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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 10-16-2012, 09:12 PM   #1
Mango
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The best way to lift your E46 using a jack and jackstands

This is a tutorial on how to lift your E46 safely and securely. Never perform any work or lift your vehicle without reading your vehicle's owner's manual first. Always use quality jacks, jackstands, and other miscellaneous equipment and ensure it is in fully functioning order before proceeding.

Always follow the directions of the manufacturer of the equipment you are using.

Follow these directions at your own discretion according to your comfort and/or skill level.

I am not responsible for any damages to people or property.

Warning: Jacks should only be used to lift a vehicle, not support it for any extended amount of time. Never get under a vehicle supported by only a jack.

For extra security, place your wheels under rigid body sections of the vehicle.

Always work on level ground.

Okay so basically if your E46 has a front reinforcement plate as follows:



You can follow my method of supporting the vehicle safely on four jackstands and a high quality low-profile jack. I got mine from Harbor Freight.

The picture explains it all, but basically you are lifting the side-rear high enough to get a jackstand under the front-side jackpad you are lifting. Repeat on the other side. Then lift the vehicle by the rear subframe (never the aluminum support) and then place jackstands under the rear-side jack pads.

You will then have a jackstand under each jacking point. Lowering the car is reversed process.

The following photo is of an E46 M3 convertible. Same concept applies to this photo for your non-M cars.

E46 M3s and earlier non-Ms have a front-central jacking point on the front subframe reinforcement. That can be used in a similar manner as the rear subframe lift point.

Good luck and again, use common sense and safety!




To clarify: USE JACKPADS AND REAR SUBFRAME TO LIFT VEHICLE ONLY. DO NOT USE "FRAME RAILS," OR THE FRONT ALUMINUM REINFORCEMENT PLATE FOR NON-M VEHICLES. THE JACKPAD LIFT POINTS ARE REINFORCED PARTICULARLY FOR LIFTING. I RECOMMEND TO HAVE A FRIEND WATCH THE JACKSTAND AS YOU LOWER THE VEHICLE BACK DOWN TO ENSURE IT DOESN'T SLIDE OFF.
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Last edited by Mango; 10-16-2012 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:32 PM   #2
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Well done, sir.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:35 PM   #3
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I stopped reading after high quality jack from harbor freight.....

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Old 10-16-2012, 09:52 PM   #4
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Thank you. I will give this a try this weekend just to test it out.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:10 PM   #5
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I don't know much about the quality of Harbor Freight. calialx1 what's your take on it ?
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:16 PM   #6
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My friend's has had his HF aluminum jack for around 10 years and it's been through heavy use. Done a few engine/trans swaps. I've had mine for three years. It's been a trooper. What low profile jacks would you recommend that's decently priced? Jacks are only used for lifting, so not sure why it has to be from Snap-On, unless you're a mechanic for a living.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:25 PM   #7
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I've had the aluminum HF jack for years and it's worked fine
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:25 PM   #8
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I've had a low profile jack from Harbor Freight for 5 years using it for lifting 6 different cars from my e46 to my parents Denali XL. I've never had one problem with it.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:26 PM   #9
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HF jacks are fine; the pre-Rapid-Pump models are better, though. I think you can still get that one at Northern.

I do disagree with this method of jacking the car up, as outlined in the other thread. Much safer to use the front jack point than to jack one side at a time, imo.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:10 AM   #10
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Might be that modified suspension setups won't allow the HF jack to clear the front bumper. I know that I have enough trouble accessing the front jacking point on my vehicle.
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:17 PM   #11
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Might be that modified suspension setups won't allow the HF jack to clear the front bumper. I know that I have enough trouble accessing the front jacking point on my vehicle.
I have the lowest profile jack from HF and it's still not low enough, I have to have a buddy pull up on a fender half an inch to slide her under there.

Last edited by Jesse M; 10-17-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:06 PM   #12
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The only problem with the method in the original post is that you can only jack the car up that high. I like to lift the car as high as (safely) possible on the jack stands for major work. So, to put the front on the jack stands I have to use either the "button" of the reinforcement plate or the "frame rails". Mostly the "button"...

And HF low profile jack is great! 23" (height range!)

But I think the above method will work fine for putting the car on the jack stands on their lowest setting.
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:37 PM   #13
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I think you can still get that one at Northern
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:23 PM   #14
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Nice post!

But since we must always bicker (!), poor taste in tires on the pictured car!
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:29 PM   #15
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I can't tell exactly what tires those are, but they look like Continental ExtremeContact DW's. Those are well-rated
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:53 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by calialx1 View Post
I stopped reading after high quality jack from harbor freight.....

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Lol I've seen plenty of reputable shops use HF jacks, I'm gonna get one, and it won't see near the abuse. The idea is to have it lift temporarily while you position jack stands....I don't trust any jack with me under it no matter the brand. Besides generally a jack either works or it doesn't.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:14 AM   #17
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I stopped reading after high quality jack from harbor freight.....

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Your loss.

Excellent post. When I first joined here, it took me a long time to find the same information. Thanks for doing the community this service.

As for the jack, I have the 1.5 ton lightweight aluminum jack from harbor freight and I love it. It's light, low profile and raises my car quickly. It even looks good. I threw down $70 or so for it and I even got the extended warranty. I also have the matching aluminum jackstands and they're great too. Incredibly lightweight as well. I can put my jack, jackstands, air compressor and a ton of other tools in my trunk with no worries.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:27 PM   #18
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I agree with Mango that you should only lift the car from those 5 points he listed, but I do have a question. When you lift the car up from the rear using a floor jack at one of the side factory jacking points so you can place a jack stand under one of the front side jacking points, I'm assuming you have to jack the car up pretty high for this? Will there be enough clearance to place a jack stand under the front side jack point and be able to get the car off the ground a reasonable amount with placing the front jack stand?
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:50 PM   #19
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:53 AM   #20
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Why can't we use the frame rails to lift the car?
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