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Product Bulletin No.

: TDS-08-03
Release Top Drive Drilling System
Date: April 4, 2008

Subject: Link Tilt Cylinder Rod Detached from Cylinder Assembly

Product: National Oilwell Varco Top Drive Models: PS-350/500, PS-500/500, PS2-500/500, PS-
500A, PS2-500A, PS2-650/650, PS2-650/750, PS2-750, PS2-750A, & PS2-1000

Affected
Assemblies: Link Tilt Cylinder

Objective: Advise Customers of Recent Link Tilt Cylinder Failure

Issue: State Other Types of Cylinders with Retention Methods

In the reported incident, a Link Tilt Cylinder Assembly internally separated on a model
PS-500A Top Drive. The upper cylinder rod pulled out of the Cylinder Assembly and
remained attached to the Top Drive. The remaining Cylinder Assembly was held in
place by the air hoses, and lower cylinder attachment clamp on the elevator links. No
dropped objects or injuries were reported.

The Link Tilt Cylinder design incorporates two cylinders mounted back-to-back. The
lower cylinder attaches to the elevator link and the upper cylinder attaches to the Top
Drive. The piston in the upper cylinder separated from the rod, but was retained within
the cylinder tube. A grub screw (retaining screw) designed to prevent the piston from
unscrewing from the rod had come unscrewed itself, thus allowing the piston to detach
from the rod. Further inspection revealed all four cylinders (two per Link Tilt Cylinder
Assembly) had loose grub screws.

© 2008 National Oilwell Varco TDS-08-03


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Solution: Cylinders used in the Link Tilt System come in many sizes and designs, depending on
the model of Top Drive and application requirements. The methods incorporated to
retain the cylinder’s piston to the rod also vary by cylinder and vendor.

NOV recommends weekly visual inspections of the Link Tilt System Assembly. Users
should measure the left and right cylinder assemblies in the retracted and extended
positions, during an unloaded condition. Reference your User Manual for measurement
reference points and retracted/extended lengths of the Cylinder Assembly. If the
measured lengths deviate 1/8 inches or longer than the dimensions provided in the
User Manual, NOV recommends the Cylinder Assembly be taken out of service for
internal inspection and repair/replacement. Appropriate Cylinder Seal Kits should be on
hand before any internal inspections are performed. Consult your User Manual for
appropriate Seal Kit part numbers.

Operators should also regularly inspect the Top Drive for worn and damaged parts.
Replacement of damaged and worn parts is important to rig safety and operation.
Operators should refer to previous NOV Product Information Bulletins and Safety Alerts
for additional information regarding safe operation, maintenance, and inspection
criteria.

FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE RECOMMENDATIONS MAY RESULT IN DEATH, BODILY INJURY


OR PROPERTY DAMAGE.

NOV is investigating the design and operation of the Link Tilt Cylinders with cylinder vendors and will
release an update to this alert if findings suggest upgrades or retrofits are needed.

Please contact your local National Oilwell Varco (NOV) Service Center if you have any questions
regarding this safety alert.

© 2008 National Oilwell Varco TDS-08-03


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