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      07-24-2010, 03:30 PM   #1
swamp2
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A good choice for an aluminum racing jack

I just saw a post recommending jacks so I thought I would share the results of my lengthy research on the topic. In short buy a jack, any jack, only if it has replacement parts available and has a very good warranty.

The problem with shopping for a nice aluminum racing jack is the enormous range of prices for what appear to be identical products. Eveyone and their brother seems to be making these aluminum racing jacks. There is an order of magnitude range in price from about $80 to $800. Obviously, like most other products you pretty much get what you pay for.

I wanted to get the absolute best bang for the buck I could with my new jack but I was not about the spend $500 or more. I read extensive horror stories on many automotive forums about jacks. Even brands with typically very good products like Sears Craftsman (professional grade tools for non professionals is sort of my take on a lot of Craftsman stuff - at least hand tools). I also read recommedations on brands in general from professional mechanics. The stories with jacks are the same across the board, leaks, leaks, leaks and really soon after purchasing. Then with a crap warranty or no replacement parts (such as a main seal) you basically have a throw away jack.

I finally went with the cheapest model I could find, from a reputable company, who offered both a full replacement parts catalog and a solid warranty, in this case lifetime!

I went with the OTC SPX 1532 Aluminum Racing Jack, 2 Ton, which can be had for about $225. I am not sure where the jack is made. OTC does make many jacks here in the US, but given the replacement part availability and warranty, I'm not too fussed as to where the jack is made. As well OTC and their parent SPX are US based companies with full US contact details. I've been perfectly happy with the function and appearance of the jack.

OTC SPX 1532 web page..

Google shopping link.

I'm keen to hear other jack recommendations, anti-recommendations or horror stories.
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Last edited by swamp2; 07-25-2010 at 11:48 PM.
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      07-25-2010, 04:39 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting, I know how thorough your research must have been... I was in the same position and wound up with a good deal on a similar jack from Harbor Freight, though I know not as well made and without access to parts. I've been pleased so far, but will look into this one should my jack spring a leak...
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      07-25-2010, 05:10 PM   #3
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I also ended up buying that jack last year as part of the OTC 1533 jack pack that included two jack stands. Seems to be good quality. I still have the box it came in; says it was made in China.
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      07-25-2010, 08:28 PM   #4
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I waited until Sears put them on sale, and paid $175.00 almost 2 years ago. Didn't justify paying more than that before .
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      07-25-2010, 09:29 PM   #5
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At least the one shown has two pistons. I have two Harbor Freights, and two Torins, all still going strong after about 3 years, one seized a hydraulic piston so I tossed it.

I'm comfortable with cheap jacks because I don't trust them, so I always use jack stands or put a wheel under the car. There are much better jacks out there, like AC, but who wants to drag a 90 pound steel jack around.
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      07-25-2010, 09:37 PM   #6
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I also have two jacks from Harbor fright, make sure to use their coupons and get the version with FOUR individual wheels.

do get some quality jack stands though, AC Hydraulic made nice ones and ESCO makes a good copy of it now since AC stopped making the 3ton model.

notice the stand will not cut into your coated floors, I am looking to get these soon.
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      07-25-2010, 09:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dartanium View Post
I also have two jacks from Harbor fright, make sure to use their coupons and get the version with FOUR individual wheels.

do get some quality jack stands though, AC Hydraulic made nice ones and ESCO makes a good copy of it now since AC stopped making the 3ton model.

notice the stand will not cut into your coated floors, I am looking to get these soon.
I have a set of these, THEY ARE AWESOME, rock solid and won't slip. I think cheap jack stands are more dangerous than cheap jacks.

I've never been able to trust the little saddle on most jack stands that seem to be made more for old cars with frames or panel seams underneath than what our cars look like.
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      07-25-2010, 10:22 PM   #8
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Ultimate Garage had a sale on those recently. Nice stands.
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      07-25-2010, 11:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by signes View Post
Thanks for posting, I know how thorough your research must have been... I was in the same position and wound up with a good deal on a similar jack from Harbor Freight, though I know not as well made and without access to parts. I've been pleased so far, but will look into this one should my jack spring a leak...
You do know that Harbor Freight is essentially known for "throw away" tools, right? Once in a blue moon I might buy something there, perhaps if I'll only use it once every couple of years. They do have one about 30 miles away from me which can be convenient in an emergency. Even when lifting and using jack stands, which of course you should always do, I personally was not ready to go with Harbor Freight (or similar ones) for something like a jack.
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      07-26-2010, 10:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
You do know that Harbor Freight is essentially known for "throw away" tools, right? Once in a blue moon I might buy something there, perhaps if I'll only use it once every couple of years. They do have one about 30 miles away from me which can be convenient in an emergency. Even when lifting and using jack stands, which of course you should always do, I personally was not ready to go with Harbor Freight (or similar ones) for something like a jack.
Yes. I had another jack fail (not HF) and needed one quickly so went with HF (was close to my house.) I generally use it 2-3x year when I am switching out winter tires and then just the odd use. If I start doing regular track days or more work at home on the car, I would certainly get something far more durable and well designed.
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      07-26-2010, 01:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I personally would not touch any tools from Harbor Freight unless they were name brand stuff and then I'd be damn selective. IMO about 90% of everything HF sells is Chinese crap that can injure you if you're not really careful.
Agree! However, to be fair there are a ton of top quality things made in China these days. Since basically everything is made there there are obviously quality things. In decades past the majority of stuff from China was crap. That just is not the case today. Someone pointed out the the jack I recommended is in fact made in China. Not a problem for me.
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      07-26-2010, 02:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrackRat View Post
I personally would not touch any tools from Harbor Freight unless they were name brand stuff and then I'd be damn selective. IMO about 90% of everything HF sells is Chinese crap that can injure you if you're not really careful.
I used to think the same, but the place is damn handy for the dollar.

