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Jack recommendations - for use with Murphy’s law jack pads

Discussion in 'Model S' started by MC408, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. MC408

    MC408 Member

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    So I just picked up some Murphy’s law jack pads. Initially as a precaution when I bring my car to get tire service, but now I’m thinking I should get a jack so I can swap out tire sets at home. Any “reasonably” priced jack recommendations for use with Murphy’s law jack pads?

    Thanks
     
  2. Patrick W

    Patrick W Active Member

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    My local service center was nice enough to have a couple of their technicians show me how to jack up my S and change the tire.

    The tutorial included a caution against using anything between the jack head and the car noting they don't use them in the service center.
     
  3. D.E.

    D.E. Uncorked

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    I’d get a 3 ton floor jack. I have a 1.5 ton, it’s a heavy car, though, so I’m not convinced mine is up to the job.

    The service center will have jacks made to fit the jacking site on the car. A home jack won’t fit. Since the battery pack extends lower than the jack point on the car, you have to make sure you don’t crush part of the battery pack trying to jack up the car. I’d use the adapters you bought. I do understand the service center doesn’t use those jack pads. Anyone else isn’t going to have the special jack that fits so the pad will give you a jacking platform lower than your battery so prevent you from damaging the battery pack.

    Assuming you have a standard floor jack, what did they suggest during your tutorial so you crush that expensive battery pack?
     
  4. Patrick W

    Patrick W Active Member

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    #4 Patrick W, Feb 5, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
    Since you asked, here's a bit more detail. I hope you and others find it helpful. :)

    When I first showed up at the service center asking for instruction on how to change a tire they took a look at the jack I'd planned on using and said it would not work. They suggested a different one so I returned the one I had and bought the one they recommenced.

    Then back to the service center and we went out in the parking lot and they used the new jack and various other assorted tools I'd purchased and proceeded to show me how it's done.

    Note in the attached images the parts include:

    Chocks to keep the vehicle from rolling when jacked.
    Poncho for changing tire in the rain.
    Shop rags for dirty hands (now think I should include work gloves).
    LED flashlight.
    12 VDC air compressor.
    Tire patch kit.
    Toilet paper (oh, that's for something else... :) )
    A breaker bar to loosen the lug nuts.
    A torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts the recommended amount.
    And, of course the jack, rated at 2 tons.
    Small tool kit.
    Personal locator beacon.
    Oh, and a fire extinguisher for use on unfortunate ICE vehicles.

    Note that the head of the jack is not smooth. The "teeth" are designed to bite into the rubber areas under the car where the jack is to be placed. It is also the right diameter so that it only pushes on the rubber area and nothing else so there is no damage to the battery pack or the car's frame.

    Another picture also shows the spare tire in the trunk. It takes up a lot of space but I live with it since in three years of ownership I've had 3 flat tires (I had 27 years on my previous vehicle and only one flat in that whole time).

    I'm happy to answer any additional questions.
     

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  5. D.E.

    D.E. Uncorked

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    OK. With the blocks you can use any jack.

    That looks like a nice kit.
     
  6. MC408

    MC408 Member

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    Thanks fellas. I was thinking the same thing as my wheel guy has used both a floor jack with a small saddle that only sat on the rubber pad. They also have a lift with 4 points that have to line up, this is where I feel more confident using the Murphy’s law jack pad adapters to insure they line the lift up on each pad correctly.

    For the purpose of home change, I was considering a small saddle jack like the one @Patrick W is using, but since I have the adapter I will probably get on that fits the adapter. Considering this one unless others have opinions. For use at home so size and portability is not a consideration.

    Liftmaster 3 Ton Heavy Duty Ultra Low Profile Steel Floor Jack with Quick Lift https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073WB6K7D/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_YmLwCb8XXTW3V
     
  7. tstafford

    tstafford Supporting Member

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  8. D.E.

