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To ensure the safety and continuity of production, make a reasonable maintenance plan, and save the cost of maintenance for a hydraulic tube tester, it is needed to quickly identify an assignable cause of a fault. This paper is concerned with early fault detection of shuttle valves, which are the key components in hydraulic tube tester. An intermittent-chaos-and-cepstrum-analysis-based method is proposed to detect this early fault on the hydraulic tube tester. The presented approach is based on the insight that the phase transition of Duffing oscillator is very sensitive to a periodic weak signal having tiny angular frequency difference with the reference signal in this oscillator. Thus, to determine the angular frequency of the reference signal, cepstrum analysis is used to determine the eigenfrequency of the fault signal, and then, the angular frequency of the referential signal is computed according to this eigenfrequency. Finally, a Lyapunov exponent is introduced to realize computer observation of the shuttle valve early fault. The presented method is experimented with data simulated from an AMESim model of hydraulic tube tester. The results indicate that the proposed approach is capable of detecting the signal of shuttle valve early fault in the hydraulic tube tester.