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Jacking Up Your MINI
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Jacking Up Your MINI

Time:

20 min

Tab:

$0

Talent:

*

Tools:

2 ton jack, jack stands, jack pad tool

Applicable Models:

R50 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2002-06)
R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08)
R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
R53 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2002-06)
R55 MINI Cooper Clubman Wagon (2008-14)
R55 MINI Cooper JCW Clubman Wagon (2009-14)
R55 MINI Cooper S Clubman Wagon (2008-14)
R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-13)
R56 MINI Cooper JCW Hatchback (2009-13)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-13)
R57 MINI Cooper Convertible (2009-15)
R57 MINI Cooper JCW Convertible (2009-15)
R57 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2009-15)

Hot Tip:

Stack the wheels under the car as an added safety measure

Performance Gain:

Starting point for all work underneath the car

Complementary Modification:

Check front & rear suspension bushings.
How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Pelican Parts' new book, How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 500+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any MINI owner's collection. The book is due to be released in late 2015. See The Official Book Website for more details.

Many tasks that you need to perform on your MINI require it to be raised off of the ground. Simple enough for the experienced mechanic, the procedure of lifting a 3000-lb. car can be a bit unnerving for the amateur. In this chapter, I'll start out by showing you the best places to jack up your car and how to support it while you're working on it.

First, let's talk a bit about safety. Haphazard use of a floor jack can result in some pretty significant and expensive damage to you or your car. Before you begin raising the car, make sure that you have the wheels of the car blocked so that it can't roll. It's also wise to have your parking brake on as well, and the car placed in first gear (manual transmissions) or Park (automatic transmissions). You should always use jack stands in pairs to support the car: not simply the floor jack. Even if you are only lifting the car up for a few minutes, make sure that you place an emergency jack stand loosely underneath the frame rails or front and rear subframe, just in case the floor jack fails.

Before you attempt to begin jacking up the car, make sure that all four wheels are carefully chocked, and that the car is on a level surface. Keep in mind that if you raise up the rear of the car, the emergency brake no longer works (it works only on the two rear wheels of the car). If you place the car in park (automatic transmissions) or in gear (manual transmissions), it will only lock the front wheels. Place a few 2x4 pieces of wood in front of each of the wheels to make sure that the car will not roll anywhere when you lift it up off of the ground.

On the underside of the car, you will see four reinforced boxed jack points near each wheel. These are designed to fit the factory jack when changing a tire. This jack is meant to be used only in these situations. Never try to work under the car simply using the factory jack. For all other instances, you will want to place the car on jack stands

You can use this reinforced area to place your floor jack. The downside to this is that you will have difficulty placing your jack stands, because you will be occupying the reinforced area with your floor jack.

If you are lifting the front of the car, then place a jack stand under the front reinforced plate, lower the car onto the jack stand, and then repeat for the opposite side of the car. If you are lifting the whole car up off of the ground, then place a jack stand under both the front and rear points, lower the car, and then repeat for the other side. Likewise, if you are jacking up just the rear, place the jack stand under the rearmost reinforced point.

Safety is of paramount importance here. Never work under the car with it suspended simply by the jack - always use jack stands. It's a wise idea to use a backup jack stand wherever you place your primary jack stands. One tiny flaw located in the casting process can lead to a jack stand breaking - and having the car fall on top of you.

Once you have the car up in the air and supported on the jack stands, push on the car and see if it is unstable on the jack stands. If the car moves at all, you do not have it properly supported. It is far better for the car to fall off the jack stands while you are pushing on it, than when you are underneath it. Really try to knock it off the jack stands: you want to make sure that it's perfectly stable. Set the floor jack underneath the engine or transmission while you're working as yet another backup support. Again, it's a wise idea to set up a spare jack stand or two as a precautionary measure against one of them failing.

When you are ready to lower the car, be aware of where you are placing your floor jack. Sometimes you will not be able to easily remove the jack when the car is lowered, or the jack handle may crush or damage an oil line or tube on the way down. Proceed very slowly and also be aware that some floor jacks release very quickly. Also be careful to place the car in gear, or to engage the parking brake before you lower it. The car may have a tendency to roll away right after it's put back on the ground.

