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The R230"s hydraulic vario roof pump aka hydraulic unit is a complex, high-performance pump with integrated valve block, two different output pressures, high-end electronic noise suppression, and high flow rate.

Intermittently working pumps are often mistaken for internal leaks in hydraulic cylinders. While internal leaks occur in OEM vario roof cylinders on occasion, almost every hydraulic pump will fail eventually on account of some design flaws that Top Hydraulics fixes with its upgrade. Thus, your pump will be better than a new one.

Is your pump blowing a fuse every time you try to use it? That is a clear sign for a short from the pump"s electric motor, and Top Hydraulics" rebuild will take care of it.

You send in your malfunctioning vario roof convertible hydraulic pump, p/n 2308000030, 2308000088, 2308000330, 2308000348, aka A 230 800 00 30, A 230 800 00 88, A 230 800 03 30, A 230 800 03 48.

If possible, raise your roll bar before removing the pump. Note that line 100 going to the top of the roll bar support cylinder is always pressurized (on working pumps). Before removing line 100 from the pump, loosen the two inside hex (Allen) bolts that hold the valve block to the pump. There will likely be a small amount of fluid coming out between the valve block and the pump body (fraction of an ounce), but this relieves pressure from line 100.

Do NOT drill a hole in the reservoir! - the filtering in the original pumps is insufficient, and tiny plastic shavings can cause significant damage to the pump and the valve block. Top Hydraulics may have to charge extra for rebuild service on pumps with severe contamination or holes drilled in the reservoir. An additional charge may also apply to pumps that have been abused by DIY repair efforts or severely damged by fire or water. Note that the latter is rare, but we want to mention it for completeness.

The upgrade service for hydraulic convertible top pumps replaces sensitive parts inside the pump with re-designed, precision machined aluminum ones, improves fluid filtering on those pumps that need it, services the valve block, solenoids and check valves, upgrades electronic components, upgrades internal seals, and replaces the electric motors if needed. Early model year vario roof pumps p/n 2308000030 (aka A 230 800 00 30) and 2308000348 (aka A 230 800 03 48) fail very frequently at this point, and should be upgraded proactively. Top Hydraulics" service makes these high-performance pumps better than brand new ones!

Pump removal is quite simple. Disconnect the pump from the wiring harness, remove the bolts that mount the pump frame to the car, and turn the pump on its side. Now you will see all the hydraulic lines going into the pump, held in place by two retaining plates. Each plate has numbers engraved where the lines go in, and the lines (hoses) have the corresponding numbers printed on them in red or white ink. Thus, there is no need for labeling the hoses. First loosen the two inside hex (Allen) bolts that hold the valve block to the pump - one or two turns is enough. There will likely be a small amount of fluid coming out between the valve block and the pump body (fraction of an ounce), but this relieves pressure from line 100. (As mentioned above, there is normally pressure on line 100, and that would otherwise make line 100 pop out of the pump once its retaining plate is moved.) Then remove the retaining plates and pull out the hoses.

We suggest that you remove the mounting frame from the pump - it makes shipping cheaper and easier. Do not attempt to drain fluid from the pump. Instead, wrap the pump inside a large garbage bag, and then inside another one. That should take care of keeping oil leaks contained, and it will protect your pump. Buffer the parcel well inside, and tape it up well.

Top Hydraulics will not guarantee that the rebuilt units will be cosmetically perfect, but they will work well. For example, if you send us a pump in a bent mounting frame, then we may use our best efforts to straighten out the frame, but we will not replace it. We do not replace damaged electrical connectors - please package your pump carefully.

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The Vario Roof hydraulic system has eight or nine actuators and/or latch cylinders (depending on model year), including the trunk"s load assist, PLUS two pawl lock cylinders and one roll bar lift cylinder. All cylinders have the hydraulic lines attached and must be shipped in that condition.

The seals in ALL these cylinders fail with time. Usually, the roof lock cylinder 2308000872 aka A 230 800 08 72 is first to leak. If you live in a hot climate and you have noticed a hydraulic leak, then having Top Hydraulics upgrade all eleven cylinders and the pump at the same time is the best choice - you will have to deal with the hydraulics only once, you save a lot of labor in the end, and the convertible top hydraulic system will outlast your car.

Top Hydraulics" rebuild service is a true upgrade, since the rebuilt cylinders will last much longer than the originals under the same conditions, and a design flaw gets eliminated from the otherwise excellent hydraulic system.