    D.E. Uncorked

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    Here is a homemade adapter. The supporting block is maple. Maple is tough, they make bowling alleys from maple. Anyway with the locating pins, this shouldn’t be able to slip out of place and it will protect my battery pack. I made 4. With these any lift or jack will be useful to lift my car without risking damage to the battery pack.

    These were made from shop scrap, the pins are cut from standard dowels. The pins are glued. It isn’t pretty but the price is right and it works.
     

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  9. Leewx

    Leewx Member

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    I purchased a 1.5 ton scissor jack from Harbor Freight $20-30. Fits nicely on the MS lifting point without getting close to the battery. lifted the car just fine. . Wouldn't want to use it for frequent use but for emergency use should be fine. Also much lighter than a compact hydraulic floor jack. Hoping I'll never have to use it but confident that it will do the job if needed. The screw comes ungreased so need to put some grease on it before storing it in the trunk.
     
  10. D.E.

    D.E. Uncorked

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    We relied on scissor jacks for years, they used to be standard in almost all cars. The problem with them is that if the wheels move or if the ground under the jack isn’t hard and level, the car can fall.

    The parking brake works on rear wheels only, the front wheels can roll. So setting the parking brake is OK, not perfect, if replacing a front wheel, but if lifting a rear wheel, it leaves only one locked wheel on the ground.

    If the ground is a little soft beside the road, the jack can sink, generally the jack sinks unevenly, it tilts, then the car falls. A board or a cut 12”x12” piece of 3/4” plywood makes a stable base.

    The top of the jack is generally small, maybe 2X3 inches or so. The bottom of the jack is larger but still relatively small. A scissor jack in use is rather like balancing the car on a 4x4” post. It doesn’t take much to get it crooked, uneven ground, soft ground, a bit of wheel movement, then once the support is even slightly tilted with the car shifting it’s pretty much over.

    Anyway, a floor jack is far better at home. The scissor jack is OK but I think absolutely has to be used with chocks and a board underneath the jack. Even then if at home if using a scissor jack, I’d use a jack stand or wooden blocks as a backup so if the jack fails, the car cannot fall. I would not ever get under a car held up by a scissor jack alone.

    The scissor jacks are generally made mostly from thick sheet metal shaped in a form. If the load exceeds the capacity of the jack, the sheet metal can fail. I understand engineering principles mean the actual failure capacity is higher than the recommended load capacity, but a rated load of 1.5 tons doesn’t seem sufficient to me. You are lifting the car at a pad inboard from the affected wheel, so you are lifting more than the weight of 1/4 of the car. These stamped jacks are built cheaply. You know Harbor Freight likely used the cheapest source it could. If the sheet metal distorts a little, the jack itself can fail. Then there are the pivots and the screw mechanism. Maybe hardened metal, maybe not. A failure anywhere drops the car. If relying on a scissor jack, I’d go with a heavy duty scissor jack and keep the lifted weight well short of the rated load.

    Otherwise I love scissor jacks. They are cheap, they are light, they are simple, they don’t leak. And cars don’t fall off them. Usually.
     
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  11. Leewx

    Leewx Member

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    Agree with all stated about scissor jacks. For those choosing to carry a floor hydrolic jack I would also carry a small sheet of plywood about 6” longer than the length of the jack. If forced to jack up the car on gravel or soft ground the jack may not be able to roll forward the 3-4 inches it needs to as the car is being raised.
     
  12. Leewx

    Leewx Member

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    One more thought for choosing a jack to carry. Let the air out of one of your tires and measure the distance from the lifting point on the car and the ground with the car in jack mode. Make sure there’s space to fit your jack under the car. The distance is less than you might think. I don’t recall exactly what the distance was when I did it might have been around 5”. I do recall that a few of the compact floor jacks I was considering didn’t go down far enough. The scissor jack from Harbor Freight does fit with an inch or more to spare.
     
  13. Leewx

    Leewx Member

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    Just found my notes when I was looking for jacks. When I let all the air out of the left front tire of my MS the distance from the lifting point to the ground wa 5” at standard suspension height and 6” at very high. Make sure you are in jack mode when lifting to disable self leveling.
     

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