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Using A Hydraulic Jack


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#1 Steven33

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 12:57 PM

Hey guys,

Bit of an embarassing question since I've been driving for 7 years and managed to do simple maintenance and servicing thus far, but where is the best place to jack the focus up using a hydraulic jack? Up till now I've used the jack that comes with the car and supported it by resting the car on a piece of wood placed on top of the spare wheel with a groove cut into it as close to the jack as possible. I can't do this with the hydraulic jack as this has a circular plate which would bend the seem running along the sill (of course I could use the wood with the groove but I would like to know where to 'properly' jack the car up at the front so I can lift the whole front of the car). Of course you'll be able to guess my next question where is best to place axle stands? (or is the answer in the name :rolleyes: ). I've read many forums where people say place on this part or that part but if I'm being honest, I'm not sure exactly what the 'subframe', or any other part mentioned where the jack should go, actually is. If the next time someone has their car jacked up I would appreciate it immensely if they could post a quick snap of its location! B)

I should point out that I want to properly secure the car as I gave it its first proper detail last weekend since I bought the car a few months ago and when I tried to get the wheels off to clean them I found they where stuck on. I don't fancy trying out the usual tricks of kicking the wheel until it becomes loose with it only supported by the scissor jack! Also its a 59 plate mk2.5 if that matters.

cheers, steve

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#2 GSM

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:27 PM

Not sure what you mean - along the sill at the front and back there are small markers for the points on the sill where it is strengthened for jacking, just a few inches away from each wheel.

The mark is usually like an arch imprinted into the sill or completely cut out - can be difficult to see if it's dirty/rusty, but it's there if you look hard enough. I always jack up at these points with a hydraulic jack too.

Example here:

http://www.fordmanua.../page-2616.html

The circular plate on the hydraulic jack usually has 4 pieces cut out along its rim, so you can still fit the sill into it by putting the sill through those cut outs.

You can put the axle stands in the same places on the sill, or, as the name suggests, you can place them under the axles, or anywhere else that's appropriate - i.e. on the wishbones at the front.

When I'm doing work under the car not related to wheels/tyres, I use ramps - you can get a cheap set on eBay for sub £25 and they're really handy, really easy to use, gets both sides of the car up at once, and much quicker to use and less fiddly then jacking and supporting on stands.

This image is for a mk1, but the principle is the same:

http://www.focushack...ting_your_Focus

#3 Steven33

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:48 PM

Hi mate, Thanks for your reply. I know what you are on about as that is where I jack up the car using the scissor jack but was unsure how suitable this would be for the trolley jack as I've heard some horror stories and seen a few dented sills (and punctured underbodies!) I'll have a closer look and offer the jack up to the sill to see if the cut-outs are deep enough to house the sill. I really wanted to jack the whole of the front (or rear) of the car up to make it easier for working underneath hence why I wanted to jack it up somewhere central to the two wheels.

I used to have a set of ramps but I sold them when I moved into my flat as I have no where to store them, I also have no one as a spotter to see if the ramps are moving or if I am safely clearing them whilst trying to drive up them!

Also I see you're from Lanarkshire mate, I grew up in Lanarkshire, just moved to Bristol 2 years ago, where abouts are you?

#4 GSM

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:54 PM

Hi mate, Thanks for your reply. I'll have a closer look and offer the jack up to the sill to see if the cut-outs are deep enough to house the sill. I really wanted to jack the whole of the front (or rear) of the car up to make it easier for working underneath hence why I wanted to jack it up somewhere central to the two wheels.

I used to have a set of ramps but I sold them when I moved into my flat as I have no where to store them, I also have no one as a spotter to see if the ramps are moving or if I am safely clearing them whilst trying to drive up them!

Also I see you're from Lanarkshire mate, I grew up in Lanarkshire, just moved to Bristol 2 years ago, where abouts are you?


The cut outs on the plate should be deep enough - I had a crappy hydraulic jack that cost £15 on eBay or something, and the cut outs weren't very big, but it still does the job anyway.

I probably would recommend against jacking up the car at a single point in the centre for reasons of stability. Even if you plan to support it on axle stands once it's jacked, there's always the risk it could sway either way whilst you're jacking and end up damaging something (or someone!). Just jack it up on one side, place an axle stand, take the jack away and jack up the other side, and place another axle stand. Probably the safest way to proceed.