The hydraulic lines are not detachable from the cylinders. That means the cylinders have to be shipped with lines attached and intact. Top Hydraulics can replace cut lines on the cylinders, but there would be an additional charge.

The R230"s hydraulic Vario roof pump aka hydraulic unit is a complex, high-performance pump with integrated valve block, two different output pressures, high-end electronic noise suppression, and high flow rate. The upgrade service for your hydraulic top pump replaces heat sensitive parts inside the pump with re-designed, precision machined aluminum ones, improves fluid filtering, services the valve block, solenoids and check valves, upgrades electronic components, upgrades internal seals, and replaces the electric motors if needed.

Early model year vario roof pumps p/n 2308000030 and 2308000348 aka A 230 800 00 30 and A 230 800 03 48 fail very frequently at this point, and should be upgraded proactively. Top Hydraulics" service makes these high-performance pumps better than brand new ones!

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In the ABC system, a computer detects body movement from sensors located throughout the vehicle, and controls the action of the active suspension with the use of hydraulic servomechanisms. The hydraulic pressure to the servos is supplied by a high pressure radial piston hydraulic pump, operating at 3,000psi. Accumulators regulate the hydraulic pressure, by means of an enclosed nitrogen bubble separated from the hydraulic fluid by a membrane.

A total of 13 sensors continually monitor body movement and vehicle level and supply the ABC controller with new data every ten milliseconds. vertical body acceleration, one acceleration sensor measures the longitudinal and one sensor the transverse body acceleration. As the ABC controller receives and processes data, it operates four hydraulic servos, each mounted on an air and pressurized hydraulic fluid strut, beside each wheel.

Almost instantaneously, the servo regulated suspension generates counter forces to body lean, dive and squat during various driving maneuvers. A suspension strut, consisting of a steel coil spring and a shock absorber connected in parallel, as well as a hydraulically controlled adjusting cylinder, are located between the vehicle body and wheel. These components adjust the cylinder in the direction of the suspension strut, and change the suspension length. This creates a force which acts on the suspension and dampening of the vehicle in the frequency range up to five hertz.

1984 Mercedes-Benz W124 selected models of E class had this technology (rear only hydraulic suspension) height adjustable suspension and self-levelling suspension.

Early-1980s through early "90s, Lotus Engineering, the consultant branch of Lotus Cars, experimented with active suspension layouts, combining Electrohydraulic servo valve technology from aerospace, a variety of sensors and both analog and digital controllers. About 100 prototype cars and trucks (and several racing cars) were built for a wide variety of customers, with variants of the high bandwidth Lotus Active system.

1986-Lotus Engineering and Moog Inc. formed joint venture Moog-Lotus Systems Inc. to commercialize the Lotus technology with electro-hydraulic servo valves designed by Moog. The joint venture was later purchased by the TRW Steering and Suspension Division.

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A hydraulic pump converts mechanical energy into fluid power. It"s used in hydraulic systems to perform work, such as lifting heavy loads in excavators or jacks to being used in hydraulic splitters. This article focuses on how hydraulic pumps operate, different types of hydraulic pumps, and their applications.

A hydraulic pump operates on positive displacement, where a confined fluid is subjected to pressure using a reciprocating or rotary action. The pump"s driving force is supplied by a prime mover, such as an electric motor, internal combustion engine, human labor (Figure 1), or compressed air (Figure 2), which drives the impeller, gear (Figure 3), or vane to create a flow of fluid within the pump"s housing.

A hydraulic pump’s mechanical action creates a vacuum at the pump’s inlet, which allows atmospheric pressure to force fluid into the pump. The drawn in fluid creates a vacuum at the inlet chamber, which allows the fluid to then be forced towards the outlet at a high pressure.

Vane pump:Vanes are pushed outwards by centrifugal force and pushed back into the rotor as they move past the pump inlet and outlet, generating fluid flow and pressure.

Piston pump:A piston is moved back and forth within a cylinder, creating chambers of varying size that draw in and compress fluid, generating fluid flow and pressure.

A hydraulic pump"s performance is determined by the size and shape of the pump"s internal chambers, the speed at which the pump operates, and the power supplied to the pump. Hydraulic pumps use an incompressible fluid, usually petroleum oil or a food-safe alternative, as the working fluid. The fluid must have lubrication properties and be able to operate at high temperatures. The type of fluid used may depend on safety requirements, such as fire resistance or food preparation.

