How to Use Hydraulic Pull Back on a RAM

How to Use Hydraulic Pull Back on a RAM

A hydraulic pull-back ram is a special tool used to restore vehicle frames by physically bending them back into shape. It is an extremely dangerous tool if used incorrectly, so following your manufacturer’s instructions regarding weight limits and use is essential. Never use a pull-back ram without putting blankets over the chains and always wear protective eyewear. Keep in mind, a pull-back ram is different from a push-type or push-out ram. You can only use a pull-back ram to pull a portion of the frame out, and you’ll need a push-type ram to shape a vehicle from inside.

Part 1 of 4:
Hooking the Ram to the Vehicle

1
Get a set of pull chains rated for your hydraulic ram’s weight capacity. Look in your hydraulic ram’s instruction manual to determine what the weight capacity of your hydraulic ram is. Typically, it will be 10,000–20,000 pounds (4,500–9,100 kg). Purchase 2 sets of pull chains with a pulling capacity identical to your hydraulic ram’s weight capacity to hook it up. [1] X Research source You can use a towing strap instead of a pull chain if you prefer, but the towing strap must be rated for the same weight capacity as the hydraulic ram. You really can’t use your pull-back ram on anything other than a vehicle. It’s designed specifically to adjust the frame or components on a vehicle.

Warning: If your chains are weaker than the ram, they will snap when you use it. This can be a dangerous mistake. You’re going to literally pull a vehicle’s frame out and the amount of pressure required to do this is extremely high. If the chain snaps, it could kill or maim someone.

2
Connect a pull chain to the hook on the thinner end of the ram. The pull-back ram is made of 2 cylinders that fit into one another. The thinner cylinder always goes closest to your vehicle. Take one of your pull chains and wrap the S hook around the hook on the thinner end of the pull-back ram. [2] X Research source The shorter you can make the chain connecting the ram to the vehicle, the better. A shorter chain is less likely to snap than a longer chain. The length depends entirely on where you’re anchoring the other half of the ram, though. The chains and hooks don’t lock on to one another. They rely on the pressure and the shape of the hook to hold them in place. If any of the S hooks slip off of the ram while you’re setting it up, just reattach them.
3
Wrap the S hook on the end of the chain around the frame. Take the open end of the pull chain and wrap the hook around the portion of the frame you want to adjust. Keep in mind, you cannot wrap the hook around an interior portion of the frame if the chain will not reach it on a straight line. [3] X Research source Hydraulic rams are rarely used for anything other than external frames. You can hook it on to any metal portion of the vehicle so long as the hook can wrap around it, though. Where you place the hook depends entirely on what you’re adjusting. So long as the hook fits cleanly around the metal and doesn’t slide around, you can use the ram. If the vehicle still runs, put the emergency brake on before doing this. Otherwise, put cinder blocks or bricks under the wheels to keep it from sliding toward the pump when you turn it on.
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Part 2 of 4:
Anchoring the Ram to a Solid Surface

1
Attach a pull chain to the hook on the thicker end of the ram. Take your second pull chain and connect the S hook at the end of the chain to the hook on the other end of the hydraulic ram. Just slide the two hooks together to keep them connected. [4] X Research source
2
Wrap the pull chain around an extremely stable vertical surface, like a thick tree. Where you anchor your ram depends on what you have available. If you’re working in your yard, wrap the entire chain around a big tree and connect the second hook to the same end of the ram. Otherwise, you can use a steel I-beam on a building, or some other object that will withstand however much pressure your hydraulic ram is putting out. [5] X Research source Professional mechanics typically have a dedicated metal pillar or wall hook for the pull-back ram. If you work in a shared garage, ask your garage-mates what they use to hook the pull-back ram up. There’s almost always a dedicated hook or tool for a pull-back ram.
3
Remove as much of the chain on the vehicle-side as possible. If there is slack in the two chains, remove links from the chain on the thinner side of the hydraulic ram. Take your S hook off and move it up to a link closer to your ram until your chain is taut. The fewer links you have on the vehicle side, the less likely the chain is to snap and the less likely you are to uproot a tree or break the anchor. [6] X Research source You can “double loop” the chain if you have a lot of excess chain by wrapping the chain around the frame and hanging both hooks on the hydraulic pull-back ram. The hooks on the ram can handle anything you can safely fit on them.
4
Adjust the chain connection on the other end to make the chains taut. Make adjustments to either end of the chain as needed so that the ram is on a straight line with both chains. Adjust your hooks to move them to different parts of the chains or change the angle of the anchor to tighten the ram. [7] X Research source

Tip: Pull-back rams only pull 6–12 inches (15–30 cm) depending on the length of your thinner cylinder. If there is too much slack, the frame won’t move when the ram contracts.

