Made In The USA: Snap-On FJ175

Our twenty-first-century New Morality is mostly banal and unimaginative but it does have a couple of nifty adaptations to it, the most interesting of which I’ll call One Click Away From Default State. The “Default State” is whatever the New Morality wishes you to be, and the you is very personal.

Here’s an example. Your humble author has probably hired and supported more minority and female writers than any other single editor in the business. However, the keepers of the New Morality would very much like to brand me with “sexist and racist” so therefore any single thing they can find to support that branding will be taken as being absolute and immediate. Let’s say that there was a video of me rapping the “N-word” in front of a hundred people. I assure you that said video would be made omnipresent on Car Twitter or whatever. It doesn’t matter what else I’ve done. That would be the “one click” to doom me.

On the other hand, Sam Biddle has long been on the side of “the good guys” so when he does exactly that, the video gets DMCA’d and disappeared from the public eye. In point of fact, Sam Biddle (and, whisper it, Hunter Biden) can do as much as he likes in the way of racist or offensive behavior. As soon as he says “the right thing”, whatever that needs to be, he will one-click back to his assigned state of Good Guy.

If you want another example, think about how readily society accepts someone’s declaration of alternate sexuality; that “one click” is all you need to get instant membership status in whatever subculture you like. However, if you want to leave that subculture, however… well, I don’t even know how you would do it. Nobody would take you seriously. Let’s say that I declared myself to be a furry next week. Then a week afterwards, I posted that I was “sick of this furry stuff lol” and that I was going back to, ah, relationships without fursuits. What percentage of you would consider me to be permanently a furry?

So, what does all of this have to do with a $935 floor jack?

Only this: as you know, here at Riverside Green we are passionate about promoting Made-In-The-USA products. This is not something that my brother and I pursue in identical fashion, nor are we always similarly convinced about the need to protect American manufacturing in a given industry. Sometimes, there’s raw self-interest involved; my brother was a Yamaha Performing Artist for many years, and I doubt you need to be told that Yamaha doesn’t make a lot of musical instruments in the USA. During the Nineties, I did a lot of speaking out against various USA-based bike makers, often in favor of overseas competitors, because I thought that the companies in question were making bad bikes and/or interfering in the sport of cycling to the sport’s detriment.

The reason I mention this is because every so often a Very Smart Boy will read this blog, discover a SECRET CONTRADICTION THAT ONLY HE CAN SEE, and post something like,

omfg how can you talk about made in america when you have a korean car!!!11!!!!1eleven!!!!

For “korean car!” feel free to substitute “english tailor” or “japanese motorcycle” or anything else you like. Having discovered the SECRET CONTRADICTION, the Very Smart Boy expects that Bark or I will say “Oh, I didn’t think of that,” and vanish into a puff of dust like God in the first Hitchhiker book. Alternately, they expect that we will say, “Oh, gosh, you’re right, we’re hypocrites, carry on with your 100% Wal-Mart/Amazon Chinese lifestyle, it’s exactly identical to our decisions to occasionally buy a Japanese pair of jeans.”

In other words, Made-In-The-USA is not the Default State that anyone in power wants, so with that “one click” we will be banished from being boosters of American-made products. The truth is not as simple. I do more than anyone else I have ever met or known to focus on American goods and services. Sometimes it is simply impossible, and you can’t do it. Other times, all it requires is clicking a different link. In the middle, you have choices of various difficulty, and this Snap-On floor jack is one of them.

I’ve used three different “lightweight jacks” over the past fifteen years. In the end, they’re all junk, and each one has been worse than the last. This Snap-On is an attempt to address this problem with a (not that) lightweight, high-quality racing jack that has a real warranty and which can be serviced or rebuilt in the future.

The equivalent Chinese floor jack from Harbor Freight or wherever is about $80 bucks so there’s a big price swing here to buy American-made. Let’s hope it’s worth it. Naturally, this won’t do anything to convince the people who think that brother Bark is somehow in the pocket of the chaebol, but if you’ve been wondering, “Do I need to buy Chinese for my garage, or my race team?” the answer, at least in this case, is “No.”

44 Replies to “Made In The USA: Snap-On FJ175”

  1. Nick

    I’ll throw in a recommendation for US Jack jack stands. I’ve got 2 pair of the 3.5 ton variety, and they’ve served me great for 6 years. One stand has a small area of flaked paint, but there are no cracks, bends or flaws anywhere else.