Air hydraulic pump:These pumps have a compact design and do not require an external power source. However, a reliable source of compressed air is necessary and is limited by the supply pressure of compressed air.

Electric hydraulic pump:They have a reliable and efficient power source and can be easily integrated into existing systems. However, these pumps require a constant power source, may be affected by power outages, and require additional electrical safety measures. Also, they have a higher upfront cost than other pump types.

Gas-powered hydraulic pump:Gas-powered pumps are portable hydraulic pumps which are easy to use in outdoor and remote environments. However, they are limited by fuel supply, have higher emissions compared to other hydraulic pumps, and the fuel systems require regular maintenance.

Manual hydraulic pump:They are easy to transport and do not require a power source. However, they are limited by the operator’s physical ability, have a lower flow rate than other hydraulic pump types, and may require extra time to complete tasks.

Hydraulic hand pump:Hydraulic hand pumps are suitable for small-scale, and low-pressure applications and typically cost less than hydraulic foot pumps.

Hydraulic foot pump:Hydraulic foot pumps are suitable for heavy-duty and high-pressure applications and require less effort than hydraulic hand pumps.

Hydraulic pumps can be single-acting or double-acting. Single-acting pumps have a single port that hydraulic fluid enters to extend the pump’s cylinder. Double-acting pumps have two ports, one for extending the cylinder and one for retracting the cylinder.

Single-acting:With single-acting hydraulic pumps, the cylinder extends when hydraulic fluid enters it. The cylinder will retract with a spring, with gravity, or from the load.

Double-acting:With double-acting hydraulic pumps, the cylinder retracts when hydraulic fluid enters the top port. The cylinder goes back to its starting position.

Single-acting:Single-acting hydraulic pumps are suitable for simple applications that only need linear movement in one direction. For example, such as lifting an object or pressing a load.

Double-acting:Double-acting hydraulic pumps are for applications that need precise linear movement in two directions, such as elevators and forklifts.

Pressure:Hydraulic gear pumps and hydraulic vane pumps are suitable for low-pressure applications, and hydraulic piston pumps are suitable for high-pressure applications.

Cost:Gear pumps are the least expensive to purchase and maintain, whereas piston pumps are the most expensive. Vane pumps land somewhere between the other two in cost.

Efficiency:Gear pumps are the least efficient. They typically have 80% efficiency, meaning 10 mechanical horsepower turns into 8 hydraulic horsepower. Vane pumps are more efficient than gear pumps, and piston pumps are the most efficient with up to 95% efficiency.

Automotive industry:In the automotive industry, hydraulic pumps are combined with jacks and engine hoists for lifting vehicles, platforms, heavy loads, and pulling engines.

Process and manufacturing:Heavy-duty hydraulic pumps are used for driving and tapping applications, turning heavy valves, tightening, and expanding applications.

Despite the different pump mechanism types in hydraulic pumps, they are categorized based on size (pressure output) and driving force (manual, air, electric, and fuel-powered). There are several parameters to consider while selecting the right hydraulic pump for an application. The most important parameters are described below:

Speed of operation: If it is a manual hydraulic pump, should it be a single-speed or double-speed? How much volume of fluid per handle stroke? When using a powered hydraulic pump, how much volume per minute? Air, gas, and electric-powered hydraulic pumps are useful for high-volume flows.

Portability: Manual hand hydraulic pumps are usually portable but with lower output, while fuel power has high-output pressure but stationary for remote operations in places without electricity. Electric hydraulic pumps can be both mobile and stationary, as well as air hydraulic pumps. Air hydraulic pumps require compressed air at the operation site.

Operating temperature: The application operating temperature can affect the size of the oil reservoir needed, the type of fluid, and the materials used for the pump components. The oil is the operating fluid but also serves as a cooling liquid in heavy-duty hydraulic pumps.

Operating noise: Consider if the environment has a noise requirement. A hydraulic pump with a fuel engine will generate a higher noise than an electric hydraulic pump of the same size.

Spark-free: Should the hydraulic pump be spark-free due to a possible explosive environment? Remember, most operating fluids are derivatives of petroleum oil, but there are spark-free options.

A hydraulic pump transforms mechanical energy into fluid energy. A relatively low amount of input power can turn into a large amount of output power for lifting heavy loads.

