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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Floor Jack Project: Need Feedback

For my senior design class, some group members and I are designing a hydraulic floor jack with an integrated mechanical locking mechanism. This is supposed to prevent the jack from bleeding down, extend the life of the hydraulic system, and add a higher factor of safety using a more stable platform. We are also working on integrating a foot pump feature, and still keeping the conventional lever pump action.

I figured I post this and see if anyone has any feedback on the subject. I haven't seen a mechanical locking floor jack in the parts stores and it seems like a feasible idea. So here's a few questions I have for yall.


-What do you like about your hydraulic floor jack?

-What do you not like about it?

-How often do you use a floor jack?

-Do you feel safe when operating it?

-If you could change one thing about your jack, what would it be?


Again this is for my senior design project and all feedback and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

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One thing I don't like about my floor jack is that the handle is spring loaded to the point it will flip up past 90 degrees and hit the car. I drilled a hole in a tennis ball and pushed it over the handle to act as a cushion.
 

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Wish they had a shorter stroke that produced more lift. Sometimes there just isn't room to get a good distance of the handle to jack it up so it takes what seems like forever to jack it up. Tried one of those that spring up to the area you want to jack from, it lasted one use.

Wider stance when it comes to the smaller ones at least.

Maybe a base that when weight is on the jack it pushed down so that the wheels are no longer the only support so it doesn't roll. One that can be used or not used. Like the rolling stools that when you stand or sit on them the legs come down to keep it from rolling.

I like the idea of the locking so that it doesn't leak down, as long as it's easy to release when you do want it to come down.
 

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The only problem I see with a locking mechanism is that people will get lazy and not put safty stands under the vehicle. Don't think I want to climb under a vehicle with just a jack under it. Deb, shorter stroke, more lift=race jack. slow-poke, use roll bar padding, you can cover the whole handle.
 

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Re: Floor Jack Project: Need Feedback

Great input, Deb. I have thought of those myself, like hinged flip-out stabilizer feet or holes to slide pipes through (outriggers), and cam-over wheels so it can sit on the floor or be wheeled under load.
-What do you like about your hydraulic floor jack?
Which one? I use 3 commonly of different sizes, and usually whip-out my big 'un for most work. On that one, I like the grease fittings on moving parts and it's all fully rebuildable. I like the two-stage dual pumps that let it shoot up in one stroke to the lift point, then self-adjust to the weight for lifting. I like I can pick up more than a whole car weight with it with no fear of failure. I modded the handle to slide (telescope) to be any length necessary for the load so I can use shorter strokes or long without straining or taking forever. I like the socket head that I can switch between lift pads, trans cradles, or whatever I want to build for it - like a differential cradle that lifts by the yoke so it can roll right back into the axle housing and get to the mounting studs too. Or a vertical adjustable beam to lift pickup beds for fuel tank service or tilt engines on one mount.
-What do you not like about it?
It's HEAVY and noisy when moving. It dents asphalt when lifting very heavy loads. I can't 'disengage' the handle to start a stroke at any height. It's not electric or pneumatic. (hint).
-How often do you use a floor jack?
Lots.
-Do you feel safe when operating it?
Yes, but I take all safety precautions having been nearly killed before. From that angle, perhaps I don't feel safe as I fear it enough to use PITA safety measures. While it should be very safe for it's function, a healthy respect needs to be instilled. That would be the greatest improvement. Beats me how.
-If you could change one thing about your jack, what would it be?
All of the above. ;) Your idea of a mechanical lock is interesting, but I wonder if it would give people an excuse to not use floor jacks for safety? Good luck with your project, and be sure to post final reports and pics or drawings, along with your patent!

David
 

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The only problem I see with a locking mechanism is that people will get lazy and not put safty stands under the vehicle. Don't think I want to climb under a vehicle with just a jack under it. Deb, shorter stroke, more lift=race jack. slow-poke, use roll bar padding, you can cover the whole handle.
You have a point there Richard!! Some wouldn't bother with stands... I like the jack stands myself. For the safety aspect and i can get the jack out of my way. But not everyone would.

