Floor jacks are a handy tool whenever a need for vehicle maintenance pops up. But pieces of machinery sometimes show defects, making them very difficult to use properly.
With hydraulic floor jacks, one pain point that many users experience is the dysfunctionality of the jack's handle. If you're one of these users, you're probably wondering how to make a floor jack handle?
Yes, it is possible to make your own floor jack handle if you have the right set of tools and skills.
This article breaks down all the necessary steps you need to follow to make your DIY floor jack handle when the original one throws tantrums.
Let's say your floor jack handle won't tighten and breaks off without warning. Or some issues with the machine have made the floor jack handle hard to turn.
You have an option to go and buy a separate jack handle, but why bother when you can make one yourself?
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Things To Keep In Mind While Making The Handle
The first thing to determine is the lifting capacity of your floor jack, on which the lifting capacity of your handle will depend.
Follow the weight limitations provided by the jack's manufacturer for both the handle and the jack to work without failure.
The handle needs to be of the right weight because they are what provides the input force used to lift the load. So, the wrong handle weight may end up injuring you or damage the load you are trying to lift.
Get yourself something that is compatible with the highest lift capacity. If it exceeds the weight of the load to be lifted, the car will be safely held in place. Most times, the rating is given in tons; 2-ton or 3-ton are among the usual ones.
Even if functionality is your priority, safety is still the most important thing to consider when choosing or making a handle replacement. Another important consideration is durability. Choose a material that is not only robust and safe to use but also durable.
For our DIY handle, we'll be using a metal pipe of the required size and height to match the hydraulic jack in question. Steel and aluminum are among the most common types of materials used for this. These have the capacity to maintain their strengths after long-term use and promise durability.
This essentially means that even pushing on the handle several times before the jack reaches the maximum height will not snap it off.
Methods of Making Floor Jack Handle
Here are the steps we have outlined for you to make a perfectly functioning makeshift floor jack handle.
Step 1: Understand How the Jack Handle Is Fitted into the System
The handle is basically a steel pipe at the end of which a machine part is welded and extends the tube. It connects to the jack with a step-down section, which prevents the handle from coming off.
A roll-pin is attached, which turns on the valve when the handle is turned back and forth to release it.
Step 2: Preliminary Measures
Measure out the length of the original handle to determine what size of metal tubing you need. The metal used should be aluminum or steel. They are what most jack handles are made of.
Step 3: Get Your Handle To Fit
Once you've taken into account everything mentioned above, it's time for you to carry out the steps to get your handle to fit the hook it's supposed to go to.
1. First, you need to grind off the paint from the valve to be able to weld a nut on it.
2. Next, hook a ground strap and weld a nut onto the valve.
3. Cover the areas surrounding the valve with tape, and start painting the nut using black spray paint.
4. Take the metal pipe under the chop saw and chop off the end of the pipe you'd taken, equal to the length of the socket that you'll fit the pipe into.
5. Grind and shape the pipe's chopped end to make it thinner than the rest of the body so that it fits the socket.
6. Drill and size up the socket, and then begin welding the pipe into it.
7. Once done, try fitting the socket into the handle. If all's good, go ahead and paint it and test the handle out on your floor jack.
Make sure you use a respirator while grinding and welding.
Let's say you have a handle or a steel pipe that probably belongs to some other jack or was to be used for some other purpose, and you want to use the handle as a makeshift handle for your floor jack; follow the steps below:
First, try adjusting the end of the handle to the release nut to determine how much modification the end of the nut needs.
Next, using a Dremel tool, grind a groove on the release nut's end in such a way that it connects with the end of the handle. Of course, don't forget safety - put on your respirator.
Finally, test out the fit by pushing the connecting the handle to the nut, and all's good if it works.
Covering your makeshift handle with an insulating material could be a good idea to prevent it from creating dents on cars as you're jacking up the car. You'll find pipe insulations in the plumbing section of big box stores and use them to wrap your handle in.
The pipe insulations are made of rubber or foam, so when the handle covered in it lands on the car's surface, there is no damage.
Choose a pipe of your required diameter, and cut it to the length you need to sit on the end of your handle with a pair of scissors. A 6" section should be enough.
Wrap the rubber pipe around the handle's end. The rubber should be contactless with the handle for about ⅛ inch over the rim of the handle.
Make sure you've wrapped it tightly enough.
Grab some peso tape or electrical tape and wrap it in three sections around the piped area - top, bottom, and middle - to secure it.
Test it out and see if it works!
So, you've learned how to make a floor jack handle; would you like to give it a try? If you have some skills on the field, it's worth saving the extra bucks that you'd otherwise be spending in the store. After all, who says that you can't lift a car with an improvised version of your tool?
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