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Old 06-24-2014, 12:24 PM   #1
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Jack safety and the importance of paying attention


I jacked up the van Saturday to adjust the new tie rod I put in last week. Just a quick and dirty adjustment to get the tires straight enough to get the thing to an alignment shop. The van was parked out on the street in front of my house, and I didnít want to move it, so I just jacked it up, put a jack stand under it andÖ.the van shifted and the jack rolled.

Surprise! Now, I never use a jack for anything except to raise the van enough to get stands under it. In this instance, I didnít chock the wheels, didnít set the parking brake, Just jacked it up to get a stand under it so I could take off the wheel and adjust the tie rod.

When the jack rolled, the stand was under the van, and the van settled on it with the jack (2-ton trolley jack I keep in the van) at a 45 degree angle to the ground. I released the valve on the jack and it lowered. What had happened was the asphalt road and given way! The wheel on the front of the jack had cut a deep gouge in the asphalt from where the weight of the van dug into the street. The jack itself didnít fail, the road surface did! This is the first time Iíve ever seen an asphalt road fail under the weight of a car on a jack.

I am posting this little tale as an FYI safety reminder. Always chock the wheels and set the parking brake. Always use jack stands. Never get under a vehicle supported by just a jack. Be aware of stability issues even if you are on solid surface. Asphalt can and will fail under load. My van isnít that heavy, there are many vehicles heavier on the road.

Postscript: once I got the van securely raised, I was mulling over the jack rolling and got careless. I was loosening the lock nut on the tie rod and the wrench slipped, thus causing me to bang my knuckle on the lower control arm. A nice, deep bloody gash was the result. I tightened the nut back up, put the wheel back on, put the tools away, then went inside and got my gash tended to by my highly amused wife.

Then I had a beer. Or three. No more car repairs for a week or so.

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Old 06-25-2014, 07:17 PM   #2
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Jack safety and the importance of paying attention


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I

Then I had a beer. Or three. No more car repairs for a week or so.
Geez, Big, I had 2 beers and didnt even have to jack up any vans/cars. It was pretty easy......LOL
Good tip on safety. Too many do not heed warnings.

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Old 06-25-2014, 08:44 PM   #3
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Jack safety and the importance of paying attention


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Geez, Big, I had 2 beers and didnt even have to jack up any vans/cars. It was pretty easy......LOL
Good tip on safety. Too many do not heed warnings.
i have never seen a road fail! Saw a jack punch tbrough a rusted frame rail, but never a road just gouge out like that. On a 4200 pound minivan?!?!? Whoa!

Edit to add: always pull a wrench. It you push, open your hand, don't curl your fingers over it. Damn my knuckle hurts.

Last edited by Bigplanz; 06-25-2014 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 06-25-2014, 08:52 PM   #4
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Jack safety and the importance of paying attention


Glad YOU are OK.
Yes, asphalt on a hot day is not the steadiest surface. Ask all the girls in stiletto shoes, that stopped on asphalt to chat for 10 minutes, on hot summer day. Then took off - with them stilettos embedded into asphalt.
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Old 06-25-2014, 10:16 PM   #5
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Jack safety and the importance of paying attention


When you pull a wrench and it slips , you hit yourself in the nose. "been there done that". it aint no fun. Your eyes water, you want to swear, but everyone is laughing so hard and you feel like a fool.

Now for the jack slippage. I am glad that you are still able to talk about it.

I did a similar stunt in 1977, Working on the steering on my MACH I , the jack slipped, while I was under the car, no stands no blocks of any kind. It came down on me, I woke up in the hospital two weeks later with a hole in my head above my left ear, a blind left eye, a deaf left ear, was told that I would never walk again, Yadda yadda.
Finally left the hospital after 10 weeks, walking.

Still half blind, half deaf, And an avid proponent of vehicule repair safety. I do not want to trump your story with my own .

Anyway I thank you for getting this important safety announcement out to all the other D I Y ers that read this.

ED
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Old 06-26-2014, 05:14 AM   #6
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Jack safety and the importance of paying attention


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When you pull a wrench and it slips , you hit yourself in the nose. "been there done that". it aint no fun. Your eyes water, you want to swear, but everyone is laughing so hard and you feel like a fool.
Not if you're pulling correctly. Pull a wrench, never push it is one of the first lessons taught in AUT100 class (literally). Other than the knuckle busting issue, which is significantly worse than hitting any part of your body, you are also far less likely to lose your balance when pushing if you are working like us on a lift. Your body is designed to pull (contract) muscles, not push so you also are able to generate significantly more torque and ergonomics are significantly improved (something we try to stress to kids who may be doing this 30+ years).

I had a brand new driveway poured a few years back and I've been using a 4x8 leftover sheet of 3/4 particle board as a "diffuser" underneath the jack. Placed correctly, it's big enough to do the jack and 2 jack stands all in one shot. I had plenty of jack wheel and jack stand impressions in the old drive.
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Old 06-26-2014, 07:10 PM   #7
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Jack safety and the importance of paying attention


Pull, don't push is what i was taught.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:21 PM   #8
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I was not arguing over the push vs pull .

I was just point out that a wrench will slip either way, or break. I once broke a 15/16 inch box end While pulling. And before you ask, no I did not have any cheater on it. just pure strength.

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Old 06-27-2014, 08:32 AM   #9
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Jack safety and the importance of paying attention


Yikes!

I had a scary thing happen to me where I thought I was being smart -- chocks, jack stands, etc -- when replacing the starter on a VW several years back. Where I messed up was not reading the repair manual fully -- one of the bolts that held the starter in was also an engine mount. So with my head right under the engine, I was happily taking out this (strangely long) screw to replace the motor, and all of a sudden THUNK the engine shifts down about three inches. Any more and I'd have a significantly flatter head.
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:15 AM   #10
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Yikes!

I had a scary thing happen to me where I thought I was being smart -- chocks, jack stands, etc -- when replacing the starter on a VW several years back. Where I messed up was not reading the repair manual fully -- one of the bolts that held the starter in was also an engine mount. So with my head right under the engine, I was happily taking out this (strangely long) screw to replace the motor, and all of a sudden THUNK the engine shifts down about three inches. Any more and I'd have a significantly flatter head.
And I know from experience you don't want that.
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Old 06-27-2014, 03:56 PM   #11
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Jack safety and the importance of paying attention


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I was not arguing over the push vs pull .

I was just point out that a wrench will slip either way, or break. I once broke a 15/16 inch box end While pulling. And before you ask, no I did not have any cheater on it. just pure strength.

ED
Defective or cheap quality tool. A humans capacity to generate force on a 14" long fulcrum is significantly less digits than the tensile strength of an appropriate wrench alloy
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Old 06-27-2014, 04:06 PM   #12
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Defective or cheap quality tool. A humans capacity to generate force on a 14" long fulcrum is significantly less digits than the tensile strength of an appropriate wrench alloy
Top of the line guaranteed for life SNAP-ON.


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Old 06-27-2014, 06:52 PM   #13
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Jack safety and the importance of paying attention


Good stories- also, even with good stands/blocks, etc, NEVER get under a car with engine running (say, to chack out an exhaust leak).
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:19 PM   #14
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Top of the line guaranteed for life SNAP-ON.


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Defective casting. Happens even to the best of 'em.
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Old 06-27-2014, 10:18 PM   #15
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Defective casting. Happens even to the best of 'em.
I disagree!.

let us forget it and move on.

ED

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