Safety issue please check your ultralight harbor freight aluminum Jack.

Discussion in 'Garage Talk :: Tool, Tips and Maintenance' started by Norm03s, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Norm03s

    Norm03s New Member

    May 5, 2009
    4,936
    534
    0
    Working at being retired.
    Somewhere in Sykesville. Md.
    Ratings:
    +534 / 0 / -0
    #1 Norm03s, Mar 15, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
    Safety issue please check your ultralight harbor freight aluminum Jack.

    The other day I was jacking up the MINI to changed tires. One of the rear caster wheels on my Jack collapsed because the bearing housing twisted and tore one of the rear castors. The Mini didn't sustain any damage because I had a safety Jack stand under the jacking pad at the other end.
    I ordered two replacements from Harbor freight. The new casters are better than the original ones, they are heavier gauge steel and the wheels are steel with steel 8.8 bolt axles rather than aluminum with rivets for axles. As I was replacing them I noticed that the brackets the wheels are attached to were loose.
    They are attached to the jack body side rails by three chromed button head screws on each side. These screws are screwed into aluminum and have a tendency to walk out, the little star washers don't work so well.
    I found two of the screws backed out and three others loose. I think this is due to vibration from rolling around on asphalt. In any event I removed the screws one at a time and used blue Loctite on all of them before tightening them all. I also lubed the front roller, the new rear caster wheels and any other points that move.
    The Jack feels better than new. Some tools need maintenance too.
    This is just a heads up, check yours out.
    Norm
     
  2. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

    Jun 4, 2009
    18,531
    9,052
    113
    Retired old fart
    Hooterville Ohio USA
    Ratings:
    +9,611 / 1 / -0
    Thanks for the PSA Norm, I'll be checking my jacks.

    Remember folks do not use a jack to hold your car while working on it. Jack stands save lives.
     
  3. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

    Jun 4, 2009
    18,531
    9,052
    113
    Retired old fart
    Hooterville Ohio USA
    Ratings:
    +9,611 / 1 / -0
    OK checked my HF jack. The three screws that hold the castor were loose on one side. I pulled them all & added a bit of 242 loctite. The bearings in both castors were good, but I'll be checking periodically.
     
  4. cct1

    cct1 Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 5, 2009
    3,378
    3,368
    113
    Ratings:
    +3,368 / 0 / -0
    What was the manufacturer? HF went from U.S. general to Pittsburgh for the jacks, the new Pittsburgh Jacks look the same as the old U.S. General at first glance (I have both), but the Pittsburgh on closer inspection is much more robust, from the springs to the housing.
     
  5. Norm03s

    Norm03s New Member

    May 5, 2009
    4,936
    534
    0
    Working at being retired.
    Somewhere in Sykesville. Md.
    Ratings:
    +534 / 0 / -0
    I will check, BRB.
     
  6. Norm03s

    Norm03s New Member

    May 5, 2009
    4,936
    534
    0
    Working at being retired.
    Somewhere in Sykesville. Md.
    Ratings:
    +534 / 0 / -0
    I have the U.S. General which I have had for years. Bought it shortly after I got my MINI in 2003. Good little jack though, just have to keep it up after years of use.
     
  7. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 4, 2009
    23,646
    12,860
    113
    Burbs of Philly, PA
    Ratings:
    +13,519 / 4 / -4
    I have jack stands and I use them every time the car goes up in the air.

    Jack stands are cheap insurance arms, legs and skulls are not.
     
  8. JMC40

    JMC40 Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2010
    1,728
    355
    83
    O...H...!!
    Ratings:
    +355 / 0 / -0
    Wow glad you and the MINI are ok. I will check mine tomorrow...thanks for the heads up.
     
  9. cct1

    cct1 Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 5, 2009
    3,378
    3,368
    113
    Ratings:
    +3,368 / 0 / -0
    I do the same, I never use the jack points to jack up the car because a jack is going there as soon as the car is up high enough--i.e. in seconds.

    My first (U.S. general Jack) still works, but the roller on the back doesn't roll anymore--from all the use, the metal at the back of the housing is slightly bent and the roller moves about half a rotation and sticks. Unless I can find a way to bend it without screwing it up further, I'll probably toss it. But I got it for 40 bucks originally, and got five good years of use out of it, so no complaints. And for what it's worth, I think it got bent at the track by a guy who was in a desperate hurry to lift his car next to me in the paddock--an M3--which is probably too heavy for that jack.

    The new jack made by Pittsburgh is slightly more expensive, but it has double springs instead of one, and the housing is thicker. It is a little heavier, noticeably so, but not by much. I think it'll hold up better.
     
  10. Norm03s

    Norm03s New Member

    May 5, 2009
    4,936
    534
    0
    Working at being retired.
    Somewhere in Sykesville. Md.
    Ratings:
    +534 / 0 / -0
    cct1, for $28.74 (two replacement caster wheels) to my door from HF. I fixed mine up, it's as good as new. They are both rated @ 1500 lb., the Pittsburgh has two hydraulic pistons, more to go wrong. I think the replacement caster wheels which are slightly heavier duty are for the Pittsburgh jacks but work on the U.S. General so that is what you get when ordering them.
     
  11. grodenglaive

    grodenglaive New Member

    Apr 3, 2010
    313
    68
    0
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Ratings:
    +68 / 0 / -0
    Thanks for the heads up!
    Actually that serves as a good reminder for everyone to check their lifting devices annually, no matter what brand. We have to do that at work by law, but accidents can occur at home just as easily.
     
  12. cct1

    cct1 Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 5, 2009
    3,378
    3,368
    113
    Ratings:
    +3,368 / 0 / -0
    Yeah, they're both rated the same. I'd rather have two pistons than one, less load on each, the Pittsburgh jack looks to be higher quality, but it is slightly more expensive, the least I've seen it for is 50 bucks. I wouldn't have replace my original U.S. general jack if it still worked, but that being said, I have more confidence in the Pittsburgh jack. For 22-32 bucks more, I would have bought a new jack rather than the wheels, but as long as it works, it should be good.
     
  13. RallyMini370

    RallyMini370 Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2012
    1,970
    1,585
    113
    Engineer
    Central America
    Ratings:
    +1,586 / 0 / -0
    In rally we have to use axle stands or face a big fine or thrown out the rally. Stay safe folks.
     
  14. Metalman

    Metalman Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Sep 29, 2009
    12,549
    7,423
    113
    Owner of a small custom metal fabrication company,
    Columbus, Ohio
    Ratings:
    +7,435 / 0 / -0
    Just curious.... Where would axle stands support a MINI..... Not on the axle's I hope....
     
  15. RallyMini370

    RallyMini370 Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2012
    1,970
    1,585
    113
    Engineer
    Central America
    Ratings:
    +1,586 / 0 / -0
    Mmmmmmmm sorry in England we call 'em axle stands. I mean those things you support the chassis of the car when you take the wheels off.

    Rally jack stands - Honda-Tech
     
  16. 1momini

    1momini New Member

    Feb 19, 2013
    102
    46
    0
    mechanical contractor
    Arkansas
    Ratings:
    +46 / 0 / -0
    My Jack stays in good shape til my son borrows it. I think he drags it thru gravel intentionally. Will check the casters. It doesn't need to be from HF to need inspection.
     

Share This Page