Tag Archives: Air

Why The Mophorn Pneumatic Lift Is a Huge Help When Working On Cars and Trucks But Has One Small Issue You Need To Address

Nothing like getting old and realizing that most of your joints hate you. I bring this up because I have two manual pump floor jacks that I have used countless times over the years and the oldest is probably 25 years old – literally. Well, let me put it this way – I had no problem pumping the handle to lift cars and trucks 25 years ago but starting about two years ago, the action really started to cause elbow and shoulder injuries I had to flare up. It got so bad that I had to make a choice either to stop working on vehicles or to find a different approach.

I work on cars and trucks in our driveway so a permanently installed lift was not an option. It had to be something portable. My first thought was to get a low profile air-over-hydraulic jack that is mounted in its own wheeled carrier. They have an incredible lifting capacity (around 22 tons) but they are heavy (around 80 pounds), slow (air over hydraulic is many things but fast is not one of them) and expensive (they start around $200 and just go up from there). What really stopped me was the weight and the cost. I can’t lift or drag as much weight as I used to and the entry-level units were a tad more than I wanted to spend.

So, I kept digging and ran across pneumatic/air jacks. Think of the air suspensions you see under a big rig. Basically one or more air bladders fill with air and lift the top of the jack. They max out in terms of lift height around 18 inches and 3 tons of lift but it depends on the model. Definitely spend some time researching before you buy. I found that I needed to think about:

  • How low I needed the unit to collapse down to fit under our cars to get in position prior to lifting
  • How much weight did I need to lift
  • How high I needed the unit to lift
  • How much did it weigh?
  • What was it going to cost?

I then started reading listings on Amazon plus paying careful attention to review scores. I also talked to a mechanic friend of mine about the safety of the unit and what his thoughts were. He told me to consider two things: 1) always immediately put jack stands in place and 2) don’t lave the unit out in the sun and weather thus harming the rubber. Those suggestions made a lot of sense to me.

On January 8, 2019, I wound up buying a Mophorn Pneumatic Jack, 3 Ton, Triple Air Bag, with a 16″ lift height for about $150 with free shipping. The unit arrived with just little bit of assembly needed. I recall I had to install the handle and the pressure line but that was it.

I get about 15″ of lift at 90 PSI.
Left lever is the exhaust and due to the lever design, you can adjust how slow you want to drain air out. Even if you hit it and have an “oh shit” moment, you typically have a few seconds before the vehicle starts to go down. The middle unit with the pull ring is the safety blow off valve. The far right lever is the air inlet and there is a Milton M-series male plug under the Milton quick connect female fitting. If you want a reliable air system, use Milton fittings – they last.

As you can guess from the sticker above, the lift is made in China and the instruction sheet is pretty terse but it’s really not that hard to figure out. I do want to cover a few specifications with you and convert them from metric to US customary measures – these are from the owner’s manual included in the kit unless otherwise noted:

DescriptionMetricUS
Capacity3,000 kg6,613 lbs
Air Pressure5-10 Kg/cm^271 to 142 PSI
Air pressure from label on handle – presumably the recommended pressure8 kg/cm^2113 PSI
Minimum Height145mm5.71 in
Maximum Height400mm15.75 in
Lifting Time5 seconds5 seconds
Working Temperature-69C to +50C-92F to 122F

What have I lifted with it?

When I say “lift”, I am talking about the front end or the back end – not the whole vehicle.

  • 1994 Toyota Corolla DX
  • 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser
  • 2000 Toyota Camry
  • 2006 Toyota Solara
  • 2008 Toyota Highlander
  • 2016 Ford F150 Transit
  • Others more or less along the lines of a Camry or Highlander

There are a few things I have noticed

First, let me point out that I like this unit and would recommend it but there are a few things I want to point out:

  • The highest my lift will go is 15″ and that may be a function of my only running 90 PSI to the jack
  • I don’t think it actually can lift 3 tons. It bogs down on the front of our old 96 Landcruiser and also our full size F150 Transit. Again, I think it’s my lower air pressure. This summer I might plumb a dedicated 120 PSI line and see what that does. It will depend on time and money.
  • There are stabilizing cones made from steel inside the jack. Maybe 1 in 20 lifts they need a whack to start coming down. I may polish and lube these if I get a chance.
  • The rubber is pretty thick on the bladders. With that said, I do store it indoors away from the sun and the weather. I’m writing this a year later and the bladders show zero signs of wear.

The One Little Thing You Must Do: Blue Loctite Your Screws!!

