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How to Repair a Steelcase Chair's Cylinder

Mark Koltko-Rivera

Overtime, the pneumatic gas cylinders in Steelcase office chairs begin to leak. Soon, the lift mechanism stops working. The good news is that when this occurs, there is no need to replace your chair. It only takes about fifteen minutes and a few common household tools to replace the pneumatic gas cylinder in your office chair. The model number of Steelcase chairs determines the type of Steelcase pneumatic gas cylinder and bearing kit that you should order.

Check the model number of your Steelcase chair before ordering replacement parts.
  1. Turn the Steelcase chair upside down. Use a flat-head screwdriver to pry off the base retaining clip. Lift the base off the chair, i,e., the part attached to the wheels.

  2. Use a screwdriver to take out the bearing assembly and the two golden-colored bearing washers on either side. Lift out the rubber cushion and the bright zinc washer with the screwdriver.

  3. Use the screwdriver to pry out the notched pneumatic cylinder retainer and the large flat washer beneath it. Take out the old pneumatic cylinder. Discard all of the parts that you have removed, other than the chair base.

  4. Insert the new pneumatic cylinder with the long rod of the cylinder pointing out of the chair. Place the large flat washer over the pneumatic cylinder rod, followed by the pneumatic cylinder retainer. Slide a 1-inch pipe over the rod of the pneumatic cylinder. Tap the 1-inch pipe with a hammer to seat the pneumatic cylinder retainer firmly. Remove the pipe.

  5. Place the large, bright zinc washer over the rod, followed by the rubber cushion, golden-colored bearing washer, bearing assembly, and another golden-colored bearing washer. Put the chair base with the wheels back on the chair. Slide the base retaining clip into place and use a pair of needle-nose pliers to snap it into place.

  6. Tip

    The Steelcase Bearing Kit contains eight pieces, which are installed in the following order, from inside to outside of the chair. After placing the new pneumatic cylinder inside of the chair: 1) large flat washer; 2) pneumatic cylinder retainer; 3) large bright zinc washer; 4) rubber cushion (washer shaped); 5) golden-colored bearing washer; 6) bearing assembly; 7) golden-colored bearing washer and 8) base retaining clip.


    Wear safety glasses to prevent injury.