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MaxJax garage lift 1 year follow-up report

 
Old 01-11-2012, 12:18 PM
  #16  
Hacker-Pschorr
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Originally Posted by Danieldd View Post
Not trying to hijack the thread, but the big question I have for MaxJax owners is, do you really have enough room to work under the car with the limited height? Seems you're either going to be on a short stool or your knees when working under the car. Is this a problem as oppossed to standing under the car?

The reason I ask is that I'm planning on building a detached garage and installing a lift and I was going to go the route of a four post lift similar to what Bill Ball has. The MaxJax would be nice, just worried about the limited height capability that it has.
You might be surprised how often you choose to have the car lower, even with a full rise lift. When I do a clutch job on a lift I often lower the car down to jack stand height and lay on my back. It's a lot easier than holding everything up and over your head.
Most jobs that involved a wheel corner, it's easier to sit on a shop stool while working on brakes, suspension etc...

But, if you are building a garage from scratch, why not shoot for an 10+' ceiling and get a full rise anyway? Prices are similar.
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:22 PM
  #17  
andy-gts
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I agree with hacker. I have a 10k 2 post and use all levels but rarely fully up...I really like raising the vehicle up so I dont have to bend to do what ever in the engine comparment..
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:50 PM
  #18  
martyp
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Originally Posted by Hacker-Pschorr View Post
But, if you are building a garage from scratch, why not shoot for an 10+' ceiling and get a full rise anyway? Prices are similar.
+928. It works well in my garage where the ceiling height is a nominal 8 feet with some portions lower. Wish I could build a new car crib
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:56 PM
  #19  
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I really like raising the vehicle up so I dont have to bend to do what ever in the engine comparment..
Totally required for us old men that have bad backs. If the car is at the right height and you can put a folded towle etc. on top of the radiator, the TB job goes very smoothly.
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:14 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Hacker-Pschorr View Post
But, if you are building a garage from scratch, why not shoot for an 10+' ceiling and get a full rise anyway? Prices are similar.
10+ is what my current specification is. However, it is darn near impossible to get anyone around here to give me either a decent quote or to quote at all..
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:28 PM
  #21  
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I find the low setting is perfect for the engine swap i am doing. It is easy to get underneath. I am within comfortable arms reach of everything.(I am 6'4") It is easy to get at the exhaust etc. I like to use the creeper since i don't get a stiff neck looking up.

For MaxJax owners, did you know there is a hole midway for the security bars(18" +/-) so you don't need the jack stands? That height is very comfortable for me. If that doesn't fit, I can't see why you could drill a hole to your desired level.
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:53 PM
  #22  
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just from looking at the commercial on their home page, this lift looks really short. I could see where this would be a problem. Still I think very good for the price.
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Old 01-11-2012, 03:17 PM
  #23  
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The MaxJax's portability resolves the problem that forced me to go with a 4-post lift: 2-post lifts are too wide to allow parking in the garage stall next to it in anything but an over-wide custom garage. 4-post lifts are inherently narrower, usually by 2+ feet. 2-post lifts like MaxJax make working on wheels and stuff behind wheels a snap to do. 4-posters require some kind of additional jacks to get the wheels up off the ramps. The ideal jack is a $500 optional sliding hydraulic jack; preferably two of them, although I have just one and an included jack tray, and that is fine as I just work on one end at a time. You could jack each end and put jackstands under the factory lift points, but that's not too convenient.

My 4-post lift has one low locking point that is perfect for doing door and footwell area work. Then there is quite a gap up to the next lock. I can only go one lock above that, but that is perfect for working with the low rolling tool tray stools I use (available from Harbor Freight). Working while sitting on one of these stools is very comfortable. There are 4 or 5 locks above that that are unavailable with 8' ceilings.

2-post lifts are much easier to use for trans and torque tube removal, although I managed OK with my 4-post lift after a bit of head scratching and getting the rear up in the air so the space between the ramps and the body would allow the crossmember and suspension to slide out from under the car. My current avatar shows this. The roof was very close to the ceiling - in fact, the antenna base dug a hole in the ceiling. With 2-posts lifts and no ramps in the way you have much easier options.

