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Which Jack?

Discussion in 'DIY (Do-It-Yourself)' started by agranner, May 30, 2008.

    agranner guest

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    I've lived without a floor jack for long enough. I have ramps for the basics, and the trunk jack for changing tires and emergencies, but I need the real thing to get up on all fours.

    Which jack should I buy?

    I don't need it to be light weight, and my car is not lowered. I will only use it a few times a year in my garage. A large saddle would be nice to make me more confident about jack placement. A strong frame is a must, obviously, and a smooth release valve so lowering isn't too scary. I'd also like a one-piece handle. Those two-piece jobs are really flimsy. I don't want the world's best jack, just one that I will be comfortable using.

    I'm looking at:

    OTC 1525 - 2-Ton, 4-22'' lift, 6" saddle, $315 from Pelican Parts

    Does anyone know about this jack? It claims to be the strongest in it's class.

    On the UnofficialBMW site, there are many references to a "Lincoln 96342": Under $200, warranty, etc. I don't think Lincoln Tools exists anymore. How do I find this jack?

    It seems aluminum jacks have gotten a lot less expensive. I've always understood that the biggest advantages were low weight and low min. height. These are not issues for me so I always assumed I'll get more jack for the money with a steel jack, but should I consider an aluminum one anyway?

    Thanks in advance,

    -- Aubrey Granner
    '93 325i
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    I went through this a few years ago and found that if you ask 10 people that same question, you'll get 10 different answers! I talked to a couple people that were happy with the Harbor Freight jack (believe it or not) and then a few more that said it's nothing but a death-trap. One guy said he loved the Griott's jack he bought (I would hope so for $600+) and then there we a bunch of misc. jacks with mixed reviews. I ended up getting the Sears Craftsman jack and I have to say, I'm totally happy with it. The advantage you have with the aluminum is that it's much easier to haul around the garage and it won't rust. The Craftsman fits perfectly under all my cars and has good lifting height. I can't remember how big a saddle it has but it's never been an issue. Plus, Sears does have a really good warranty on their Craftsman stuff.

    In the end, it's just an opinion and since it's the jack I have, it's really the only one I can comment on.

    Looking forward to seeing what other people have to say!
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    Brian A

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    Almost any jack will do: but BE CAREFUL.

    I bought one relatively recently too. My conclusion, after a bunch of shopping and reading, was that all but the worst are safe and convenient. It comes down to personal preference about features, price etc.

    … now, jack stands, that's an important decision with good and bad choices. And learning how to use them safely is no trivial task.

    Please be very, very, very careful. Mike Miller's advice to me was to have a mentor teach me and supervise me while learning how to put my car on jack stands. I still feel edgy every time I do it.
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    The Lincoln (apparently now Hein-Werner) jack looks nice, but I haven't used it. When it comes to jacks, up to a certain point I think it's like most other things, you do get what you pay for.

    I used a small sears floor jack for home/track stuff for some years - it died eventually, I never bothered trying to see if it could be serviced (I think it was Chinese parts). I bought something like a 2.5 ton jack from Northern tool that I think was a lesser quality brand than anything they're selling now - it's still useable, but has a leak 7 years later, again I think it was made in China. I bought one from Sam's club last year, works fine, has a two piece handle, but the handle-holding base in it's default position is not a 100% vertical, increasing it's 'consumed-space' profile a bit when the handle is in place.

    Looks like Northern has a range of nice jacks -
    http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/category_6970_89 364 90556

    I used a harbor freight aluminum racing jack for swapping wheels/tires at driver's schools for a few years, but it has given up the ghost and won't hold a load anymore - that's been replaced w/ a sears aluminum racing jack, which isn't as light as the harbor freight, but has been holding in fine over the last couple year's use.

    If you don't need the lightness for portability, and expect to be using your floor jack for many years to come, I'd say it might be worth it to spend the up-front money for a decent floor jack now, vs. attempting to get parts or service for a cheaper jack sooner than I would have to guess you might for one of higher quality.

    Also - Craftsman jacks do have a warranty, but not necessarily an unlimited lifetime warranty like on their hand tools - I think the warranty on the racing jack was 1 or 1. 5 years, something like that. Warranty on their other products could be different - don't know for sure.


