Ridgid R4511 Table Saw Height Adjustment Handle Jammed

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Blog entry by falegniam posted 02-07-2012 04:43 AM 12901 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Subject: Ridgid R4511 Table Saw Height Adjustment Handle Jammed-
I was wondering if anyone has had a problem with lowering or raising the blade? What happened to me today was rather strange because this saw is almost new. In the middle of working with it, I has set the blade at it highest point. It got stuck there because the handle would not turn, and not a piece of wood jamming it. Eventually i got it to turn, but with much care because the handle is made of thin cast aluminum. Plus i didn’t want to damage anything else. The Trunion part of it is fine. I was able to move it up and down by levering it with a large screwdriver. This releaved the pressure of the worm gear that raises the blade, and the handle still would not turn. Again, carefully applying pressure a few times, turning it in both directions, I was able to lower the blade again. At this point I slowly raised it an inch at a time, and checking to see if it was getting stuck by trying to lower it at each inch interval. With the blade removed I watched it as it went to it’s highest limit without getting jammed. There are two rather large nuts on either side of the cast iron part of the part that hold where bearing should be on that worm gear. I am thinking that there are no bearings in there, and just a solid rod that turns the worm gear. My question is, how could this be happening so soon in the life of this saw, since it only have approximately 40 hours on it? Even if it’s a metal rod, inside a sleeve, to turn a gear, it should last for years before anything would break or wear out, and cause a jam as severe as this. I have not taken it apart yet. If anyone has any information on this problem, I’d love to hear about it.
Thank you for your time, Falegniam

-- If you work you eat - If you don't work, you eat, drink, and sleep.

7 comments so far

View hhhopks's profile


663 posts in 3540 days

#1 posted 02-07-2012 05:28 AM

I would suspect that the nuts that limit the travel is not set properly at the factory.
I has been awhile that I mess with my saw, so I don’t necessary know what I am talking about. Typically, when travel limit is an issue, there is usually some nut/bolt adjustment that limits the travel. It is likely that you ran out of threads or you are at the angle limit (while the setup will bind). You had to wiggle it back in to lower the the saw. Right? This may not help but it is a thought.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View bobasaurus's profile


3733 posts in 4347 days

#2 posted 02-07-2012 06:06 AM

I had a similar problem on my dewalt saw, but it just required cleaning the clogged-up threads and lubricating generously to get it working smooth again. Try hitting yours with some WD-40 or other penetrating oil lube (T9 works well, too).

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View falegniam's profile


335 posts in 4115 days

#3 posted 02-07-2012 07:33 AM

I will try all the suggestions…Thank you.

-- If you work you eat - If you don't work, you eat, drink, and sleep.

View scoutb's profile


3 posts in 2639 days

#4 posted 05-12-2014 04:23 AM

Hi falegniam – Wondering what the outcome of the jammed height adjustment handle was? Today this happened to the R4511 that I’ve had and used regularly for about 3 years. I’ve already checked for jammed off cuts, etcetera. I did manage to shear off the pin on the adjusting wheel trying to force it after seeing nothing blocking the action. Thanks

View falegniam's profile


335 posts in 4115 days

#5 posted 05-16-2014 04:08 AM

Hi scoutb,
The jammed gear loosened up after forcing it, just like you did. Fortunately mine didn’t break anything. I did as some wax to the gears, because it seemed like it wanted to bind up again. The wax seems to help a lot, and the handle turns smoothly. I still hold the shaft that the handle turns suspect, only because i’m thinking that the gears could not get stuck like they did. So, I’d say, try the dry wax tube on the gears, and see if that helps.

-- If you work you eat - If you don't work, you eat, drink, and sleep.

View chodgson's profile


37 posts in 3847 days

#6 posted 10-18-2019 12:49 AM

I recognize this is an old post but I’ve recently had the same problem. I had to completely disassemble my height adjustment mechanism to determine the problem. One of the two “nuts” (the one on the back-side of the tilting trunnion) which holds the shaft is actually integrally attached to a shaft sleeve which has an off-center hole in it for the shaft.

The off-center hole is used to adjust the spacing between the worm gear and the curved gear-like rack of height-adjustment lever. This spacing needs to be just right. When something (sawdust/debris) causes the shaft to jam up in the sleeve, continuing to force the the handwheel to turn can cause the sleeve to turn, adjusting the spacing on the gearing, which causes further jamming and can even cause the gears to slip. In order to reset the spacing, you must use a pair of wrenches on the nuts, first loosening the front nut to allow the sleeve to turn, then turning the back nut until the gear spacing/clearance is just right (trial and error) and then tightening the front nut while preventing the sleeve from turning out of adjustment by holding the back nut in place.

All this doesn’t address the origin of the problem though; whatever causes the shaft to jam in the sleeve in the first place. There is no seal, no roller/ball bearing, just a steel shaft turning in a steel sleeve. So junk can eventually work its way in there and cause galling of the bearing surfaces. I had to remove the sleeve and shaft from the saw, and remove the shaft from the sleeve, which requires removing the roll-pin which the hand wheel locks against. Then cleaned up the surface of the shaft with some 300-grit sandpaper. I reassembled with a little bit of lithium grease, perhaps not ideal but what I had. There was no evidence of any grease originally installed, perhaps that was wiser. After reinstalling and carefully aligning the offset to to provide ideal clearance for the gearing, the height adjust mechanism was working like new… for a few days.

It has now started to stick again. I don’t think I can get the adjustment mechanism tight enough to prevent it from rotating out of adjustment, and for whatever reason more junk seems to get into the shaft and cause it to jam with the adjuster sleeve. Parts are no longer available for this, I’m starting to think about if there is a way to fix this myself, or if I’m going to have to buy a new saw. I will probably try reassembling without grease as it may have attracted the junk and made the problem worsen faster.

Page B here shows the assembly:

I’m curious if anyone else has had this problem and how they resolved it.

View scoutb's profile


3 posts in 2639 days

#7 posted 10-18-2019 03:30 AM

Hi chodgson -
I can not remember clearly if this is what I determined was actually causing the problem then but I do recall that during some disassembly and re-assembly I noticed that the hole down the length of the “Raise and Lower Sleeve” was clearly off-center. (Number 62 on the Page B that you provided a link to (part #089037005143)) I had ordered the part hoping that might be the fix. The part showed up and it was also drilled off-center. I then contacted the parts retailer and they said all of the ones they had in stock were also off-center. So, I think my solution was to clean all the parts up real well, and maybe rub some paraffin wax on them, and put it all back together. I probably use the saw most days of the year and it hasn’t locked up solidly since then but I can tell there is still some binding as the blade goes up and down.
Good Luck!
P.S. I ended up repairing my broken adjusting wheel with JB weld and it is still holding up nicely 5 years later.

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