When you're restoring your classic or antique car the only thing you really are worried about is making the car itself as nice as possible and getting her road worthy. What do you do once your project is "done" and you've taken it to a few events? Some people will sell the car and start on a new project, while others will try and perfect their vehicle and round it out with period correct accessories.
Antique cars had some pretty simple jacks that aren't hard to figure out how they work. The problem is that the jack is usually a WRECK on anything older and especially an antique. I've found over the years that if the part or accessory (in this case an old jack) is still solid structurally, it can often times be saved and reconditioned or restored and put back into service. I recently scored an original Ford Model T jack that looked pretty weathered and was completely seized from years of sitting outside in the dirt (don't worry I didn't pay a lot!). I decided to go through the steps of bringing this old jack back to life and give it a quick restoration.
Above you can see what I was working with. The good things were that the jack handle and finger weren't broken, bent, or rusted so badly it was structurally unsafe. It also had all of the important casting marks visible even through the multiple layers of rust (including the Ford logo!). I tried tapping the handle with the palm of my hand while clamped in a vice to break the rust free on the threads of jack piston. Unfortunately it wouldn't budge and I could tell I would damage the jack finger if I persisted much more. I decided to drop the jack into the Eastwood blast cabinet and focus on getting all of the rust off the jack, especially the area where the piston threaded through the main jack gear on both top and bottom.
After about 15 minutes I had a jack that was mostly rust free and covered in blasting media. At this point I had to resist the urge to try and break the jack gears free as there will be abrasive media that got built up around those threads and if you do break it loose you're going to trap media in between the threads and cause even more binding. I decided to use some Chassis Kleen and compressed air to clean the media and its residue off of the jack.
I then clamped the jack back in the vice and drenched the area that was binded with Kroil Penetrating Oil and let the jack sit for about 30 minutes. Kroil has amazing creeping properties and will seep down around the threads and will help loosen the corrosion that is causing the gears to be seized. This time I again used the heel of my hand and tapped on the jack handle a few times in both directions. After a few tries the gear budged just a TINY bit. This is a great sign, so I stopped and applied more Kroil to the exposed corroded area. I then worked the handle back and forth until I slowly got the gears to turn and fully expose the corroded threads. I then took the jack back to the cabinet and blasted the corroded threads until they were as clean as the rest of the jack.
With the jack clean, and working again I was now onto painting and finishing the jack. I first cleaned the jack with PRE painting prep. I then taped the threads up with Crepe Tape so I could grease them at a later time. I decided to then use Rust Encapsulator as my primer. I did a pretty good job media blasting the jack, but I wanted to be sure that any little crevices or hidden rusty areas were neutralized and protected. I applied 3 coats of Rust Encapsulator and let it fully dry overnight.
In the morning I decided to top coat the jack with VHT gloss black engine paint for a durable coating that leaves that deep, lacquer-like finish that many other items on antique Fords had. I applied 2-3 coats of VHT high temp engine paint and again let it sit overnight to fully dry before I handled it.
With the jack finally painted and dry I untaped the threads on the jack piston and liberally applied wheel bearing grease to them and ran the jack up and down a few times to get everything lubed very well. I wiped off the excess grease and stood back and admired my work, man what a transformation! All in all this was a fun little weekend project that's relatively low cost (assuming you have a media blaster)and only it required a few products! Thanks for reading along and be sure to drop us a line if you'd like to see tech articles on anything in particular!