Don't Buy An Enerpac Hydraulic Pump If You Want It Repaired In
Fifteen Or Twenty Years !
A rather rude awakening this week, finding out that the big pump I
was using on my 50 ton press turned into a hundred pounds of scrap
metal when it stopped working a couple months ago. I got it about 7-8
years ago, unused, but it was 15 years old at the time. Confirmed by
Enerpac technical personnel today: their pump technology evolves
rapidly enough to render older models obsolete and unsupported.
Confirmed by my local hydraulic service company : yeah, they pretty
much suck in that regard, while Power Team and OTC pumps remain
servicable, with repair parts available for a much longer period,
more than 25 years.
The Enerpac would cost around $5,000 to replace with a current model
today. I got in on Ebay for $1,000, so that's all I'm out. My second
biggest (now my biggest) is a Power Team pump that would be about
$4,000 today, which I just got repaired for $450. It's gone through 3
motors, and has cycled at least 5 times as many pressings at high
pressure than the Enerpac did before something internal broke down.
Bonny Doon uses Power Team pumps, by the way, so here's another good
reason to go that route if you want to sink some bucks into the
equipment. You'll know it will hold up well, and be fixable if and
when it finally does give out. I wouldn't be able to guess how many
cycles I've put my main pump through. Literally millions, I don't
That's interesting, Dar, I constantly look for ways to NOT buy Bonny
Doons products, they are too expensive. But, I always end up buying
Bonny Doon products because they work and Bonny Doon stands behind
their products. They make what seems to me is an honest attempt to
provide good products even in the areas that they dont' make
themselves such as hydraulic pumps. So this is a shameless plug for
BD but for reals, I can't find better.
Sam Patania, Tucson
When I was looking at pump systems (a veerrry long time ago), I
chose the Power Team for just this reason. Their long term approach
to customer service was (and is) unparalleled. As I say on the
original website and now the knew concepts site: Buy once...buy well.
Lee (the saw guy)
I think there is an alternative lesson here, dont buy 15 year old
equipment on ebay and expect it to last longer then a new one. I
would suggest that you paid too much for it then and now feel hurt
that you havent got your hoped value from it. Try getting parts from
the manufacturer for a 3 year old computer and you will hit the same
problem. If you buy an Ipad you get stuck after 6 months!
If you look at it as capital depreciation you are not down $1000 but
up about 2 years worth, ie you have not had to pay $400 towards the
next one. Big businesses factor this into their accounts as it gives
them a bigger tax break than we little 'uns are allowed here in the
UK. I doubt if it is much differnt anywhere.
It also makes me worry a little about the amount of R&D that is
being done by other companies in this field, have they got it right
from day 1 and Enerpac is only catching up or is it something that
Enerpac is stealing a march on them. Look at the motor industry.
I have had similar problems with pumps that Dar has had. I make a
lot of larger hydraulic systems for machines that I build in my shop.
Recently I decided to adapt that type of hydraulic system to the
small 20 ton press. The Enerpac systems are 10,000 psi systems. The
standard hydraulic systems that are used in bull dozers and all
large heavy duty hydraulic machinery are 2,500 psi systems. Not only
do they cost a lot less, they are much more reliable and the parts
are available all over the world and are easily repaired by the user.
No need to take it to a hydraulic service center.
I'll be putting up a video this week, hopefully, of a hydraulic
system I am building for a lady in Canada. It costs less than half
of the cost an Enerpac system, yet, is much more durable and
reliable. I post a link to the video(s) when they are done.
Lee, I'm still using that 1/2 hp Power Team pump I got from you way
back when, but mostly the 1 hp one that I got not much later. That's
the one I'm on the 3rd motor for, that something internal (not the
motor) finally wore out. A little block of steel with 4 bolt holes
in it, and one more for the high pressure piston. A $450, one pound
piece of steel, but way more agreeable than buying a new pump, or
$1,000 motor-replacement repair.
