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Need a Bottle Jack - which brand?

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  • Need a Bottle Jack - which brand?

    I'm in the market for my first small 3 - 6 ton bottle jack to lift my car for brake service (one wheel at a time). It will only be used for lifting as I'll be using a floor stand to hold each corner of the car up during service. I don't have the space for a wheeled floor jack like you see in shops, so the bottle jack is right-sized for me.

    Almost all the units I see for sale on Amazon or HF are made in China and have mixed reviews. They are leakers, either due to quality issues or they were in a non-upright position during shipping & storage which is not what you want to do with a hydraulic jack. The inexpensive ones ($20 - $50) are made in China and have 90 days warranty.

    I found a USA manufacturer (USJack) that offers a one-year warranty, but they cost more than I want to spend at $175 - $200 for something I won't use often. There is a Japanese manufacturer (Norco) which is probably good quality, in between the Chinese made and US made units. Their 5 ton jack can be had for $85, which sounds reasonable if it's not a leaker. And they offer a limited lifetime warranty, which sounds great if they honor it.

    Since tradesman probably have experience with bottle jacks for all sorts of non-auto uses, I'll be grateful for any recommendations on brands you have experience with.
    Last edited by AverageHomeowner; 04-08-2020, 12:36 AM.

  • #2
    I would try and get a car jack from Harbor Freight or somewhere similar. A bottle jack will tilt when you jack up a car, and could become unstable. The car jacks have wheels so some movement will not upset the balance of the car when raising it.
    I have two, 3 ton jacks, I think they were $89 each from Harbor Freight and are used maybe 20 times a year, I can do a tire rotation with them both and not worry about the car movement. No leaking and they work well.

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    • #3
      Harbor freight San Rafael
      I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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      • #4
        I have one bottle jack and that is on my HF 20 ton press. I don't use the press much so it has not seen much use. Also most things I press don't need the full force of the bottle jack so it has not been stressed a lot. With that said I think the press is over 10 years old and there are no leaks.

        Can you not use a small wheeled jack like a 1 ton. Is it a big vehicle? If it's a small vehicle a 1 ton jack might work. I have a small 1 Ton, a bigger 2 or 3 ton and a transmission jack. I know you said you don;t have much space but a wheeled jack so much more likely to be stable than a bottle jack.

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        • #5
          I have used a harbor freight 2 1/2 ton wheeled jack for over thirty five years without a problem. I prefer the stability when lifting, and the larger swiveling lift plate. The low profile wheeled jacks allow them to be stored under a large rolling toolbox, or work bench. I believe a wheeled jack is far more versatile, and safe. Please reconsider.

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          • #6
            You always have the option of a screw jack it's about the same size as a bottle jack only difference it uses mechanical force vs hydraulic force ..... or if your going to support it with jack stands a simple scissor jack would work. I have one that came with my 1 ton GMC van and lifts it fine.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by drainman scott View Post
              You always have the option of a screw jack it's about the same size as a bottle jack only difference it uses mechanical force vs hydraulic force ..... or if your going to support it with jack stands a simple scissor jack would work. I have one that came with my 1 ton GMC van and lifts it fine.
              That's an excellent suggestion! I would prefer a wheeled floor jack, but I absolutely don't have room.

              I don't want to empty my trunk/cargo area to dig out the vehicle jack, that would be a project in itself. So having a handy scissor jack should work fine. It's compact and I don't have to deal with hydraulic bleed and other issues that come with a bottle jack.

              I'll start looking. I need to find one with a saddle that conforms to the pinch weld and maybe a flat pad adapter for other family vehicles.

              Thanks!

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              • #8
                I know you emphasized you don't have room for a floor jack (do you mean room to use it or store it?) If you have room to do a brake job, probably have room to use a floor jack. You don't have to place it perpendicular to the vehicle -- likely to be able to place it at a 30 degree or so angle where the end of the handle wouldn't stick out any further than your body would when you do the brake job.

                I had a light two-seater that I used the stock scissor jack powered by my Milwaukee Hole Hawg (hog?) using an adapter I fabricated. Worked great!

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