Our monthly floor Jack thread

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Jul 24, 2011
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Looking to buy a floor jack. It will be for small jobs and home use only; tire rotations, brake work and checking front end components for play during an oil change. Any larger jobs will go to the shop where the majority of my tools already are. Needs to be able to handle compact cars up to a 1/2 ton truck. Lightweight is definitely a plus but not a necessity.

Currently considering a Black Jack 2.5 ton from Walmart for $60, the aluminum Harbor Freight 2 ton for $120, a 4 ton HF with a leak from Marketplace for $50 and a Montgomery Ward 5630 1.5 ton that looks to be from the 60’s with a leak as well for $20.

Normally I’m all about buying used and fixing. Less waste, saves money, gives a person those warm feelings inside. In this case the reseal kits seem to be running $40-60 so it’s just not making sense to me, unless that MW Jack is a real jewel worth having or the Walmart one is really junk.
 
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Joined
Jul 14, 2020
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DFW Metroplex
Looking to buy a floor jack. It will be for small jobs and home use only; tire rotations, brake work and checking front end components for play during an oil change. Any larger jobs will go to the shop where the majority of my tools already are. Needs to be able to handle compact cars up to a 1/2 ton truck. Lightweight is definitely a plus but not a necessity.

Currently considering a Black Jack 2.5 ton from Walmart for $60, the aluminum Harbor Freight 2 ton for $120, a 4 ton HF with a leak from Marketplace for $50 and a Montgomery Ward 5630 1.5 ton that looks to be from the 60’s with a leak as well for $20.

Normally I’m all about buying used and fixing. Less waste, saves money, gives a person those warm feelings inside. In this case the reseal kits seem to be running $40-60 so it’s just not making sense to me, unless that MW Jack is a real jewel worth having or the Walmart one is really junk.
That Blackjack may be too tall for compact cars or anything that sits low to the ground. That was my experience anyway - had to use some scissor jacks to get vehicles high enough to be able to use the Blackjack.

I’ve had that HF floor Jack too, and it suffered from the same drawback as the Blackjack, too tall for some of the cars I have.

I do have the low profile 1.5 ton HF Jack, which is my main go-to Jack now. There have been a couple times I’ve run out of lift with it when using it on a truck or something, but a small board usually fixed that situation when it happened.

I have no experience with the other jacks mentioned.
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
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los angeles
The Montgomery Ward 5630 is a relabeled original Hein-Werner WS. The WS was a well respected and popular garage jack back in its day. There are still plenty of them around, so it’s not a rare collectible, although you’ll probably find it’s smaller brother, the OS a bit more commonly. It’ll have a leather cup seal for the main ram and a u cup for the piston. If the jack was well cared for, they were made with rebuilding once every 30-40 years in mind, so they are decent candidates for rebuild. If it was stored outdoors and is now a rusty POS, then pass.

This thread might get you started if you wind up being interested: https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/threads/hein-werner-os.36252/
 
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AutoMechanic

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Harbor Freight jacks are great. We have one of the racing style ones at work and several regular Daytona ones too. I have a Daytona at home as well. For what you are doing any of the ones would work. Just warning the Pittsburgh or Daytona jacks are not light lol. Except the racing one which is light of course.
 

D60

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Looks like global panic has now made them very expensive, but the Sunex 6602LP is nice. Low min height + 24" lift height = best of both worlds. AFAIK the Arcan XL2TB is the same thing
 
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HF Pittsburg is what I have, and they work great. However, I invested in a QuickJack two years ago at the start of the pandemic so I can do the simple stuff on my own, which is what I recommend if you have the space. They are not inexpensive but are well worth the cost. If you are interested, both Costco and HomeDepot carries them and are on sale often. Another alternative is contact them directly, their representative is able to offer you discount and incentives as well.

https://www.quickjack.com/
 

cb_13

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Forgot to mention about one major downside about owning the QuickJack. You might start buying a lot more tools and tackle on more projects that you normally wouldn’t.
Having the tools isn’t an issue. I spent 12 years as a dealership tech so I’ve got way more than I “need” now that I don’t use them to make my living. I just keep them at my uncle’s shop and use it for any larger jobs, be it side work or on personal vehicles/equipment.

Those look really cool. Almost as handy as a lift but would take up way less space.
 

D60

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Forgot to mention about one major downside about owning the QuickJack. You might start buying a lot more tools and tackle on more projects that you normally wouldn’t.
Almost looks like it might be nice for under-dash work....
 

cb_13

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I ended up going with the HF 3 ton low profile. They had it on special this week for $30 off. Spent an $23 to upgrade to the 2 year warranty.

From what I could find it looks like that old Hein Werner is great quality but rebuilding it is a heck of a job. Likely takes a special tool they quit making in the 70’s or a lot of heat and a little luck.
 
Joined
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I ended up going with the HF 3 ton low profile. They had it on special this week for $30 off. Spent an $23 to upgrade to the 2 year warranty.

From what I could find it looks like that old Hein Werner is great quality but rebuilding it is a heck of a job. Likely takes a special tool they quit making in the 70’s or a lot of heat and a little luck.
Good choice. My HF 3 ton LP is still rock solid after nine years. I did have to bleed it when it was brand new.
 
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Nov 13, 2020
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I just picked up a HF low profile long reach 3 ton and it's stout. Three pumps and my car is in the air. Also picked up the cross beam for working on my truck, just makes things easier.
 
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Good choice. My HF 3 ton LP is still rock solid after nine years. I did have to bleed it when it was brand new.
I also have the HF 3T low profile. Do you find it takes a lot of effort to lift a car? I don't have to lean on the handle but it is easier that way. I seem to remember using less effort in the past, with other jacks. Any suggestions?
 
Joined
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I also have the HF 3T low profile. Do you find it takes a lot of effort to lift a car? I don't have to lean on the handle but it is easier that way. I seem to remember using less effort in the past, with other jacks. Any suggestions?
No, it seems pretty normal to me. Then again, I haven’t compared it to any other jacks for quite a few years.
 
Joined
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los angeles
I also have the HF 3T low profile. Do you find it takes a lot of effort to lift a car? I don't have to lean on the handle but it is easier that way. I seem to remember using less effort in the past, with other jacks. Any suggestions?

This is an oversimplification, but you can’t beat the physics. The mechanical advantage that the hydraulic cylinder gives you is dependent on the ratio of the area of the pump piston(s) size compared to the man lift ram size. The faster (fewer pumps) it lifts, the more effort it requires.

All dual pump piston jacks work with the same concept. With no load on the saddle both the larger and the smaller pump pistons are working to send oil to the main lift ram. This provides a rapid lift of the saddle. Once the saddle encounters a load, the larger piston stops working (aka bypasses), and only the smaller pump piston is sending oil to the main lift ram. This basically transfers less oil, and thus requires less effort but more handle pumps to lift.

If you made the smaller pump piston even smaller or if you made the main lift ram larger, then the effort of lifting would be less, at the expense of a slower lift speed (more handle pumps).

If you really had the interest, I’m sure you could get a machinist to make you a small pump piston that is smaller in size to retrofit into your jack, and thus make it easier to pump when a load is on it. Alternatively, it is possible that some Chinese company on alibaba already makes it, although they might want you to purchase in quantities of 1000 or something. Hey, maybe that could be a neat side business - selling imported parts to “tune” your hydraulic jack. You could advertise on BITOG.
 
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