Last Updated on February 14, 2023 by Forest Master
Troubleshooting your log splitter really isn’t as daunting a task as you’d think it’d be. Thanks to the great design of our log splitters, pretty much nothing can go wrong which is unfixable. We stock all the spare parts you could ever need, but first, we need to work out the problem.
Before diving into how to fix your log splitter issues, let’s cover the different ways can fail.
There are four main categories of troubleshooting; power issues, log splitter ram failing to move correctly, oil leakage or the log splitter failing to split logs.
If your log splitter is much like triggers broom and you want to upgrade – you can find our selection of award-winning log splitters on our website.
What this article covers:
- Is my log splitter broken?
- Is my log splitter suffering from power issues?
- My log splitter is tripping the RCD
- Why isn’t my log splitter ram returning?
Is my log splitter broken?
It may often appear as though something critical has affected your log splitter, such as the ram failing to move or it appears as though there’s no power getting to the log splitter. More often than not, there are small errors that can be easily fixed.
Let’s look into some quick fixes which will quickly tell us if the log splitter is indeed broken.
If you’re not comfortable playing around with your log splitter – let us take a look for you. We offer a log splitter repair service, no matter the brand. We offer a full repair of your log splitter. This includes collecting your machine, repairing it in our workshop and delivery back to yourself. The repair may include a full strip-down, rebuild or fitting of replacement parts.
If you like to tinker and fix with your own hands – let’s move on with our top troubleshooting tips.
Quick Fix #1: Handle Issue
This may sound silly or obvious, but trust us when we say that this is actually a common error when operating the log splitter.
Check that the plastic knob of the lever is screwed on fully. If this becomes unscrewed it then prevents the lever from being pushed right down, and this prevents the log splitter from operating.
Quick Fix #2: Low Oil
The oil level in your log splitter may be running low, you can check this by using the dipstick. You can also run a quick test by raising the front end of the log splitter on a block of wood or something similar. If you raise the front of the log splitter and the log splitter then starts operating as normal, then this is a clear sign that you are low on oil.
Quick Fix #3: Log Splitter Pointing Downhill
This is similar to the last, but when the log splitter is pointing downhill it struggles to circulate the fluid right around the machine. This causes it to fail when operating.
The log splitter should always be operated on level ground or pointing uphill. If your log splitter is failing to split any logs, 90% of the time this will be the issue. If the log splitter is not pointing downhill then it’s likely low oil.
Log Splitter Power Issues
Now that we’ve covered the most common issues and quick fixes. Let’s look at some of the rare problems which can affect the performance of the log splitter.
Gentle Humming Noise (non-operational)
A humming noise will result in the log splitter blowing a fuse and typically means that the motor is tight.
First, turn the log splitter over and close off the air vent, remove the motor and pump 3 x 13mm headed bolts and 1 x support bolt.
Place the log splitter back upright and try the splitter again, if it produces the same noise then loosen the bolts a little from the end of the pump (13mm) and try again.
No power to the motor
Fuse has blown or RCD Tripped
First, check the fuse in the plug. If this is blown then replace it with a working 13 amp fuse, we also recommend installing a 13 amp slow blow fuse which you can purchase directly from our website.
You should also check the RCD for the ring main has not tripped. If the RCD has tripped, try the machine on a separate ring main.
If the RCD repeatedly trips then unplug all other equipment from socks on the ring main and switch these sockets off. You can then try to start the motor.
Another possibility is that the capacitor in the electric motor has failed from misuse over time.
The capacitor in the electric motor can fail from misuse over time. When operating the log splitter, we strongly advise that you press the power button before operating the lever, this allows time for the motor to gather speed before attempting to split logs.
Pressing the lever before the button can also often result in blown fuses.
There are many different reasons why there may not be any power to your log splitter:
If you’re using an extension lead, ensure that the extension cable itself is a wider diameter than the power lead of the electric log splitter.
As stated previously, the capacitor failing will also stop the motor from starting up. After you have checked the previous solutions, unplug the log splitter from the mains. Then remove the six screws on the outside of the switch cover, take the switch cover off and you will then see the capacitor.
If the capacitor has failed, you will sometimes see burn marks on the capacitor itself.
Replacement capacitors are available on our website – Click here to purchase.
Log Splitter consistently trips RCD or blows a fuse
There are a few different fixes to this;
It’s possible that the motor is jammed. First, check that the motor turns freely. You can do this by removing the black fan cover, then it should be possible to turn the fan with slight pressure from one finger. If this isn’t possible, check for obstructions of the fan.
Another possibility is that the operating lever is loose or not bent correctly, this would prevent the valve from operating correctly. To fix this, check that the face of the lever that operates the valve is bent through a full 90 degrees in relation to the mounting face. If not, remove the lever and correct the bend in a vice.
