Understanding How the Hydraulic Breaker Works in Excavators – The Ultimate Guide

Understanding How the Hydraulic Breaker Works in Excavators – The Ultimate Guide


Hydraulic breakers for excavators – one of the most important components your excavator needs to have, especially if you need to demolish concrete or materials that are made from stone.


You’ll find it useful especially if you are working in a mining or a construction site. It works like a hammer that strikes to break hard stone material.


Now, your excavator hydraulic breaker is a complex device that uses hydraulics to function. Therefore, you have to be careful when handling this machine. This guide is prepared to primarily help you clearly understand the following concepts:


  • What an excavator hydraulic breaker is, and more so, how it functions
  • What components it has, how to maintain, repair, and how to replace different components of the excavator hydraulic breaker
  • How to properly troubleshoot problems that may arise within the hydraulic breaker’s system
  • Where to get the best aftermarket components for your excavator hydraulic breaker


Follow this guide to get more information and top tips on your hydraulic breaker for excavators.

1. What Is An Excavator Hydraulic Breaker?

A hydraulic breaker for your excavator is a unique tool that is fixed in place of the excavator’s digger bucket. It uses hydraulics, meaning that you can control its strike rate from within the excavator cab. It is also known as the percussion hammer.


Check this out:


Your excavator’s hydraulic system health needs to be on point for this hydraulic breaker to function as optimally as it should. The hydraulic breaker itself has seals that also prevent hydraulic leakage and ensure optimal hydraulic pressure is achieved.

2. What Are the Components of A Hydraulic Breaker?

Your excavator’s hydraulic breaker has several components that work together systematically to deconstruct stone elements. Check them out:

  • Side Rods– They are uniquely designed for mounted hammer applications. These side rods can be easily maintained as their maintenance tools are mostly found in local shops.
  • Nitrogen Chamber– its main purpose is to absorb the piston recoil and reuse the absorption energy to increase the output strength for a greater blow.
  • Auto-grease System– This is an optional feature that auto-greases the hydraulic breaker, just as its name suggests.
  • Piston Mass and Supporting Area– the main purpose of this component is to ensure that there is positive alignment in the entire system. It, therefore, makes the whole system effective and efficient.
  • Control Valve– the control valve’s primary purpose is to reduce hydraulic pulsations as it minimizes oil flow interruptions.
  • Seal kit– Your excavator hydraulic breaker has rubber seals in it that prevent hydraulic fluid leakage as well as helping generate the optimal hydraulic pressure.
  • Retainer Pins– They also aid in providing positive tool alignment as well as a quick replacement.
  • Hardened Chisel and Stop Pin– the chisel is one of the main components of a hydraulic breaker, as it gets into direct contact with the ground/stone material.


All these are the basic components of any excavator hydraulic breaker. Different brands may have additional components. It is thus advisable to keep your hydraulic breaker’s operations and service manuals close to you.


All hydraulic breakers come with an enclosure that protects all their components from physical damages.


3. What Does An Excavator Hydraulic Breaker Do?


Your excavator hydraulic breaker is mounted on an excavator in place of the excavator digger bucket. It runs on hydraulic power. It can then be used to break stone materials in mining areas and construction zones. You’ll, however, find them more frequently in road construction areas.

The hydraulic breaker strikes the stone element with force using its hardened chisel. It will strike stone elements and break them down until they are broken into manageable sizes.


In other words:


The hydraulic breaker is a robust mechanical device that can be beneficial if used correctly.


4. How Does A Hydraulic Breaker Function?


Hydraulic breakers function by working like big hammers. The breaker is driven by a hydraulic piston. This hydraulic piston exerts strong and consistent hits to the stone material being demolished.


The hydraulic breaker is most ideal for spaces that are a bit tight and require huge delivery of power.


You can check out how the excavator hydraulic breaker works by reviewing how its components function as illustrated earlier on in this guide.


5. How Much Does An Excavator Hydraulic Breaker Cost?


Check this out:


The amount of money a hydraulic breaker costs depends on the brand, as well as its working capacity. Different hydraulic breakers have different working capacities – some can demolish stone materials faster than others.


The main price determinants are the manufacturer, the size and weight of the hydraulic breaker as well as impact glass and other custom add-ons that you may require.