I've got lots of their "junk" for consumer-level work...concrete drill was cheaper to buy than rent and worked great, engine hoist, two sets of interior trim tools, bodywork anvils, pry bar, digital calipers, run-out gauges, stainless rulers, big level, compressor air line fittings/dryer/oiler, welding cart, welding apron, moving dollys for wheelsets, tie downs, wire, shrink wrap tubing, electrical terminal gear...but not for tools that I use everyday, like ratchets and sockets.

Sure, I wouldn't buy a defibrillator but the stuff is okay for what it is.
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      07-26-2010, 02:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrackRat View Post
If you're happy, you're happy.
..and somehow still alive, waiting for a Harbor Freight hand tool to kill me.
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      07-26-2010, 02:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dartanium View Post
I also have two jacks from Harbor fright, make sure to use their coupons and get the version with FOUR individual wheels.

do get some quality jack stands though, AC Hydraulic made nice ones and ESCO makes a good copy of it now since AC stopped making the 3ton model.

notice the stand will not cut into your coated floors, I am looking to get these soon.
I heard good things about these, and am considering buying 4, but they are priced steeply at $99 for a pair IMO.

http://www.acjacks.com/acjacks_004.htm
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      07-27-2010, 11:12 AM   #15
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Pretty steep is right and that price is for the cradle top, not the flat top as shown. Not sure if there would be a price difference (or how much you care about cradle v flat top.)
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      07-27-2010, 01:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by signes View Post
Pretty steep is right and that price is for the cradle top, not the flat top as shown. Not sure if there would be a price difference (or how much you care about cradle v flat top.)
I'd like to have the craddle top to "grab" the rail-like protrusions under the chassis of my E30, but then if the cradle is not wide enough it can actually deform the edges, etc...
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      07-27-2010, 08:17 PM   #17
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Let's get some more jack stand recommendations going. I have some but will need new ones after epoxy goes down on the garage floor. My obvious bias is bang for the buck.
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      07-27-2010, 10:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
I heard good things about these, and am considering buying 4, but they are priced steeply at $99 for a pair IMO.

http://www.acjacks.com/acjacks_004.htm
http://www.ultimategarage.com/shop/p...oducts_id=2420

They are $68 per stand (136 per pair) at Ultimate Garage, I emailed them and they said they will have a shipment arrive end of next week. I prefer 3 ton instead of 1.5 ton rating jack stands, just in case the other stand slips and majority of the weight falls onto a single stand. Plus use them on heavier SUVs and such, might as well spend a little bit more for utility.

I plan to purchase soon as they are in stock.
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      07-27-2010, 10:57 PM   #19
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Been looking around for a set. Wanted the Esco's above but like Lucid found them to be a bit steep. I'm considering one of these - anybody have any experience? They all have a very similar design, maybe made by the same mfg. Not an issue for me but none have the "feet" on the base to spread the load, so probably not ideal for coated floors. I'm sure all are fine if you are okay with the cradle design. Another option would be Craftsman.


Hein-Werner 3 ton, $70/pair
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...ack%2520stands

Torin 3 ton, $25/pair
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...ack%2520stands

OTC 6 ton $58/pair
http://www.amazon.com/OTC-1773C-Ratc...=pd_sbs_auto_5

Wilmar 6 ton $55/pair (looks the same as OTC)
http://www.amazon.com/Wilmar-W41023-...=pd_sbs_auto_4
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      07-28-2010, 01:25 AM   #20
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[quote=signes;7731915]Been looking around for a set. Wanted the Esco's above but like Lucid found them to be a bit steep. I'm considering one of these - anybody have any experience? They all have a very similar design, maybe made by the same mfg. Not an issue for me but none have the "feet" on the base to spread the load, so probably not ideal for coated floors. I'm sure all are fine if you are okay with the cradle design. Another option would be Craftsman.


Hein-Werner 3 ton, $70/pair
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...ack%2520stands

I have a pair of the above. They work well and the 4 feet have a formed bottom so they don't leave a mark/dent in the floor finish.
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      07-28-2010, 06:21 AM   #21
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Has anyone heard of issues with the rachet mechanisms failing? My current jack stands have them, and I didn't have any problems with them, but I do get a bit paranoid thinking if they are properly engaged or not. I know the design is such that when the stand experiences load, they engage, and that the teeth are unlikely to shear off and so on, but the primitive part of my brain wants to see a nice solid bar go through a wide stand housing and shaft. I guess then I would worry about stress concentration around the hole. It's just that when I see stands for $25, I wonder if they are designed properly. I know it shouldn't cost much to produce these things once they are designed, but still. I guess I am not making the "too cheap" counter point to the too expensive point, but there seem to be plenty of stuff in between. Anyway, just rambling I guess...
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      07-28-2010, 09:58 AM   #22
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My harbor freight racing jack looks identical to the one in the first pic, and I love it. I've used it for about 5 years and it still holds well/looks great. The best part is the pump action. Its very fast, especially the first few pulls to align to the puck under the car, and jacking the car up takes 1/4 the pumps its takes me on my larger Lowes brand Kobalt jack (big heavy mother!). It was about the same price, but they do go on sale from time to time.
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