Pump gears binding is an issue that can sometimes present itself within a log splitter which would cause a trip. This is easily fixed by loosening each of the 6 bolts on the back of the pump by ¼ of a turn and then checking to see if the motor turns freely.
Pump gears can also get jammed. To fix this you should remove the 6 bolts from the pump and separate the motor and pump. You can then check the gears for any silicone sealant or other material. When you’re reassembling, the torque for the bolts is 12 ft-lb, 16 N m.
Log Splitter Ram
If the ram of the log splitter is not returning fully or is jerking upon return, there are a couple of fixes you can perform to get it back up and running smoothly.
First, check that the moving carriage isn’t obstructed. You can do this by checking underneath the blade/pusher and down the sides of the carriage for any splinters of wood that may be obstructing the carriage.
Also check that the plastic spacers underneath the blade, between the carriage and the underside of the splitter, have not been dislodged.
This one is fairly simple to figure out but check the log bed of the splitter for a build-up of sap. You can then also apply a thin layer of workshop grease to the bed to allow it to operate more smoothly. Avoid using WD-40 to grease the bed as this can lead to the log splitter ram ‘juddering’ rather than solving the issue.
In order to fix this issue, use the ram stop to lock the ram in a position about 150mm forward. Remove the 4 bolts holding the DuoCut blade or pusher to the carriage and remove the blade/pusher. Unlock the ram stop, if the carriage returns then the arms are bent.
You can check the amount of bend with a straight edge, if it is less than 5mm then you may be able to straighten them in a vice.
Another possibility is that the ram is bent. Remove the DuoCut blade from the splitter. If the ram does not return after removing the DuoCut blade, loosen the 2 rear lock nuts on the carriage arms and remove the 2 nuts in front of the crosspiece. You can then remove the carriage from the log splitter. If the ram does not return then the next part is a bit tricky so give us a call.
My 7ton electric log splitter doesn’t seem to have rough power to split the smallest logs
In the past
The ram would move fairly quick
And easily split an 8 to 10 “ log
Not it moves slowly and stops when it reaches the log
Do I need a new splitter
Hi, It sounds as though your log splitter may be lacking in hydraulic fluid. I would suggest raising the front of the log splitter (opposite end to the motor) up on a block of wood so that the log splitter is pointing uphill. If you see an increase in performance, this means that you require a top-up of hydraulic fluid. This can be purchased from us directly using this link: https://forest-master.com/product/electric-log-splitter-hydraulic-fluid-1-litre-2/
I have a ZYWT Mansport 1500W wood splitter that my husband bought around 2009. It is my favourite and most prized tool, however I have been having problems with it lately. My husband has since passed away so i’m on my own
It moves very slowly and stops before reaching the log.
The man in the hardware store said it might be low on oil but to tell you the truth, I have no idea how to check or add oil because I don’t know where to put the oil??
Please let me know where it goes.
Hi sheilah, I didn’t see where anyone had responded, but just in case you didn’t get an answer, I’ll tell you where I put hydraulic fluid on mine.
You first tip the splitter all the way upright, so it’s standing straight up (the wheels and motor are on the bottom). Now look at the topside and you should see a bolt on top of the housing. That bolt should unscrew and it will have a dipstick attached, which you use to check the oil level. That hole is where you pour in the hydraulic fluid.
Dear all, I have an electric FM 5t log splitter. It appears to be working fine, however the Ram appears to not have enough power now to split the logs. The motor spins up Ok and the Ram moves up to the log, hoever it then stops due to an apparent lack of power to go through the log. I have topped up the hydraulic oil and made sure it works slightly up hill…
Hi Kenny, Check the nut at the base of the lever to see if it is loose.
The face of the lever should be bent at a 90-degree angle to the mounting face. If this is not the face, remove the lever and correct the bend angle, then remount.
Yard works wood spliter 4 ton just hums i would like a new 15 amp fuse it has reset push button on it the no.is a0701
Hi David, while typically we advise on Forest Master products. It sounds as though the motor may be failing. A humming noise will result in the log splitter blowing a fuse and typically means that the motor is tight. While I’m unaware of the mechanics of your log splitter. To fix this issue with Forest Master log splitters it’s as simple as closing off the air vent and turning the log splitter over.
You can then remove the motor and pump 3 x 13mm headed bolts and 1 x support bolt.
Place the log splitter back upright and try the splitter again, if it produces the same noise then loosen the bolts a little from the end of the pump (13mm) and try again.
If you have blown a fuse, we sell replacements directly on our website https://forest-master.com/product/time-delay-fuses-x2/.
Thanks for the troubleshooting tips Jae.
I have a 4 ton electric (yardworks) it’s been great and is splitting well. The ram is not getting as close to the splitting head as it used to. I can’t seem to figure it out. Hydraulic fluid is topped up. There doesn’t seem to be any hinderences . Any ideas?
