Scissor Jack Warning (mine collapsed this weekend)


Colt Hero
10-28-2007, 10:34 PM
I was using my scissor jack to jack up my Taurus this weekend when it suddenly gave out - sending the car (with loosened lug nuts) swiftly to the ground!! Now, I wasn't going to get underneath the car until the jack stand was in place (it was waiting by the passenger door and actually scratched/dented the car slightly as it fell to the ground), but still - the sight of this collapse shook me up a bit. Looking at the scissor jack, there is this puny 1" long solid block-like piece that sits within the frame that the threaded screw passes through. It appears that the inner threads of this block just wore out, causing the threaded screw to slide right through it! Should've known something was up because the jack had gotten hard to turn at very low height (with no load). I had lubricated it a couple times with no real effect, but didn't think to investigate it any further.

Two things I've learned about scissor jacks:

1.) Use them only as an emergency device (changing a tire out on the road). They're not designed to be used as your primary lifting device. Even though I own a floor jack, I had gotten in the habit of using the scissor jack to lift my car for just about everything I did to my Taurus around the house. Why? It was just more convenient. Lugging out the floor jack is a pain in the ### for me. Also, I don't have the slotted adapter that fits on the face of the floor jack to lift up my cars. I used a double 2x4 this weekend, but I'll be getting the adapter (or making one) very soon because I won't be using the scissor jack anymore.

2.) If you notice your scissor jack getting very hard to turn, this is probably the first sign of failure. Look very closely at the threaded screw and what it passes through. Make sure there are no metal strands wrapped around the threaded screw - a sign of failing threads.

3.) Don't use just any scissor jack on any car. I always used only my Taurus jack with my Taurus, but occasionally I'd use my Colt scissor jack too. I noticed this weekend that the design of these two scissor jacks is quite different. The Colt jack, made for a lighter car, is probably even MORE prone to failure than the Taurus jack!!!

Well, I'm going to need to buy a replacement scissor jack now. Any suggestions? Is there such a thing as a WELL-DESIGNED scissor jack? It has to fit inside my donut spare within the driver's rear wheel well and be able to be screwed in place to hold the spare tire.

Probably will have to get the Ford replacement, right?

Dave_s
10-29-2007, 12:45 AM
You may want to consider getting a bottle jack instead. They are small, and easy to use. They work well for changing tires, but not work under them. Always put jack stands under the car.

UsedtobeSmart
10-29-2007, 02:23 PM
First off, let me say I'm glad to hear you weren't hurt. I had a car slip off a jackstand once -- I had to jack it up in my dirt driveway and I hadn't placed the stand really well. I had already taken the tire off so I just called a local shop that does roadside assistance and waited for the adrenaline to wear off.:grinyes: Luckly no damage was done.

If I were you I'd either go to a junkyard and get a scissor jack there and NOT use it except in an emergency (when occasional use will be fine) and just use my floor jack whenever I work on my car, or bite the bullet and put a small floor jack in my trunk and deal with the lost space (which I have done and have been quite grateful for at times), which isn't all that much, really.

mwt47
11-03-2007, 09:29 AM
On another taurus site I hang out on, there was a thread of a guy working under his car with only the scissor jack under the car.

When everyone told him he shouldn't do it he got belligerant about it being rated at 1.5 times the cars weight.

I wish he would see this but i think he got mad and quit coming to our site.

Mike
:smokin:

shorod
11-03-2007, 02:25 PM
I saw a guy with a Buick changing a tire on an incline using the factory scissor jack. He got the tire off just in time for the scissor jack to fold due to the weight and the incline. Gave the name "scissor" jack a new meaning. Fortunately for him, he wasn't under the car at the time and I was just getting home for lunch. I wheeled my wide floor jack over to him and we were able to get the tire changed. I carried over my cordless impact as well. Then we learned his spare was flat, so I wheeled my air compressor over to fill up the spare as well.

