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Old 03-08-2009, 12:24 PM   #1
xroad
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Default Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

I can always lower my car SLOWLY with all hydraulic jacks I have owned in the past. My new (cheap ass) $60 Harbor Freight 3 ton jack literally drops the car down when I release the valve. It is what it is ..... or is there something I can do about it? I am not doing it right?
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Old 03-08-2009, 12:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

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Originally Posted by xroad View Post
I can always lower my car SLOWLY with all hydraulic jacks I have owned in the past. My new (cheap ass) $60 Harbor Freight 3 ton jack literally drops the car down when I release the valve. It is what it is ..... or is there something I can do about it? I am not doing it right?
Return it to them and swap it for another one.
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Old 03-08-2009, 01:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

mines doing the same thing... so i will keep track of this thread.
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Old 03-08-2009, 01:11 PM   #4
Uncle Buck
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

I bet you guys will find HF easy to work with as far as returns go, unless the jacks are 10 years old or something like that.
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Old 03-08-2009, 07:44 PM   #5
xroad
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

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I bet you guys will find HF easy to work with as far as returns go, unless the jacks are 10 years old or something like that.
They are trying to sell me extended warrenty, beyond the 3 months manufacturer warrenty.

Are they changing their policy? You mean they use to exchange even after (or around) a year?
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Old 03-08-2009, 07:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

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mines doing the same thing... so i will keep track of this thread.
I was hoping it may need a break in period. I guess it did not break in for your jack?
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Old 03-08-2009, 07:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

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Return it to them and swap it for another one.
Do you think it may just be the design, or quality assurance problem?
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Old 03-08-2009, 10:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

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Do you think it may just be the design, or quality assurance problem?
Got me, I have not a clue. AllI know is if you just bought it and it is acting up, take it back and swap it. When they give you the new replacement try it out in the parking lot before you leave to make it is good before driveing all the way home to find out you have another clunker or something like that.
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Old 03-08-2009, 10:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

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Originally Posted by xroad View Post
They are trying to sell me extended warrenty, beyond the 3 months manufacturer warrenty.

Are they changing their policy? You mean they use to exchange even after (or around) a year?
I have never had to exchange a jack with them. I just figured so much of their stuff comes back they better have a preatty liberal replacement policy.

However, if you are past some date and they only want a few bucks to extend their lousy warranty I say give them a few bucks and get the replacement. That would seem far cheaper than buying another jack to me.
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Old 03-08-2009, 11:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

first off, show a good pic of the design. On one we had, I was able to take a pipe fitting, weld a restrictor inside of it, and put it back together. The way the jack was set up, it only affected the return. It worked great, you could open the valve and just let it do it's thing. My 2.5 ton long frame HF jack works great with no mods.
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:21 AM   #11
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

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I was able to take a pipe fitting, weld a restrictor inside of it, and put it back together.
Thanks. Unfortunately, that is way over my head. I can go as far unscrew and screw back something. Maybe a half ass job on copper pipe soldering.

I'll be hauling it back to HF for an exchange. I hope it is not poor design. That means I'll get another one that works the same way.
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Old 03-09-2009, 01:36 PM   #12
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

i cant say i have used the jack a ton. but if it the lift is high, and the jack is supporting a lot of weight, it is worse. lower levels and less weight it does better. i cant say bleeding it helped much.
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Old 03-13-2009, 12:00 AM   #13
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

Returned the jack to HF. Got a replacement, same model. Worked a lot better. So much for six sigma at the factory It still comes down pretty fast if I am not careful, but I can certainly meter the release much better.

Pet theory #1: The release valve thread needs a break-in to smooth out the thread to avoid a sudden snap open and doing an overshoot to wide open of the valve.

Pet theory #2: The thread can be of finer pitch to get more turns per valve opening. Now, it feels like full close to full open within 10 degree of rotaton!

Looks like the factory saved the money on grease. I greased the whole jack, every place I can find and reach. It felt MUCH better. I hope this jack last. I really like it.

Made a saddle pad from a hockey puck. Shaved one side to a dome. Place it dome side down on the metal saddle tray to allow self alignment if the bottom of the car is not parallel plane to the jack's saddle tray.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:37 AM   #14
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

Better yet as Nissan_crawler said ... reduce the port size to get the fluid flow rate down so it does not matter if the valve is full open. I like this idea better.

The exploded diagram that comes with the jack manual shows a ball bearing at the release valve seal. Am I reading it right? Are all seals design the same way? I think I'll retreive my other old leaky jack and do a disection to see what is behind that valve.
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Old 05-01-2009, 05:25 PM   #15
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

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Originally Posted by xroad View Post
Better yet as Nissan_crawler said ... reduce the port size to get the fluid flow rate down so it does not matter if the valve is full open. I like this idea better.

The exploded diagram that comes with the jack manual shows a ball bearing at the release valve seal. Am I reading it right? Are all seals design the same way? I think I'll retreive my other old leaky jack and do a disection to see what is behind that valve.
Searching thru some old posts to try and help people with hydraulic problems, First off Yes it is very common for taiwan and some american made jacks to use a ball bearing and a seat for the release, And yes they are very hard to control the release but thats the nature of the beast. On the more expensive jacks they primarily use needle valves which are much easier to control the exit of fluid thus let your vehicle down easier. I wish i could tell you a easy fix but there really isnt one. Just be carefull.

After thinking about it for a bit, The only real fix i could think (and its not too easy) would be to unscrew the release rod, use a magnet to pull the ball, If the ball is considerably smaller than the opening (really shouldnt be) you could find a bigger ball that would slide in/out easy... DONT get it stuck cuz then you have bigger problems.... After finding the correct ball size, find some hand held ball reamers, prefferably one that matches your new ball size and CAREFULLY ream ( When i say Ream, i actually mean gently remove some metal to create a nice seat.) It may take a few trys to get a good seat out the old seat to match your new ball. Bigger diameter ball will let less oil around it, thus slow the decent of the jack. You could always try it once and if it didnt work return it for a exchange.. I mean it was faulty before you messed with it right?

Last edited by Hiball; 05-01-2009 at 06:14 PM. Reason: New Idea for fixing problem.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:53 PM   #16
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

My Walker, Lincoln and Millwaukee Hydraulics jacks all work good.
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:31 PM   #17
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Default Re: Hydraulic Jack Release Valve

Many jacks use the ball bearing against a seat in order to reduce alignment problems inherent in any manufacturing operation. Many jacks have been ruined by gorillas tightening the release valve and deforming the seat etc. My own floor jack was ruined last year by a "helper" that grabbed the jack and gave the handle a twist before I could stop him. I have not looked into repairing it yet. HF and many other stores will re-box returned items and place them back on the shelf. It may be that you got someone else's gorilla tightened jack return.
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