Check that the end of the valve stem remains in contact with the face of the lever when the lever is depressed and released. If the valve core does not pop back out when the lever is released, clean as below:
Ensure that the ram is fully returned, this is essential before starting the process. You can then remove the nut holding the lever and remove the lever. Remove the valve, check the O-Ring and then clean thee valve with lit free cloth. You can then replace the valve and lever.
My log splitter keeps blowing fuses even if it’s plugged into the wall or an extension lead I keep changing fuses and it will work any ideas
Hi Chris, It sounds like the motor may be jammed. Check that the motor turns freely. Depending on which brand of log splitter you have, if you have a Forest Master Log Splitter you can unplug the machine, then remove the black fan cover on the motor. It should be possible to turn the fan with slight pressure from one finger, feeling for any obstructions or resistance as it spins. Check for any obstructions of the fan.
Hi, I have a Powerhouse 7 ton electric log splitter. When the power is turned on, the ram moves forward regardless of what position the levers are in. The only way to get the ram to return, is to turn off the power switch and then the ram will slowly return but it takes about three to five minutes to return. I have not heard of anyone else having this issue. What gives? Any ideas? Thanks for your time.
Check that the end of the valve stem remains in contact with the face of the lever when the lever is depressed and released. If the valve doesn’t pop back out, give the information below a try:
First, ensure that the ram is fully returned. This step is very important. Then you can remove the nut holding the lever and remove the lever. Remove the valve, check the O-ring and clean the valve with a lint-free cloth. You can then replace the valve and the lever.
Hello, my 7t log splitter doesn’t retract all the way. I’ve only had it for about 1 hour so is brand new. What would cause this. Only being cutting green willow so very soft wood.
It sounds like you may have your log splitter pointing downhill. When the log spitter is pointing downhill it struggles to circulate the fluid around the machine. You should move the location of the log splitter if you can so that it is pointing uphill. You can also place a block of wood or something similar under the front of the log splitter (opposite end to the motor) so that it’s pointing uphil.
My Log Splitter which I think is a Powerhouse will start the motor when pressing the on button but it stops as soon as you let go of the button.
Could it be the Thermal Cutout Switch which fitted to this model? I say this because I have checked the capacitor and thats ok!
Hi Maurice, have you just purchased the log splitter? Post-2019 all log splitters have been sold with two-handed operation required. This means that the on button needs to be held down in order to operate the log splitter. While I have my own opinion regarding this particular safety regulation unfortunately this is the way all log splitters must be sold as standard.
I have 5ton power electric splitter. The splitter stops when it pushes the log.
When I succeed to split, the wood bounce out…
I have never succeed very smooth cutting..
The wood is too green? the splitter is too weak?
Hi Kerwin, how long have you had the long splitter and are you operating it on a level surface? Try raising the front of the log splitter (opposite end to the motor) up on a block of wood or something similar. Does this increase performance at all?
I have a 5 ton earthquake spitter and the ran barley moves , I think it is low on fulild but don’t know how to add it . Could you tell where to locate the filler location . Thank you
Try raising the front of the log splitter (opposite end to the motor) using a block of wood or something similar. If the ram improves, then this means it is indeed lacking oil. Typically, the oil drain plug and dipstick is found on the very front of the log splitter.
To replace the hydraulic oil, first ensure that all moving parts have stopped and the log splitter is unplugged. Next, unscrew the oil drain bolt with dipstick to remove it. You should then tip the log splitter onto the support leg end over a container and then refill with fresh hydraulic oil to the volume provided in your user manual. Clean the oil drain bolt threads before reinserting and make sure that it’s completely tightened to avoid leakage before placing the log splitter horizontal.
You can purchase hydraulic oil directly from our website : https://forest-master.com/electric-log-splitter-hydraulic-fluid-1-litre-2/
I’m stumped… I have a handy thls6 which I’ve owned for 10 years. Last year the gear pump cover cracked and I lost all hydraulic oil. I have since replaced the cover also replaced the o rings in it. I’ve topped up the hydraulic oil with dip stick checked to ensure near max level.
The ram moves and returns, the motor sounds like its operating as normal…. The issue is no force behind once log encountered. I have raised front of splitter on block wood and no difference.
Do you have suggestions?
Hi Daniel, This could potentially be a few different issues. Starting with the easiest, I would try cleaning the valve core. I’m not as familiar with the Handy log splitter but most log splitters are similar in design this way. Ensure that the ram is fully returned and then remove the nut holding the lever and then remove the lever. Remove the valve, check the O-ring and clean the valve using a lint-free cloth before replacing.