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Part 3 of 4:
Connecting the Pump

1
Remove the cap on the side of the hydraulic ram. On the thicker part of the pull-back ram, there is a small cap covering a valve. Remove this cap. This setup is different on each ram, but you typically either unscrew the cap by turning it counterclockwise or gently pulling it out of the valve. [8] X Research source You must use the pump that came with your pull-back ram. You cannot use another hydraulic pump since the valve and hose may not match perfectly.
2
Attach the hydraulic pump hose to the valve on the side of the ram. Take the hydraulic pump hose that came with your ram and either screw it into the valve on the ram, or push it in and rotate the handle on it to tighten it. Double-check the connection to make sure it’s as tight as possible before doing anything else. If you pump isn’t perfectly connected to the ram, you won’t get the pressure you need. [9] X Research source
3
Insert the pump handle in the opening on top of the pump unit. Pull the hydraulic pump on the other end of the hose as far away from the chain setup as you reasonably can without making the hose taut. Set it down flat on the floor and insert the pump handle into the opening on the top of the pump. Consult your ram’s instruction manual to see if you need to lock the handle into place before using it. [10] X Research source

Tip: Some pump handles need to be twisted in to be locked while others have a latch near the base of the handle. Some hydraulic pull-back rams use a foot pedal that is installed differently. Just double-check your instruction manual to make sure the handle is installed correctly.

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Part 4 of 4:
Applying Pressure to Bend the Frame

1
Lay a thick blanket over each portion of the frame to avoid snaps. Grab some thick blankets and spread them out vertically on top of the pump and both chains. In the event that a chain snaps, the blanket will keep the chain from popping up and shooting away from your rig. Instead, the blanket will just fall to the ground and keep everyone safe. [11] X Research source They don’t need to be special blankets, but the heavier the better. You cannot use the chain if you don’t cover it in blankets. It is just too dangerous.
2
Put on protective eyewear to keep your eyes safe. If a chain does snap, there’s no telling where it will go. Put on a pair of protective glasses to keep any loose shards of chain from flying out and hitting you in the eye. [12] X Research source
3
Pump the handle slowly to start pulling the frame out. To start compressing your hydraulic pull-back ram, lift the handle up and close it down. Do this slowly so that you can monitor the shape of the frame as you pull it out. As you continue to move the handle up and down, the pressure in the pull-back ram will apply pressure to the hook on your vehicle and pull the metal out. [13] X Research source If you pump really fast, the pressure could build up too quickly and the hook may rip through the metal frame.
4
Release the pressure next to the handle once the frame is in place. Once you’ve moved the portion of the frame to the desired position, stop pumping the handle. Consult your instruction manual to determine how you release the pressure. Typically, you turn a knob or flip a latch next to the handle to let the air out and relieve the pressure. [14] X Research source The chain and ram should immediately pop back to their original position when you’re done.

Tip: If you get all the way to the point where the thin cylinder in the pull-back ram is tucked all the way into the other half of the ram, your chains weren’t taut enough when you first set the ram up. Release the pressure and start over with tighter chains for better results.

5
Repeat this process for the other portions of the frame as needed. Now that the pressure is relieved, you can unhook the end of the chain attached to the frame of your vehicle. Slide the S hook out and attach it to the next portion of the machine to repeat the process. [15] X Research source
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Part 1 of 4:
Hooking the Ram to the Vehicle

1
Get a set of pull chains rated for your hydraulic ram’s weight capacity. Look in your hydraulic ram’s instruction manual to determine what the weight capacity of your hydraulic ram is. Typically, it will be 10,000–20,000 pounds (4,500–9,100 kg). Purchase 2 sets of pull chains with a pulling capacity identical to your hydraulic ram’s weight capacity to hook it up. [1] X Research source You can use a towing strap instead of a pull chain if you prefer, but the towing strap must be rated for the same weight capacity as the hydraulic ram. You really can’t use your pull-back ram on anything other than a vehicle. It’s designed specifically to adjust the frame or components on a vehicle.

Warning: If your chains are weaker than the ram, they will snap when you use it. This can be a dangerous mistake. You’re going to literally pull a vehicle’s frame out and the amount of pressure required to do this is extremely high. If the chain snaps, it could kill or maim someone.

2
Connect a pull chain to the hook on the thinner end of the ram. The pull-back ram is made of 2 cylinders that fit into one another. The thinner cylinder always goes closest to your vehicle. Take one of your pull chains and wrap the S hook around the hook on the thinner end of the pull-back ram. [2] X Research source The shorter you can make the chain connecting the ram to the vehicle, the better. A shorter chain is less likely to snap than a longer chain. The length depends entirely on where you’re anchoring the other half of the ram, though. The chains and hooks don’t lock on to one another. They rely on the pressure and the shape of the hook to hold them in place. If any of the S hooks slip off of the ram while you’re setting it up, just reattach them.
3
Wrap the S hook on the end of the chain around the frame. Take the open end of the pull chain and wrap the hook around the portion of the frame you want to adjust. Keep in mind, you cannot wrap the hook around an interior portion of the frame if the chain will not reach it on a straight line. [3] X Research source Hydraulic rams are rarely used for anything other than external frames. You can hook it on to any metal portion of the vehicle so long as the hook can wrap around it, though. Where you place the hook depends entirely on what you’re adjusting. So long as the hook fits cleanly around the metal and doesn’t slide around, you can use the ram. If the vehicle still runs, put the emergency brake on before doing this. Otherwise, put cinder blocks or bricks under the wheels to keep it from sliding toward the pump when you turn it on.
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Part 2 of 4:
Anchoring the Ram to a Solid Surface