Based upon my extensive search for the perfect jack, I must recommend the DK13HLQ from AC Hydraulics. This jack is the best that I have ever seen, and is available at PelicanParts.com. Manufactured with the highest quality in Denmark, this floor jack satisfies all of my requirements, and has more than earned its place in my garage. With a minimum height of only 80mm (3.1"), the jack will easily fit under a lowered car. On the other end, the jack has an unusually high lift of 735mm (29") that enables you to raise your car up onto floor jacks in one swift motion. Combine that with the easy-to-use lift foot pedal, and you have a superior jack that's perfect for any car enthusiast, regardless of which car they happen to own.

Shown here is the factory jack being used to lift up the front part of the MINI.
Figure 1

Shown here is the factory jack being used to lift up the front part of the MINI. This jack should only be used to change tires. Never rely on it to do any sort of work under the car. As you can see, the factory jack has a plate that indexes into the re-enforced boxed sections on the chassis.

Here is the same jacking point being lifted with a floor jack.
Figure 2

Here is the same jacking point being lifted with a floor jack. Try to center the cup of the floor jack on the rectangular jacking point.

The best place to support the MINI with jack stands is under the factory jack support areas.
Figure 3

The best place to support the MINI with jack stands is under the factory jack support areas. These four spots on each corner of the car have metal cup pieces that act as locators for professional-style hydraulic lifts used at repair shops. Shown here is the floor jack in position on the frame rail and two jack stands supporting one side of the MINI. In this picture, the front of the car is to the right.

Here is anotherPicture showing the cup of the floor jack centered on the re-enforced section of the frame rail.
Figure 4

Here is another picture showing the cup of the floor jack centered on the re-enforced section of the frame rail. It's important to always make sure of the surface you will be placing the jack against. If it isn't re-enforced like the boxed section shown here, you risk having the entire weight of the car press the floor jack right through the floor! Take the extra time to double check.

It's recommended that you place the jack stands directly under the boxed, re-enforced sections of the chassis as shown here.
Figure 5

It's recommended that you place the jack stands directly under the boxed, re-enforced sections of the chassis as shown here. Placing four jack stands at equal height on either side of the car like this creates a very stable platform for the car.

Shown here are the flat-top jack stands that are sold at PelicanParts.
Figure 6

Shown here are the flat-top jack stands that are sold at PelicanParts.com. These are heavy-duty stands that can be height adjusted and include a soft rubber top that easily fits under the car for a firm footing.

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Comments and Suggestions:
NewbieFeemechanic Comments: When it comes to brake and rotor replacementFront & Back: Does anyone have a picture of ALL of the parts necessary to do this, including the hardware parts? ...Mainly the hardware parts.
May 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: All the brake articles are here:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/MINI/MINI_tech_index.htm #brakes

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ed Comments: What about a JCW Countryman?? No jacking points. the plastic covers everything and it is too low for a floor jack
March 21, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: JCWs are special vehicles. Not many around.

We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
John Comments: Are the plastic jack pads that show where to put the factory jack really strong enough to support the car on jack stands? It looks to me like they are supposed to just help locate and secure the jack. I've always been pretty reluctant to put the cars' weight on those plastic nylon? pieces.
October 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This where I lift the car and where a hoist if used to support the vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Brikenjon Comments: The following sentence in Figure 3 is confusing: "Shown here is the floor jack in position on the frame rail and two jack stands supporting one side of the MINI. "

The floor jack isn't in the picture and the two jack stands in the picture are on opposite sides of the MINI, not supporting one side. I'm assuming the floor jack goes where the arrow is pointing, but when the text and the picture don't match, it adds doubt.
August 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. We appreciate it. I will have the article updated.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
JL Comments: what is the book coming out??
August 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Soon, I hear. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ssharple2001 Comments: When is the MINI book due out? I've been waiting and waiting - it looks like it could be the bible for maintenance and repairs!
June 3, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: SHould be soon. There are some options available right now. I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
rickbolla Comments: Great article, but I have a question. I am going to replace my rear brakes and need to get the rear of my Mini up on jack stands. I have a floor jack. How do I go about getting a jack stand under one jack point and then the other? Where should be be jacking the car using the floor jack while setting the jack stands?
May 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Jack under the boxed steel section in picture 3. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
dan Comments: If my jack stands are not flat-topped the more common claw-shape, can I place them under the boxed points without damaging the boxes? These boxes don't seem capable of sustaining that kind of force. perhaps add a wood block inside the box?
April 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'd say, try to place the jackstand under the plastic jack pad. Use the boxed frame section to jack on when raising. I would avoid a wood block, as it can break or slip. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Vitamini Comments: Question: 2006 GP that has the orange hard plastic blocks that fit up into the jacking slot for lack of a better name. These are too long/deep/whatever for my jack, which is fairly low profile.
What can is use instead? What jack stands do you sell that will help support once I get the car up?