    If anyone else has a recommendation for USA-made vehicle ramps, I’d love to hear it. I don’t really trust Rhino Ramps.

    Reply
    • Gianni

      You could just make some out of 2×8’s or 2×10’s. I did, although I never drive up them. I just jack the car up with a floor jack and then lower it onto the ramps. Since I passed 50, jack stands give me the willies. Only time it doesn’t work is when the wheels need to come off.

      Reply
      • Nick

        >Building with wood.

        Must be nice to be rich, lol.

        Seriously though, if I can’t find some USA made ramps I’ll probably go this route.

        Reply
    • M. Burmeister

      I’ve used an American-made set of Rhino Ramps for over 15 years with no issues. I have the heavy duty set, but they have handled every vehicle I’ve used them with, including a 1991 Town Car and a 2010 MKT (curb weight 5029 lbs.). I once saw a steel ramp crumple under my dad’s diesel Suburban, and I have much more faith in the Rhino Ramps.

      Reply
      • Nick

        Most of the websites I checked don’t list the country of origin, Advance Auto being the only exception. I’ll try to find a set in person and see where they’re made.

        The ones on Advance Auto claim to be USA-made, though.

        Reply
  2. tolu arutunoff

    I’ve posted this a few times thru the years–here it is again: the n-word is an IDOL! bow down before it or you will be destroyed. I guess the next-worse ‘m.f.’ is so far behind in offensive capability that it’s almost ignored. on the rare times I’m accused of being ‘racist,’–threadbare term, isn’ it–I reply I’m exactly as racist as you are. let ’em figure it out. remember way back when when the triggering accusation was ‘disrespected?’ good ol’ days…

    Reply
  3. John Van Stry

    The last big floor jack I had was a sears craftsmen. And it -broke- physically broke, as in a piece of the heavy duty cast metal on it shattered (and it wasn’t even under any weight at the time). I don’t think it was eight years old when it went.
    But the motorcycle lift from harbor freight? Yeah, that’s pushing twenty.

    I do need a big heavy duty floor jack, the lightweight one I currently have just doesn’t hack it, but I think $1000 is way too overpriced for what I’ll be getting. I would go $500 for a quality American made one that I knew would last, but until then, I guess it’s $80 harbor freight ones from here on out.
    I don’t mind paying for American made if the quality is there, but honestly, Snap-on is always way overpriced.

    Reply
  4. -Nate

    Wow ;

    This is good news indeed ! .

    I have two hydraulic trolley jacks, I know one is Chinese and I’m quite sure t’other one is too, it was a recent gift, the owner bought it new and lost the bolt that holds the handle in place so I got it, it’s a BEAST ~ lots of cast iron and weighs too damn much but I don’t need to bench press trolley jacks anymore so I hope it’ll be fine .

    $900 is beyond the ability of the average Blue Collar mechanic or DIY’er but this thing gives me hope .

    I too have forty plus year old pin typ jack stands along with my 35 year old Harbor Freight I ass-U-me Chinese ones, they’ve never slipped nor cracked but I -do- check them often .

    Someone who’s allowed to post images should find and share a pic. of a car dropped on someon’es head ~ it looks like a burst watermelon but far worse and will I hope, make you think twice about not using jack stands as so many do .

    -Nate

    Reply
  5. -Nate

    OBTW : I used to be able to buy American made light bulbs at Ace Hardware Stores, not anymore, anyone know where to buy them now ? .

    -Nate

    (who’s _STILL_ looking for shiny black wingtip safety shoes no matter where they’re made)

    Reply
    • Aaron

      Walmart has two kinds: Sylvania which are Made in the USA with US and Foreign parts, and Good Value which are assembled in the USA. Both are LEDs and they are as close as you can get.

      Reply
      • -Nate

        @Aaron :

        THANK YOU ! .

        I have a box or two full of American made incandescent bulbs I snagged when they were being tossed out but I like how my electric bill drops when I use LED’s so I’ll look into this .

        -Nate

        Reply
  6. Dirty Dingus McGee

    I have 2 “go to” floor jacks in my garage.One is a roughly 50 year old 2.5 ton Walker that is an absolute hoss. I got it from my dad some 20 years ago, he had bought it in the 70’s from a service station that was closing. I have rebuilt the pins and pivots, and had the hyd cylinder rebuilt. Lightweight? Not on your life. Sucker probably weighs close to 100 lbs. The other is also made by Walker and was built for NASCAR series racing in the 90’s. When the teams started switching to the “one pump” jacks, my brother who worked in one of the Busch North shops bought 2 and I got 1 from him.Probably weighs less than 30 lbs and is plenty strong enough for my use.

