Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

Is a wheel lift jack safe for the car?

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by Taymar, Mar 27, 2008.

    Taymar guest

    Post Count: 7
    Likes Received:0
    I'm trying to find the best way to lift up my 2004 330i and put it on jackstands.

    It seems the alloy front subframe brace is a controversial point to jack from, as some people seem to report it deforming and/or flexing.

    I've found a jack which lifts the car by the wheel, and my thinking is that a pair of these would enable me to lift one end of the car at a time without mangling anything with a floor jack, and then I could use the four plastic lift blocks to rest on jackstands. This jack has two prongs which sit below the tire, and a pad to support the wheel at the top of it's outside edge.

    My only concern is that lifting the car by the wheels might damage it in some way. While that's probably unlikely, I'd like to get some opinions from people more knowledgable than myself before I try it.

    GregS_WI guest

    Post Count: 66
    Likes Received:0

    Taymar guest

    Post Count: 7
    Likes Received:0
    The sears system looks nice, although the comments/reviews on it were a bit worrying. Sounds like you can't buy two additional stands, and spare parts are not obtainable due to patent issues. Wish somebody else made a system like that with four stands, it'd be ideal.

    I've also realized that using wheel jacks will pull my wheels out of line by up to .6" while jacking, which might not be such a good thing.

    Guess I'm back to square one on this.
    • Member

    mjweimer

    Post Count: 140
    Likes Received:0
    I jack-up my E46's by using the front chassis brace and the portion of the rear subframe differential that wraps under the differential.

    Yes, the front chassis brace will initially deform some because it is made from aluminum but it is actually a very stout piece that can take the load and once it bends a little will not get any worse. This is not the actual subframe BTW it is merely a chassis stiffener bolted to the body with 8 bolts.

    I have had the chassis brace off of the car when replacing the front control arm bushings and other than the center spot being a little deformed there was no other damage to the part.

    YMMV but it works for me.

    Matt
    • Member

    MGarrison

    Post Count: 2,807
    Likes Received:143
    I don't have an E46, but perhaps someone else can chime in with whether this would work - Matt?

    http://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/shopcart/BE46/POR_BE46_UPrc46_pg1.htm

    Here's someone who's worked out a whole procedure. This is pretty good, although there's the potentially disastrous downside of accidentally driving off the ramps (or some such similar mishap). On the upside, it gets one end up before moving on to jacking.

    http://m3.madrussian.net/diy_jacking.shtml

    Getting a car up on four jacks can be a little tricky, particularly if you're going for the max lift offered by larger jack stands. It's all too easy to get one end or side of a car up, and then have a jack on that side get off-kilter in the process of jacking up the other side and/or jacking up the other side too high. As mentioned by the madrussian, patience and care through the whole process is critical.

    I start by getting the car enough off the ground to get the wheels off; if you need more undercar clearance, jack the car to the max height afforded by your jack in a stage or two.
    • Member

    mjweimer

    Post Count: 140
    Likes Received:0
    The Pelican Parts piece is very nice but it lifts the car at the jack pad. If you are merely changing one wheel it would work well but if you are attempting to place your car on jackstands than this would not work.

    madrussians write up is really good, especially for a lowered car, and I use a similar procedure. I don't like the metal ramps so I made a set out of scrap wood (deck board). My ramps are only two boards thick which gives all but the tallest jacks plenty of clearance under the front of the car. The wood ramps being shorter also allows me to drive up on them and the board under the rear wheels at the same time, saving time and hassle.

    On one of my floor jacks the saddle is too wide and deep to safely touch the front - center jacking point without risk of damage to the surrounding chassis brace. I simply purchased a hockey puck at the local sporting goods store and place it in the center of the jack saddle. This gives some cushion, grip and the extra clearance needed to lift easily. I also use it when lifting from the side jack points to give a little extra clearance and avoid scuffing the paint on the rocker panels. Cheap and simple.

    Another note, many of the commonly available jack stands do not interface well with the pads at the jack points of the later cars. This can lead to the car slipping off of the stands and a very bad day. Make sure when purchasing stands to note the shape of the saddle. You want something that has a surface shaped so the pad has a good solid resting point. The flatter the better.

    I went a little wild and modified a common set of jack stands with a custom CNC milled top that can be adapted to the round (E36) or square (E46, E39, E38, E9X, etc.) jack pads. Works like a charm and has proven to be quite stable during all sorts of project work.

    Matt
    • Member

    MGarrison

    Post Count: 2,807
    Likes Received:143
    Sounds good to me - my E30 is less problematic to get up in the air. The only thing I can add is a thought about the hockey puck. A couple of years ago at a driver's school, I was talking w/ one of my students while she was getting her track wheels on the car and she had a hockey-puck story. She had habitually been using a hockey puck as a jack pad insert, and had it fracture on her when she was doing some brakework at home - I think she suffered a broken toe or minor fracture of some kind (as she also made the mistake of not putting a jack stand in place), and thankfully no worse injury than that.