Hi, My log splitter would failed to run yesterday, having been working fine the day before. I ran a voltage sensing probe along the leads and up to the splitter motor, all showed power but splitter dead when you pressed the button. I read the troubleshooting here and this jumped out … “If you’re using an extension lead, ensure that the extension cable itself is a wider diameter than the power lead of the electric log ..” … My main extension reel was tripping, so I “daisy-chained” a few 13amp domestic leads together, which caused the problem. Turned out one of the leads was for a computer and had anti-surge/spike protection, so was showing power on probe but was tripping when the motor tried to draw power. All sorted now and thanks for the clue, cheers Jim
My start button runs when I put the log splitter on it side but when I put the log splitter back on to it’s wheels and legs the start button don’t start and trip the trip switch??any ideas why ???
Hi Colin, it sounds like you may have a loose wire in your start button. When the log splitter is on the side it’s just connecting and is powering up. I’d open up the switch (with it unplugged from the mains) and check to make sure there are no loose wires.
Hi, I have been using a 6 tonne electric wood splitter, and it has started repeatedly triggering the trip on the machine on engine spool-up. It was previously tripping a lot due to putting a lot of very large and knotted logs through it, but now its tripping even after an easy log on the following spool-up. I took the fan cover off and can rotate with one finger, but it is slightly stiff, how stiff is too stiff?!
Hopefully you can help!
Hi Kyle, the fan should not be stiff at all and you should be able to easily rotate this with the lightest touch. This sounds like you may have some form of blockage/damage to the fan. Are there any visible marks or bends?
Thank you for your reply, I dismounted the rubber belt and the engine spins freely, and the flywheel spins freely. There is only resistance when the belt is on and tensioned. I received slow blow fuses in the post, do these fit somewhere in the machine or just the plug, and extension plug? I don’t believe that is the root of the problem however as I went through several tonnes of wood before trips started happening on spool-up.
No problem at all, Kyle! The fuse fits into the plug of the machine. However, if you’re using an extension lead you should also fit the fuse into this plug. Please let me know if this solves the issue!
Just to clarify, I was letting the engine run longer to allow the fan to cool the engine in-between splitting
Recomposing this message as I fear my last one was replaced by a post-script.
Basically the problem continued with new fuses and power supply, however with further testing the problem seems to be related to the engine over-heating.
I began running the engine for a while after splitting, and held running in-between splitting where possible, to allow the fan to cool the engine more. This actually seemed to stop the cutting out issue almost entirely except for very tough logs, but is not entirely practical without 6 foot long arms!
Re: motor humming noise
Thank you for the tip. I would add that you should also
remove the fan blade cover and add some penetrating oil
on the shaft between the motor and back of the fan blade.
Rotate the fan blade until it turns easily.
Hi ,I’ve just purchased a Clarke logbuster 5 second hand. Owner said it keeps blowing fuses. So I’ve got it home and gone through your list of possible causes. Motor spins fine manually, changed the fuse 13amp, hydraulic oil fine. Lever fine , capacitor hasn’t got any obvious signs of failure. But motor just work. Any ideas please. Ie would the capacitor show signs of failure. Thanks.
Hi Albert, sorry to hear about that issue you’re having. Typically, the capacitor will have burn marks on the outside of the unit. However, this is not always the case. In this instance, I would recommend trying a new capacitor.
Hi , I’ve replaced the capacitor which I purchased from yourselves but still nothing . Is the next step changing the motor? . I’ve plugged the machine straight to a socket so no issues with leads not being adequate.
Hi Albert, it sounds like it may be the motor itself, perhaps water damage. It can sometimes be a case of condensation if the log splitter has been stored in a damp environment without a breathable cover.
The attached instructions below are for removing the end cover from the motor. You can then take a look at the windings and more often than not there will be a strong odour from the inside of the motor if water damaged.
If the motor is indeed water damaged then there is unfortunately very little you can do other than replace the motor. You can find replacements here: https://forest-master.com/2200w-motor-and-pump-assembly/
Alternatively, if you don’t want to fit this yourself we do offer a repair service: https://forest-master.com/log-splitter-service-repairs/
I have just completed repairs on my son in laws log splitter, generic Chinese type,. the problem was the electric motor, after dismantling it I found that the file winding wires had corroded where they had been soldered onto the lead outs. I think the flux may have been very acidic and this may have caused the problem.
After reconnecting the wires into crimping sleeves and reasssembly the motor worked perfectly.
My Titan electric 7 ton log splitter which is brand new and assembled by the seller blows the trip switch when I try to start it
have a king 5 ton 20 inch log splitter. the ram moves forward and splits like it should but the ram retracts slowly with motor running, but i you shut motor the ram retracts like it should any suggestions thanks
Hi, when the motor is running it will still be pumping oil throughout the log splitter, meaning it will take longer to retract. This is the case for 99% of all log splitters, I’m afraid the only suggestion we have is to disengage the motor after each split.