How to Troubleshoot a Two-Ton Hydraulic Floor Jack

Written by tzvi raphael
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How to Troubleshoot a Two-Ton Hydraulic Floor Jack
Learn how to troubleshoot a two-ton hydraulic floor jack. (panne image by Charly from Fotolia.com)

A hydraulic floor jack is used to lift cars in order to do maintenance work on the car. Floor jacks can lift heavy loads using hydraulic pressure, which is created by forcing liquids from one cylinder of the jack to a second cylinder. If your two-ton hydraulic jack is not functioning properly, use these troubleshooting suggestions to identify malfunctions and maintain your jack.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Quality lubricating oil
  • Funnel

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Verify the floor jack's weight rating and the axle weight of the car you need to lift. The axle-weight is recorded on a sticker on the doorjamb of the door on the driver's side. Make sure you aren't attempting to lift over the jack's weight limit, as this puts too much stress on the jack and is very dangerous.

  2. 2

    Look over the hydraulic jack before and after you use it. Check for loose, missing or damaged parts, cracked welds or fluid leaks. Rotate the jack onto its side to look at the ram in both positions: out and in. Look for damaged or rusted pistons, which may cause the ram to malfunction.

  3. 3

    Run a test on the floor jack before every use. Close the release valve (turn clockwise), then pump the handle to lift the hydraulic piston. The saddle will go up a few inches with each pump. Raise the saddle up to its highest position, then twist the handle in the other direction (counterclockwise) to let up on the release valve. The hydraulic fluid should refill the chamber and then the saddle should lower down to the lowest position.

  4. 4

    Verify that the floor jack isn't lifting accurately or doesn't lift at all. There are two reasons for this: either the reservoir doesn't have enough hydraulic oil or there is trapped air in the system. Check the oil. Get rid of trapped air by pulling the release valve all the way back (turn the handle counterclockwise), take off the screw on the oil filler and operate the handle a few times to blow the air out of the system. Put the screw for the oil fill back in and test the jack again.

  5. 5

    Check the floor jack's level of hydraulic oil. If the oil level is not correct, it will decrease the ability of the jack to lift and lower properly. Take out the plug for the oil fill and look inside the chamber. A proper level for oil is 3/16 to 1/4 inches above the cylinder. Check the operating manual that came with your hydraulic jack to verify the correct levels for your jack. Using a funnel, pour oil into the chamber to the proper level.

Tips and warnings

  • Use only quality grade oil made for hydraulic floor jacks; don't use regular oil products.
  • Work slowly and carefully when you operate heavy equipment like a two-ton hydraulic floor jack.

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