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Jacks and Wheel Braces

Products Explained Jacks and Wheel Braces

Some comments about jacking equipment and wheel braces.

Jacks

trolley.jpg

This is the 'normal' 2 and a half ton workshop trolly jack..... and since owning Landies, almost entirely un-used except to work on mates motors or the 'hack' I've always had alongside!

Seen here its under the lowest bit of a Range Rover, with small wheels, and pumped to full extension it only JUST touches the axle, and that's it! Forget lifting a wheel with one!

For that, you want a bottle jack.

bottle1.jpg

By far the best I have found is the OE Land-Rover item, a very neat, two-stage telescopic hydraulic jack, that is rated for the Land-Rover, and has a removeable jacking cup to go under the axles and loctation pin head beneath to locate in the sills of some models.

The amount of 'lift' these have is huge, and for the most part, the first stage is simply used to take up clerance from the jack to whatever you are jacking, without resorting to wedging bricks or bits of wood or anything daft between to get a wheel off the ground!

If you dont have one of these, or cant get one, (they are a dealer part but VERY expensive) best alternative I've found is the Clarke, 4-tonne bottle jack from Machine Mart.

bottle2.jpg

Single stage lift, but longest lift travel of the range, while still being of a good rating, and very compact. It has a screw adjustor in the ram, which can be used to take up clerance between jack and car, and I really rate this device. About half the price of a 'hobby' trolly from Halfords, I bought two, over ten years ago, so I could 'stage lift' or lift two ends of an axle etc, and have kept one in the workshop, other in the car, so I've always had one where I need it!

I will MENTION the unbiquiteouse 'Hi-Lift' or 'Farm-Jack'...... great device If you know what you are doing with it, and you have a landy with bumpers and sill protectors equipped with lifting points...... for lifting a stuck Landy out of a hole, and rocking them over centre off the jack...... with a crash!

They are NOT stable devices, and for workshop activity, or changing a wheel, can be possitively LETHAL!

(and in my opinion, where I see them on the back of so many disco's, little more than a fashion accessory or accident in waiting! But that's another story)

But, neatly brings me on to the subject of changing a wheel, and the little subject of the advice given over.....

Wheel-Braces

DONT throw that bit of 'bent wire' that came with the vehicle away! Put it in the car, where it belongs! After doing this:-

Use deep-socket on breaker bar to loosten wheel nuts.

DO NOT STAND on the breaker bar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's another accident in waiting, usually when the socket slips off the head of the wheel-nut,. becouse you are applying a torque in two axis with an offset socket!

CORRECT way to 'crack' a nut, is to attach socket and breaker from the 3-o'clock possition, and LIFT the breaker bar from the floor to undo.

A 'Squat' lift using straight back and arms lifting from the floor using your legs to apply the force NOT your arms.

Its the strongest and most controlled way to apply force with least risk of straining yourself, slipping, sending anything flying or damaging anything.

If you cant apply enough torqe to get the nuts to crack, use a longer lever....... if you start turning the wheel against the floor, admit defeat and go get a tyre fitter to use thier windy gun!

Nuts 'cracked' DONT undo them!

NOW you can jack the wheel.

We didn't do that to begin with, so we had the full weight of the car on the wheel, giving us grip to hold the wheel still and react the force of cracking the nuts loose.

So, using bottle jack suggested, lift the wheel. You can now, remove the nuts completely, and wrestle the wheel free.

While off, have a look at brakes and suspension and anything else normally not seen, like the back side wall of the tyre etc, and clean the wheel nuts, wheel studs, wheel 'flange' on the hub, and on the wheel, and ....

COPPA-SLIP Everything......

before putting it back together..... wheel on, nuts finger tight, half turn with brace to 'seat' the wheel, then wheel back on the ground.....

THEN...... set the wheel nut torque using the 'bent bit of wire' wheel-brace from the tool kit.

If THAT is what you are going to have to use to undo those nuts at the side of the road THAT is what you do them up with!

Reason you cant apply THAT much force with it, is becouse you aren't MEANT to apply THAT much force with it! Wheel-nuts do NOT need to be torques up to cylinder head nut levels of tightness!

Now, that done to all four wheels, you can be fairly confident you'll be able to change a flat with the tools in the car, if you should ever need to. And its a small precaution, I advice people to do whenever they get another car.

Apart from making sure you can actually undo the nuts if you have to, also makes sure you have the tools in the car to do it!

AA once commented in a release, that the majority of their call outs were to fix flat tyres, and of those, not becouse of a failure to carry a spare, or the tools to change it, simply that numpty tyre fitters had used a windy gun with the torque setting wacked to the max to put the wheels back on, so no-one could get them off again!

On which point, by all means carry your deep-dish socket to offer a tyre fitter to take your wheels off, but when they copme to put them back on again..... hand them that 'bit of bent wire' wheel-brace!

On which topic, like the Halfors Trolly Jack, the sort of 'extendable' or telescopic wheel-brace you get from the same source is also not that useful for a Landy.

First of all, the socket the come with is usually the wrong size; second they have a 'swan neck' crank to them, so you are twisting at an angle to the wheel-nut, making them a lot less effective than thier length suggests, and more prone to slipping. And the telescopic extension on them is often NOT as sturdy as a propper breaker bar, or even a good jacking handle slipped over the end of a standard brace.

OE Rover two-stage bottle jack comes with two, yard long extension poles for jacking......... and conveniently these are very strong AND slip readily over the handle of that bent bit of wire OE brace! (Clarke bottle has a two piece handle that at full lenth is only about 18" long, but if you have prepped the wheels, usually all you need to get over that bit of added torque from crud and corrosion; but even THEN if you have used coppa-slip, shouldn't REALLY be necessasary)
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