Here’s the deal:


On average, excavator hydraulic breakers’ prices can start from as low as $5,500 to around $17,000.


6. How Do You Use A Hydraulic Breaker with An Excavator?


As you’ve understood the basic functions of a hydraulic breaker for excavators, you need to know how to correctly and effectively use this tool when breaking stone materials.


Here’s how to properly use your hydraulic breaker for an effective and efficient groundbreaking process:


You’ll need to use a technique called the bench method. This breaking technique suggests that the best way to work using a hydraulic breaker is to start from the edge and then proceed working inwards as depicted in the image below:

Also, DO NOT bend your excavator hydraulic breaker when striking a stone element. It is also a good practice to stop the breaker before the stone element that you are working on collapses. It, therefore, means that you need to have a keen eye when operating this machine. You need to avoid blank firing as much as possible when using this device.

On top of that, you need to change strike positions after every 15 seconds of striking. In other words, leading experts recommend changing the strike position every 15 seconds.


Also, do not flatten your working environment using the excavator hydraulic breaker.


Desist from the temptation of moving large rocks/stone elements using your hydraulic breaker. You can move small rocks using the projection near the chisel, but not the housing of the excavator hydraulic breaker as depicted below:

Do not raise the hydraulic breaker and bend it towards the boom as you would with an excavator digger bucket. The breaker may start striking the boom in case you mistakenly activate it.

While still on the topic of improper positioning, you shouldn’t strike rocks or stone elements that are in a high position, as they could damage your hydraulic system.

Here’s another tip: do not sink your hydraulic breaker inside water, as it could result in damaging the hydraulic breaker.


Finally, do not use your excavator hydraulic breaker to lift loads in any way.

It would be best if you’d protect your excavator cab’s doors, windows, and windscreen using cab guards (safety grills). These cab guards prevent the breakage of glass materials and they are necessary, as breaking stone elements using your hydraulic breaker brings forth flying debris.


Bottom line:


Do not use your excavator hydraulic breaker for tasks that are not meant for it. Also, consider reading your specific hydraulic breaker’s operations manual to understand how best to handle your excavator hydraulic breaker.


7. Can A Mini Excavator Use A Hydraulic Breaker?


Yes, you can install and use a hydraulic breaker on your mini excavator. All that you’ll need to have is the proper attachment and the correct hydraulic breaker that matches your mini excavator’s capacity.

It, therefore, means that you need to understand how to correctly select a hydraulic breaker, as you will find out shortly from this guide.


8. How Do I Choose A Hydraulic Breaker for My Excavator?


There are five primary considerations that need to be put in place when choosing the ideal hydraulic breaker for your excavator. Check them out:


  1. The breaker needs to match the task/project– You need to consider the type of task you want to complete using a hydraulic breaker for excavators. Attaching the biggest and strongest hydraulic breaker does not guarantee the best results.


You’ll, therefore, need to select the ideal breaker size for maximum efficiency when breaking stone elements. Apart from better cutting, doing this will reduce unnecessary wear – it saves you a great deal of money by reducing maintenance costs.


  1. Always select the correct equipment for the project– Selecting the ideal breaker type and size reduces unnecessary wear and tear, as you’ve read earlier on in this guide. A perfect example goes against the popular belief that a blunt tool is ideal for breaking bulky stone elements.


A blunt tool will provide better positioning as well as a higher transferral of the shockwave.


You need to understand that there are two types of breaking tools, that is, the blunt tool and the chisel tool. The main difference between the two is the shape of their tips.


The blunt tool is flat at the tip and its primary task is to direct the shockwave equally in all directions as opposed to the chisel which is pointed like a pencil at the tip. The chisel’s primary task is to weaken the stone element by cracking one point of the said element.


  1. DO NOT allow blank firing– blank firing causes severe damage to your excavator hydraulic breaker. You’ll need to select a hydraulic breaker that has improved blank-fire protection technology.


This technology is also important as it prevents premature failure of the hydraulic breaker by preventing metal-to-metal contact. You’ll find this blank-fire protection technology important especially if you are working in a mine or a quarry.