A hydraulic pump works by using mechanical energy to pressurize fluid in a closed system. This pressurized fluid is then used to drive machinery such as excavators, presses, and lifts.

A hydraulic ram pump leverages the energy of falling water to move water to a higher height without the usage of external power. It is made up of a valve, a pressure chamber, and inlet and exit pipes.

A water pump moves water from one area to another, whereas a hydraulic pump"s purpose is to overcome a pressure that is dependent on a load, like a heavy car.

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Two Hose Couplers: Our patented Hose Couplers* will come attached to the hoses on your cylinder for quick installation. The hoses are permanently reconnected on the car with basic hand tools. Hoses are crimped internally and externally the same way as they are with the factory connectors. Most hydraulic systems operate at a peak pressure of 200 bar or 2900 psi. Cabriolet Hydraulics Hose Couplers are pressure tested to 10,000 psi without failure.

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Check valves are the simplest form of hydraulic devices in that they permit free oil flow in one direction and block oil flow in the opposite direction. Check valves may also be used as a directional or pressure control in a hydraulic system.

The spring rating varies based on how the valve is used in the system. One of the most common locations for a check valve is immediately downstream of the hydraulic pump (Figure 2). Notice that no spring is shown with the check valve symbol.

When used in this application, the spring pressure rating is usually 1-5 pounds per square inch (psi) and therefore not shown with the symbol. In this case, the valve is used as a directional control in that it allows oil flow from the pump to the system but blocks flow in the reverse direction. This is commonly called a pump isolation check valve. This valve serves four purposes within the system, which are detailed below:

The check valve will block pressure spikes back to the pump. Depending on the pressure, oil flows from the pump to the system at a speed of 15-30 feet per second. When a directional is de-energized to block flow or a cylinder fully strokes, the oil is rapidly deadheaded. The pressure in the line can quickly increase by two to three times. The check valve should then close and block the pressure spikes to the pump.

I recall a plywood plant changing four pumps due to cracking of the pumps’ housings. This occurred over a week’s time on the debarker hydraulics. When the plant ran out of pumps, the staff finally took out the check valve and found that the piston and spring were no longer in the valve.

This $150 check valve cost the company $15,000 in replacement pumps and another $50,000 in machine downtime. That was one expensive check valve. The truth is that if one mechanic had looked at the schematic and known why the check valve was in the system, the replacement of the pumps and subsequent expenses would have been avoided.

When a system is shut down, it is important to maintain oil in the lines. In many cases, the pump is mounted below the level of the system valves, cylinders and motors. The check valve downstream of the pump will prevent the lines from draining once the electric motor is turned off. If the oil in the lines drains through the pump and into the reservoir, a vacuum will occur.

Some systems have a hydraulic accumulator installed downstream of the pump and check valve. When the system is turned off, there is pressurized fluid inside the accumulator. The check valve will block flow from the accumulator, preventing the reverse rotation of the pump.

You can observe the pump shaft or electric motor fan to verify that the check valve is good. Please note that all systems using an accumulator should have a method of bleeding the hydraulic pressure down to zero psi when the system is turned off.

On many systems, one pump is used as a backup or spare (Figure 3). Each pump will have a check valve at the pump outlet port. The check valve will block flow from the online pump to the offline pump, preventing reverse rotation.

I remember being called into a papermill that kept losing one of the two pumps on its chemi-washer drives. The shaft seal of one pump continually blew out. When the mill ran out of spares, personnel had to ship their last pump by air freight to the factory in New York.

The timeline was so critical due to downtime costs that the pump was still warm when they received it back from the factory. Just prior to installing the pump, we removed the check valve in the case drain line and found it stuck in the closed position. This prevented the oil in the pump case from draining, which resulted in blowing out the seal.

If the oil is cold, the inlet pressure to the cooler may reach the check valve’s rating. The check valve will then open and direct the pump volume around the cooler. A check valve will also provide protection for an air-type heat exchanger if the tubes become contaminated.

When troubleshooting hydraulic systems, most everyone looks for something large to be the problem, such as a pump, valve or cylinder, but every component has a function. Be sure you understand the purpose of the check valves in your systems.

Al Smiley is the president of GPM Hydraulic Consulting Inc., located in Monroe, Georgia. Since 1994, GPM has provided hydraulic training, consulting and reliability assessments to companies in t...