    Harbor Freight or Pep Boys jacks? Bought one about 20 years ago. It ended up collapsing to the side while I was pulling a wheel off my truck. Never again will I buy a Chinesium jack.

    Reply
  7. Ronnie Schreiber

    I don’t know how good they are, but Hein-Warner jacks are made in the United States and can be rebuilt. A 2-ton unit is about $400. You can also get a reconditioned Made In USA Lincoln-Warner 2 1/4 ton for $225, with a $125 replacement unit exchange:
    http://www.phjjacks.com/

    Reply
    • JMcG

      Be careful, only some of the HW jacks are US made. You have to carefully parse the product info. They play some of the “assembled” or “designed” in the US game. Thanks for the info though Ronnie, every little bit helps our brother Americans.

      Reply
      • Ronnie Schreiber

        “Assembled” and “Designed” are two different things. FTC rules say you can’t mark it as “Made in the USA” unless at least 70% of the value of the components is domestically produced. Otherwise you have to add “From domestic and imported components”. It’s easier to just say “Assembled in…”.

        If I see the phrases “Designed in” or “Engineered in”, I assume that’s code for “Made in China”

        Reply
  8. Ark-med

    Bought a pair of USA made black (Black?) Lucchese boots today. Mighty pleased with the supple leather.

    Reply
  9. Athos

    That looks far nicer than the aluminium jack I got from Costco some years ago, which is leaps and bounds better than the Chinese one I had in the previous life.

    Reply
  10. Ice Age

    It seems to me that the proper model for American domestic manufacturing in the 21st Century would start with the realization that we can’t outcompete the slave-labor countries of the Far East where Quantity is concerned. That model worked a hundred years ago – it worked 70 years ago – but no longer.

    Instead, we should go for Quality, and lots of it.

    What I mean is that instead of the old way where you’d have a giant factory, or a mill, or a mine that would employ every able-bodied person in a 50-mile radius, and whose subsequent closure would essentially destroy the economy of half the state it was in, how about an entire nation of small companies cranking out products of unsurpassed quality?

    Americans can make the best things in the world – when we’re allowed to. But since Quality is at odds with the Modernist mentality of Standardized and As Much As Possible, As Fast As Possible, we aren’t allowed to do that.

    Imagine if Detroit was home to 150 successful niche car companies that collectively served the entire world instead of the Big Three. Or where Pittsburgh had a hundred small steel mills instead of the handful that cratered the local economy for a generation when they went under.

    Now imagine the whole country like that.

    We can make the best things in the world. That’s our manufacturing strength, and it’s what we should focus on.

    But first, we need to dump this idea of Big.

    Reply
    • CJinSD

      When I moved to La Jolla in 2002, there were any number of shops welding up beach cruiser and Harley-based chopper frames around Pacific Beach. CARB made laws against the type of welding involved, and all those places have since folded. Dissemblers will say the chopper fad passed, but it was a bit of a chicken and the egg situation in reality. All the chopper shops being forced to close might have impacted their popularity. Showy beach cruisers are still popular, only now they come from China, where the Democrats intended them to.

      Reply
      • Ice Age

        Chicken and egg situation, indeed.

        I recently read an article about the 1934 NFA and a later challenge to the law, which included in the court’s opinion some statement about machine guns not being “sporting weapons.”

        The author of said article made the point that since the NFA effectively outlawed full-auto guns, how do we – who live in the time after the law was passed – know whether or not machine guns have a valid sporting purpose? Would they if they’d been legal this whole time?

        Reply
    • Panzer

      This kinda crystallizes something I’ve been thinking about for the last wee while.
      The private firearms manufacturing sector in the United States is proof of the efficacy of the small cottage industry approach.
      These companies are small, nimble and can produce at volume, they really are world leaders in a sector with strong foreign competition.
      I’m thinking companies like KAC, LMT etc..

      Reply
  11. RJ

    Kind of on / off topic, an accumulation of things US that I’ve acquired in the last year or 3…

    Close to this, PitBull paddock stand for the motorcycles–looks to be better engineered and built than its imported ilk, nice welds and finish, not terribly spendy, does the job reliably, had this one for about 3 or 4 years now, handy for basic maintenance on bikes without a center stand.

    2013 Corvette Grand Sport. Supposedly one of the top US cars at the time for actual US content. Fun on a bun, and it’s nice to have clutch again.

