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Craftsman 50139 3 ton floor jack repair

I have a craftsman (possibly Torin) 50139 3 ton floor jack that leaks out the screw that says “do not adjust” and also from the release valve, and lifts very slow. I dove in to repair the junk. It is partially opened up. I have new seals. A ~25 mm “release valve nut” that won’t budge with vise grips + dead blow hammer.

I have no experience. Is this a fools errand? should I find a guy to fix it for $30? Buy a 1/2" impact driver? Buy a Harbor Fright jack for $60? I’m NOT buying a new “power unit” … well, maybe if it’s like $40…

If I’m lucky, I don’t need to open the enormous “top cup” nut.

You don’t rebuild a cheap floor jack.

You go out and buy another cheap floor jack.


if it’s a Torin, I wouldn’t invest one red cent, so to speak :tongue:

If it were a genuine Lincoln, that might be a different story :smile:

I bought a low profile 3 ton jack from Harbor Freight 3 years ago for $79 and if you weight you can even get it lower when they have a better sale. I would not spend $30 fixing it.

I would rather buy a quality USA-made jack. Then if it does need some work years later, it’s worth fixing

But that’s my approach to tools in general. I’d rather spend good money ONCE to buy a tool, versus continuously buying garbage quality tools, which last a few years, then break

Buy the 1/2" impact driver. A 125PSI compressor with a 250 ft-lb max impact wrench and a set of impact sockets (you’ll probably need SAE, since the nut is “about 25mm”). That should get it off.
The good thing about buying tools is that they’re an investment that can be used over and over again for all sorts of things. Especially a compressor. You can use that to run a large variety of tools.

I will grant you, however, that the compressor and impact wrench will cost more than just replacing the jack, but in the long run it’s worth the investment IMHO, since you obviously enjoy fixing things more than just replacing them. That’s my inclination too. I don’t replace things until I’m satisfied that they simply cannot be fixed.

By the way, I’ve been very happy with HF stuff for home use.

!!! Wait !!! I’ve had one of those Craftsman aluminum “racing” floor jacks since I bought it new in 2006. Paid $100 on sale. I liked it because it was rapid pump and weighed less than a steel Jack of the same size.

However, it also leaked like a sieve every time I used it!! Never touched the screw that said “do not adjust”, would only open the filler screw and add more fluid.

But this thing was absolutely ridiculous!! No matter WHAT I did, every time I used it the fluid would leak out (the top mostly).

So I returned it, but the guy at Sears only had a tiny one in stock to replace it, I didn’t want that, so I dragged it back home. Then I forgot to go back again, fell outside the warranty period, and was stuck with it.

But then I started experimenting with it and here’s what I found: if every time after I use it I immediately “close” it by quickly turning the handle all the way (tightly) to the right, it holds the fluid for multiple uses. I had been leaving it open (left) and I believe air was getting in there.

Used to be that I would have to always open the screw and add fluid before each and every use, but now I can’t remember the last time I had to refill it! Every time I take it out now it lifts the car no problem!

I had even bought some of that special “sealing” Jack fluid because that’s what I was going to try next, but I’ve never used it.

So fill your Jack one last time, follow the procedure for bleeding out the air inside, then always remember after letting the car down to turn the handle all the way clockwise to “close” it to keep air from getting back in

I borrowed one fro friend, bought some of the oil for it and filled it up, as it puked, as far as I can tell if you keep putting oil in it it will work.

No offense, but you guys are whacko . . . as Tom and Ray would say

There’s no way in hell I’m going to be jacking up ANY vehicle with a jack that’s leaking oil like you describe

I realize you guys probably/hopefully hold the car up with jackstands . . . but my life is far too valuable to me to trust it to some cheapo and leaking jack

Well, you should never trust any jack. Just because it wasn’t leaking previously doesn’t mean it won’t start leaking (even catastrophically) right now.

With that rule in mind, together with the other rule to always use jack stands, I have no problem using the Jack.

I’ve probably used it now at least 12-15 times without any issues whereas before I always had to refill prior to each use! I fully trust it now, which is somewhat miraculous to me

You shouldn’t get under any vehicle supported by only a jack. You should be using jack stands and the jack as a backup only, if at all.

I had a different problem w/what I think is a Torin jack I bought at a flea market and posted here for some ideas. Here’s the thread link below. Might be of interest anyway. In my case it turned out the problem was caused by a missing check valve – a small ball bearing – in one of the chambers.

I think if I had your problem – and I didn’t just buy a new jack, which would be the most $$$-wise thing to do if your time is of any value – but if you want to try to fix it anyway just to see if you can, drain all the fluid out, blow out the passages with compressed air, and replace with new jack fluid. You might get lucky, just some debris in the passages.

edit: When you drain out the fluid, be sure to sieve everything, b/c there’s multiple small ball bearings and other parts in each of those chambers.

