Hydraulic Cylinder Honing

Contamination Control "GOING CLEAN"

What is Honing?

Honing is metal finishing process akin to fine grinding which is used to create the optimal surface finish in a hydraulic cylinder tube. Any respectable hydraulic shop should be providing honing service as a critical part of a cylinder rebuild. It is a simple process and a relatively a small portion of the total cost of a cylinder repair.

Why Hone?

A properly honed tube is the basis for a superb seal, smooth operation and extended seal life for any hydraulic cylinder. Leaks are the most widely cited repair indicators that will prompt a cylinder repair. When leaks are present, contaminants could enter the system. Contaminants can create scratches, low spots and other irregularities in the cylinder tube wall. These irregularities accelerate seal wear and eventually cause internal leaks. Internal leakage is a silent killer that decreases performance. Deglazing is another reason to hone a cylinder before installing new seals. Deglazing will in effect restore the original crosshatch finish that will improve lubrication, minimize wear and offer smoother operation. Honing can also be considered an inspection tool. After a light hone, surface imperfections may be revealed that could indicate a more severe condition.

When Hone?

Every time a cylinder is resealed, light honing should be performed as part of a thorough repair.  It is widely accepted that honing when resealing will save you time and money when you consider the costs of more frequent rebuilds, shortened seal life, and lost time  A suitable hone job will renew the bore finish and provide a true bore that is necessary to achieve maximum life, peak performance and reduced downtime.

In some instances, cylinder damage is too severe and a light hone will not be sufficient.  In such cases, the hydraulic repair experts at Complete Hydraulic Service can offer several options for a sound repair.

  • Heavy hone to "Clean Up" which can correct both surface and geometrical problems
  • Custom over-size seals can be sourced and precisely matched to the finished bore diameter
  • "Salvage" a tube utilizing our expert welding and machining capabilities
  • Welding of most common materials used in hydraulic cylinders
  • If a tube is a total loss, a new tube can be manufactured to meet or exceed all OEM specifications
  • Broad inventory of commonly used tube material and sizes available


DON'T SKIP CRITICAL STEPS WHEN REBUILDING – ALWAYS HONE YOUR CYLINDERS