Wrenchin’ Wednesday: Relocating the ratchet of budget transmission jacks

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Phillip Thomas

Some budget tools serve the job just fine, but their price also comes with a lack of user friendliness, and one of the finest examples of this in my shop is the Harbor Freight transmission jack I’ve had kicking around for years. The scissor lift design is robust enough, and the dozen or so jobs it’s been used on have gone swell, though only after modifying the strap and ratchet’s mounting method so that the handle is closer to the deck. From the factory, there’s a short strap between the deck and the ratchet mechanism, which we’ll eliminate here today’s Wrenchin’ Wednesday mod.

Harbor Freight
Harbor Freight

This mod was done several years ago, though the steps are quick enough: cut the rivet head of pin no. 1 and remove it to free the ratchet, and replace pin no. 2 with a new bolt with the ratchet directly attached to the mounting ears.

Phillip Thomas

This is the after shot, simplifying the mounting of the ratchet without the intermediate strap. This has made access to the ratchet mechanism substantially easier to operate while removing transmissions from the tight confines of a trans tunnel, salvaging this particular jack from being practically useless in some situations. Just as nice, this modification was quick and practically free.

Phillip Thomas

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