Tool review: Pacific Automotive Industries' Workshop Pro 2000 Multi-Function Press

Jonathan Tondreau, service manager and veteran technician at Quantum Mechanics in Decatur, GA, sees a lot of German and Japanese vehicles in the affluent Atlanta suburb. Servicing struts and replacing bearings was a time-consuming task for the nine-person staff. Shop management naturally took an interest in the Workshop Pro 2000 Multi-Function Press from Pacific Automotive which promised a faster, safer and easier way to service struts and remove bearings.

Since Quantum Mechanics opened in 2006, they had used a 20-ton press with a manual height adjustment for removing bearings and servicing struts. After years of use, the press’ saddle was bent. “It was in need of replacement,” Tondreau says.

Even in its better days, it was necessary to “bear hug” the pins out to adjust the height after removing the piece from the press. For wheel hubs, it was necessary to raise the cradle to fully press out wheel bearings and push through the bearings. This could take 20 minutes easily.

The Workshop Pro Press features a uniquely-designed hanging hub perch coupled with a 30-ton, air-over-hydraulic ram. “It was not only a shop press, but it has a strut compressor built into it,” Tondreau notes. The air-over-hydraulic foot pedal allows techs to have both hands free to properly position the piece in the adjustable hanging perches. The accessories fit together and come in popular sizes to do most jobs without needing “something” to get the job in the correct position. The tool comes with a 30-piece accessory pack.

The hand winch height adjustment was an immediate time saver. “This press just cranks and it will raise the saddle to the next set of rungs and you put the pins in and you’re ready to go,” Tondreau says. Because there are stackable, interchangeable pieces, the tech can add press length without moving the saddle at all. The tech can also add crank to the piston. “It’s definitely not limited; it’s very adaptable.”

The tool came packaged in cardboard on a pallet with accessories for press adapters included in the kit. All the hydraulic components came assembled. The pump was filled with fluid. The press was up and running in 15 minutes. “It was all very straightforward and there was no assembly (on our part).”

It came with a manual that includes assembly instructions and a basic setup parts explosion diagram and a user guide.

The air hydraulic press completes what was once a 20-minute process in a quarter the amount of time, according to Tondreau. “It’s amazing going from a manual press to an air hydraulic press,” he says.

The hand winch for height adjustment and the safety cages surrounding the press are the most useful features. Tondreau recalls a Subaru with an axle stuck in the hub. When the hub was placed on the press to remove the axle and the full 30 tons of pressure applied, the press structure stood up firmly to the full press capacity.

“It’s nice to have safety cages when you’re looking at a press that has that much force,” Tondreau notes. “The cages are very helpful.”

Tondreau thinks the tool could be improved with updated accessory organization and an adapter for larger coil springs,** more space for accessories, greater adjustability for coil springs and a larger diameter horseshoe. The press comes with a metal pegboard for accessories such as press adapters. There are horseshoe-like adapters that the spring sits on, but the Honda springs require a larger diameter adapter.**

When working on cars with long coil springs such as Hondas, adjustability is important, Tondreau says.

On a scale of one to 10, Tondreau gives this tool a nine. “There’s no buyer’s remorse once we had it,” he says. “It’s been a very helpful tool.”

** The company now offers a larger coil spring adapter, which also allows users to access Honda springs.