  1. Ensure that your hydraulic breaker has high-quality housing– You’ll need to ensure that the hydraulic breaker’s housing is one of the leading priorities. The housing is important as it protects the power cell from physical damage. On top of that, it significantly reduces noise.


You can be sure that your bushings are also adequately protected from dust and flying debris as you try to break the stone element or concrete into smaller sizes. It is important to prevent the entry of debris and dust as they can negatively affect the performance of the hydraulic breaker significantly.


  1. Go for a hydraulic breaker that has an auto-adjust impact– auto-adjust impact helps you a great deal to match the striking frequency to the concrete or stone material hardness. This technology is very dynamic as it senses changes in the hardness of the stone material that needs to be broken.


It then adjusts the striking rate, impact energy, and reduces exorbitant energy. It takes the exorbitant energy back to the carrier.

In other words:


The auto-adjust impact technology makes your hydraulic breaker more productive by being effective and efficient, therefore, increasing your profits.


9. What Are the Hydraulic Breaker’s Dos And Don’ts?


The simple techniques outlined here in this section will help you enhance efficiency and effectiveness. They will also help you prevent unnecessary downtimes meant for repairs. Let’s start with the Dos and then proceed to the Don’ts:



  1. You need to understand the basic operations of breaking stone elements to prevent premature wear. You also need to routinely inspect the hydraulic breaker to check for any anomalies.
  2. Then, you’ll also need to ensure that the hydraulic flow and/or pressure are properly matched to the carrier.
  3. Do not strike one point of the concrete or stone element for more than 15 seconds. Always reposition the hydraulic breaker after every 15 seconds of striking. As you strike, maintain down pressure on the stone element until it gives way and breaks.
  4. You’ll need to ensure that your hydraulic breaker is adequately lubricated. Lubrication prevents bushings’ damages.
  5. Leading experts recommend the use of auto-lube systems.


  1. Avoid blank-firing completely, as it can cause hydraulic breaker issues.
  2. Do not strike one point for too long. Reposition the hydraulic breaker after 15 seconds of striking to prevent damage.
  3. Do not break large objects from the center of the element or material. You need to start from the outer edges and then proceed inward.
  4. Do not use the hydraulic breaker for raking or prying as it can break the said hydraulic breaker. You need to use your excavator hydraulic breaker according to its task.
  5. Always listen to your hydraulic breaker operator’s concerns about the hydraulic breaker’s performance.


10. What Are Some of the Common Problems Excavator Hydraulic Breakers Have?


There are three main issues that most excavator hydraulic breakers face at some point in their service life. Check them out:


  • Damaged Piston– Should you suddenly realize that your excavator hydraulic breaker is not performing as optimally as it should, consider checking if the piston is damaged. However, this process will require you to take apart the entire hydraulic breaker to take a look at the internal components. When taking a look at the hydraulic breaker’s piston, you’ll need to check if it is fractured or chipped.


Take a close look, as the piston may look okay, while it is not – it may be broken in half. If you find this case to be true, please contact a hydraulic breaker expert to check it out for you and advise you accordingly. The expert will analyze the situation and suggest actionable repairs.


  • A broken tie bolt– Your excavator hydraulic breaker is equipped with four tie bolts. Just as the name suggests, these tie bolts are used to hold the hydraulic breaker together.


Now, should your excavator hydraulic hammer cease working, consider checking if there is any broken tie bolt(s). You can also decide to remove the longer tie bolt and visually inspect the threading on these bolts as an extra measure.


If the threading seems shredded, or even worn-out, consider replacing the tie bolt as soon as possible. KS XuGong, however, recommends letting an expert replace these bolts for you, especially if you are new to the process.


  • Exorbitant Shaking– Your hydraulic breaker should work without any notable vibrations. If these vibrations are extreme, consider checking the gas pressure. There is a great possibility that you’ll need to re-gas the hydraulic breaker to handle this issue.


Here’s the deal:


There may be other problems that may face the hydraulic breaker that is unique to your particular hydraulic breaker. Should you note any anomaly in the performance of your hydraulic hammer, consider reaching out to your favorite mechanic to help you troubleshoot the problem before it blows out of proportion.