The only advantages I see for 4-posts lifts are:
- easy drive-on loading. My car is always parked on the ramps. Anytime I get an itch to get under the car, I got out and push the button and 30 seconds later I'm under the car poking away.
- you can leave it there all the time and park a car next to it, at least when the floor isn't covered with removed parts.
- you can change the steering rack and/or tie rods without affecting toe.
- they do not absolutely require anchoring. Except for the junkiest 4-posters, they are very stable as is, but it's possible that if a car was up high on the lift, a substantial earthquake could topple it. So, if you have high ceilings and use high lift positions, anchor the posts.
- most come with casters that actually allow you to roll the lift around with a car loaded on it (in a low position) with surprising ease. If my garage door were a bit higher or a different design, I could roll the lift outside for things like high-pressure washing of the undercarriage.

You guys enjoy your MaxJaxs. Although I wanted a lift I could leave setup permanently and park a car next to it, the MaxJax 2-post design has advantages for most common tasks.
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Old 01-11-2012, 04:31 PM
  #24  
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@Danieldd regarding post #13:
yes, the room is a bit low, that's true. I can sit upright to work but that's about it. The ceiling is really low. I can not use the MaxJax at full height. I made a sliding stool which is really really low profile, something like 2 cm floor to sit level. But still this works great and is so much better that the old hydraulic lift and crawling under the car. I can raise the car about 90cm and that is enough. In my opinion it is either sit below the car or stand. In my case it is sit
Regrets? nope, none, nada, zero. My only other option would have been to find another house.
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Old 01-11-2012, 04:47 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by TheoJ View Post
... I made a sliding stool which is really really low profile, something like 2 cm floor to sit level. ... I can raise the car about 90cm and that is enough. In my opinion it is either sit below the car or stand. In my case it is sit
...

Any chance of getting pictures/plans for the stool you made? I have a low ceiling, too.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:08 PM
  #26  
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I roll around under the car on a creeper seat that puts my head just about touching the underpinnings, with the 928 on the 3" extensions. I bought the 6" extensions too just-in-case, but so far they've never been needed. The lift pads are at 4', and using a full-height lift would move them to 6'. My head would still be just below the underpinnings but I would be standing.

All but a few projects with the lift have been at less than full height. As mentioned previously, the car sat on the lift at maybe a foot up for a couple days for the intake refresh. Just popped a couple stands just inside the posts so the lft carriage would sit on them. Perfect height for working the top of the engine. It would sit at a similar height for a timing belt job. Think about just raising the lift and cleaning the floor underneath part way through that project, so spilled coolant and such are completely mopped up in just a minute or two, without tracking it all over or laying in it at some point.

Car is at the middle height for anything in the wheelwell areas. Perfect height to work while sitting on that creeper seat. Want to enhance the shine on the lower panels? I do have to duck under the lift arms a bit to get the whole door.


I had originally planned to install a full-height assymetric lift. But I dragged my feet for a long time working out how I could use the same garage bay for other things. The MaxJax allows me to move at least one of the columns in a matter of minutes. I use the little electric impact gun to zip the bolts out, and the column is easily rolled out of the way. Roll it back, use the gun to put the bolts almost all the way in, finish them off with the torque wrench. Set the arms in another minute and drive the car in for lifting. So the advantages of a clear floor with no columns when needed, lift available in minutes if the columns are stored away.

It's not really suitable for extended storage here in ground-moves country, so the nod for that duty has to go to the four-post. Otherwise, service under the car is easier with the two-post, with nothing blocked by ramps or crossbars. If I had been fighting Bil's gearbox, for instance, access would be a lot less complicated vs his four-post. Build a wheeled cradle for the trans if I were too cheap to get a trans jack, otherwise easy R&R from the rear with no obstructions.


So far I've been more than satisfied with the MaxJax choice.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:24 PM
  #27  
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Dr bob - Very good and detailed information as to how the lift compliments your car's maintenance efforts. This type of lift is worth considering.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:35 PM
  #28  
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Building a new garage I would go with a full height conventional lift. Plenty of the GaragMahal's have more than one type of lift so more than one project can be a mess at the same time. Single real lift also allows double parking.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:47 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Bill Ball View Post
My 4-post lift has one low locking point that is perfect for doing door and footwell area work. Then there is quite a gap up to the next lock. I can only go one lock above that, but that is perfect for working with the low rolling tool tray stools I use (available from Harbor Freight). Working while sitting on one of these stools is very comfortable. There are 4 or 5 locks above that that are unavailable with 8' ceilings.
Bill, what lift do you have? Do you think a 9' ceiling would allow it to "stack" cars?
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:47 PM
  #30  
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Mike--

My garage is tall enough for stacked parking, but I just couldn't see leaving a car high in storage on a two-post lift for extended periods. As mobile homes are magnets for tornados, a car high on a two post lift would tempt the earthquake gods unmercifully. I'd have trouble sleeping.
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