Retraction force difference of hydraulic cylinders
For double-acting single-rod cylinders, when the input and output pressures are reversed, there is a force difference between the two sides of the piston due to one side of the piston being covered by the rod attached to it. The cylinder rod reduces the surface area of the piston and reduces the force that can be applied for the retraction stroke.
During the retraction stroke, if oil is pumped into the head (or gland) at the rod end and the oil from the cap end flows back to the reservoir without pressure, the fluid pressure in the rod end is (Pull Force) / (piston area - piston rod area):
Where P is the fluid pressure, Fp is the pulling force, Ap is the piston face area and Ar is the rod cross-section area.
For double-acting, double-rod cylinders, when the piston surface area is equally covered by a rod of equal size on both sides of the head, there is no force difference. Such cylinders typically have their cylinder body affixed to a stationary mount.