Ratchet Maintenance

In my previous post, I alluded to the fact that I was going to pick up a 3/8″ Wright ratchet in the future.  It has arrived!  I also picked up a metal 6″ rule to give a since of size to the items I photograph. So, expect to see lots of it in the future.  Here they are.

One of the first things I do with ratchets these days is to disassemble it.  Why?  To lubricate it.  Some ratchets come dry or almost dry from the factory and a little bit of grease or oil makes them work better.  I’ll cover disassembling  and lubricating this Wright ratchet and then show how to disassemble a few more.  You may also want to periodically disassemble your ratchet to clean it out because some of them will accumulate gunk over time which can interfere with the ratcheting mechanism.
To take the Wright ratchet apart, the flat retaining ring must be removed.  The ring is flat helical piece of steel.   To remove it pry up and out on the end of it marked below with an arrow.

Once it is removed the ratcheting mechanism can be removed from the top of the ratchet.  Not that this ratchet has two pawls which rotate to engage the gear.  This design is stronger than the single pawl design shown in the previous post on the SK ratchet.

My grease of choice is a synthetic rear end grease made by Mobil 1.  It does a good job of lubricating the ratchet and stays where you put it.  Lighter weight greases or oils can creep out overtime.  Here a picture showing the grease applied to the gear on the inside of the ratchet head.  It is red in color.  Reassembly is the opposite of the previous instructions.

The so called “Raised Panel” craftsman ratchets have a snap ring in the bottom of the head to retain the parts.  The snap ring is pointed out in the picture below.  To remove it, snap ring plies are used to squeeze the ring together at the two holes.  This reduces the diameter of the ring and allows it to be lifted out.

Once the ring is removed the guts of the ratchet can be pulled out.  The pawl (batwing looking thing in the ratchet head) can also be removed but there is a detent spring and ball in there that will shoot out.  Be careful not to lose it if you remove the pawl.  Getting it the ball and spring back in is a chore as the ball must be pressed into the head while the pawl is reinstalled.

The arrow points out the detent ball in the arrow below.  There is cavity drilled in line with the handle for the spring and ball to be pressed into.

The last type of ratchet I’ll discuss is the “sealed head” design.  This design is better about keeping grime out of the inside of the ratchet head.  To disassemble it all you have to do is remove the two screws.

Once the screws are out, the back plate can be removed.  The design is similar to the Craftsman design but the Snap-On seems to function better.  As you can see the ratchet was well lubricated from the factory and clean on the inside.  Nothing was done to this one other than removing some of the gunk around the edges where the plate goes.

A shot of all three ratchet heads just because.

Here’s a picture of the grease I used and some snap ring pliers.

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