A transmission jack is a must to remove, install or move transmissions, transfer cases and transaxles in a shop. These jacks save backs and time, but they are powerful multitask lifting systems so they must be operated correctly, with safety being the first priority.
Unlike a conventional hydraulic floor jack or bumper jack that raises a vehicle using either the chassis or axles, a transmission jack is positioned centrally under the vehicle once it’s in the air.
The transmission jack lifts or lowers just the transmission via a lifting platform attached to the jack.
Detailed safety precautions and operating instructions are typically provided by jack manufacturers. Here are an even dozen expert tips on how to use your transmission jack safely:
- Study, understand and follow all safety and operating instructions provided by the jack manufacturer before working with these devices.
- Wear eye protection that meets ANSI z87.1 and OSHA standards.
- Never overload your transmission jack. Learn your jack’s rated capacity and don’t exceed it. Use jacks only on a hard, level surface.
- Center the load on the jack saddle. Off-center loads can damage the seals in the ram and cause jack failure.
- Lower the jack slowly and carefully while watching the position of the load.
- Don’t use a transmission jack for applications it wasn’t designed to perform. Most transmission jacks should only be used for the removal, installation and transportation of transmissions, transfer cases and transaxles.
- When transporting a transmission around the shop on a jack, slowly and carefully move around corners because the load could tip. Stay clear of a lifted load.
- Keep your jack lubricated with the proper jack oil. Ranger jacks, for example, require anti-wear hydraulic jack oil with a 215 SUS viscosity rating at 100°F. Installing alcohol, hydraulic brake fluid or transmission oil could damage a transmission jack’s seals and result in failure.
- Do not modify the jack or use adapters unless approved or supplied by the manufacturer.
- Never try to lift or support a vehicle with a transmission jack and do not use a transmission jack as a load-holding device. A transmission jack is not the same as a high-reach jack stand. It was designed to hold certain vehicle components—not an entire vehicle.
- Do not place any part of your body within or under the jack during use.
- Only people with proper training should use a transmission jack.
These tips cannot cover every possible situation, so it’s key to always keep safety in mind. Maintain a clean work area and keep visitors away from the work area. Wear your personal protective equipment (PPE), remove any dangling jewelry and stay alert.
This Shop Tip is brought to you by Wrenchers.