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floor jacks at altitude?
Old 05-09-2007, 04:05 PM   #1
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floor jacks at altitude?

This is an odd question, I know, but is there something about moving a floor jack from sea level to 6500 feet that would make it quit working?

We moved from San Diego to Colorado, and the jack we use to work on our cars no longer works. It pumps up a little bit, but not with enough power to lift the car. We tried adjusting the screw (no difference), and it doesn't seem like anything was leaking out. I've just never heard of one of these going bad.

Any ideas?
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?
Old 05-09-2007, 04:24 PM   #2
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WM
I've just never heard of one of these going bad.

Any ideas?
The first thing that comes to mind is the change in altitude may have gotten air in the hydraulics. But it could be simply due to age. Maybe try some Jackagra and see if that helps...

(Sorry...couldn't resist. :P)

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Re: floor jacks at altitude?
Old 05-09-2007, 04:56 PM   #3
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?

WM:

I recognize the symptom that you have described as I have encountered it myself.

Your floor jack needs more oil in it. I would guess that during the move the jack was on it's side and some of the oil leaked out. Either that or the air pressure difference caused the seal to leak.

My jack has a little rubber seal that can be removed exposing an oil reservoir. Once removed you can squirt more oil in using a squirt bottle or equivalent.

If you really want to be fancy go to a larger auto parts store and tell them you need some floor jack oil. It's sold in pressurized cans with a thin tube that inserts into the spray nozzle. The tube aids in getting the oil into the reservoir.

That should solve the problem.
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?
Old 05-09-2007, 05:06 PM   #4
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?

Here's some links to related problems...

http://www.nissanforums.com/tools/11...loor-jack.html

http://www.hyjacks.com/H7.HTM

http://www.sr20forum.com/garage-tips...loor-jack.html
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?
Old 05-09-2007, 05:24 PM   #5
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?

You've already gotten really good advice, so just to recap quickly:

Could altitude affect my hydraulic jack's operation?

No. A properly filled and functioning jack works by hydraulic action, and since the fluid (hydraulic jack oil or transmission fluid) is essentially incompressible, it will function exactly the same at altitude as it does at sea level.

Could moving/shipping/storing/tilting my jack affect it's operation?

Yes. Anything that loses fluid can leave your jack unable to extend fully, or possibly not able to stay where you extend it to. Usually, just bringing the fluid level up to the recommended level and then extending and retracting it fully a few times with no load will make everything right again.
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?
Old 05-09-2007, 05:27 PM   #6
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?

To beat this thing to death...

If your jack is indeed full of oil, one of the links above suggests that having the jack on it's side or upside down causes air to enter the pressure chamber.

Their solution is to go through a number of up-down cycles with the pump to expel the air.
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?
Old 05-09-2007, 08:02 PM   #7
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?

Wow, that was fast! People on this board do know everything!

I didn't know you could put oil back in, so I'll go ahead and try that. It seems like that's probably the issue.
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?
Old 05-10-2007, 04:39 PM   #8
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?




Refill with jack oil, not any old thing laying around the garage. You bet your life



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Re: floor jacks at altitude?
Old 05-10-2007, 05:13 PM   #9
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BUM


Refill with jack oil, not any old thing laying around the garage. You bet your life



Always use jackstands!
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?
Old 05-10-2007, 05:21 PM   #10
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterblaster
To beat this thing to death...

If your jack is indeed full of oil, one of the links above suggests that having the jack on it's side or upside down causes air to enter the pressure chamber.

Their solution is to go through a number of up-down cycles with the pump to expel the air.
If the jack won't pump up at first, you can lift it manually to get the bleeding started. After one manual cycle it should begin to work on its own.
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?
Old 05-10-2007, 08:58 PM   #11
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Re: floor jacks at altitude?

I guess I'm going to have to work on it this weekend, just to settle the issue

And yes, I was planning on getting the right oil, and we always use jackstands (and try to be under the car as little as possible anyway).
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Old 06-10-2007, 05:31 PM   #12
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Ok, putting more oil into it worked! DH got some hydraulic oil and added some, then raised the jack up and down, and did that a few times and it's completely fixed! Thanks!

Yes, it did take us this long to get around to it, but our cars are now in good working order again! =)
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Old 06-10-2007, 06:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WM View Post
Ok, putting more oil into it worked! DH got some hydraulic oil and added some, then raised the jack up and down, and did that a few times and it's completely fixed! Thanks!

Yes, it did take us this long to get around to it, but our cars are now in good working order again! =)
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