I regularly read posts about either being stuck with broken jacks or slides, or, people who travel without either for fear of being stranded.
And I’m totally in that camp of not wanting the embarrassment and inconvenience of being stranded if possible.
So I wanted to practice retracting my jacks manually. There are several excellent videos put out by equalizer systems like this one:
Sounds super easy right?
Except, in the real world, its not necessarily so.
When my jacks were installed I crawled under to take a look and noticed right away its not possible to manually retract them, because a metal bracket covers most of the allen sockets (there are 4 of them; one for each jack).
I asked the installer about that and he told me that was typical and that in fact I could still manually retract them by dropping the pump assembly in the event they failed with the jacks down.
Which looks to be a huge job and possibly require a mechanic and something to hold the pump with like a small jack or something.
Not something that would be fun to do in an emergency.
It always bothered me and I just sort of hoped it never happens.
Recently I decided to tackle this and took a good look and realized that while a standard allen wrench is not going to fit, it might be possible to purchase a “stubby” version that also had an extra long handle.
Sure enough, Amazon did its magic and I got the set today. Here is the 1/8″ one:
I crawled under, and, success! Here is the wrench inserted in the first jack:
The problem is twofold – you can’t get your hand in the tight space AND a standard wrench is too long on the driving end.
But this guy is just perfect. To be sure, I actually cracked the nut open (you rotate it CLOCKWISE to loosen) and then tightened it back up.
I also made sure I could reach the other 3. So this is literally a small thing, but I will never have to worry again about getting stuck with the jacks down.
As long as you have some hydraulic fluid this method will let you retract them and drive off. I posted the link below of the Amazon wrenches I bought. (I had to buy a whole set, but they look pretty useful around the house).