I've used the ramps a few times without a spotter. There's quite a big window at end of my dad's driveway (where I do most of my work), so I can see in the reflection how I'm proceeding! A handly wee mirror would work too.

I just recently moved into Coatbridge near the Time Capsule, although I'm originally from the East end of Glasgow. Where were you?

#5 Steven33

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:20 PM

Yeah mate, I might just stick with jacking one side and supporting it. 99% of the time the only thing I do under the car myself is change the oil. Brakes/discs etc obviously just a side at a time.

Unfortunately I live in a block of flats so I my car is in a communal garage underground, which is great for washing the car and general tinkering as there is loads of space and it doesn't matter what the weather is like but no where to store general workshop gear (or reflective windows! :P ).

I grew up in a village called Allanton near Shotts (famous for the nearby mental hospital and maximum security prison, lovely place), briefly lived in Reading before moving to Bristol. Been many a blue moon since I was last at the Time Capsule!

I will try just jacking up one side and supporting it and giving the wheel a gentle kick to make sure the car is stable before giving it welly to try to get it to budge.

#6 grahamp

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:25 PM

I asked a similar q recently, only for an estate which is similar...
http://www.fordowner...__fromsearch__1

note the photo - point number 3 is where I put my axle stands. It does really compress the bush at the mounting point but I guess that's what its designed to do.

I used to use a wooden block with a cutout to save the seam on the sill when jacking with a trolley jack, but they do crack and split which doesn't inspire confidence. I have just got myself an ice hockey puck off ebay, about £5 delivered, and cut a deep slot in it, works perfectly. I have a good trolley jack (sealey 3 tonne rocket lift) that has a built-in pad on the saddle but even with that, the seam was getting damaged. With the puck everything is sorted.

I was also using a pair of those fold-up 2 tonne axle stands, just bought them recently but having seen a photo of one that had broken under a car I got a pair of 2-tonne per stand solid sealeys. Annoyed I wasted cash on the folders but £20 is a small price to pay to stop a car falling on you!

#7 Steven33

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:33 PM

Hi mate, thanks for replaying. I came across your thread when searching for an answer. Regarding the photo I thought it wouldn't be the best idea to support the whole of the vehicle's weight through the bolt? I suppose I could fashion a hole in a block of wood to allow that bolt to sit in, or am I missing the point and this is where it is supposed to be jacked?

I like the hockey puck idea though. I have folding axle stands but from what you're saying I think I'll quickly invest in a fixed set!

#8 grahamp

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:55 PM

Hi, well those folders are usually TUV approved but having seen a pic where one had broken at the weld I don't trust em any more. Handy for space saving but I'll just keep them as spares. They are rated at 2 tonnes, but that could mean 2 tonnes between them, ie 1 tonne each. So if you are jacking one corner at a time, you could have a fair bit of weight resting on a 1 tonne stand. So I've gone for those Sealey VS2002 (£20ish) which are rated at 2 tonnes each.

That bolt is surrounded by steel so the top of my axle stand contacts the surrounding metal on the subframe as well as the bolt. I'm not bothered about that personally, and I can't really see what other choice I've got. I jack on the sill jack points. I guess I could do it the other way around, jack on the subframe mount and put stands under the sills but this seems the better way to me.

#9 Steven33

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:04 PM

Ah I see mate, I thought you where using the jack on that bolt not the stand. Ok, I'll have a look next time I'm in the garage. Cheers for your help guys.

#10 grahamp

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:05 PM

good luck!

just to add to your original question... use the points on the sill that are marked for the scissor jack. The Haynes manual says to use a trolley jack at those points only.

#11 Steven33

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 07:05 PM

cheers mate! fair enough if the haynes manual says only to use these points, im inclined to listen to them! typical, just ordered a haynes manual, if I had done so a few days earlier i could have saved you guys the trouble of explaining it to me :rolleyes:

#12 reprised

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 07:36 PM

I was wondering too about where to jack my Focus up and found this...

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#13 Steven33

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Posted 12 July 2012 - 10:07 AM

cheers mate, i'll have a look to see where the point highlighted corresponds to. It may well be the point Graham pointed out in his picture. I'll let you guys know what I find.


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