    Stuff to consider - lifting height vs. minimum height clearance (if you're dealing w/ lowered cars, that might be a concern, but if you need maximum height for ohh... pulling transmissions, then you'll want max lifting height), hydraulic cylinder quality, (single or dual cylinder design?) and quick-lift feature. Not sure how it works for all jacks, but quick lift might end up requiring more pushing effort at the handle once weight's on the jack. Easier lifting may need more strokes, which can get tedious over time depending on how often you plan to use the jack, but if you have a heavier vehicle like a 5 or 7, that might be a better option. As I mentioned before, I prefer a jack handle that is wholly vertical in it's resting position rather than one that sit's at a bit of an angle - suit yourself according to your preference.
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    I am not at all happy with my Craftsman jack; I noticed that the scissors were out of alignment, ie leaning to one side. So I went back to Sears and found out that their warranty does not apply to jacks. Apparently this is not unusual for car jacks. I found several brands that either had no warranty or useless warranties.
    In fairness, the Craftsman jack I have is not their racing jack, but it's not one of the $29 ones either.
    • Member


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    I second the Craftsman jack. I have a 2 ton aluminum Craftsman floor jack. I have had it for about 4 years now and have been quite happy with it. My only problems with it is that it is not low profile enough for my cars. So I drive up onto a couple 2x4s to get the extra height needed. I think the warranty was only one year.

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    I bit the bullet and went all the way..

    Along with my Bimmer I also service a Mazdaspeed 3 and a Mazda Miata - all very tender cars when it comes to putting them in the air. I bought the ez carlift to solve all my car jacking problems in one fell swoop. Check it out at www.ezcarlift.com . I consider my ez carlift my most valuable tool.

    Expensive? You bet! Worth it? Words can't describe how easy it makes taking car of my cars! The owner of the company is a great guy too - always emails me to make sure all is well with the lift. Well worth the money....

    BMWtoyz guest

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    I got the aluminum jack from Costco, just over $100.00, but than again I have a lowered Z, so I need the low profile. I have used it to l lift my Dodge truck as well. I second the jack stands comments by Brian, I always use the jack with stands. Previously I had a steel Craftsman, bulky, heavy and always seemed to need oil.

    Jeron guest

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    bradley01 guest

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    I was considering buying a Harbor Freight Floor Jack. I am curious as to what those people said about the "death-trap-iness" of the Harbor Freight jacks. All the jack has to do is get the car up in the air...then the jack stands take over.

    I am thinking about getting this racing jack from HF:


    It is actually only $79.99 at my local store, and it looks like it is pretty sturdy. I am glad to hear that your favorite jack is a HF jack. Makes me feel better about my purchase decision. My dad has the Craftsman racing jack that you have linked to. It is really nice, but for the extra ~$100, i'm not sure that it is THAT much nicer...know what I mean? Especially if it doesn't have a warranty.

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    I know two seperate people that bought the HF jack and had one of the pivot pins dislodge as they were jacking the car up. One was able to lower it back down, he exchanged the jack and has been using it ever since (I assume with no problems). The other guy had the jack get stuck and had to use a second jack to get the car up so he could remove the HF one. He didn't exchange his, he almost returned it through their front window!

    It's like anything else...some people love them, some don't. I bought a Harbor Freight cordless impact wrench and absolutely love it. I've been using it for 5 years with no problems (and it gets a lot of use). I know other people that said it was a POS so you just never know.

    bradley01 guest

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    Well, I'm hoping Santa will bring me one, so it will be his monetary loss if mine takes a crap on me. If that is the case, then I will just go out and get another one! :) Thanks! :D

    mac townsend guest

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    I may have the same item Alcan branded, but $140. Look online and the stores here are only selling the steel one (heavy MF!).

    I love it. Much lighter than the two other floor jacks I have (all bought at Costco over the last 20+ years). Much lighter...maybe 35# vs 75-80. And when you are horsing the SOB around it adds up real fast. Note: I'm an old fart...65+, when I was in diapers (20-something) and just starting to do this stuff, an 80# jack was no big whoop. Just wait!<BG>

    One issue on the BMW. It need a LOT of lift. A std jack will go 17" or so, you need 21-22 minimum (and jackstands to match) or else you ain't getting under that car! Sears has tall (22") 3-ton jackstands for @$25/set. Good match in height for the Alcan aluminum jack.


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