Hydraulic office chair sinking on you? Replacing the hydraulic is easier than you may think. via /r/DIY

Hydraulic office chair sinking on you? Replacing the hydraulic is easier than you may think.

I have a really nice leather office chair that is now 20 years old. I'd noticed that the hydraulic cylinder wasn't working as well as it used to. It required a bit of coaxing to rise up. Then one day–phoomph. It wouldn't rise any longer. This chair originally retailed for $900. I wasn't about to just toss it. I looked on YouTube–sure enough, DIY tips on how to replace the chair hydraulic. AFAIK, there is no real feasible way to service the hydraulic… which seems a real waste considering the dense machined metal involved.

In short, the hydraulic cylinder is friction fit on both ends. With sufficient force you can dislodge it and then just replace it. There are many choices in replacement hydraulic cylinders. You can go as cheaply as $12, or as high as $90. But for about $25, you can get one that will work at least as well as the previous one.

  1. Measure the current hydraulic cylinder–length (both contracted & extended), diameter.
  2. Buy a replacement cylinder that at least matches the diameter. You can buy standard ones or "HD" (heavy duty) ones if its expected the chair will frequently endure higher than average weight. Check to be sure the travel distance matches. You may want to opt for shorter or higher range, depending upon your needs.
  3. Remove the base by slipping off the clip at the bottom of the cylinder, beneath the base. Use a flat screwdriver and a pair of pliers. Save the washer and bearing set just in case. Slip the base off.
  4. Get a pipe wrench and attach to the metal shaft of the old hydraulic with strongest grip possible. Pull on the wrench until the shaft starts to rotate and then work it off. You may need a breaker bar (long metal tube) to get better leverage. Use WD-40 if need be. Don't worry about scratching the metal shaft–it's done, useless.
  5. Set the new hydraulic cylinder in the base, bottom side down.
  6. If the original hydraulic cylinder had a multi-sleeve covering, place that on the new one.
  7. Lift up the chair and guide it onto the hydraulic cylinder.
  8. Once the chair seems properly seated, go ahead and sit on the chair. Work the hydraulic a few times to be sure it's working as desired.
  9. DONE

Consult various YouTube videos for visual guidance. Once you're done you'll be very satisfied with the renewed performance of your chair.

Submitted March 17, 2021 at 10:55PM by cytherian
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