    Anyway, I don't know how hockey pucks are made, but her story gives me pause in thinking that they're ideal for car work. When necessary, I've used a extra thick piece of rubber I got from a local rubber supply company - standard rubber, more flexible, not the type of hardness that a hockey puck is, 1.5 to 1.75 inches thick. I've also used a piece of hardwood like oak before, but I don't think that's ideal either.

    Seems surprising that someone doesn't make something specifically for that - I think Griot's used to have a couple different sized jack-pad covers, not sure if they do anymore.

    Taymar guest

    Post Count: 7
    Likes Received:0
    Thanks for the info on the hocky pucks, I'd intended to use those as a pad but I might seek a safer alternative now.

    Think a piece of thick cork would do the trick, or any other suggestions on what easily available items might work?
    • Member

    mjweimer

    Post Count: 140
    Likes Received:0
    Interesting story about the hockey pucks breaking apart. I check mine often for cracking but they may fail suddenly without warning so that would not help much.

    I am always extra careful when using them and now may seek an alternative.

    Cork may work but it also may come apart quickly. A trip to the local hose shop may be in order to see what they have in the way of thick rubber material. At work, we use rubber horse stall mats (~ 1 inch thick super heavy rubber) to set 15k to 30k pound injection molds while not in use. A piece of that material may be the ticket.

    Matt

    Taymar guest

    Post Count: 7
    Likes Received:0
    Rubber does sound like a smarter idea than cork.

    I'd really appreciate any advice on specific sizing for the specific setup I'm using - I went for the craftsman lift 'N' secure afterall as it was the only solution I was happy with. Seems fairly well made but is on the heavy side at 120lbs.

    Here's a photo of the top of my stands/jack.

    [IMG]

    The outer diameter is 3", and it has a raised 1/4" lip around the edge which is about 1mm, with a higher section (2mm) at four points around the rim. The inner section is 2.5"

    Should I just use a 2.5" rubber disc, which is taller than the lip? If so, is it possible to say what thickness rubber I should be looking for?

    Thanks again for the advice, it's much appreciated.

    odessa91 guest

    Post Count: 1
    Likes Received:0
    Use hockey puck, $2 solution and works fine
    • Member

    MGarrison

    Post Count: 2,807
    Likes Received:143
    • Member

    bcweir

    Post Count: 1,263
    Likes Received:5
    Whatever happened to just using blocks of wood?

    I've used those for decades with no issue. It's cheap, effective, and quite safe.

    For an added measure of safety, someone who is an expert at woodworking should have no trouble mounting a formfitting jackpad to a block of wood for added safety.

    I'm more likely to trust a good quality block of wood than a $2 piece of rubber. That and use common sense when you're placing the jackstands. Never use a drivetrain or suspension component as a jack point. Always use a structural jackpoint on the floorpan or underside of the car.

    Also, be sure you use jackstands and jacks that are rated for your cars weight, and never exceed those limits, even by a small amount. Don't scrimp on your life and safety to save a few bucks. I'd like to hope that your loved ones value you as much as you ought to value yourself.

    For my personal safety, I'd buy the highest rated jack and jackstands I could afford. 5,000 or 6,000 pound jacks and jackstands offer more than enough safety margin for a 4,200 pound 7-series.

    cwbiii guest

    Post Count: 160
    Likes Received:0
    hole for pin?

    Many cars have a hole for a pin that secures the lifting mechanism in place.

    I remove the round thing and put a socket and short 1/2" extension inside.

    I chose the socket to fit snugly into the hole in the jack, and the extension fits snugly inside the socket (not plugged into the socket as it normally would) and enough of it sticks out to stick into the hole in the lifting pad. This arrangement has worked well for me as it locks the jack to the vehicle so that it cannot slip out. ( I had that happen once before using this technique and did not want it to happen again since it partially crushed the lower rocker panel)
    This method will be an issue with low profile cars (ie sport packages) because of the low ground clearance. Sears had a 2.5 ton low profile jack on sale this week for $49.99. I added one to my garage to make working on my wife's 330 with sport package easier. My other jack is a Sears 3.5 ton professional series with quick lift,(lifts quickly when there is no load so saves a lot of pumping). The socket and extension were also sears...

    Chuck
    • Member

    327350

    Post Count: 75
    Likes Received:1
    My solution is a little costly but it works...

    I maintain 4 cars here so it was good investment:www.ezcarlift.com I have been using this lift for around six years and it is a jewel. I bought a heavy duty drill to drive it and it has been problem free the whole time. It has been used on: 330ci, Mazda Miata, Mazdaspeed 3, Mercedes Benz GLK 350 and several of the neighbors cars. On the website you'll see the specs, if you work on cars a lot, it's worth the money.

Share This Page