    Guerilla Gravity bikes, MRP forks, Industry 9 wheels, Chris King parts–harder and harder to find cycling stuff from the US, and these guys are actually making frames out of carbon here (gasp!). Jack is all over this one.

    Flint and Tinder polo shirts (and indeed much of their product)–unfortunately limited color palette, but very nice cotton (possibly from America) and sewn in PRC(alifornia), priced better than the competition with no chest allegiance / product placement (sorry, if you aren’t giving me a kickback, I’m not advertising your shit–this does not apply to the occasional T shirt of my choosing with something I think is especially cool, vis Chris King components, above).

    Triple Aught Designs (again, Cali) is making jeans of the last of the Cone Mills denim, no stretch, 100% cotton, and not for waifs and consumptives, but that actually fit healthy 52 year olds. They also have a tremendous heavy wool shirt that’s nearly 1/4 inch thick and great in the winter, forget the name, but bought one last year on sale and it’s a mainstay of the casual wardrobe.

    Gokey boots–pricey but comfortable, true to size, handmade of nice leather. Honorable mention to Russel Moccasin, who unfortunately could not quite get the custom made boots right (even more spendy, but a cool concept that would probably be less costly if there was actually much a demand for them).

    Tools, which at even a moderate level of quality seemed almost exclusively US made, are now more and more frequently made overseas, and as Jack has noted, the US products tend to be magnitudes higher in price. As far as power tools, other than PowerMatic, virtually nothing I’ve seen comes from here, and I have my suspicions about parts and motors for even that level.

    Of course, most depressingly, I make my living as a surgeon, and virtually none of my instruments at any level come from the US. What could go wrong?

    Reply
    • Ronnie Schreiber

      RJ,
      My late father was a veterinarian and I have a box of his hand instruments like hemostats, retractors, surgical scissors and the like. He started practice about 70 years ago. Almost all of the instruments are marked “Made in West Germany”.

      Reply
      • RJ

        Ronnie,

        Yes, Germany and Pakistan held the market for hand instruments for many years–Pakistan is pulling into the lead, and makes pretty high quality instruments–these are simple, traditional (open) surgical instruments, typically reusable, with a long life. Anything high tech for laparoscopic or robotic surgery, as well as the panoply of disposable ($$$$) instruments is now made in…you guessed it, China. Another loss I’ve noticed in the last few years is the guys who used to visit hospitals and sharpen instruments have all retired or gone on to more lucrative pursuits, so scissors just get dull after a while and then replaced. Solid state technology of a sort, I guess.

        Reply
  12. Bark M

    I should point out that Yamaha was assembling nearly all of their entry level and intermediate instruments in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when I was working with them in the late nineties and early aughts. There simply are no saxophones made in the USA, and there haven’t been since the seventies. Closest is the Cannonball, which is assembled in Utah, I believe.

    Reply
  13. S2kChris

    This is where we start to get into whether I’m paying for quality or branding/name. My floor Jack is a (very) heavyweight thing from Costco that cost maybe $150 10 years or so ago. It is most likely chinesium. I would happily pay 2-3x the price for a a US-made consumer-type jack, but as a guy who uses his Jack maybe 6 times a year, there’s no way I am going to spend a grand on it. Snap-on is generally high-quality stuff, but it’s overbuilt for the hobbyist. We really need something Craftsman-level again, something more in line with doing 2 oil changes a year and the swapping of the summer/winter tires.

    Apologies that my iPhone can’t decide whether “jack” should be capitalized or not.

    Reply
  14. Mike

    There seems to be very little in the way of middle-ground product, at least in tools, that’s American made. The cheap stuff is PRC, and the slightly better stuff is…PRC. A lot of people dig on Craftsman tools, but they were my very first tools, and they were good tools- not great, but they worked, and lasted. The Japanese and Chinese tools were junk. And if you had the cash, you could always upgrade to SKS or Snap-On or whatever. Now it seems like the only American-made tools are very high-end products such as this.

    About a year or so ago I bought a new aluminum floor jack. I searched for an American-made model, and could not find anything. I ended up getting what turned out to be a pretty-decent non-HF unit for about $200. I’m sure this Snap-On model would not have even registered on my radar at its price point. It’s almost like the American companies are trying to get you to believe their products are some sort of Veblen good; i.e., they’re good because they cost a lot. Snap-on, of course, is about the guiltiest party in this. How they get away with charging what a small car costs for what is essentially a pile of sheet metal and drawer slides (their large roller tool boxes) is beyond my comprehension.

