So I bought a thing. A rather expensive, but very useful thing.
Its pretty well known I don’t like jacking up cars, or putting them on axle stands. Its slow, clunky and on low cars, a real pain in the backside.
To combat this issue, I had always wanted to get a proper workshop hoist. The plan was to get one when we purchased a house, but unfortunately as it goes, the house we fell in love with just wasnt suitable for a full size hoist. Not enough stud height, and the concrete isnt thick enough. Just the usual.
So I needed to see what other options were out there.
There are a few of these mid rise lifts for a reasonable price, but they don’t give any clear space under the car. You wouldn’t be able to do any work on exhaust, gearbox etc.
So that wasn’t a go. If I wanted to just change wheels, or polish the car, it’d be sweet, but no, I work under the car far too much.
In the States they also have the option of MaxJax, which are a short two post hoist designed for use in low stud buildings but they still require bolting to the ground and strengthened concrete. I can’t work with either of those options, plus, shipping would kill it (there are Chinese knockoffs, but my life is worth more than that).
So the final option was a QuickJack. They don’t go as high as a mid rise lift, or a MaxJax, but they can be used almost anywhere, are quick to set up and use, and so much easier than jacks and axle stands. They also give full access to the underside of the car.
So having sold Effie, I had a little free cash to spend on an upgrade. I bit the bullet the other day, and ordered a QuickJack BL-5000SLX.
QuickJack comes in a couple of different models. The BL-5000SLX is the mid range model, being rated up to 5000LBs. There is are also 3500LBs and 7000LBs rated models on either end of the scale, with EXT (extended) models of the 5k and 7k models, and a BL-6000XLT super long model.
None of the cars I have owned have been particularly long, or heavy, so the 5000SLX was the best option. There are also options of AC 240v or DC 12V power units. In NZ they come standard with the DC 12V unit, but the 240V is available at an added cost. I went with the 12V model, as it can be powered by any car battery, or a jump pack. This gives it portability, and it is quicker to lift than the 240V model.
Setup is fairly straight forward, although this is where my main complaint comes from. The instruction manual is a little vague and has hard to decipher black and white photos. Not only that, the photos in the manual haven’t always been updated to reflect the changes made to the units, and will refer to things that have been changed or do not exist (like fitting the hose connections to the power unit, this has been updated since and isn’t fitted as per the manual).
It also calls for 2.3L of ATF to be added to the system, but the system only holds 2L, as shown on the label on the fluid reservoir. I may have made a little mess when filling this as I expected it to take more than it did. The manual also says to connect jump leads to two specific points on the power unit, but neither of these seem to be present, but there is now a red and a black lead coming from the unit. There is also no information on how to connect the controller pendant, so you kinda wing that (although its straight forward).
Another small issue was that during setup I couldn’t get one of the air cylinders to hold air. It would come straight back out of the valve. Thankfully spares are included in the kit, so I swapped it out and the replacement works fine. It appears some of the factory fitted thread tape was stuck in the valve, keeping it open. Reports on the internet indicate that air cylinder valves are a common issue during setup.
The final issue I had, was that the 90degree fittings on the hydraulic cylinders were hard to screw in. There seems to be a notch in the bracing to allow this threading in of the fitting, and whilst one went in with some jiggling, the other cylinder fitting could not be screwed in at all without be removing the bottom pin of the cylinder and lifting it up.
After assembly, filling the air cylinders with 50PSI, and bleeding the hydraulic cylinders, I ran a few cycles up and down (only to half way. You cannot raise these to full height without weight on them or it causes issues).
With tall the setup and bleeding done, the only thing left to do was to slide the frames under the car and see what happens.
So that’s what happens. It lifts it up, in under 30 seconds.
There are two height settings. At about 15 seconds in the video you can hear it clunk. This is it passing the safety stop at the first height setting. You could stop there if you only needed to remove the wheels or something, but I needed access under the car, so lifted to full height.
I would estimate the fully lifted height is slightly higher than full height on my axle stands. I have worked under that height before, so I know it’s a good height. Obviously not like being lifted by a full hoist, but good enough to do most jobs in the garage.
One thing to keep in mind when lifting, is that due to the design of the frames the car will move either forward for backwards, depending on which way around the frames are. You wouldn’t want your car being lifted into a wall or something.
Thankfully I have had no leaks so far, and the leak free hose connectors are proving to do what it says on the tin. Everything operates smoothly, and easily.
So far the QuickJack is proving to be a useful tool, but time will tell exactly how useful. The frames are heavy and a bit bulky to move around, but there is no way I could get the car on all four axle stands as quickly as the QuickJack lifts the car. Hell, I probably couldn’t even get the jack under the front of the car as quick as I lifted the whole car. I tried the shake test too, and it proved stable, with minimal movement. I like them so far.
Good lifting height
Safe and Stable
Frames aren’t light and are awkward to move
Manual is out of date and hard to follow
Inconsistent Quality Control (regarding air valve and hydraulic 90degree fitting clearance)
Is it worth $2500? I hope so. They are really well built, and you are paying for that quality. Your life literally depends on these things being built well.
4 Bowsers. Let down by the cons above.
3 Months on, about probably a dozen or so lifts and I’m still very happy with how the QuickJacks are performing. It has made life with an SD1 so much easier, as its only a matter of a couple of minutes to lift the whole car up, and to higher than my axle stands could. I leave the lifting frames pushed together, in the center of the where Tess is parked. She easily clears the frames, and I can reach under and either grab and pull them by hand, or use the (woefully basic) tool that is included to slide them out and under the lift points. Connect the hoses to the frames, and to the pump, connect the jump pack and up we go.
I have had one curious little… issue…. when lifting the Mini. I had to use the platforms sideways as the wheelbase of the Mini is too short, and because of the far less than 50:50 weight split (apparently a standard Classic Mini is about 68% front bias) the front lifting frame would sink when the UP button was released. This only happened on the Mini, and was fine otherwise. Just had to get it up on the locks, and be quick and careful taking it back off the lock again.