Looking for a jack

RussGW270

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#1
I am looking around for a solid jack that can lift my boat easily. The ones I have are for in vehicle, so the arms are too short to get a good lift, you end up having to stand on it to jack it up....

So, I see a 20-ton low profile bottle jack on Amazon I can get today...for 120 bucks.

I can get a 3-ton floor jack for like 75 bucks at harbor freight today.. I can get a 4-ton floor jack for like 136 today.

All this, I can get 6ton jack stands...not sure which way to go.. part of me says floor jacks...but 3 ton or 4 ton or spend big and get a larger one?

My goal was to lift 1 tire and get it onto a stand, then lift each of the others. My hope would be that with 4 6-ton jack stands, it would be safe.

Thoughts?


Trying to get all 4 off the ground to replace the entire brake system.

Russ
 

trapper

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#2
Russ. Just purchased a 2 ton nematic bottle jack for my boat (smaller 208) Have a compressor for my work, so saves this ageing body from "doing the twist" while lying down try to pump a jack handle. Found the floor jacks take up space and difficult to maneuver over anything but concrete. Hook it up press the button and I get high. Cheers trapper
 

seasick

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#3
Personally I prefer bottle jacks but I have used both garage jacks and bottle jacks. What you need to plan on is to place cribbing under the trailer frame as it lifts. That can be a combination of concrete blocks and 4x4s or 6x 6s if you have them. You will probably have to do multiple lifts and re block as you go. The cribbing should be as wide as practical maybe 18 to 24 inches at the base.The jack will have to be raised on blocks too as you go higher.
Floor jacks tend to move (roll) as you jack them up so if the ground is dirt or gravel, they can have problems since the wheels dig in.When the wheels dig in, the entire boat and trailer may shift and cause tilting or racking of opposite side blocking. That is why I prefer bottle jacks.
a 2 ton jack will be undersized for your hull. If you want to lift the trailer quicker, use a floor jack placed under the wheel axle but note that after blocking the frame, the wheel will drop down as you lower the jack. You will probably need the wheels unsprung to get them off and work on the hubs.You may be surprised to see how high you have to raise the trailer to keep the wheels off the ground with the springs unloaded.
I have used bottle jacks (easier to cart around), garage jacks (the steel ones are heavy but are less expensive that the aluminum) together with floor jacks to hold the trailer frame up. I do not work with just a jack stand or just a jack. I either have both engaged (not practical for raising both sides of the trailer) or use sturdy cribbing.
Another approach that works well is to jack up the trailer using the axles of spring plates and use boat stands under the hull. Then you raise or lower the trailer as needed to work. This method puts 90% of the weight on the boat stands and not on the trailer. For the bow, I use either blocking or a keel stand. Of course, to use this method, you need to have stands

Home Depot usually also carries bottle jacks for a reasonable price.
 

DennisG01

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#4
Bottle jacks are nice because they are compact. The downside is that you have to be VERY careful with them because of their small footprint. They can be tippy if not perfectly centered. Also, make sure the ground you are on is perfectly stable. Any instability there can cause it to tip. A 3-ton floor jack will be MORE than adequate - heck even a 2-ton floor jack is plenty to lift one corner of the trailer frame at a time. Floor jacks are inherently more stable, but you still need to be aware of that.

With either style, you will need to use some some wood blocks (or other suitable material) to get the lift you need. You can place multiple pieces of wood between the floor jack's pad and trailer frame, but I wouldn't place more than one between the bottle jack and trailer frame - too much chance for it to tip/slip off.

Really, though, there are so many ways to do it and no one way is best. The most important thing is safety and taking your time.
 

seasick

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#5
I agree that bottle jacks can be less stable but the lift for a bottle jack is 6 inches or so, whereas a floor jack could go 18 inches.The height adds to the stability issue and the potential for the load to shift. Proper blocking is critical and if done correctly makes a good base for a bottle jack. I have a floor jack and it is faster to jack up a trailer/boat but it is also VERY heavy and not that compact. Rolling it out of the garage is one thing but having to lift it into my truck and them lift it out is too much of a chore. In addition, dragging it over a dirt/gravel boat yard is very difficult. I suppose that an aluminum floor jack would be a big change but at this point I don't see a great return on the investment. I am not getting any younger! (By the way, my floor jack is a commercial model that I got over 50 years ago. Just have to add a little fluid now and then. They don't make them like that anymore)
 

glacierbaze

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#6
If you are replacing the entire brake system, that means lines. To me, that means the boat is off the trailer, no way I am crawling around under a boat on stands. What surface are you working on? Is there a local lake that you could park the boat in while you do the work?
4 6-ton jack stands is 48,000 pounds, I think you are covered there, but it all depends on what is underneath the stands.
Did you make it back home, or are you doing this repair on the road?
 
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DennisG01

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#7
Oh yeah, I hear 'ya about working smarter, not harder. Absolutely!

The suspension travel on most trailers isn't very much, so a bottle jack can likely do it - but that's a good point about the amount of vertical lift. There's a possibility that it won't be enough when put under the frame. But, there's no reason you couldn't do it under the axle and also put the stand under the axle. But, be very careful - the very small "footprint" of the bottle jack top/pad can make it a little iffy to lift a round object such as an axle. Putting a piece of wood in between doesn't always make it better - just be 110% sure that the bottle jack is PERFECTLY centered under the axle.

That said, Glacier brings up a good point. If you gather all the materials ahead of time, it's no more than an hour to take the boat completely off the trailer. 'Course if you haven't done it before it would take longer - but it's not rocket science. The Islander is by no means too big to take off the trailer at home/in a driveway. Come to think of it - if I was redoing the brake system at home, that's most likely what I would do. It's a WHOLE lot easier to work on brakes if there isn't a huge chunk of fiberglass in the way!

Russ, are you SURE that the whole system needs to be replaced?
 

glacierbaze

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#8
If you think the surge brakes seized, the first thing I would do is block the wheels front and back, have someone move the truck 6 inches forward and back, and see what the actuator is doing. Is it compressing when you back the truck, and releasing when you pull forward? You could also block one side of the trailer, back up to engage the brakes, jack up the other side and see if the wheels are braked. Do they turn when you move the truck forward? This is where a good floor jack is so much more handy than a bottle jack.
Also, with surge brakes, you have to have a release solenoid to prevent the brakes from engaging when backing. Is that working? You may have to by-pass it to do the test above.
If all 4 wheels seized/overheated, I would suspect something amiss in the coupler/actuator, and not all four wheels. Disc brakes, I assume? Pics of what you are working on would help.
 
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Lsquared

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#9
How about getting it to lake travis to one of the marinas where they can lift it off the trailer and store it while you get the work done. Always easier to be able to work on the trailer without the boat on it
 

RussGW270

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#10
Tried that, they want a hell of a lot to do all of that. The last guy charged me $200 just to lift it off the trailer it was shipped on.

May call around a bit because, you are right, would rather have it off the trailer, but don't want to pay $500 to do that.

R
 

Lsquared

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#11
other option since the lake is close, bring it up there and wait an hour or two for it to cool off then dunk it.