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Water in place of mineral oil

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  • Water in place of mineral oil

    while demoing a set of tools the salesman was discussing with us on how the tools that use mineral oil, that water can be used in place of mineral oil in emergencies. does anyone have any info on this? is this a good thing during emergencies? is it good for the tools? any insight would be helpful.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
    IACOJ Attack

    Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

  • #2
    Where is everyone? As a rule, water and oil don't mix. However, in a true emergency situation, you could probably manage to make the tool work with water since it can be pressurized in a hydraulic cylinder and force it to do its work. The done side is that once everything is done, you might need to sent the tool and the power unit in for a complete overhaul to correct any problems the mix with water may have caused.

    The real mess is when you mix other types of fluid together. Mineral oil and phosphate ester or ethyl glycol can mix to to make something that is about the consistancy of slime or jelly.

    Ethyl glycol can be mixed with water most easily since it is a water based material. The only thing required when you are finished is to pour out about the same amount of fluid from the power unit equal to the water you added. Replace this with fresh ethyl glycol and you are within a reasonable working tolerance for the system. Still, if it was my tool, I would just replace all of the fluid to be sure.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

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


    • #3

      What brand of power unit was implied in the sales pitch?
      Any literature to back it up?

      Interesting thought. Most of our Units that carry the hydraulic tools DON'T carry more fluid it is usually back at the station.

      Just curious.

      be safe.

      fraternally, JT
      Last edited by NB87JW; 07-30-2003, 08:26 PM.
      "Making Sense with Common Sense"
      Motor Vehicle Rescue Consultants
      ( [email protected]) Jordan Sr.


      • #4
        this was from the hurst salesman. no literature was provided that i have seen. maybe when the tools come in this week or next. i'm under the impression that if you do put water in the tank then afterwards it must be flushed completely and new fluid put in.

        thanks for the responses thus far.
        NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
        IACOJ Attack

        Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.


        • #5
          Yea our Hurst rep also told us in emergencies to use only water, NOT motor oil. Seems motor oil recks havok on the seals.

          Our first pump had to be rebuilt.

          I didn't do it!


          • #6
            Water can be used because it is a liquid and non compressable it will work. The tool will have to be flushed because the water will corrode the inside if the setup. I would take the tool in for this.

            Don't put any other fluid into the tool ie another brand hydraulic fluid because damage to the seals will result and the repair cost will be much greater.

            Just another tool for the toolbox


            • #7
              Easier solution

              We carry spare oil and the tools to service the unit on the Heavy Rescue.Never had to use them but nice to know they are there if needed.T.C.


              • #8
                Spare hydraulic fluid here also, and also have never had to use it.

                If you're squirting hydraulic fluid everywhere for some reason, take the time to shut the line down. In the time it takes to do this you shouldn't lose a significant amount. We haven't atleast.
                God Bless America!Remember all have given some, but some have given all.
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                • #9
                  Danger... Will Robinson.... Danger

                  Carrying extra mineral oil and having the training and tools to add it onsite seems more logical to me than adding water.

                  The biggest thing to consider though is that leaking hydraulic fluid is a HUGE HAZARD. Hydraulic injection injuries are extremely dangerous and must be dealt with immediately. Although patients may not show serious symptoms, they have approx. 90 minutes to be delivered to a micro surgeon for treatment to have any reasonable chance at a full recovery.

                  When hydraulic tools fail, it’s better to call mutual aid for replacement tools than to risk one of these ugly injuries to one of your members and/or the patient.

                  Stay Safe


                  • #10
                    I don't think I would use water. Depending on how long you used the pump the oil can get hot. Even if it is not 212 deg you can still get boiling when you release the pressure because the energy has to go somewhere. This could lead to a very spongy tool and unsafe operation.

                    First, carry spare fluid, or a spare power unit. I would use motor oil and replace the seals later before using water.

                    But why carry motor oil if you don,t carry power unit oil!!!!


                    • #11
                      On our closed system it is possible to use Water, but otherwise we use Vegetable Oil, because of the whole heat issue. But if you did need something, water may be used. It wouldnt get that heated up either.

                      We have Amkist tools just for anyone that wants to know.


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