Psig, like that idea myself. I did think about adding the bolted on pad so that it can be swapped out but I can understand the smaller ones not having this. But there are large jacks that don't either and i think all larger ones should be removable as there wouldn't be the safety aspect of the jack not being large enough for the job. Although it sure would of been nice when putting the transmission in and not using 2x6 or 12 chunks of board to wobble and another would be the 3rd member. But guess that's when modification of the jack comes in to make it interchangeable.

And for sure, come back and keep us updated. Sounds like a great project!
 

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Hepcat69, if you want to see how a mechanical locking system works on a hydraulic jack then look at a motorcycle/atv jack. I have a craftsman one for working on my bike and it will mechanically lock into three different positions. The locking system can easily be adapted to work on a car floor jack.
 

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I want to widen one of mine, and drop the center, so it can lift a rear axle via the tubes, not the center... probably wont be able to pivot, but 99% of the time when lifting a rear it dont need to swivel anyways.

a tee handle operated secondary pump actuator would be a nice option- think a 'cam' inside the tube could be used to ramp the pump piston by twisting back and forth until enough clearance for the handle to pump...even if a little bit slow, would still keep from banging the car with the handle.

I'm kinda suprised someone hasnt put a cordless drill driven gear pump together to lift without a handle...my hydraulic lift tables(junk pile freebies) used to put the body off/on the galaxie I converted from 3 phase to 120 by adapting the pumps to some cheep ryobi drills, they worked great. if the 220 pump ever fails on our drive on lift, I'll do the same for it(I'm cheep).
Speaking of lifts- mines got 2 rolling jacks- they are just air cyl lift with scissor for stability, the lock is simply a pin you pull out of its storage hole and put thru to lock the scissor- simple and safer than a ratchet that might slip...with weight on the pin it cant be pulled, plus its got a tab that the 'handle' (its just a rod with a 90 degree bent 'handle') locks into so it cant be knocked out without rotating first.

bigger diameter front wheels are always a plus, personally I think most jacks have the wheels too close to the pad- at low lift it dont take much to lift the caster wheels, like 95% of the weight is on the fronts...easier to swivel when up in the air(weight gets a little more centered) but still easy to tip. a wider front set of say 4" wheels with even a single caster (handle would need offset- unless the handle pivots off the caster axle- we have pallet jacks like that at work, its very stable/easier to steer with the pump handle)

lots of possibilities...the more Ive looked at my jacks, the more Ive always wanted to build a wide triangular one with the caster/handle and wide/double vee lift for axles...someday maybe.


if thinking 'low center of gravity', you might be able to use larger wheels with lower overall height by raising the wheel mounts- heres a pic of my toolbox, it dont tip over :) heres a little vid of the retractible stero I made for it too, still gets a chuckle, 20 yrs later...
 

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Take a look at this.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/powerbuilt-reg-3-ton-jack-amp-jack-stand-1160455
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all of the feedback guys! Very helpful as always. I too thought of making the wheels spring loaded so that when it was placed under a load, the wheels are pushed up and the body of the jack can rest on the floor.

Also what do yall think about a foot operated pump?
 

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One thing to think about when talking about retractable wheels. When jacking up anything either the jack or the object has to be able to move. Normally it is the wheels on the jack that allow it to roll as the position of the arm is changing. If your rear axles are up on jack stands and you try to jack the front with a stationary jack, something has to give and it would probably be the jack stands. Just a thought.
 

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You really cant make the jack so it rests totally on the floor when it has weight on it, for the simple reason of when you jack your car up, there are side loads on the jack as the car goes up. If the jack wouldnt roll, then there would be a huge safety issue because the jack would then be under a bind and the car would pull itself off the jack pad. Just think about the last time you used a bottle jack or scissor jack, the car slides on the jack pad or the jack plain falls over.
 
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