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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: 2 ton jack good enough?
Date: Tue, 07 Dec 1999 16:45:00 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

Jess Vanderveen wrote:
> Hi Gang.  I am about to purchase a 2 ton floor jack with 4 wheels on
> it from Wallmart for $26.00, since my 29ft 1986 Ford Southwind
> Motorhome did not come with a jack or tire wrench. Weight of the
> motorhome is 14500 lbs loaded. GVWR is 17500 lbs. Is this jack good
> enough to lift 1/4 of the motorhome?. Tires are Michelin 235x85x16 lt
> with 70 lbs of air in them.  Sidewall says max 80 lbs. is that OK? JV

NO!  Some chinese slave labor factory must have dumped a million of
these things on the market.  I saw the same jack at Tractor Supply
for $22.   They had them for sale for even less at the flea market. 
Someone was selling them by the truckfull at the Daytona rod run
last thanksgiving.  Earlier I mentioned that I stopped to help a
couple of guys in a rental MH change a tire.  They were trying to
use one of these to lift the rear axle.  Bad move.  I have a
commercial grade 3 ton jack in my garage and it is at least 10 times
larger in all dimensions than these accidents-waiting-to-happen. 
And unlike my commercial jack which contains a safety valve that
prevents the jacking of excess weight, these little pieces of junk
will try to jack anything that doesn't immediately bend them.  Those
guys in the rental unit almost had the axle off the ground when I
arrived.  Really scary!

I bought one at the rod run to try as a leveling jack.  Works OK for
that but is more trouble than just carrying wheel wedges.

I paid about $30 for my 12 ton bottle jack that I carry with my MH. 
It easily jacks any axle.  The reason I chose a jack of that
capacity, several times the weight of my MH, is that it makes
jacking the relatively light load a fingertip affair.  No need to
place the body partially under the MH in order to lean on the
handle.  Although not absolutely necessary, a stabilization plate is
a handy accessory.  This is a steel or thick aluminum plate with a
couple of heavy clips welded on that the jack base slips into.  This
not only distributes the weight across more pavement/dirt, it helps
keep the jack from tipping.  I've seen them for sale but I just
grabbed a hunk of 12" square 1/4" thick steel plate from my junk
pile and made it myself.

If you want to jack safely, particularly on the side of an
interstate with the wash of semis trying to blow the RV off the
jack, carry enough blocks to a) block the wheels on the opposite end
in both directions and b) block the axle as the jack lifts it.  I
carry 6X6 blocks and wedges made by diagonally slicing 6X6 blocks. 
The blocks take up most of the space under the axle and the wedges
can be pushed between the blocks and the axle to take up space as
the axle rises.  That way if the jack tips or leaks or just falls,
the blocks will catch the axle and prevent it falling completely to
the ground.  These wedges are the same ones I use for leveling.

To block the opposite wheels, I place wedges under each, pull the
wheel up on the wedge, slip another wedge behind each wheel and then
let it roll back down into the valley of the wedges.  This locks the
wheel positively in both directions.  Commercially made wheel chokes
can also be used but that means something extra to carry.  

From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Can Floor jacks be repaired?
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 17:10:33 EST

Steve R wrote:
> Got a 2 ton floor jack (sears) from my dad. It will rise when pumps until it
> meets any resistance.
> Is this something that can be fixed? Add fluid?, change seals? I've been
> doing alot of work on our 4 vehicles and would love to be able to use this
> floor jack instead of the jacks that come with the cars. I would of course
> then use jack stands once I got the car lifted!!!

I have what is probably the same jack.  I bought it new in 72. 
Recently I had to add fluid for the first time since I've owned it. 
Similar symptoms.  If you run the jack up, you'll see a rubber plug
in the center of the cylinder.  Pull it out and add some jack oil
until you can see it near the hole.  Push the plug back in and cycle
the jack through its stroke a couple of times.  This purges air out
of the system.  The jack should positively jack up until it hits the
mechanical stop.  The handle should get hard to pump at that point. 
If it doesn't behave this way, then either you need to add more
fluid or the jack needs to be rebuilt.  Sears has always been pretty
good about stocking repair parts so call 'em and see if a kit is

The early 70s vintage jacks are very good - I've worked the fool out
of mine.  They made them progressively cheaper over the years in an
effort to keep the price the same.  I'd not waste my money on their
current model.

BTW, you WERE just joking about crawling under a car without
jackstands, weren't you?  I've had the front end of a Beetle on my
chest before.  Luckily I was strong enough back then to lift it up
enough to breath and yell!  I'd hate to think about what would have
happened had it been a real car or if I had not had help nearby!


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Spare tire in Alaska?
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 04:10:13 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

Phil wrote:
> Okay, now you've all convinced me to take a jack. Where do you buy such
> a thing and how do you know where to stick it, so to speak!

I carry a 12 ton hydraulic bottle jack, some oak blocks and a 1 foot
square, 3/16" thick steel plate in my rig.  The 12 ton jack is
placed under the axle near the flat tire.  The steel plate keeps the
jack from jacking down into soft dirt or pavement.  The oak blocks
are to stack up under the axle as a safety backup to the jack. 
These are the same blocks I use for leveling.  I place one on each
side of the wheel on the opposite end of the rig to keep it from
rolling.  To so this, place one wedge, drive up on it, place the
other wedge under the tire and then let it roll down into the crotch
formed by the two.  The wheel is extremely securely immobilized.  A
block is also handy to put under the far end of the "X" type lug
wrench so that you can jump up and down on the arm to break the lug
nuts free.

I chose the 12 ton jack not because I needed all that capacity (my
whole rig weighs about 7500 lbs) but because that size would reach
the axle without having to resort to blocks or other dangerous
measures.  The steel plate lays flat in the storage cabinet where I
keep my spare parts and tools.  The jack sits in the corner.  The
chock blocks sit in a cabinet inside the door because I don't have a
basement.  Since I need leveling blocks anyway, the only space
occupied is the approximately 5" square footprint of the jack.


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