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Old 10-07-2016, 08:58 PM
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Harbor Freight Jack Problem

I bought an aluminum racing jack from Harbor Freight about 10 years ago. It was a very good jack. However, it started leaking a little so I decided to replace it. I figured 10 years was enough for that jack.

I got the new jack and I'm not impressed. I wanted to post my experiences here to see if this should be expected...

On my old jack, I could pump the handle with no weight on the jack and it would raise a certain amount. I could get it all the way up in about 6-8 pumps. And when I put weight (like the car) on the jack, it was harder to pump but each pump brought the jack up the same amount as if there was no weight on it.

On the new jack, it goes up quickly when there is no weight on it and I can get it all the way up in about 5-6 pumps. But when it gets the car on it, then each pump (full swing of the lever) only takes it up about 1/2 of an inch. And then it goes up VERY slowly. With the car on it it takes about 10-12 pumps to get it the rest of the way up. It doesn't seem to "grab" like the old pump did.

Is that right? Are the new jacks supposed to do this?


I was planning on exchanging it for another new one but wanted to ask here first. I know these jacks are very common and figured someone on here had one.



Thanks,
Sal

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Old 10-08-2016, 12:01 AM
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to bleed a hydraulic jack..


pull the saddle all the way up slowly. it will stop at the top..

slowly release the handle.. till it goes all the way down..

wait a minute or two.. and pull the saddle all the way up again.. stop at the top and slowly release the handle..

your jack should be bled..

there is a small chance your jack was shipped upside down and once in a while the fluid will Partially leak out.. if the bleeding procedure did not work above..

try pumping it to the top.. letting it down.. pumping it to the top again.. letting it down slowly.

hint.. when possible grease the axles with moly graphite assembly lube.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:45 AM
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It might be a two speed pump. It has two pistons on the pump, one inside the other. At low load both pistons go down with each stroke but when there is a load only the inside piston is working. That uses less force to raise a load but it takes more pumps while still being able to take up slack quickly. I have used presses and lifts that were made this way.
If there is air in the system then the lift bar will be spongy or "bounce" under load changes.
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Old 10-08-2016, 04:32 PM
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Hate to be mean, but you get what you pay for at Horrible Freight. Amazing that it lasted as long as it did.

I sprung for a 102 lb $200 Norco jack around 15 years ago, and it still works great. Nice range of lift too, something like 4"-22". The thing is a beast. Rated at 2-1/4 tons, it weighs 50% more than the cheapo "3 ton" jack it replaced, and has at least 2" more lifting range.
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Old 10-08-2016, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 55_327 View Post
Hate to be mean, but you get what you pay for at Horrible Freight. Amazing that it lasted as long as it did.
.
I also have one of those HF aluminum racing jacks that is about 12 years old and still going strong.

Vince
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Old 10-08-2016, 10:40 PM
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It's a two speed pump, sometimes called a "quick-lift" pump....moves a large amount until it reaches contact with a load.

Just like OldTech posted.
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Old 10-09-2016, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 302 Z28 View Post
I also have one of those HF aluminum racing jacks that is about 12 years old and still going strong.

Vince
That's very good service from a an HF product. I gotta tell you it's much more common for them to have problems out of the box, like holding a load for a few seconds then gradually starting to drop -- nothing drastic but something like 1" every 10 minutes or so. Sure, jack stands take care of it, but it's just not right.

Also, I've noticed no-name floor jacks tend to have "all or nothing" releases. Very difficult to slightly open the valve and let the load drop slowly. That happened to me just last week at a buddy's garage. When he asked me to set the car down easily on jack stands, I barely started turning the handle, and then "bam" the thing dropped 3" in 0.5 second. Maybe he has the digital model -- off/on only.

This guy says it well:

Everyone has a different budget but expect to spend between $150 and $250 for a solid, easy-to-use, and reliable floor jack. It may be tempting to buy a cheap model from your local auto parts store and it may do this job for a short while, but as customer reviews for these floor jacks note, they have a much higher failure rate, and when safety is concerned it’s simply not worth the risk. Discount floor jacks may sometimes even look the same, but upon close inspection, it’s noticeable that plenty of cost-cutting was done during the manufacturing process.