11. How Should I Grease My Excavator Hydraulic Breaker?


Greasing your excavator hydraulic breaker is an important task as it helps maintain the device as well as ensure that it lasts for long while serving you. These hydraulic breakers are designed to withstand harsh and abusive environmental conditions.


You’ll need to use the correct type and amount of grease to make the greasing process a success. You’ll need to grease your excavator hydraulic breaker’s chisel and bushings. If the excavator hydraulic breaker has insufficient grease, it will overheat.


When the hydraulic breaker heats up too much, it seizes and in most extreme cases, this overheating ends up damaging other components.


You’ll therefore need to contact your local mechanic who’ll recommend the best brand and/or type of grease to use, depending on your environmental condition.


Here’s the deal:


Consider acquiring hydraulic breakers with auto-lube systems. They’ll save you a lot of time as well as a lot of money.


12. What Do Oil Leaks in Excavator Hydraulic Breakers Signify?


Oil leaks are always stressful to excavator owners. These leaks always signify that there is something wrong with a particular system. Your excavator hydraulic breaker can leak oil at different points, and each leaking point portrays a unique problem.


Let’s break them down:


  1. Leak at the hydraulic breaker’s piston– The most probable cause for leakage at the piston is that the oil was incorrectly filled. You’ll therefore need to replace all the seals at the piston’s area. Also, consider filling oil vertically and press the drill rod tightly.


Another probable cause for this type of leak is a severely corroded hydraulic breaker shell. This type of damage is usually caused by improper storage of your hydraulic breaker, especially if it is not in use.


Here’s how to store it properly: First, the nitrogen charger must be discharged, and the piston returned to the cylinder. Then, proceed to press the steel and ensure that the lower end is lower than the upper cylinder.


You’ll also need to check your operations manual for more tips.


Improper use of the hydraulic breaker will force small debris to get into the shell of the device. To prevent this issue, consider using the recommended operations designs outlined by the hydraulic breaker manufacturer.


  1. Oil leakage between the middle cylinder body and the nitrogen chamber– you’ll need to replace the sealing ring found between these two components.


  1. Oil leakage at the middle cylinder body and reversing valve– Damaged directional valve base O-ring that needs replacement.


  1. Oil leakage at the middle cylinder body’s connecting surface and the oil pipe interface– This type of leakage shows that the O-ring is either completely worn-out or damaged. You’ll need to replace the O-ring according to the hydraulic breaker’s manufacturer’s specifications.


Any other type of leak requires you to check on the health status of the O-ring. On top of that, ensure that your hydraulic breaker’s oil is clean. Dirty oil forces the breaker to strain a lot when breaking stone materials. It can also cause oil leakage.


13. How Can I Best Troubleshoot Issues in My Excavator Hydraulic Breaker?


To properly troubleshoot your excavator hydraulic breaker, consider following this mini-guide outlined in this section.


  1. Factors that affect your hydraulic breaker’s operations power– The hydraulic breaker’s power can significantly be affected by three primary factors: hydraulic flow, back head pressure, and finally, impact rate.


Hydraulic flow – it affects the device’s operating pressure. It is important to work within the device’s hydraulic flow range – hydraulic overflow will certainly damage your excavator hydraulic breaker.


Back head pressure – If your excavator hydraulic breaker’s nitrogen pressure is low, then you are going to have a weak device. On the other hand, overcharging the nitrogen will make the hydraulic breaker stop working.


  1. Seal kit replacement– Your seal kits can wear out prematurely, and they can also last for long. It all depends on your hydraulic breaker’s working conditions as well as how old they are and the manufacturer.


Leading experts recommend replacing these seal kits after every three months.


  1. Broken piston– do not attempt to reconstruct or chrome-plate a broken piston. You’ll need to replace the broken piston with a new, aftermarket, high-quality one from a reputable excavator parts manufacturing company.


Reconstructing the broken piston can cause extra damages to your excavator’s hydraulic breaker.


  1. Piston Damage– Your excavator piston is most likely going to get damaged if it has contaminated oil, extremely worn-out bushings, and insufficient greasing. It is important to remember that you cannot repair a damaged piston. You’ll need to replace it.


