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Ratchet Tool PSA

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  • Ratchet Tool PSA

    Just a short public service announcement about ratcheting tool safety. Yesterday while tightening the lug nuts on my trailer with a torque wrench the ratchet slipped causing me to bang my head on the fender. Several bad words were spoken. Wondering why it slipped and why the direction knob didn’t want to stay fully to the left or right I took the head apart and discovered that the grease was no longer grease but was a hard wax that kept the parts from working properly. After chipping/cleaning out all the old grease (plus the tips of a couple of teeth) and replacing it with new the tool works well and is not going to slip again. You would think those evil oil companies could make a grease that would last 30+ years but apparently not.

    So, if you have an older ratcheting head tool you might want to pull the head apart for some service, it is easy to do (just a couple of spring clips on mine) and may save you from having to repeatedly explain the bandage on your forehead.

    Steve

  • #2
    Hope the fender's OK

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    • #3
      The cold season don't help either,,, every winter I get calls from people I know about their rapid-fire shifters not working properly on their MT bikes,,,

      there is a ratchet type mechanism in there and the grease gets old, I just tell them to find an entry into the mechanism and foam it all up with W-d, they usually call back 15 minutes later and tell me thanks...

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      • #4
        I go threw my ratchets about every 5 years or so. Same for my air tools. normally when work is very slow is when I'll start in on tool maintenance.
        Andy

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        • #5
          Originally posted by flylo View Post
          Hope the fender's OK
          LOL. The fender is fine, thanks for the concern.

          Steve

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          • #6
            Originally posted by SteveF View Post
            LOL. The fender is fine, thanks for the concern.

            Steve
            Since Sir John has not chimed in, I will fill in for him.
            Clumsy Bastard
            I have used a torque wrench a lot over the yrs., but never used my body weight to apply the pressure, just my arms and shoulders. Don't think I would have had a problem had one slipped. Glad you weren't seriously hurt.
            James

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            • #7
              Originally posted by J. Randall View Post
              I have used a torque wrench a lot over the yrs., but never used my body weight to apply the pressure, just my arms and shoulders.
              Once you've spent enough time dealing with back problems you don't lift anything heavy if you have a choice.

              Steve

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SteveF View Post
                Once you've spent enough time dealing with back problems you don't lift anything heavy if you have a choice.

                Steve
                Steve, I have spent my entire adult life with spinal arthritis, my spine is calcified solid from top to bottom,doesn't bend at all. I agree about the heavy lifting, had to quit that yrs. ago. I have had this stuff for over 40 yrs. Probably one of the reasons I always just used my arms and shoulders for torquing, a slip like you had and bumping my head would have really hurt. We all deal with things differently that is for sure.
                James

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                • #9
                  My buddy always bitched how I waste so much time pulling out the cherry picker to lift transmissions and heavy things that really I could lift by hand but choose not to. He has had is third back surgery now and doesn't bitch any more about using tools to lift heavy objects.


                  Edit* Which reminds me, I still have to build that gantry off the side of the car hoist some day!
                  Andy

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                  • #10
                    I think it's just the state of affairs that greases stiffen up over time. They're really oil with thickeners in them, and I don't know what the mechanism is for the oils to bead out or the thickeners to thicken but I've seen the same phenomenon in any number of other devices. I have a stand mixer that was was about 35 years old and just refused to run. It also turned out to be the grease that was not about the consistency of a cake of soap. Cleaning and re-greasing brought it back.
                    .
                    "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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                    • #11
                      Forty-plus years ago, the manager of Armstrong Brothers Tool Company's warehouse in San Francisco gave me a lesson in ratchet care; the essence of his message was that a high-quality ratchet that was kept clean and well oiled would outlast its user. He suggested storing ratchets head-down in a coffee can holding a couple inches of light oil, and thought that the surest way to wreck a ratchet was to fill it with heavy grease.

                      My forty-plus year old ratchets -- from Armstrong, SK, Proto, and Wright -- have spent their non-working lives soaking in light oil, and even examined under magnification show no signs of wear.

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