It turned out that he lived 2 hours away and was on his way to a job interview at the hospital. He was quite appreciative that he would be able to make it to his interview on time. I never heard if he got the job or not. :)

-Rod

Colt Hero
11-03-2007, 10:36 PM
Hey, get this:

I could've bought a replacement scissor jack at Autozone for $25-$30, but it wouldn't have nicely bolted in like the original. So I called a few junkyards and they all wanted $35!! So then I ordered a factory replacement from Ford. Cost me $43 total. I get the new jack home, pull it out of the box and place it side by side with the broken one to see if Ford made any improvements to the design.

What did I discover???

The new jack looks even more dangerous than the old jack!!

The "bowtie" base (foot) is actually A LOT smaller on the new one. I noticed this when I had trouble shoving the old jack into the carton that the new jack shipped in. Also smaller is the width and thickness of each of the frame members. On the old jack, each frame member was more "Y-shaped" toward the ends with flat surfaces from end to end . The new one has simple, straight pieces with corrugated surfaces. It certainly looks a LOT cheaper than the original. One other change was on the piece that contacts the underside of the car: the original had a 3/8" hole drilled through it for some reason, but the new one doesn't. I forgot to measure the diameters of the threaded rods, but by naked eye it looked like the new jack had a narrower rod!

One other thing that's funny about both the original jack and this new one (unlike my Colt scissor jack): the top/head piece that contacts the car does NOT have a slot in it that would allow that stupid piece of metal to slip into! So you're jacking the car up on that narrow piece of metal. That doesn't seem right to me. Like my Colt, the jackhead should contact the frame to either side of this metal piece. The metal piece should just LOCATE the jack to the proper jacking point. It shouldn't be bearing all the weight of the car!!! Makes me wonder if this jack is designed properly...

Anyway, what do you think about shipping the old jack back to Ford with a letter describing what happened. Do you think it'll make a difference, or will Ford just end up telling me, "yep, that's right, scissor jacks fail"...

Millermagic
11-04-2007, 11:08 AM
On another taurus site I hang out on, there was a thread of a guy working under his car with only the scissor jack under the car.

When everyone told him he shouldn't do it he got belligerant about it being rated at 1.5 times the cars weight.

I wish he would see this but i think he got mad and quit coming to our site.

Mike
:smokin:

Knott?

Anyway, I don't trust the scissor jack but I do carry it around in the trunk of the car. If I'm going to be doing anything under the car, I'll jack it up with a floor jack, stick a jackstand under there and then start.

shorod
11-04-2007, 11:33 AM
I think Ford, if they responded at all, would respond that "It appears the jack failed due to overuse. The jacks provided in our product are intended for emergency use only, not as your primary jack in situations other than emergencies." Maybe they'd even include a coupon for $3 off a Ford Racing hydraulic floor jack. ;)

-Rod

Huney1
11-04-2007, 09:38 PM
Jacking up a vehicle is a very dangerous untertaking but someties no way around it. Get a heavy duty jack like this one and I doubt you'll strip it out. http://www.autozone.com/selectedZip,29902/initialAction,accessoryProductDetail/initialR,NONAPP435/shopping/selectZip.htm
I'm a senior citizen who lives in the deep South and I keep a 2'X2' piece of plywood in my trunk because we have a lot of soft dirt and a hydraulic jack to make a tire change easy. Also carry a X type lug nut wrench so I can get the lugs off easy. Emergency flares are cheap insurance and always pull as far as you can safely pull off the road. Also have a Craftsman air pump I bought on sale at KMART for 12 bucks to pump up a low tire and carry a can of tire sealer along with a punch repair kit. http://www.tirerepairkit.com/ You're on vacation or trip and get a nail in your tire it takes two minutes to fix it then use the air pump to blow it back to right pressure and you're on your way. Try finding a tire repair place on the week end. You catch the tire when it starts going down you repair it and don't have to change tires. :grinyes: Yes, it takes up some room but not that much room to be concerned about.

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