When I took mine apart, I don’t recall having any problem with the release valve nut. But when I removed the main cylinder from the base, just to see what it looked like inside, that was a bit of a chore to get the initial budge. I had to use a hefty bench vise and a big pipe wrench, whacking (somewhat gently) the wrench with a 5 lb hand-sledge. So you might can learn from my experience and try a big pipe wrench to budge that stubborn bolt. Avoid using heat if possible, and there’s probably a neoprene seal inside there. You might try an ice pack though, worth a try.

I’ll add that the cautions expressed above about trusting a jack you repair – a person inexperienced in high pressure hydraulics – is wise advice indeed.

I agree with @db4690 in that despite using jack stands, I like to have a back up so I keep the jack in place and throw the wheels under the car. You can never be too safe. So that is why I want a good jack.

Work is in progress, will report something. sometime.

One question is : if the release valve nut is in fact tightened to some very high torque what could it be - 250 ft. lbs.?, and then is there a TW in HF or Sears for it?

Got a Costco membership? They almost always have a very nice Arcan 3-ton for $100. It’s a little bit more than you’ll spend at HF, but it’s also a really good jack.

If you have a low-slung car and need a slim jack, Northern Tool has a sale from time to time on their 3.5 ton low profile Arcan for around the same price.

because the 21st century : piccys. this nut feels to me like it was never designed to be removed. also - the box end wrench to get this off costs short of half of a shipped power unit. I ordered the power unit. @“the same mountainbike” : I love those ideas, but air compressors and air tools are … well, I’m not ready for them yet, but not because I haven’t been reading - and it looks like this minor project won’t push it over the hump… oh man I’d love to see a 3/4" impact driver on this … thanks to the usual suspects for chiming in…

I’ll hopefully get back about how the new piece went in.

Very timely topic for me. Maybe 30+ years ago, I bought this floor jack at one of those traveling hardware sales. What can I say, I was young and broke back then. But it has served me all these years and owes me nothing. It has been a back up for quite a few years now but often I find myself needing a couple of jacks to do a job so it has been in basically continuous service. Never a lick of trouble until last fall. Started weeping past the seals and wouldn’t go all the way up.

Being frugal, I wanted to see if I could fix it. Looking at all the sites with repair parts and comparing the number on this jack led me to conclude I think this is a chinese knock off of a chinese jack :wink:

I started taking it apart anyway to see what could be done. As people have already pointed out, save your time and just buy a new jack. It’s not worth the effort and you’ll always be leery of it afterward. I broke it down into the various metal pieces and the recycling guys hauled it away…

I think the safety valve parts may be permanently lock-tite in place to prevent messing around with them. I was able to get at mine after a lot of finagling but it was pretty clear they didn’t want just anybody messing around in that area and rightly so.

My guess, I don’t think that stubborn to remove bolt is that way b/c it was tightened to 250 ft lb or whatever, but instead at the time of manufacture they used some kind of thread lock glue compound so it would never come loose. I think the purpose of that section of the jack is to prevent someone from using the jack to lift more weight than the jack is designed to support. If you try to lift too much weight, the jack simply won’t rise up no matter how much you pump it. It’s an important safety feature in other words. The manufacturer doesn’t want users messing with that section, otherwise it could get adjusted to a weight more than the jack can safely support, and that might cause the jack to collapse at a very inopportune time for the user who’d depending on it while laying under the car.

Glues are usually best defeated with shear forces. Like if you find a quarter epoxy glued to the sidewalk as a practical joke, you know how kids do that. Well, a person in need of an easy quarter can usually dislodge it quite easily by hitting the quarter sideways with a rock. Ask me how I know this … lol … anyways, so a shear force applied with a shock method is what is likely to remove that bolt is my guess.

I was hoping not to have to report the following :

Ordered a complete replacement hydraulic unit. The replacement “power unit” pin I got is supposed to insert into the lever assembly - meaning where the hydraulic unit fits/pushes into a massive horizontal pin. Trouble is, the pin on the new one is about 1 mm OD larger than the mating hole. The pin on the old unit is also about 1 mm smaller than the new one. The seller claims all new power units are identical.

Is there a pounding that is required to get the pin in? Otherwise, this must be defective, for lack of a better word.

I can’t speak to compatibility issues for the various versions of the product, but if the pin is just 1mm too large in diameter you might be able to get that pin in place by freezing it first. Put it in your freezer overnight and try again. Heating the area where the hole is might help too, but don’t heat up any rubber seals.