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A red face and a bottlejack

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Andrew Tinsley08/06/2020 14:55:47
1485 forum posts

Like many here, I have been having a mega tidy up during lockdown. I found a 4 ton Lake and Elliott bottle jack, last seen some 35 years ago!

I cleaned it up and freed the stuck threaded top section. I checked the oil level (it had been leaking as it was on its side). Topped up with hydraulic fluid and gave it a pump or three. It eventually got to full height and then the awful truth dawned. How do you let it down? I must have known once!

There was no sign of a release valve and the only visible features were the oil filling point and the device to put the pumping handle into (this just drives a horizontal shaft to pump up the jack). Now there is a spring loaded lifting device on this, which needs to be lifted to get the handle out. But this is ALL it does. There is also a floppy lifting handle, but this doesn't do anything else. It is a very heavy brute and the handle is needed.

So, I have an erect jack (no comments please) and no apparent way of collapsing the ram. I have a very red face indeed but I am confessing my sins in the hope that someone can tell me how to retract the ram.

Andrew.

Adrian R208/06/2020 15:01:29
118 forum posts
5 photos

Try pushing the handle all the way down and holding it there, I've got a couple that work like this. It may be reluctant to compress if not under load so you might have to apply some force to the top as well.

David Jupp08/06/2020 15:03:55
785 forum posts
17 photos

Not sure if it was the same make - one I used years ago was released by pulling the handle back slightly from the slot in the 'rocker' - this allowed the handle to be depressed further than when pumping, allowing the oil to 'return to tank'.

It needed a significant push down on the ram if not actually carrying a load, the weight of the ram alone wasn't enough to force the fluid back round the circuit.

Andrew Johnston08/06/2020 15:14:02
avatar
6266 forum posts
677 photos

Put it aside for another 35 years.

Andrew

Andrew Tinsley08/06/2020 15:19:06
1485 forum posts

Thanks gentlemen,

That rings a bell, however in my enthusiasm to pump the jack up, I have pumped the ram to the top and cannot get the pump handle to go down. I am sure that if I leave it long enough, then slight leakage will allow me to get the ram down a touch to enable me to "bottom" the pump handle.

I did notice that there seemed to be two positions for the pump handle at maximum height. I just thought that this was due to a 35 year lack of use. Maybe the two positions at the top are the equivalent of your two positions at the bottom, I will check, as I can lift the handle.

Before anyone cautions me not to use the jack, it would not be put to use without a strip down and seal replacement,

Thanks all.

Andrew.

 

Edited By Andrew Tinsley on 08/06/2020 15:20:09

Andrew Tinsley08/06/2020 15:41:57
1485 forum posts

Hello again,

Just got the jack down by forcing the handle to its lowest point, so you were right on the money Adrian! Thanks, my face is no longer red!

Now wait a minute Andrew. I shall not be putting it away for another 35 years, UNTIL it has been overhauled and fettled.

Come to think, I won't be around in 35 years (my friends are dropping dead like flies now). It will be the executors of my estate that will dig it out again!

Andrew.

Brian Wood08/06/2020 16:36:11
2446 forum posts
37 photos

It probably doesn't need stripping at all, but if you do so take care that spring loaded balls do not leap out of sight, You may also need some odd sizes of O rings before you rebuild it. Just undoing the big nut at the bottom of the ram cylinder will be be a challenge. I seem to remember the bottom plate allows a way in too.

I would leave it alone and tolerate the cost of topping it up

Best of luck Brian

larry phelan 108/06/2020 17:20:05
1089 forum posts
14 photos

Amen to that ! Let sleeping dogs lie !

Andrew Tinsley08/06/2020 17:36:59
1485 forum posts

You could both be right. It was only leaking from the filler because it was on its side. Maybe clean it off and give it a coat of paint. The executors won't know!

Andrew.

Brian Sweeting08/06/2020 17:49:25
453 forum posts
1 photos

Maybe write some instructions down and put in a plastic bag, then tape it to the jack.

AdrianR08/06/2020 18:01:59
540 forum posts
36 photos

Put a clause in your will, they don't get a penny unless they can raise and lower the jack

SillyOldDuffer08/06/2020 18:12:27
Moderator
7550 forum posts
1680 photos

Posted by Andrew Tinsley on 08/06/2020 15:19:06:

...

Before anyone cautions me not to use the jack, it would not be put to use without a strip down and seal replacement,

...

Not a bad idea to assume all hydraulic jacks have untrustworthy seals. Jolly useful devices but I'd never go underneath one without putting a stand in first. Screw jacks are dodgy too - I've had one roll over whilst changing a wheel when one side of it's base sank into the road - apparently tarmac isn't rock solid.

Dave

Dave Halford08/06/2020 20:59:58
1729 forum posts
19 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 08/06/2020 18:12:27:

Posted by Andrew Tinsley on 08/06/2020 15:19:06:

...

Before anyone cautions me not to use the jack, it would not be put to use without a strip down and seal replacement,

...

Not a bad idea to assume all hydraulic jacks have untrustworthy seals. Jolly useful devices but I'd never go underneath one without putting a stand in first. Screw jacks are dodgy too - I've had one roll over whilst changing a wheel when one side of it's base sank into the road - apparently tarmac isn't rock solid.

Dave

That one is even funnier if it's a hot day and a new motorcycle left on the side stand, goes down like a falling tree - strangely except when it's yours.

To be serious, scissor jacks were worse for that

Howard Lewis08/06/2020 21:01:34
5299 forum posts
13 photos

If it is any consolation, I have painted myself into that corner, with hydraulic jacks, many times!

But been able to summon enough brute force to force the handle down to release the pressure.

Howard

old mart08/06/2020 21:32:10
3345 forum posts
208 photos

When you mentioned hydraulic fluid, my immediate thoughts were " I hope it was not DOT4". wink 2

Nicholas Farr08/06/2020 21:35:44
avatar
2987 forum posts
1352 photos

Hi, you should never put any part of your body under anything supported by a jack of any type, whether it's brand new or years old. I have a 300mm approx' square and about 30mm thick, very tough piece of plastic in my car, that I use to stand my jack on whenever I have to jack it up and if I'm just changing the wheel, I put the one I take off, under the sill until I've fitted the other one on, then if for some reason the jack gives way, the car won't fall down very far.

Regards Nick.

Perko709/06/2020 09:17:46
391 forum posts
31 photos

My dad always told me that when jacking up a car to change the wheel, always put the spare wheel under the side sill of the car while jacking up so that, if the jack slips while the crook wheel is off, the car won't hit the deck. Still using a bottle jack of indeterminate age (certainly over 80 years old) which has never failed but you can't be too careful.

Andrew Tinsley09/06/2020 09:56:18
1485 forum posts

Hi Old Mart,

I always use pukka hydraulic fluid for jacks. I was given a lifetimes supply of brake fluid it is a pity I can't use it in jacks.

Andrew,

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