're in the clockwise tightening direction. With these types of fittings, you don't want to go too far and then back them out partially. If you go too far and you need to unthread them, unthread them all the way, re-tape them and start over. In this case we're off by maybe two or three degrees, so now I can just fine tune it. And, those are all set.

So, with the new valve installed, our dimensions have changed. So we're going to need to drill a couple of holes into this platform to secure the valves. What we'll do is we'll reuse the three original holes for this valve which uses these M8 bolts. So we'll pop these bolts in to help get everything lined up, and now, we just need to add two holes for this guy. This third hole is going to be left to hang over. It's still going to be very secure because in addition to the two holes that we are going to be using, it's connected to this valve through this straight fitting so it's still a very secure installation. The holes that are cast into the body of this valve are even bigger than this drill bit which is 3/8ths. The 3/8ths is pretty close to M10; these are M8 bolts so that's still going to give us a little bit of extra room to get everything tightened up. So we'll use a 3/8th bit to drill through these holes and create the new mounting points. You might find with this hole back here, that it's very close to the edge of the platform. It's really not going to be a problem if there's very little meat left between the edge of the hole and the edge of the platform. You can angle the dual valves just very slightly forward just so there's still a little bit of a platform left between the hole and the edge.


So, we've got our five bolts. Note that the innermost hole is very close to the top of the cylinder, so we use a shorter bolt for that one. Okay, so everything fits. So now we can get these bolts locked down and move on to installing the last of the fittings.

So here are the two fittings that we just removed from this valve, which originally controlled the log lift. We've re-taped them and now we're going to install them on this valve which is now going to control the log lift. And, those larger fittings that we took out of the original valve here, we're going to install those over here, because this valve has the detent and that makes it the more suitable valve to use to control the big log splitting cylinder.

And we'll leave these with about that much angle; if we want to bring them over a little more, that's fine, because that continues to tighten them if we went too far here we wouldn't be able to back them off just a little bit. We'd have to take them completely out and start over.

In a similar way we're going to angle these fittings at about the same direction as these so that all those hoses don't interfere with each other> Keep in mind, we're going to have a return line coming up out of here, so we're going to have to do some fine-tuning with these once we get the hoses connected so we'll just leave it there. It'll probably come a little farther by the time we're done. And finally we have our inlet fitting. Let's put that back here, because this valve is still going to get connected directly to the source of fluid from the pump.

And, we'll leave it here for now, so that we have some wiggle room as we get the hose lined up. Typically, this fitting will end up facing pretty much straight back. Now let's reconnect our hoses. Let's start with the main cylinder. So, we've got the hose coming from the retract end or rod into the cylinder. We're going to connect that to the B port and notice that on every valve, the ports have letters A or B cast into the body. And the key here is to keep the hose lined up with the fitting so that this collar swivels freely.

You can get it almost all the way just by hand. These collars take a 32mm wrench or a large adjustable wrench will work fine, and because these compression fittings are parallel thread, you really don't need to torque these too much; you get them snug and then about another 1/8 of a turn is all you need. If you find that the hose is turning with the collar too much, you can put a second wrench on these flats to hold the hose in place. So now we can connect the other hose which connects to the clevis end or the extended end of the cylinder to the valve port marked A.

Now we can reconnect our log lift hoses. Now with the main cylinder, using this valve, there's a detent, so there's a right and a wrong way to connect it. You want the lever going out to extend the rod and then the lever coming back with the detent to retract the rod. With the log lift, there's no detent, so it really doesn't matter which way you connect it, it's more of a personal preference. We're going to connect the rod end or the retract end of the log lift cylinder to port A and the extend end of the log of cylinder to port B and that's going to set it up so that extending the lever will raise the log lift, but if you prefer the other way, that's fine, too.

Let's connect the supply line from the pump. So one other change from the older hydraulic routing to the new design is the return line. You already saw that we've added a return line elbow here off of the first valve, which the original valve did not have. So we now have two return lines that need to come back into a T, which is why we're going to add this T. And then they'll be the original single return line that goes from here back to the filter and the hydraulic fluid reservoir. So what we're doing right now, is, we're going to put an elbow on here. And then we have these two straight fittings.

And this will match up with our valves so we got the return line from the first valve to here, return line from the second valve to here, and then the original single return line from here back to the filter in the reservoir. So these three are all NPT so let's throw some PTFE thread seal tape on there to get this all tightened down and then we can go back and get these mounted up and connected to the return hoses.

And, finally, we can connect the return lines. So, the biggest change we've made is to add a return line from this valve to the original return line here. So we've got two short hoses that are included in the kit and they're going to connect to the T that we put together which will connect to the original return line, so let's get those hooked up now.

Now the one here is a little bit tricky because it goes right between the two hoses for the log splitting cylinder, so before you get to this point you may want to test fit these hoses a couple times to make sure you have appropriate clearance. As you can see, I've got these splayed out a little bit. If they were perfectly parallel there would be some interference between these hoses in this return line.


And here's our original return line.

And here you can see why this hose is angled up in order for the fitting to clear the detent adjustment bolt for this valve.

So all of our hoses have been reconnected. We've already reinstalled our two levers and now would be a good time to double check that all of your connections are tight and that you didn't miss any. And, if you have lost some fluid while you were doing this, or if you took this opportunity to replace your fluid, you want to make sure that your reservoir has an appropriate amount of fluid before we start the engine. So once you've done that, it's time to check the system. We want to check functionality and make sure that the two cylinders and the valves operate in the right directions. And, we want to check for leaks, so do wear protective equipment, wear gloves and wear eye protection before you fire up the engine.