I have used my jack many times since I bought it. Starting around September I was hearing faint air leak and thought the jack had bent. When I had time I found out that the bottom screws had loosened up and air was simply escaping from between the gasket and the bottom plate. I was surprised and disappointed to note that none of the screws had any thread locker applied to any of them. Many were in varying states of coming lose.

The unit is well made. The air bladders secure to that steel plate you see on them and then that assembly bolt to the dolly.
It’s the screws that attach the bladder to the while disc-shaped plate in the previous photo that came loose. Here are the metal stabilizing cones. I wish I had polished and lubed them when I had it apart and will go back and do that at some point. I did apply air tool oil to the cones after cleaning them of a gritty dust that probably dated back to when they were manufactured.
Before re-assembly I put a thin bead of Permatex Blue RTV gasket seal on the rubber gasket and then applied Blue medium-strength Loctite to each srew and brought them down lightly. I then went criss-cross lightly bringing down each screw to firm and then applied a final torque of 11 NM (about 8 ft-lbs or 97 in-lbs.

I then did the same thing to the top plate as well just to play it safe. No more leaks.

The reassembled bladder assembly then screws back down to the baseplate of the dolly. Note, this photo is actually from when I was taking it apart. The screws were so scuffed up that I just replaced them. Did I mention I use this a lot?

The following is the exact jack on Amazon that I bought and this review is about:

Bottom Line

I would buy this again and recommend it as well – just due the Loctite thing I mentioned. Note there are other Chinese suppliers on Amazon also but they do not get as good of reviews as the Mophorn units so my recommendation is only for that brand.


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Why I Stopped Using Harbor Freight Air Fittings

In short, Harbor Freight quick couplers look like a cheap way to go.  The problem is that they are really soft.  I can’t even guess how many female fittings I have thrown away as they deformed and started to leak air.

The same goes for the soft male fittings.  You will find they abrade easily and leak air plus they bend and break easily.  The latest example is this male plug on my IR 117 air hammer where the smaller nipple is tearing away from the relatively thicker base:

My solution is simple – I only use Milton air fittings now and you can get them from Amazon at an affordable price.  Every time one of my many Harbor Freight units fails, I replace it.  By the way, I’m to the point that I don’t recommend any of the cheap import fittings regardless of maker.  Milton isn’t much more and they will last.

By the way, when you look purely at the purchase cost that doesn’t tell the whole story.  This fitting failed right at the start of the job and set me back about 10-15 minutes while I was rummaging around for my Milton spares, my teflon tape, the wrench, setting the tool in the vise to do the work, etc.   All of a sudden the supposed purchase savings doesn’t seem like a big deal.  By the way, I was swearing the whole time too 🙂

 


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Resurrecting a Gummed Up Air Tool Without Disassembly

Recently I got out my Ingersoll Rand model 117 air hammer to use and found out its action had gotten all gummed up.  It’s been probably a year since I last used it even then probably didn’t use it a ton.  I always drip air tool oil into a tool before use because my air lines run driers and particulate filters for my plastics work.  Thus, I have to manually apply the oil before I use a tool.

When I went to use 117 the piston would not actuate and when I shook the tool, it didn’t sound like it normally did.  My first thought was to check the air pressure and it was at 90 PSI and the regulator was wide open so my next guess was lubrication.  Adding more air tool oil didn’t make any difference.  I then remembered a tip a guy told me years ago with gummy air tools – spray a ton of PB Blaster down the quick connect fitting and let it sit with the quick connect fitting up in the air trapping the penetrating oil in the tool for 5 minutes and try again.

So, I did that, reconnected the air line and it worked!  The tool worked like a champ and it blew PB Blaster everywhere!  I did it one more time just to make sure stuff was clear and ran the tool for a maybe 30 seconds to blow the PB Blaster out, wiped it down with a rag and then put in four drops of air tool oil.  Problem solved.

This was a huge win because I was in the middle of working on AK and wanted to use this tool plus I didn’t have time to take it all apart,  I’m writing this post a few weeks later after completing the AK build and the IR 117 is still working like a champ.

By the way, PB Blaster can be found at tons of automotive stores.  The packing looks gimmicky but it is actually one of the best penetraing oils that is out there along with Kroil.  If I didn’t have access to either of those, I would have made up some Ed’s Red or at least used some form of transmission fluid.  Tranny fluid works great but take a while to penetrate gunk.


