Refurbishing my lake and elliott
I bought this trolley jack new way back in the early 80's and even back then it was a lot of money, in fact it was £124.78 from Partco in Southport - I found the receipt with the instructions and diagrams - thinking that that packet had spare seals in too! As we all know you can buy a jack from a supermarket for less than £20 now but not of this quality, capacity or lifting height. It has not been used commercially but has been in constant use over the years and has regularly lifted the front end of the XJS for service and repair jobs. I noticed recently that it was starting to creep down very slowly when lifting the Jag, but not on the Mini - so it was slowly failing and needed some remedial work.
I was loathe to scrap it and buy one of these cheap Chinese copies and so I stripped the pump and ram units out of the frame and then dismantled those. The pump was not too bad, except for the outer dust seal - the piston seal was still in good condition, but I would replace everything while it was in bits. The main ram seal was the culprit and most of the sealing edge had gone and it was cracked through in one place - I was very surprised just how bad the seal really was, considering the jack was still working to some extent. The bore of the ram cylinder was perfect, as was the other important part - the pump plunger.
A couple of shots of the main ram seal - and it still lifted the Mini front end!
Needless to say Lake and Elliott, who were in Braintree, Essex have gone to the wall as far as I can ascertain, I would surmise the downfall had come from the influx of these same Chinese copies and no one seemed to have any seals of the right size. Lots of web trawling brought some companies up, but many didn't reply to emails and some had minimum orders of 1000 units!
Eventually I found a company in Birmingham, Barnwell services (www.barnwell.co.uk) and Dan Ratcliffe (no, not that one) of that company soon sorted out my sizes and although my seals were of a non standard size they set to and made the one for the ram, I got a spare at the same time - for when I'm 100 years old and need to repair it again - if only! The other seals and O rings were 'off the shelf'. I have no connection with that company, other than being an extremely satisfied customer - but would recommend them to anyone wanting to find hydraulic seals. This has given a new lease of life to an otherwise useless pile of scrap metal.
All back together and working - underside view of the pump unit and reservoir
The main ram is clearly visible, back in its proper place and this shot also shows the heavy duty construction of the whole thing - try finding one like that these days! I can barely lift it off the bench now it is complete.
During the down time, I took the opportunity to strip the whole thing, cleaning all of the parts in the parts washer and then gave the frame sections a coat or two of Silver Smoothrite spray. Many of the other parts were just bondaprimed and others were painted black. The results were well worth the effort - yes I know I should get out more! The seals arrived very quickly after the order was placed and I then set to reassembling everything. After filling with 20 weight hydraulic oil and priming, I was pleased to have a fully working jack again, on the bench at least - although I always use axle stands and would never go under a car relying on a jack alone. As a real test I lifted the front of the XJS to the top of the jack lift and left it there after measuring the height of the the tip of the coach-line on the front wing. I returned about an hour later and there was no difference in the measurement. As I said I don't make a habit of treating the jack like that - but I wanted to be sure all was safe.
It will certainly do a good few more years now and probably see me out!
I just have to paint the dust shield which fits at the rear end over the reservoir on the two bosses near the rear wheels - forgot that one when I painted all the other bits.
I have now taped the spare seal to the underside of the casing - no, I'll never remember doing that, will I?
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