Yeah, cost-cutting like no QA, poor metallurgy, low quality seals. All hallmarks of low-bidder exporters and HF products in general.
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Old 10-09-2016, 03:07 PM
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IMO, HF jacks are some of the best deals for jacks you can get. I've had my 3.5 ton now for almost 8 years. only problem I had is I lost the little bolt that holds the top handle on, and I never bothered to replace it. It does not drop over time, tho I only use it with jack stands as your supposed to do that.. Properly greased it releases slowly. It was a bit catchy at first but near perfect now.. I think it was $89 back then. There is no need to spend big bucks on a jack that gets used only occasionally.. now If I had the need I'd buy a Lincoln/ OTC jack. I guess they are Hein Werner now.

Actually I know one brand of jack which retails around the $300 mark for a 3.5 ton and they are absolute garbage ( 4 identical jacks failed due to major pump leakage at same time, and they were same manufacture date/ used same place ) HF is likely 10 times better. Price has absolutely nothing to do with it
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:34 PM
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At Harbor Freight you can buy cheap or inexpensive. Cheap tools won't last and they will not be serviceable over even a short period of time. If you buy the slightly more expensive tool that is quality made then you get a serviceable tool that will last a long time.
If you go to buy the least expensive tool they have you can plan on it failing with the first use. Know what you are buying and check it out. Look at the reviews to see what others have run into. Think critically about what is being said in the reviews. I have bought a few tools through them and some I only needed for one job and some I bought long term. I get what I expect will do the job for me and I have not been disappointed. To be honest, I have had more complaints about Snap-On tools than what I have bought from Harbor Freight.
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Old 10-11-2016, 07:30 AM
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Lots of love for HF tools here. You're not alone, because some friends of mine laugh at me for spending too much money on tools, while they buy two HF tools so they have a spare for when the first one fails.

I've had a few HF tools over the years -- sockets that weren't quite the right size and would fall off of an extension, a sloppy 3/4" ratchet, driver bits that snapped in half, and a heat gun that shot flames out the front. I did buy a nice air hose that I've had now for 12-15 years, but it was made in the USA by Goodyear.

The Chinese-made tools I do own are name brand, such as Bosch, Dewalt, and Ingersol-Rand, which are light years better than Chicago Electric and Central Pneumatic. I also have some Gear Wrench tools, which I think are from China, but they are well-made.
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Old 10-11-2016, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssanto View Post
I got the new jack and I'm not impressed. I wanted to post my experiences here to see if this should be expected...

On my old jack, I could pump the handle with no weight on the jack and it would raise a certain amount. I could get it all the way up in about 6-8 pumps. And when I put weight (like the car) on the jack, it was harder to pump but each pump brought the jack up the same amount as if there was no weight on it.

On the new jack, it goes up quickly when there is no weight on it and I can get it all the way up in about 5-6 pumps. But when it gets the car on it, then each pump (full swing of the lever) only takes it up about 1/2 of an inch. And then it goes up VERY slowly. With the car on it it takes about 10-12 pumps to get it the rest of the way up. It doesn't seem to "grab" like the old pump did.

Is that right? Are the new jacks supposed to do this?
What you are talking about is a newer feature clearly bragged about in their ads (and by all brands)... it's called " RAPID PUMP " which means when there is no weight on the jack, it quickly takes up any excess clearance, and then reverts to normal jack action once it encounters a load... If it tried to lift your vehicle at the higher speed, you'd never be able to pump it... it would pump too hard...

3 ton Low Profile Steel Heavy Duty Floor Jack with Rapid Pump® (the one I have, goes on sale as low as $69.95, works perfect)

BTW, your old jack may be rebuildable with some low priced O-rings from the hardware store/home center... HF tools usually come with a parts list, but I don't think repair parts are actually available in this country...

Also, if your new jack has a higher load capacity, it will prolly lift slower than your old smaller one... there's always a tradeoff of ease of use vs load capacity...
.

Last edited by BuzzLOL; 10-11-2016 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:02 PM
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HF tools parts are available if you call the special number. Takes a while to get them though.
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