Hydraulic lifts have made working on your project car much easier. They have been a life-saver when it comes to working underneath your pride and joy. Along with being a life-saver, they can also be a life-taker.
Now that hydraulic lifts have become so commonplace in the market, hobbyists and enthusiasts can afford these lifting devices, usually opting for the common two-post lifts. As we stated earlier, these two post lifts can make restoration and upgrades to your project car much easier and quicker.
The thing to keep in mind whenever you are working under a load supported by hydraulic jacks of any kind is simple: Your life depends on the single edge of a flat faced “O-Ring” seal.
Failures are bound to happen. Manufacturers know this that anything is possible when it comes to the razor thin edge of a rubber seal. This is why safety locks came into existence. Safety locks that prevent the hydraulic lift, and it’s load, from falling down to the ground during a catastrophic failure.
It’s always a good thing to have a back-up plan. Safety locks are that back-up plan for hydraulic lifts but they only work if you don’t disable them. Let us repeat that. SAFETY LOCKS ONLY WORK IF YOU DON’T DISABLE THEM.
We found these photographs on one of our favorite forums, LS1.com. While the story isn’t spelled out in the link, what happened here is clear enough. An enthusiast in Canada had been building a 1968 Camaro project car for 2 years. He’d never driven the car and was putting some final touches to the project. It was lifted above head level and the hydraulics failed. What isn’t clear in these pictures is how the back-up safety locks failed. One can only assume that the safety devices were bypassed by the operator. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the accident, but a really nice project car, that was nearly complete, had it’s progress set back by months.
Two lessons from this story, 1) Your life depends on the single edge of a flat faced “O-Ring” seal, and 2) Safety locks only work if you don’t disable them.