1
Attach a pull chain to the hook on the thicker end of the ram. Take your second pull chain and connect the S hook at the end of the chain to the hook on the other end of the hydraulic ram. Just slide the two hooks together to keep them connected. [4] X Research source
2
Wrap the pull chain around an extremely stable vertical surface, like a thick tree. Where you anchor your ram depends on what you have available. If you’re working in your yard, wrap the entire chain around a big tree and connect the second hook to the same end of the ram. Otherwise, you can use a steel I-beam on a building, or some other object that will withstand however much pressure your hydraulic ram is putting out. [5] X Research source Professional mechanics typically have a dedicated metal pillar or wall hook for the pull-back ram. If you work in a shared garage, ask your garage-mates what they use to hook the pull-back ram up. There’s almost always a dedicated hook or tool for a pull-back ram.
3
Remove as much of the chain on the vehicle-side as possible. If there is slack in the two chains, remove links from the chain on the thinner side of the hydraulic ram. Take your S hook off and move it up to a link closer to your ram until your chain is taut. The fewer links you have on the vehicle side, the less likely the chain is to snap and the less likely you are to uproot a tree or break the anchor. [6] X Research source You can “double loop” the chain if you have a lot of excess chain by wrapping the chain around the frame and hanging both hooks on the hydraulic pull-back ram. The hooks on the ram can handle anything you can safely fit on them.
4
Adjust the chain connection on the other end to make the chains taut. Make adjustments to either end of the chain as needed so that the ram is on a straight line with both chains. Adjust your hooks to move them to different parts of the chains or change the angle of the anchor to tighten the ram. [7] X Research source

Tip: Pull-back rams only pull 6–12 inches (15–30 cm) depending on the length of your thinner cylinder. If there is too much slack, the frame won’t move when the ram contracts.

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Part 3 of 4:
Connecting the Pump

1
Remove the cap on the side of the hydraulic ram. On the thicker part of the pull-back ram, there is a small cap covering a valve. Remove this cap. This setup is different on each ram, but you typically either unscrew the cap by turning it counterclockwise or gently pulling it out of the valve. [8] X Research source You must use the pump that came with your pull-back ram. You cannot use another hydraulic pump since the valve and hose may not match perfectly.
2
Attach the hydraulic pump hose to the valve on the side of the ram. Take the hydraulic pump hose that came with your ram and either screw it into the valve on the ram, or push it in and rotate the handle on it to tighten it. Double-check the connection to make sure it’s as tight as possible before doing anything else. If you pump isn’t perfectly connected to the ram, you won’t get the pressure you need. [9] X Research source
3
Insert the pump handle in the opening on top of the pump unit. Pull the hydraulic pump on the other end of the hose as far away from the chain setup as you reasonably can without making the hose taut. Set it down flat on the floor and insert the pump handle into the opening on the top of the pump. Consult your ram’s instruction manual to see if you need to lock the handle into place before using it. [10] X Research source

Tip: Some pump handles need to be twisted in to be locked while others have a latch near the base of the handle. Some hydraulic pull-back rams use a foot pedal that is installed differently. Just double-check your instruction manual to make sure the handle is installed correctly.

Advertisement

Part 4 of 4:
Applying Pressure to Bend the Frame

1
Lay a thick blanket over each portion of the frame to avoid snaps. Grab some thick blankets and spread them out vertically on top of the pump and both chains. In the event that a chain snaps, the blanket will keep the chain from popping up and shooting away from your rig. Instead, the blanket will just fall to the ground and keep everyone safe. [11] X Research source They don’t need to be special blankets, but the heavier the better. You cannot use the chain if you don’t cover it in blankets. It is just too dangerous.
2
Put on protective eyewear to keep your eyes safe. If a chain does snap, there’s no telling where it will go. Put on a pair of protective glasses to keep any loose shards of chain from flying out and hitting you in the eye. [12] X Research source
3
Pump the handle slowly to start pulling the frame out. To start compressing your hydraulic pull-back ram, lift the handle up and close it down. Do this slowly so that you can monitor the shape of the frame as you pull it out. As you continue to move the handle up and down, the pressure in the pull-back ram will apply pressure to the hook on your vehicle and pull the metal out. [13] X Research source If you pump really fast, the pressure could build up too quickly and the hook may rip through the metal frame.
4
Release the pressure next to the handle once the frame is in place. Once you’ve moved the portion of the frame to the desired position, stop pumping the handle. Consult your instruction manual to determine how you release the pressure. Typically, you turn a knob or flip a latch next to the handle to let the air out and relieve the pressure. [14] X Research source The chain and ram should immediately pop back to their original position when you’re done.

Tip: If you get all the way to the point where the thin cylinder in the pull-back ram is tucked all the way into the other half of the ram, your chains weren’t taut enough when you first set the ram up. Release the pressure and start over with tighter chains for better results.

5
Repeat this process for the other portions of the frame as needed. Now that the pressure is relieved, you can unhook the end of the chain attached to the frame of your vehicle. Slide the S hook out and attach it to the next portion of the machine to repeat the process. [15] X Research source
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