Accumulators have been around for years, and the only thing that has changed about them are the designs. Whether you are installing vintage aircraft accumulators, or newer models, the principle of operation is the same. The old airplane accumulators were simple devices that were constructed of a piston, a cylindrical sleeve, and two end caps. The piston is free to move through the entire length of the cylinder sleeve, similar to a rod-less piston in a hydraulic cylinder. It’s almost the same principle as a piston pumping air on one side and fluid on the other. This is probably why most people have stayed away from these types of hydraulic systems. If you already had leaks, the pressure that the accumulator created multiplied the problem, as pressure had to escape from the weakest point.
When it’s time for a smooth ride on hydraulics, there are a couple of things you need to ask yourself. What kind of ride do you want, and what type of reaction do you want your car to give you when you hit the switch? Today’s accumulators are designed the same in theory, but are filled with nitrogen to serve as the cushion for the fluid. They are still designed to be installed in the hydraulic line, just as they were in the early days. One of the reasons people shy away from accumulators is the fact that they are filled with nitrogen. When you need to work on that set up, you need to make sure that the accumulator is not loaded therefore dumping all of the fluid out of the accumulator by holding down the switch. Once you do that, and there is no pressure in the hydraulics, you can work on the system. This is very important, as you can get the same reaction as you would in taking apart a loaded piston pump. Also, when you hit the switch, you will notice the delay as the hydraulics get spongy; this is due to the hydraulic fluid pressuring up the accumulator as the accumulator is softening the oil. Now follow along, as the pros at Go-ez upgrade their stiff ride using four of CCE’s hydraulic accumulators.
1. The whammy set up on this ’54 Chevy truck was ready to have its ride softened.
2. When you want to ride low, sometimes you need to remove the coils as they did on this ride. When you do this, you can’t ride without some kind of cushion in the suspension.
3. The fix would be to add accumulators that soften the oil and act as coils for a smooth ride. When adding or working on cars with accumulators, you need to make sure that there is no pressure in the hydraulic system.
4. These accumulators were tightened up individually as they were being added to the hydraulic system.
5. The truck’s suspension was designed to ride without coils, so each cylinder received a CCE Accumulator.
6. The accumulators were switched out one at a time.
7. Just like new shocks on a car, don’t expect to feel the best ride instantaneously as the accumulators need to be broken in. Once they do, you will have a better comfort ride.