By the way, an interesting story. When I took my GP to a local Mini dealer for an evaluation of an extended warranty car not puchased from that deAler they could not locate the plastic jack blocks were in the car. I had to show them, after they had done the evaluation and had used something else to use when they put the car on the lift. One would think ........
April 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have not had to jack your vehicle without a lift and the right stuff. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right jack. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Raesho Comments: Are the jack pads an optional purchase or are they standard equipment. I cant seem to find mine...

R52 Cabrio Sidewalk Astro
December 28, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: They may have fallen out. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right parts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
fladale Comments: I have a 2013 gp with a belly pan. The jack points are visible but not much else. There is a 2-3" wide section where the plastic was not installed, on a 45 degree angle that seems to have a frame rail seam sticking down 1/2" or so. Can this area be used to place a floor jack? I currently use it after inserting a piece of wood with a saw cut to allow at seam to not be used to lift the car.
December 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would suggest using the jack pints at the side. Not sure that brace is designed to hold the weight of the vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Big Ern Comments: I also recommend to make sure all doors are closed before jacking up any vehicle
August 20, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Pogo Comments: I must be slow. I still do not get how you lift the car at the jack point and then put a jack stand there at the same time. In this article are you just saying that the jack stand is best placed at the boxed points and to do that you get the car up any way you can?

I lifted the car with a hydraulic jack on the rectangular channel shown in fig 3 and it seemed to work fine. Lifted the whole side off the ground. I had to use the factory jack to lift it enough to get the big one under there. At that time I could have used stands but opted to leave the car up on 2 jacks. The factory jack & the hydraulic jack on that long channel. Changed the balancer & belt, no problems at all.

Maybe a long board between the jack & channel would disribute weight and be a more acceptable choice?
July 17, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: As shown, jacking on the channel, then placing a jack stand under the factory jack point is the good way to do it. Leaving your vehicle lifted using only a jack is not safe and I would not suggest it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
taiyo Comments: Thanks for brilliant write-up!
Jacking up on 4 stands, was something so simple yet somehow was not easy to find!
March 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback, glad we were able to help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Marchino Comments: Jack stands with screws are common here in Australia
January 5, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the info. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
oldvet53 Comments: Can a scissors jack be used in place of the factory jack as when I got my '03 MCS it had no jack,lug wrench just the small bag with screwdriver and tool to remove the hub caps and a 13x10mm open end wrench and a socket. I picked up a 1 1/2 ton sicors jack and 2 wheel cocks and a plug in air compressor and a bottle of slime for emergency tire repair.
December 15, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the jack is used properly and you jack in the correct place it should work fine. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
sidewalksam Comments: here is my question: when you jack the car both front and rear wheel come off the ground on the jack side. can you tell me how one gets just the front up on stands? I can imagine that you could use two jacks one on each side in synchrony but i envision as you get the stand on one side set when you move to the other side you would not be able to fit the jack underneath to place the second stand. thanks for the help
November 11, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can jack under the front crossmember, jacking just the front of the vehicle. be sure you are on the crossmember and not the engine oil pan or other items that could be damaged. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Johnny_Phx Comments: I have always supported the front of my R53 with jack stands under the front subframe. I've done this MANY times and it seems to work well. Is this a bad idea?
July 30, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: As long as you are on a solid piece that will not be damaged and the jack stands sit straight and even. However, MINI recommneds using the jack pads to support the vehicle, so that is my preferred method. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Oldschool Comments: Suggestion. Perhaps you will consider adding this small detail to your instructions.

The gap between the staionary jack stands and the boxed jack points is important to consider. Try to keep it to an absolute minimum.

The pastic jack points are a pressed fit and will dislodge if you don't have control while lowering the vehicle which can result in damage $$. I see the plastic jack points are sold separately at your web site - good thing

I have done my research as well and the jack stands you recommend are the best so far. It would be helpful to have a jack stands that can be screwed up or down to contact the boxed jack points before releasing the hydraulic lift. Maybe one of us is going to manufactire and market something like this.

A few extra screw style jack stands could easily be placed around the vehicle for added safety.
July 18, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The screw idea sounds like a fine one, and thanks for suggesting it. Unfortunately, I don't know of anyone who makes anything like this currently. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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