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Info guides and mods

Vehicle Lifting

Modification Details

I regularly get asked about my vehicle lifting devices so I figured I'd make a page about them.


If you plan on doing anything to your car, chances are you'll need a jack as a minimum requirement.

A big jack will do what a small jack can but a small jack won't do what a big jack can.
So, buy the best jack that you can afford. A cheap jack will take ages to lift and will slowly fall during use.

This low profile aluminium race jack cost me £100 and was necessary to work on a friend's very low Roadster.

It's infuriating to have to keep pumping the car up as you work on it. A hockey puck on the jack head stops damage.

Wheel Dollies

These are great if you want to move a car around a tight space. With only 2 of these and a bit of time, you
can manually push a car sideways 1 end at a time. If you have all 4 wheels on one of these, you can manually push
a car in any direction and even spin it 180 degrees in its own footprint. Great if you want to store cars together.

They roll in around the wheel and you pump the handle by foot. The hydraulic cylinder pulls the rollers
together which lifts the car wheel off the floor. Each one has 4 caster wheels that spin 360 degrees.

Once you get the wheel off the floor, place in the locking pin and that side is secure.

Transmission Jack

Out of all of the lifting equipment shown on this page, this is the one you are least likely to need.

It's a tiny scissor lift that can be raised and lowered with a standard ratchet.
It could be handy for engine removal, gearbox removal or crossmember lowering/removal.

I used it to hold the entire back end of a fortwo off the gound when I wheeled the engine out still in the cradle.
This is seriously not recommended as it's not rated for anything near that weight.

Tilting Lift

This is the one most people ask about but I suspect the price will put most people off.
It's almost certainly made in China and just rebranded by the company selling them.
They come in different colours but generally, they are all the same unit.

It's called a tilting lift, tilt lift, a seesaw lift, scissor lift or, if you are American and literally
want to change every word in the English language, a teeter-totter automobile hoist.

Expect to pay £350+ for one of these.

Originally, this type was the only model available. 

However, although the top plates that hold the car are adjustable, they wouldn't go narrow enough for a smart.
So I had to cut 130mm (about 5") out the middle and weld it all back together. My 1st time welding too.

I bought metal bar to match so the existing bars could slide in. You wouldn't really have to weld it.
You could drill holes and use bolts or split pins. The cross bars are just to stop the 2 halfs from spreading.

I also had to punch out a pin that held a cog to the drive axle, move the cog, drill a new hole and replace the pin.

Since buying mine, there is a new version that has changeable centre sections to give a greater adjustment.

These are the ones usually sold on eBay. Here's a link to 1 in particular. Click or Click.
It's adjustable from between 775mm to 1530mm so should be suitable for the smart with a little adjustment.

Jacking Sill Distance

It was pointed out to me that having the sill distances would help people buying the see-saw type lift.

So, if you don't have access to the car to measure it or don't know how a tape measure works, here you go.

Car Model Sill Distance
450 fortwo
451 fortwo 114cm
452 Roadster 125cm
453 fortwo 137cm
453 forfour
453 forfour

If you can fill in the missing details, let me know. I don't have those models at the moment.

Quick Jack (BL-3500SLX)

These are a bit of a luxury and not the most useful of items.
They are over £1000, heavy and only lift the sill of the car a maximum of half a metre off the ground.

However, they are quick to deploy and quick, easy and relatively quiet to operate.
You can get a lot of work done despite the height of the lift.

These fit under the sills of the Roadster as expected.

However, they are too long to fit like this under the fortwo.
That doesn't mean that you can't use them though. Place them in sideways.

These won't lift a smart high enough to roll the engine out in the cradle.

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