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Old 09-18-2007, 09:15 AM   #1
maineblackbear
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Default Dumb question about using floor jack

Hey all,

I sort of have a dumb question on using a floor jack specifically on newer unibody style vehicles. I have a CJ that I lift up with the floor jack and because it has frame/springs/axles, I have no problem there. With unibody style vehicles, the manual shows the lift points which are typically just behind the front tires or in front of the rear tires. When I look at the scissor jack that comes with the car, the top piece that contacts the car has a slot cut out of it that fits around the half inch (or so) seam that runs down the length of the car. My guess is that this is to keep the scissor jack from slipping as you are cranking it up.

My question is this, since my floor jack just has the typical disk for the contact point, should I worry about mangling that seam that runs down the side of the car? Currently, I have a small block of wood that I set inside the jack disk that has a slot cut out of it, but I worry about having the block of wood like that. Can I just lift the car on the seam? Is this absolutely the only place to lift these type of cars or can I lift elsewhere like under the control arm mounts?

Thanks in advance!
~J
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:49 AM   #2
Coach James
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Default Re: Dumb question about using floor jack

I put the disk under another part of the car rather than on the pinch weld. That weld can get mangled from the disk. I've used a block of wood with a groove in it before. Just be careful that the car doesn't slide. You can also buy a metal piece for your jack. It looks like metal tubing with a slot cut in it with a pin to fit in place of the disk.

On my mini van, I usually just put the jack under another part of the frame.

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Old 09-18-2007, 09:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Dumb question about using floor jack

Get a rubber pad for your jack or buy a jack that comes with one as an accessory, like a AC Hydraulic jack.

I have used it to pickup my pinch welded 3 and 5 series cars without any damage. That's also what I use on my lift - rubber pads on the arms.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Dumb question about using floor jack

Depending on type of car, you can usually put the jack right under the structural part of the unibody inboard and behind the front tire- looks like a mini "frame", and on another reinforced part in front of the rear tire, just inboard of the pinch weld that you are trying not to mangle.
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:33 PM   #5
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Default Re: Dumb question about using floor jack

I use a block of wood with my Craftsman jack but for places I don't like marks, I also use my AC jack with the rubber pad.
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dumb question about using floor jack

I used a jack adapter from www.eastwood.com; it has a slot for the seam and does not scratch the bottom ...
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Old 09-18-2007, 06:52 PM   #7
maineblackbear
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Default Re: Dumb question about using floor jack

Thanks for all the responses. I will probably look into getting one of those adapters that were mentioned. Happy wrenching!

~J
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Old 09-19-2007, 07:39 PM   #8
TNToy
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Default Re: Dumb question about using floor jack

Yes, there are lots of places where you can pick up a unibody car.

Subframe, subframe mounts, control arm mounts, control arm, and many of these vehicles have a reinforced, box-shaped area near the front of the vehicle where you can stick the jack's saddle as well.

A short, 3" square block of wood that fits inside the cup of the jack's saddle makes a cheap adapter. Since it would have to come UP in order to slide, you don't have to worry about the jack sliding out from under it. And it's much cheaper than fabbing a rubber pad or one of those pinch-weld grabbers.
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Old 09-19-2007, 11:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dumb question about using floor jack

The safe use of floor jacks is a good topic. Jacking up a car wrong can get you killed so there are no dumb questions about this....just my 2 cents worth
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Old 09-20-2007, 10:57 AM   #10
maineblackbear
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Default Re: Dumb question about using floor jack

Well, to continue on this topic, how do you guys jack up a unibody car and place jackstands under it? Where do you jack from and where do you place the jack stands, generally? I have yet do do this as all I have done are brake changes and tire rotations which don't take very long and obviously, I don't go underneath the car.

Thanks for all the replies!

~J
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Old 09-20-2007, 11:15 AM   #11
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Default Re: Dumb question about using floor jack

I place jack stands under the front lower control arms, and the rear axle assembly. If it is 4 wheel independent suspension, then I put the jack stands under each control arm. After the car is fully supported, I try to push it over. If I see any movement, then I reposition the jack stands. When I remove tires, I stack them under the rocker panels as an added precaution against the car falling. You can never be too safe...
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Old 09-21-2007, 05:00 AM   #12
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Default Re: Dumb question about using floor jack

If I'm jacking a ca up and pulling a wheel off, I put the wheel I removed under the car. I would rather ruin a wheel/tire and some body work then have a car fall and crush me.
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