I've had both Power Team and Enerpac ramswith long life at high
Nick, Sure, there's the reasonable, alternative lesson to be learned
(more like already-known, but ignored). I got several years of tough
service for only $1,000, instead of maybe twice or 3x that life for
maybe $,4000- $5,000, so yes, I'm ahead, from any objective
perspective, even though $1,000 of pump mutated into 100 lbs of
scrap in an instant. Part of the point of my OP was ranting about
the fact that if Enerpac's service and support policy was like Power
team's, I would still probably be using my pump for a good many more
years. I know that there is plenty of obsolesence in products
everywhere ; I was somehwat surprised, and not a little miffed, to
find out that there was so much in Enerpac's electric pumps.
Sam, Goes back to the old "you get what you pay for" bit of wisdom.
Not everyone needs, wants, or can afford the best equipment out
there, but it's almost always better to something that isn't going to
crap out prematurely, even if the alternatives are tempting. Some
depends on what a person needs and wants to do, but it's always nice
to have more tool than you need than not enough. I've gone through a
lot of less than top quality tools in my life, and I don't really
regret buying any of them all that much. Some of them are so cheap
that it barely hurts to admit that the purchase wasn't the wisest.
Some of those cheap tools I'll never use enough for it to matter.
Like Harbor Freight, and the whole cheap-from-China approach. I have
some fine tools from there that I got dirt cheap, and some absolute
junk, too. It's a crap shoot, and sometimes you bag crap. Overall,
I've found it an acceptable percentage of crap -versus-quality, for
my overall needs. I just know that some of it will be crappy.
(apologies to the late John Crapper, may he rest in pleasant-smelling
One of the reasons that I began (and stayed) with the high pressure
10,000psi systems is because of the size of the components. Yes, the
industrial low pressure pumps systems that are designed for
bulldozers are inexpensive. They are also HUGE. The press frame
required to support a 20 ton system is by its very nature a larger
frame, with wider spans, and everything needs to be heavier just to
withstand frame movement. As you know, every thousandth of a inch of
frame movement is movement that is not going into the piece, meaning
more pressure is required. I sold off the Bonny Doon Engineering
business when I could no longer readily lift and place the bare
frame into its packing crate. I always had to use a crane and hoist
to pack the 50 ton units. When you are trying to operate out of a
small studio (or even the counter in the kitchen), weight and
movability has to be taken into account. The larger systems require
larger motors that may require a dedicated electrical outlet. The oil
tank may well be 5-10 gallons. These are industrial systems, and you
need an industrial space. Most metalsmiths do not have this luxury.
E. F. Schumacher wrote the marvelous book "Small Is Beautiful", and
he wasn't wrong. Lee (the saw guy) Lee (the saw guy)
I don't want to step on anybody's toes, and I really respect your
opinion and design ideas, Lee. You guys make a great product.
I was having problems with the cost of Enerpac and PowerTeam and OTC
high pressure pumps as well as reliability issues. It is possible to
use low pressure systems and keep them compact, but you can't use a
bottle jack. I made my own hydraulic cylinder. It is a 4" bore with
a 4" stroke, dual-acting cylinder. By doing it this way, I was able
to keep the costs way down and the reliability and safety up. 2,500
psi systems are much safer and more reliable in the long run and the
parts are readily available all over the world. This system I
designed uses a 1 hp, 110 volt motor, it plugs into a standard
outlet. The pump is not as small as the PowerTeam quarter hp pump
that you guys use, but it has a longer duty cycle and can be
repaired. My pump is capable of 5,000 psi and pumps 1/2 gallon per
minute. Therelief valve can be adjusted anywhere between 0 and
5,000psi. They cylinder is a dual acting cylinder with a 2" hard
chromed rod and a steel piston with heavy duty seals throughout. If
it ever wears out, it can be rebuilt quickly and easily even by the
owner of the press. Seals are readily available all over the world.
Here is a video I made today demonstrating the press.
The hoses can be made any length you want. This particular system
will fit on the floor beneath the bench.
The entire electric hydraulic system including my press costs less
than the PowerTeam pump or any of the Enerpac pumps.
Who else has used an air / hydraulic system? I build my press with
one & it eliminated the hydraulic pump entirely, you need compressed
air, but most of us have that anyway.
Who else has used an air / hydraulic system? I build my press with
one & it eliminated the hydraulic pump entirely, you need
compressed air, but most of us have that anyway.
Very slow and noisy though.
James Binnion Metal Arts