For the last 15 years most pallet jacks have been manufactured in two main types of handle design. The dimensions and parts themselves will be unique to each brand. The vast majority of pallet jacks have a release lever in the center of the handle frame within the handle loop. This lever controls whether the unit is in lift mode, release mode or neutral. The bottom of the handle can attach to a bracket with the bracket connecting to the pump (style A).
The second common design is a handle frame that connects directly to the pump (style B – see Valu-Jack photo below). All newer handles have a lower axle with a roller around it. This roller makes contact with a cap or washer that sits on the handle return spring. This spring surrounds the pump piston. As the handle is pumped up and down the roller compresses the spring and piston. This is what causes movement of the hydraulic oil through the pump and forces the pallet jack frame to lift. The spring then returns the handle to the upright position.
If a handle is out of adjustment or damaged it can be difficult to operate and safety hazard for the operator. Routine maintenance will minimize downtime, extend the overall life of your equipment and ensure safety when used.
Here is the maintenance protocol we recommend at a minimum of 6 month intervals. Perform in shorter intervals if your equipment is in a high use environment.
- Inspect the handle frame for cracks and structural integrity.
- There should be minimal side play (from left to right or up and down if you wiggle it) in the handle socket.
- Check for worn bushings. If bushings are not replaced regularly handle bracket holes can become worn. This may lead to pin failure which could necessitate replacing the entire handle.
- Inspect the roller for flat areas and wear.
- Inspect the handle return spring for any cracks or failure to raise the handle completely vertical.
- Test handle release lever in all positions (Lift/Lower/neutral) and check proper tension in the control lever linkage.
- Replace any of the hard parts are worn more than 1/16".
We've created some videos all about handles to, check them out below.
When the time come to replace your handle just follow this link to find your brand and model