View Full Version : General question about transmission jacks

09-14-2016, 10:29 AM
I am considering buying one if I end up having to change my clutch. I have been doing some research and see that they all have adjustment wheels to tilt the saddle front to back and side to side. One review stated that in addition to the normal tilt adjustments, this particular jack had some slop designed into the saddle to jack mounting to allow you to jiggle the transmission around when trying to align it with the clutch and pilot.

I have never used one so I was just wondering if this slop in the saddle to allow you to jiggle the transmission into place is a standard feature of all transmission jacks or if this was something a little different. Having had my trans on and off a few time when the engine was sitting on its cart, I can see where a well timed jiggle comes in very handy.

09-14-2016, 10:38 AM
never heard of that. Might be built in Chinese tolerances ! I'd simply rent one from a good shop. How many trannys do you plan on removing/installing in your lifetime ?

09-14-2016, 12:13 PM
... Might be built in Chinese tolerances !...

Jack, this is not intended as an attack on you. However, you have given me an opportunity to respond to something that's been on my mind for a long time. While much Chinese imported products have legitimately earned a negative reputation, assuming their products as always inferior, is as dangerous as thinking a baby tiger will always be a cub!:QQ:

I'm old enough to recall when post WWII Volvo was a dainty breakdown prone upstart. Volkswagen was a crude oddity, and most of the cheap, Japanese tin dime store toys, barely made it home before you broke them. We Americans, (and I certainly include myself) are guilty of complacency. It has happened many times, as we have become comfortable in our assumptions, a bit arrogant, and relax our vigilance. Remember the first Honda cars? Before we realize it, our former championed market products are lagging behind.:oops:

I recall when Brown & Sharpe was king of measuring instruments. Mitutoyo, in the early eighties, began to eclipse Brown & Sharp, as the preferred brand of tools by my customers. Something unthinkable in the 1950's, is seeing ads extolling quality "watch-works," as being "Japan movement." While we are clinging to our "assumptions,":confused: China, and many other places on this planet, are diligently educating their youth, encouraging manufacturing, modernizing their facilities, and moving forward.:p

As to the subject of a transmission jack. In my younger days, I would think nothing of placing a transmission on my chest, lying on my back, inching myself under a car/truck, edging the pilot shaft up to the bellhousing opening, and struggling to lift it up through the throw out bearing, engage the spline and slide it home. Most of the time, a little side to side rocking is required to get the spline aligned. At my age, I'm not sure my chest would support a transmission, let alone have the strength to lift it.:( Besides, in my younger days, I was more risk prone than I am now. Any time I have used a jack, I have used a typical floor jack, which is risky itself. I have never done any of this, without some discomfort, and awkwardness. I have been lucky.:) I'm thinking, a transmission jack with the capability of allowing you to rock the transmission, purposefully, and properly designed, is a good idea.:!:

09-14-2016, 12:54 PM
I use a cheap Harbor Freight jack. It is a scissor type and not very big but does the job. It was under $100. I like it because of its small size and its collapsed height is not real tall. I used to just muscle up manual transmissions without a jack but I am hopefully older and wiser (weaker as well) today.

09-14-2016, 03:18 PM
If it was just going to be a one time use I would probably just fight the floor jack and git'er done. However, after I get my clutch done, I still have a restoration on Dads 50 Starlight and eventually my old mustang is going to get a new AOD. So I think I want a good quality piece. I have never regretted spending the money to get a good quality tool of any kind. I have regretted buying a cheap one and then having to buy a good one to replace it.

09-14-2016, 07:35 PM
I use a cheap Harbor Freight jack. It is a scissor type and not very big but does the job. It was under $100. I like it because of its small size and its collapsed height is not real tall. I used to just muscle up manual transmissions without a jack but I am hopefully older and wiser (weaker as well) today.


I'll assume it's this one. http://www.harborfreight.com/450-lb-low-lift-transmission-jack-61232.html If so, I've used the same one for a number of years to install or remove everything from 4-speeds to 700R4's. Works great for a car on jack stands. I've also loaned it out to a few friends to do the same.


09-14-2016, 07:36 PM
Same one I use. Very popular with friends and neighbors.

09-14-2016, 09:06 PM
That is the one. I bought it when it was on sale or I used a 20% off coupon. It seems to work good. I put the TH-400 into the Avanti II with it and that is not a light trans.

09-15-2016, 09:39 AM
John...I "never" take anything personal on forum sites due to how much is lost between screens (took me some time, I'll admit). I'm sure with time, Chinese products will measure up to other manufacturers, who may or may not lower their quality out of competition. I don't know that answer. What I can personally comment on is a Chinese floor jack bought at Auto Zone several years back for my back yard mechanic work. Due to Stude greasing habits, I tended to that jack like a Stude. Lasted about 1 year lifting a Stude V8 front/rear ends for light work "&" with jack stands. In my work, I get folks from all walks of life, and I've had several who trade in buying Chinese products. Their consensus is that 80+% of all Chinese (Pacific rim)is junk ! 10% is roughly comparable to most of their world market competitors. And 10% of the products exported from that part of the world are comparable to "any" products, from any part of the world. Among the "most" competitive items are those designed for the hi-tech/computer industry.....FWIW....

09-15-2016, 10:39 AM
John...I "never" take anything personal on forum sites due to how much is lost between screens (took me some time, I'll admit). ....

Thanks Jack, that was the response I was counting on.:) It is just that I have seen too many instances where complacency reversed competitive position. One of the most dramatic I witnessed, was in the textile industry. While our domestic market was comfortable with their aging technology of old (built like a tank) Draper looms, others beat us to the punch with new (air & water jet) weaving technology. "Light speed" ahead in rapid speed weaving, and absolutely zero chest reverberating noise, associated with the old slamming back & forth of the antiquated "picker stick" looms. Couple that increased production with offshore labor cost, and little wonder our traditional manufacturing seemingly pulled anchor over night and sailed away.:(

You are right about suspect quality. However, while we here in the good 'ol U.S. are occupying our time watching "Dancing With Obscure Stars," confused with choosing bathrooms, tweeting, posting on forums:rolleyes:, and quite frankly, charging into the future, at LIFE SPEED, while looking through the back windshield:eek:
Meanwhile, a lot of the world's population is investing, building, upgrading, and improving their position.:cheers: Could be, that there are some organized labor movements, in Asia, trying to bribe, and cajole their legislators to prop up the Rickshaw industry, but I'm seeing a lot of new Mercedes, BMW's, etc., from traffic footage of these once impoverished populations.:confused:

By the way...I have a H/F coupon...think I'll go buy my very first transmission jack.;)

09-15-2016, 12:58 PM
I have bought a few items from HF that were just as good (in fact they were exactly the same) as some of the higher priced folks out there. Seems that Eastwood and Summit both sell some re-branded HF products at a much higher price. However, I did have a bad experience with a HF hydraulic press. The structure is fine but the bottle jack quit working after just a few uses. Therefore I don't want another one of their products that has a jack in it. Especially since I am going to be under the thing while it holds a transmission over my head.