When Ludwig's transaxle got stuck in 2nd gear (late March 2006), it was time for us to perform our first solo engine drop. Sources implied that an ATV jack was about perfect for the job (no balancing act required like with a floor jack (below), though in the midst of Type II work I find myself wishing it went about six inches higher). So we drove Fang Fang down the 101 to Sears in Santa Barbara and for less than $100 it was ours.
There's an aesthetic quality to this jack that I like, like it's an industrial insect or a space station or something. And red and black! The colors of revolution. I used to keep it partially disassembled for space's sake but recently I've been enjoying using it as a table and personal lift. This jack has come very close to being named. (No, not "Jack".)
This floor jack and jack stands on the other hand are about as cheap as they come. Which is weird, because you'd think you'd want to spend good money on such things as some measure of insurance against the car crushing you. Hmmm. Though they seem to do the job, maybe I'll be rethinking these jack stands.
I try not to work under the car when the jack's the only thing holding it up, but it happens. It's better than the cinder blocks (major no-no) we used to prop cars up on back when I was new to wrenching on them. Anyway, the jack itself, cheapo though it is, has also never given me any trouble so I can't really complain.
It used to be that when I was in a more nervous mood, this whole set got plunked under the backseat where it took up space and wasted fuel. And for what! Nothing--like I'm going to drop the engine out in the middle of Idaho someplace, right? Never again.