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Safely Jacking Up and Supporting Your 944
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Safely Jacking Up and Supporting Your 944

Steve Vernon

Time:

30 minutes30 mins

Tab:

$0

Talent:

*

Tools:

2-ton jack, jack stands, jack pad tool, wheel chocks, safety glasses

Applicable Models:

Porsche 944 (1983-89)
Porsche 944 S2 (1989-91)
Porsche 944 Turbo (1986-89)
Porsche 944S (1987-88)

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

About one-third of all tasks that you need to perform on your 944 require it to be raised off of the ground. Simple enough for the experienced mechanic, the procedure of lifting a 3,000-pound car can be a bit unnerving for the amateur. In this project, I'll start out by showing you the best places to jack your car up 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. 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 transmission, motor, or rear differential just in case the floor jack fails.

Before you 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 rearmost wheels of the car). If you place the car in park (automatic transmissions), it will only lock the rear 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.

Safety is of paramount importance here. Never work under the car with it suspended simply by the jack--always use jack stands. Always 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. If you are going to remove the wheels from the car, be sure that you loosen the lug nuts before you lift the car off the ground. Otherwise, the wheels will spin and you will have a difficult time getting the lug nuts off. Take the wheels and stack them in pairs underneath the car--this is an added measure of safety in case something fails

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 part of the chassis or something else 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.

Buy and use a good jack and proper jack stands.
Figure 1

Buy and use a good jack and proper jack stands. This is the best jack I have ever used. While you do not need to purchase this jack, you should never use the jack provided with the car unless it is in roadside emergencies. If your 944 has been lowered, you may need to drive it up onto some 2x12-inch sections of wood to give you enough clearance to get the jack underneath.

Whether your car is in show condition or not is no reason to scratch or mar the paint on the underside.
Figure 2

Whether your car is in show condition or not is no reason to scratch or mar the paint on the underside. I like to place a hockey puck between my jack and jack point to avoid the metal on metal contact.

When lifting one side of the vehicle, make sure you chock the wheels on the opposite side with 2x4-inch pieces of wood both in front and behind the wheel (red arrows).
Figure 3

When lifting one side of the vehicle, make sure you chock the wheels on the opposite side with 2x4-inch pieces of wood both in front and behind the wheel (red arrows). If you are lifting the front or rear, make sure to chock all the wheels you are not lifting. Remember, if you lift the rear of the car, the parking brake will not long have any effect on holding the car.

The 944 has a center lifting point for when you are jacking up the vehicle.
Figure 4

The 944 has a center lifting point for when you are jacking up the vehicle. This allows you to safely lift one side of the vehicle at a time and leaves you room to place jack stands. You can also safely lift the rear of the car from the transaxle or the front cross support beam. Locate the jacking point in the center of the car and place your jack securely under it (red arrow).

Only lift the vehicle high enough (red arrow) to place jack stands under it (yellow arrows).
Figure 5

Only lift the vehicle high enough (red arrow) to place jack stands under it (yellow arrows). Once it is securely on the jack stands you can move to the other side and jack it up. If you need to lift the vehicle higher, do it side to side, lifting each side in small amounts.

On the front of the 944 there is a factory jack support area (red arrow) with a cut out in the under body tray.
Figure 6

On the front of the 944 there is a factory jack support area (red arrow) with a cut out in the under body tray. You can also place jack stands under the frame rail (yellow arrow), but you will not be able to remove the underbody trays with the jack stands in this area. The front lift point in this picture is per Porsche factory recommendations, however some cars that have been exposed to weather or have not been properly maintained can have body corrosion that may weaken this area. If that's the case, then only use the frame rail or cross member in the front.

There is a factory jack support area (red arrow) where you can place your jack stands.
Figure 7

There is a factory jack support area (red arrow) where you can place your jack stands. People sometimes mistake the circular area on the rear to be the same as the factory support area on the front. It is not and you can damage the underbody metal by placing a jack stand here (yellow arrow), as shown on our project car.

This photo illustrates the two factory support areas for using a four-point lift or to place your jack stands (red arrows).
Figure 8

This photo illustrates the two factory support areas for using a four-point lift or to place your jack stands (red arrows).

You can also lift the rear of the vehicle using the transaxle (red arrow).
Figure 9

You can also lift the rear of the vehicle using the transaxle (red arrow).

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Comments and Suggestions:
pizatski Comments: About the only proper use for a Maple Leafs hockey puck. Heh.

Thanks for the detailed article!
September 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: HA! - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Justin Comments: Does the article reflect the above feedback?
January 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The arrow is pointing to a factory lifting point, so I believe so. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Techno Duck Comments: Don't use the front lift point with the red arrow in figure 6! They are known to collapse, only use the frame rail or cross member in the front.
April 21, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. I will have the article updated.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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