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How to Connect a Paasche H Air Brush to Your Shop’s Compressed Air System

I recently purchased a Paasche H-series kit from Amazon as I wanted to get a quality air brush.  I was surprised at all the confusion around how to hook up the H to a standard shop air system and want to clarify matters.

Now the set comes with the airbrush, tips, bottles and an airline.  The airline is the key – on the end that connects to the airbrush, it is 1/8″.  The other is 1/4″ female.  just take 1/4″ air fitting with male thread, apply several layers of PTFE tape to the thread and then screw on the hose and tighten – done.  That’s it.

The red assembly above the plug is a cheap generic inline disposable filter.  I simply have quick connects to make it easy to move my airbrush around to where I need to work in my shop.  I run a high-end filter system in my shop and still put a screw in filter just before the air brush’s air line just to play it safe.  If you run your air brush off your home compressor, you definitely need to do this and the more contaminated your air is, the faster the filter will foul out.  If you have any questions about the quality of your air, shoot a blast at a test mirror and see what all spatters on it – you’re liable to see a ton of goop if you are not filtering out water and/or have a lubricator in the line.

If you do have a ton of contaminants and plan to airbrush a lot, then invest in a good filtering system.  There are tons of them out there.  At a minimum, considering really good disposable filters such as a Motor Guard M30 for 1/4″ lines (technically it uses disposable cartridges inside a permanent housing).  Worst case, just make sure you have the disposable filters installed and change them regularly.  If you are still getting water and other junk when you spray, then decide how to either filter your lines or buy a dedicated airbrush compressor.  For me, it was a no brainer given the air system I already have and the disposable filter is there “just in case”.

At any rate, this is a great airbrush.  Having trashed numerous Harbor Freight airbrushes over the years, this is a wonderful step up.  I hope this helps.

5/2/19 – I lost the little trigger button and was very happy to find that the Paasche website has every replacement part one would need.  The price was reasonable and they shipped quick.


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Paasche Airbrush half of the A-191 quick disconnect. Includes O-ring.

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Paasche 1/5 HP Airbrush Compressor w/ H Single Action Airbrush

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Paasche Dual Head Compressor with Tank, Case, Regulator & Airbrush Holders

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Paasche Airbrush 10' Air Hose with MT Moisture Trap

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Paasche Airbrush for RJ, The Shadow, Basic Kit - New in Box

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Paasche VL Airbrush Parts - #3 Needle - Models Vl & Millenium, #3 Needle

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PAASCHE TURBO AB AIRBRUSH

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6' Braided Airbrush Air Hose w/ PAASCHE & 1/4" Fitting Ends Regulator Compressor

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A-202 Adapter - From Paasche Airbrush to Iwata or Masters Hose (1/8"BSP Thread)

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H-3 Size 3 (.64mm) Tip and Needle for the H Series Paasche Airbrush

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Installed a 20 Ton Air Over Hydraulic Bottle On My Shop Press

My shop press is actually rated for 30 tons but I have used a 20 ton bottle for a safety margin.  Until recently, my preference has been a hand pumped 20 ton bottle on my press.  The reason for this is that when pressing barrels, pins, etc. I like to “feel” how much pressure I am applying.  Years back, I bought a 20 ton air over hydraulic bottle from Harbor Freight as guys told me it was faster.  What this means is that an air-operated mechanism pumps a piston and extends the bottle.  For a variety of reasons, it sat by the press and never got installed – mainly I did not have an airline there and I didn’t really have the need – as my grips business increased, free time to build AKs decreased.

At any rate, with the new SWAG shop press, I didn’t want to stand around pumping the bottle so I ran an airline and installed the bottle.

Installing it was a breeze (not including running the air line).  I just screwed in the head of the ram of the old bottle enough to pull it out.  I then slid in the new bottle and adjusted the screw head until it was nice and snug.  Done.  I’m using regular 3/8″ air line with 1/4″ Milton quick connect fittings and it seems to have plenty of air.

Boy is the end result nice — I can use the air system to run the ram down to where I want to then take over by hand and feel what is going on.  What a time saver.

One annoying issue I had to overcome was the pressure relief valve.  The bottle still has one of the little “+” shaped valves that you have to slide the handle onto.  SWAG makes a replacement handle you can slide onto the shaft and reinstall the pin but my budget was spent and then some.  Instead. I found some tubing in my shop and made a little “T” handle and cut a relief into one end with my band saw for the pin to slide into.  It’s way more convenient than using the long pump lever arm.

So the that’s it for the bottle. The next post will talk about the lower bending die and the series is done.


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