Photo Gallery: Lift Safety and a Destroyed ’68 Camaro

A 1968 Camaro project car being built by an enthusiast in Canada experienced a hydraulic failure in his two post lift.

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.

No one was hurt in this accident, but it could have been tragic.

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.

A nearly finished project car had it's progress set back by months.

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.

Lesson learned: Do not disable the safety features on your shop equipment.

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.

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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