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Harbor Fright 20 ton hyd press -- any good?

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tomj View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Harbor Fright 20 ton hyd press -- any good?
    Posted: Apr/09/2020 at 8:00pm
Seems suspiciously cheap compared to other inexpensive presses. I would like to be able to do axle hubs, but I doubt more than a couple times a year. Most other tasks would be fine with 10 ton.

Cost is a serious concern. I don't like buying junk tools, and dislike Harbor Fright in general, but I have a HF trailer and it's been fine. I am willing to work around limitations for infrequent-use tools.

Anyone use it? What are its limitations that make it so cheap? It's currently $189 vs $300+ for other cheap presses.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mopar_guy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/09/2020 at 8:44pm
If you're looking at this one https://www.harborfreight.com/20-ton-shop-press-32879.html I've had one for several years and it's been well worth it for a number of things including pressing bearings on and off. They use to have 2 versions of this with the other one being junk. It had a stamped frame instead of C channel but I don't see it listed anymore. I bought an OTC bearing splitter to use with it and it works great.
The one I need to get for mine is a better set of bed plates because the ones that come with it are cast and are known to explode. As you said, for something that's for occasional use it works well.

I bought one of their 4 X 6 band saws about 8 years ago for a railing project and I've used it way more than I thought I would but it's held up really well. I use good blades in it and it cuts nice and square. (after I took the time to set it up properly)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tufcj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/09/2020 at 10:00pm
I've had one for nearly 15 years.  I've used it a lot.   I recently converted it to an air over hydraulic ram (about $100) and it works even better.

Bob
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 6PakBee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/09/2020 at 10:11pm
Originally posted by tomj tomj wrote:

Anyone use it? What are its limitations that make it so cheap? It's currently $189 vs $300+ for other cheap presses.


My advice to you would be to go to Harbor Freight and look at it in person.  Look at the lateral support in both directions for the ram.  Grab the ram and think to yourself how stable it would be under load.  This is the only way in my opinion to see how it meets YOUR standards.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 1970390amx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/09/2020 at 11:31pm
If your interested in removing hubs I would buy the tool designed to pull hubs and forget the press.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheRambler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/10/2020 at 9:09am
My son has one and I've used it, works great. Right now there is a coupon for $149.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote First_Gear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/10/2020 at 11:13am
I've looked at the same tool. Its not the money for me but the space it takes up. Sure would be nice though. Wish I could have the space for that, an english wheel, sandblasting cabinet etc etc.. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/10/2020 at 12:21pm
Mopar_guy yup that's the one. that you have one means something.

6pakbee, yeah, eyeballs know :-) I will check it out. and tufcj and others, i'm fine with, and expect to, have to cleanup and tune the setup. I have a lot of improvised metal blocks and bars, I'll probably buy one of those bearing splitters but I'm OK with having to "finish" the tool.

I'm lucky to have my own building. Nasty illegal thing came with the property, not on any plots, if the city ever looks... Its small, 2/3rds of it is clean office books electronics computer, about 150 sq ft inside shop, but I have a covered patio with a metal bench, floor jack, the world's noisiest cheapo compressor. The press would live out there.

I acquire tools slowly. No room and like most of us, money. Pick at it pick at it... thanks for the info I will ahve to drive out and look at it.

HF stuff is hit and miss, lots of misses, but some stuff seems decent like my now 10 yr old trailer (was "1200 lb" when I  got it, now it's called "1000 lb", lol, same trailer! 1200 seemed optimistic...). It's been to Burning Man twice or three times, hauled many 195.6's, has about 5000 miles on it. No complaints for $300!


1961 roadster american, 195.6 OHV, T5
1968 american, 199ci, T14
AMC pages: http://www.sr-ix.com/AMC/

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CARnivore Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/10/2020 at 1:27pm
Yes I have that exact press and bought it 3 years ago specifically for axle bearings which it did very well and use it for pretty much everything now. I also have a a 20 year old HF arbor style press that has been abused quite a bit over the years and still works perfect. No complaints here on HF presses

Benchtop 10 Ton Hydraulic Shop Press - The Garage Journal Board
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steve_P Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/10/2020 at 2:54pm
I have the 20T press and it's pretty good. Typical HF construction: not the best, but functional. The main drawback is that the bed depth (distance between channels) is too narrow to do FWD and 4WD hubs. IIRC the HF is only ~4". There are several in the $600-700 range, Arcan?, that are large enough with ~6" depth. Otherwise it's good, but plan on replacing jacks every few years if you mind them leaking.
I may eventually get the larger frame press, but with how little I use it, I just stack steel on top of it so it'll function for FWD/4WD hubs.
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