PDA

View Full Version : Tool tip...Caring for Cylinders



jclary
02-15-2016, 01:10 PM
Posting here, 'cause, although it is technical, it is relevant to all of us, and our Studebaker hobby...And, I have been in many shops, where I've seen various cylinder operated tools, sitting unused, with partially extended cylinders.

Today, here in the hills of South Carolina, it is another cold and blustery day. Nonetheless, I layered up in warm clothes, to do my morning chores, and, hopefully, accomplish a little Studebaker "project" work. While feeding the animals, dumping out the ice, and refilling their water containers, it began to rain, sleet, and snow. Working outside, under the roof of an open barn, or even inside my very drafty "man cave" pole building, with cold fingers is not safe. Despite that...I wandered into the "man cave" to survey the situation and ponder, when conditions improve, what to do next.

One of my next moves will involve hydraulic jacks, and one (or both) of the engine hoists I own. Both, of the engine hoists were bought off craigslist. The first one is a very heavy duty "shop-crane" built like a tank, and probably (originally) used in a manufacturing plant. It's "lift" cylinder is operated by a separate manual hydraulic pump, which is basically, another cylinder. This hoist is large, cumbersome to move, or store. The second one, I bought from a guy living in a new gated community, with limited space, and a homeowners association. He bought it as a "one-time" use (his story), and wanted it out of his way. I wanted it because I needed to remove an engine from my truck bed, and at the price he was asking, it was worth it over the struggle I would have to go through to drag the old one from where it was to my concrete drive way. When I got it home, I used it, but was unimpressed with how much pumping it took to lift the engine with it. Below, are pictures of the two lifts.

51527 51528 While the vintage lift is heavy and cumbersome, it has the advantage of being much stronger, and has a better "feel" when using. The newer one, is easier to maneuver, and will fold up, for a much smaller "footprint," when not in use. While out there, in the cold chill, this morning, I remembered how unhappy I've been regarding having to pump so much to get this newer lift to work. I decided to remove the rubber "fill" plug. I began to suspect, (like in our brake systems), that the cylinder needed "bleeding." Sure 'nuff, with the fill plug out, I closed the pump valve and began to pump. With each stroke, the lift strokes became stronger, and the lift arm responded with more lift per stroke. Think about it, who knows how much tumbling, and knocking around these tools are subjected to from the time of manufacture to transporting to the shipping dock, container loading, and transport from the ship to retail store. Plenty of chances for air bubbles, even to the point of "foaming" the fluid. I repeated this pumping cycle several times. At first, you could hear a faint gurgle when lowering the arm (with the fill plug out) as air was purged from the fluid. When finished, the pumping was much better, and performing like an entirely different lift. So, if any of you have a similar tool (and I know many do) try a little bleeding, if your lift is not performing properly.

Next tip is to be sure to make sure all cylinders, whether a bottle jack, engine hoist, or even a log splitter, is fully retracted when not in use. Unless the piston, or "rod," is hard chromed, or stainless steel, (and most are not), they will rust when exposed, too long, in air. If this is allowed to happen, the rust will drag through the cylinder's seal/wipers, abrade and destroy them. On the "off-shore" quality cylinders, breaking them down, finding replacement seals, and repairing them could be more trouble than replacing the entire tool. If you have any of these tools, go out check them. If you have a jack, or hoist of any kind, make sure the cylinders are fully retracted. I found that all mine were except for my mower lift. I sprayed a little oil on it and lowered it. Hope I didn't wait too long.

StudeNewby
02-15-2016, 09:41 PM
Thanks for the tip, John. I wonder if that's the problem with my hydraulic jack? Hmmm...

TWChamp
02-16-2016, 06:56 AM
Good luck trying to find any replacement parts for any type of jacks made in China. I bought an aluminum 3 ton floor jack at a swap meet for only $35 because it was missing a spring and retainer for one of the two piston pumps. Even though it was identical to all the floor jacks sold at your local FLAPS and H/F, no parts could be had for it. I found a close spring and made a retainer, so now the jack works great after bleeding and filling.

Hydraulic jacks should always be stored in the closed position with the valve closed.

Skybolt
02-16-2016, 07:57 AM
Good luck trying to find any replacement parts for any type of jacks made in China. I bought an aluminum 3 ton floor jack at a swap meet for only $35 because it was missing a spring and retainer for one of the two piston pumps. Even though it was identical to all the floor jacks sold at your local FLAPS and H/F, no parts could be had for it. I found a close spring and made a retainer, so now the jack works great after bleeding and filling.

Hydraulic jacks should always be stored in the closed position with the valve closed.

I was told to not close the valve tight when storing. Closed, sort of, but not tight, if you know what I mean. Not like when it's in use. This is so the release valve and seal does not get distorted or take on a memory. Maybe a little too careful, or it might not even matter, but as long as it is not open to atmosphere, or tightened too tight, it should be good. I guess this was mentioned by an older person at the time, as some of my friends, in my younger days, would over tighten bolts etc... to the point of breaking bolts and stripping nuts. A cautionary warning perhaps?

Len

8E45E
02-16-2016, 08:03 AM
Closed, sort of, but not tight, if you know what I mean. Not like when it's in use.

I'm for keeping it closed, as moisture could enter if its not; especially if it has to be stored in an unheated building over winter. Best, though, is to store it where it is kept at an even temperature all the time.

Craig