    Reply
    • Dan S.

      American hand tools can be difficult to find at reasonable prices, although there are some Williams USA sockets that arent too overpriced out there.

      Not USA made, but at least made by people in the first world, earning vaguely reasonable wages, I’d look at Wera for ratchets, made in the Czech Republic, ~$40-45 new on Amazon. There are some other German tool brands that are less than snap-on but still a reasonable middle ground for price out there.

      Japanese tools in the 70s may have been junk, but take a look at Nepros today. Their ratchets are something you really have to buy and wrench with to appreciate.

      Reply
      • JMcG

        Knipex are German-made hand tools that are excellent quality, priced reasonably, and not made by slaves. One must, as always, be careful when buying them.
        A guy at the Ford Nationals in Carlisle, PA, had a table full of Knipex for sale. At the price, I was worried that they were counterfeit or stolen.

        BTW – The Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen has Alfa Romeo as it’s featured marque this year. It’s the weekend of September 10. Usually a bunch of beautiful cars and even more beautiful women to be appreciated there.

        Reply
      • Mike

        You are correct, Japanese tools at the time were worse than the Chinese stuff today. I have an old socket set I found in the trunk of a car I bought, 1970’s vintage Japanese. The sockets don’t stay on the ratchets and the socket walls are so thin I suspect the sockets would crack loosening anything stouter than a Grade 2 bolt. My dad had a similar set, back in the 80’s, and I recall not many years after he got it the ratchet…didn’t.

        Reply
  15. -Nate

    The last few years of my career I flew a desk and was the tool buyer to th C.O.L.A., I tried mightily to buy only American made tools, at that time Proto Tools was still mostly American made .

    Champion used to make most excellent hose bibs but switched to China and although they looked the same, they were crap and broke after less than a years use .

    I had my supplier find some American made hose bibs and asked for one of each typ for evaluation, they sent me junk that _LEAKED_ ! I’d expected ringers but they couldn’t be bothered and so lost a good sales opportunity .

    They didn’t want the crappy bibs back, I couldn’t use a hose bin that dribbled a fair bit of water so I tried to give them away…

    Sadly most American made stuff just isn’t made with any pride .

    -Nate

    Reply
    • dave

      I don’t want to break this to you but that jack is made in literally the exact same factory as the Harbor Freight Daytona jack. There was an infringement lawsuit that Snap-On lost to Harbor Freight.

      https://biztimes.com/court-deals-blow-to-snap-on-case-against-harbor-freight/

      The link below has the archived letter from the Harbor freight CEO stating that they use the same factory and the Snap On costs so much since the Chinese factory sells it to a middleman who sells it to Snap On who sells it to the tool truck guy who then sells it to you. You’re mostly paying for middleman markup. I remember when this all came out that the Snap On is apparently sent to the US disassembled so they can bolt it together here and slap a Made in the USA sticker on the Chinese parts

      https://tiremeetsroad.com/2019/09/15/harbor-freight-daytona-dj3000-the-floor-jack-snap-on-absolutely-hates-for-this-reason/

      Reply
        • CJinSD

          By Snap-On’s own pricing, the FJ175 is 13% better than a $200 jack from Harbor Freight. I like to buy US-manufactured stuff when practical, but not from a place that uses its name to charge four times retail for Chinese stuff.

          About fourteen years ago, I bought a Trek mountain bike with an aluminum frame. While I was shopping, I had to put up with the first Trek shop I went to denigrating another bike I’d looked at as Chinese garbage. By the time my bike was delivered, Trek had off-shored their aluminum frame production. It happened again last week with an ice-cream scoop.

          Reply
  16. toly arutunoff

    I once had a copy of a color ad in a magazine for the Thompson drum-magazine submachine gun. it depicted what a single rancher could do to a bunch of rustlers when the rest of the hands had gone off to town.

    Reply
  17. Gary

    Dang, 1k is really steep.

    That’s a chinese jack with a fresh set of mexican michelins tossed in at no charge.

    Reply
  18. Compaq Deskpro

    I bought an NEC Mate MKL36 desktop computer from Buyee.jp, which is a international proxy site for Yahoo Auctions Japan. It is obviously a Lenovo Thinkcentre M920s but painted white and assembled in Japan. I think something similar is going on here. I didn’t do badly either, $205 + $68 shipping for a one year old business computer is a screaming deal.

    Reply

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