  1. Excavator hydraulic breaker fails to work after repair and installation– There are several reasons why this issue may arise. Check them out:


  • Your excavator hydraulic breaker may fail to work because of improper bushing installation during the replacement process. Ensure that you use the correct aftermarket bushing.
  • Check the hydraulic breaker’s connectors.
  • The hydraulic supply hoses may be reversed. Consider returning them back to how they were by first consulting your hydraulic breaker’s service manual.
  • The nitrogen pressure may be extremely high – you’ll need to release the pressure and correctly recharge it.
  • Consider opening the stop valve as it could be closed.


  1. Avoid blank-firing– Blank-firing is bad, as it can cause serious damages to your excavator hydraulic breaker. Black-firing can make your pins and bolts crack and in some extreme cases, the front head will also get damaged due to the fact that the hydraulic breaker produces a great deal of impacting energy.


14. How Should I Care for My Excavator Hydraulic Breaker?


Caring for your hydraulic breaker is not a complex task. It only requires you to have a basic understanding of how the device works. It’ll also require you to sacrifice a little bit more of your time before and after using the hydraulic breaker.

Check out how you can care for your excavator hydraulic breaker easily:


  1. Routinely inspect your excavator hydraulic breaker– A complete visual inspection will help you find faults that are visible to the eye, such as wear and tear patterns, damaged components, etc. It’ll go a long way in preventing unnecessary and unexpected downtimes.


You’ll need to check the hydraulic hoses, the shell, pins, retainers, locks, etc.


  1. Always use the recommended maintenance tools– Many excavator manufacturing companies today, like Doosan, provide you with a check tool that helps you take precise records of the conditions of different components.


Follow your check tool’s recommendation for the best results for your particular hydraulic breaker.


  1. Ensure that the hydraulic breaker is adequately lubricated– A properly lubricated hydraulic breaker ensures that there is no premature wear and tear within the device’s internal components. Exorbitant heat causes premature damage to hydraulic seals.

If your hydraulic breaker needs to be manually greased, consider doing that after a maximum of two hours of operating the hydraulic breaker. We, however, recommend going for a hydraulic breaker that has auto-lube technology.


It’ll save you a lot of time and energy.


  1. Use your hydraulic breaker for its intended purpose– do not use your hydraulic breaker for other unauthorized tasks like lifting loads or even raking the ground. Do not pull or push heavy stones or rocks using the hydraulic breaker.


Also, as you use your excavator hydraulic breaker, remember not to strike one point of the stone element for more than 15 seconds.


Always reposition your hydraulic breaker after a maximum of 15 seconds.


  1. Select the right size for your project– as you read earlier in this guide, a bigger hydraulic breaker does not guarantee success in your project. Consider selecting the right size for your project, as it will minimize wear and enhance productivity.


  1. Inspect your hydraulic breaker’s nitrogen pressure– Always ensure that your nitrogen pressure is at its optimal level. A lower nitrogen pressure will make your hydraulic breaker weak, and excessive nitrogen pressure will force the piston to stop.


15. Where Can I Get the Best Aftermarket Excavator Hydraulic Breaker?


KS XuGong is the leading aftermarket excavator parts manufacturing company across the entire world. We are based in China and we have been in business for 11 years now. The reason why we are the leading manufacturing company is that we manufacture high-quality parts for our esteemed customers.

We strive to ensure that these components are manufactured according to OEM standards. These standards help us ensure that these parts are interchangeable with the original ones. The best part about working with us is that you can share with us your unique requirements as well as your estimated budget for the same.


We’ll then respond with a free quote that attempts to meet both parameters.


You can be sure that your excavator hydraulic breaker parts will reach your desired destination on time with no physical damages. Over the years that we’ve been in business, we’ve managed to work and establish a long-lasting relationship with the world’s leading logistics companies – the likes of DHL, TNT, Wells Fargo, etc.


These companies help us ship our aftermarket parts to over 70 nations worldwide across the world’s continents.


Now, before sending over your shipment to your desired destination you’ll need to clear your balance. You can pay us using the following platforms:

  • Alipay
  • Paypal
  • Western Union
  • T
  • L/C


We guarantee you the best aftermarket service, as our experienced service reps are always available to listen, answer your questions as well as offer you top tips.


Reach out to us today for more information on your hydraulic breaker aftermarket parts, service instructions, and top maintenance tips.

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