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slowturbo 01-09-2004 01:41 PM

Cheap Aluminum Jacks
Does anybody have any experience with the cheap aluminum "racing" jacks that Harbor Freight, Northern, Jeg's, etc. are selling? I'd love to have one, but i am leery of jacks for $125 which are advertised as "similar to those used by NASCAR teams for hundreds less!" .
Normally I wouldn't worry about it, but a friend of mine has a conventional steel/cast iron 3 ton from Advance Auto and it quit working in less than a year, and that has made me a lot more skeptical of cheap jacks.

poncho62 01-09-2004 04:05 PM

Buy yourself a good "fullsize" steel jack. I have had my Walker for 25 years. You get what you pay for.

Sandflea427SS 01-09-2004 08:12 PM

trust poncho....Save the aluminum jobs for the back of the pickup and get a good steel jack for your garage! I like the lightweight jacks for service calls or race days.....

slowturbo 01-09-2004 08:36 PM

I've got a pretty nice steel jack now. However, it gets moved around the garage alot, as well as getting loaded up for trip to my friends' houses to work on their junk.

I was also interested in those jacks because they often have a lower profile at the front wheels and cradle. More than once I've had to put a small jack under the car to lift it up enough to get the regular one under there, and that is with cars at stock ride height.

jimfulco 01-09-2004 09:18 PM

The thing I wonder about is the mechanical advantage, or lack of it. In other words if it will jack up to full height with only 7 pumps, how many people have to push down on the handle to pick up a Suburban?

302 Z28 01-10-2004 07:40 AM

I have one of the aluminum racing jacks from HF. It's an OK jack for using on my street rod, but when I try to use it on a heavier car like my wifes Taho, or my full size truck, it requires a lot of effort to lift the vehicle.

There is a price to pay when you purchase a jack that has a fast lifting feature. Unless the jack has two seperate methods of lifting. The high dollar jacks I used to use at auto dealerships had a foot operated pump that quickly raised the head. Then you used the jack handle to raise the rest of the way.


slowturbo 01-10-2004 10:12 AM

Thanks guys, that's some food for thought .

Sandflea427SS 01-10-2004 10:33 AM

Hey slow....My Monte is also too low to get the floor jack under as well. Don't double jack it....Just drive or push it up on some blocks.

5window 01-10-2004 10:34 AM

Those lighter jacks are really nice if you need to move them around a lot or transport them from one location to another. You do need to consider, though, how close what you are lifting is to the posted load capacity and what you'll be doing with it once it is up. If you are lifting up something light and then putting jack stands under it,fine. But, if you are lifting close to the weight capacity and then sticking body parts underneath it, you want good quality American steel. Of course we all always use jack stands and proper safety methods so this shouldn't be a problem. Still,you can't go wrong with bigger and stronger. I love my car, but I have no intention of wearing it.

tm454 01-11-2004 01:47 PM

hydraulic jacks
I bought a jack form Sears. Fast action, one pump and its up against, then you pump to build up pressure to lift. I never thought to buy one of the cheap aluminum jacks, I just don't trust them.


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