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  #1  
Old 12-04-2004, 07:42 PM
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rumratt rumratt is offline
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Review: Costco Arcan 3.5 ton floor jack

Every time I'm in Costco I see this Arcan 3.5 ton floor jack for $69, and at that price I'm always tempted. Costco has a very liberal return policy, so I decided to give it a shot.

Well, I learned the primary con of this jack when I tried to put it in the cart. I could barely lift it. When I got home I weighed it and it was 107 lbs.


Here are some pictures of it next to my crappy Sears jack.












PROS

- PRICE!!! $69 is just ridiculous for a jack of this quality

- Strength. It's great jacking up the whole end of the car and watching the jack laugh, saying "Is that all you got?"

- Stable: 27" long, and 14" across.

- Minimum jack height (saddle height?) is 4 inches. It's not ultra low, but it's pretty good. It gets under the front side jack point of my 330i SP with no problem. (the crappy sears one doesn't. I need to use the rear side jack point only with that jack)

- Reaches the rear center jacking point (either the diff, or that bar just in front of the diff) with no problem. You need to start jacking with small pumps until you get more clearance, but it's really no problem.

- The cup is nice and big and flat (maybe 4" across?). No worrying about whether you're lined up just perfectly.

- Raises up to a max height of 21"

- The lever arm is 47" long. Lot's of leverage, although I was still surprised with the amount of force required to lift the car. Nothing major, but I was expecting to be able to lift the car with my pinkie finger. It still takes a bit of pushing.


CONS

- It's mother is HEAVY!!! 107 lbs is just crazy. However, if you plan to keep it in your garage, it's not so bad. It has wheels, and you just drag it around by the lever. But if you need to carry it out to your driveway to use it, then don't even think about it.

- It is NOT easy to release the load slowly. If you get it just right, it will drop slowly, but if you twist a hair too far, it drops very quickly. This kind of sucks, actually.

- The cup doesn't have any kind of rubber padding. It's just flat metal, with a small lip and four spikes/peaks around the edges. They're relatively short though. Putting the small piece of thin carpet in the cup made a nice flat surface, but the carpet compresses. I'll probably engineer my own rubber pad of some kind. I tried a hockey puck, but it's so much smaller than the cup; it looked ridiculous.

- It's not quite flat enough to reach the front center jacking point. As you can see from the 3rd picture above, the jack base gets taller about 2/3 of the way back, and this hits the front bumper/spoiler. However, if I use the Sears jack from the side of the car and lift the side about 2 inches, then I can reach the front center jack point and lift the front of the car with ease. It would work just as well to drive the front wheels onto wood blocks before jacking, like this or like this.


Conclusion


So am I going to keep it? I think so, but I'm not sure. It may be worth $69 to have a ridiculously strong and sturdy jack, even though it can never leave the garage/driveway. I'm particularly paranoid about getting under a car, but if I have a pair of jack stands holding up the car from the sides, and this jack as a backup supporting the car from the center, I'd be as confident as can be.

Originally, I wanted to have one jack that would serve double duty, being strong enough for home jack, but also be light enough to bring to an autox. But now I'm convinced that it makes sense to have two jacks, one light one, and one strong home one. For the price of one 2-ton sears jack which weighs 44 lbs and is currently on sale for $169, or the two ton Harbor Freight jack (55 lbs and cost $199) I could keep the Costco jack for home, and buy a the cheap Harbor Freight jack ($79, 24 lbs, 1.5 tons) and still have money left over!!!

I imagine that an AC DK20 would be nicer, but for a full $200 less I might slum it with my Arcan.

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Last edited by rumratt; 12-06-2004 at 10:56 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-04-2004, 07:50 PM
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drmwvr drmwvr is offline
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Thanks for the nice write up

One question: how well does the release mechanism modulate under load? This seems to be a problem with "cheaper" hydraulic jacks.
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  #3  
Old 12-04-2004, 07:54 PM
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rumratt rumratt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drmwvr
Thanks for the nice write up

One question: how well does the release mechanism modulate under load? This seems to be a problem with "cheaper" hydraulic jacks.
Thanks for reminding me. I just edited to add the con below.

Quote:
- It is NOT easy to release the load slowly. If you get it just right, it will drop slowly, but if you twist a hair too far, it drops very quickly. This kind of sucks, actually.
  #4  
Old 12-04-2004, 08:37 PM
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TeamM3 TeamM3 is offline
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BMP Design sells a 6" diameter urethane jack pad
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Last edited by TeamM3; 12-04-2004 at 08:43 PM.
  #5  
Old 12-04-2004, 08:41 PM
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rumratt rumratt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeamM3
BMP Design sells a 6" diameter urethane jack pad
http://www.bmpdesign.com/product-exec/product_id/249

Interesting. $20 and it looks unnecessarily fat though. I might try to find a random piece of rubber or something at home depot.
  #6  
Old 12-04-2004, 08:43 PM
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TeamM3 TeamM3 is offline
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well, if the liberal return policy is true you might want to take it back and get one of these for $79.99 instead

aluminum racing jack


also, the BMPD pad is not solid, the pad top thickness is approx. 1/4" with about the same thickness cylinder ring around the OD to completely cover both the top and sides of the jack head when lifted
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Last edited by TeamM3; 12-04-2004 at 08:49 PM.
  #7  
Old 12-04-2004, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeamM3
well, if the liberal return policy is true you might want to take it back and get one of these for $79.99 instead

aluminum racing jack

Yeah, that's my dilema. That jack is substantially smaller and lighter. It's probably the ideal autox wheel swapping jack.

However, it's not as strong and sturdy. I'm not sure it will easily reach the center jacking points. If it's all I would ever need for home duty, then it would be a done deal. The question is whether the security of the stronger jack is worth anything.

Keep in mind, I could buy both jacks (Costco and that Harbor Freight) for less than the 2-ton Sears or 2-ton H.F. jack.
  #8  
Old 12-04-2004, 08:52 PM
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the BMPD pad is not solid, the pad top thickness is approx. 1/4" with about the same thickness cylinder ring around the OD to completely cover both the top and sides of the jack head when lifted

the aluminum jack will reach the diff for jacking the rear no problem unless you've extremely lowered the car, neither jack will reach the front center subfame on most BMW's, probably only on the X3 or X5

the low part of the Costco jack isn't long enough to reach the center on most cars


edit: apology, missed the HF jack note in the original post
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Last edited by TeamM3; 12-04-2004 at 08:56 PM.
  #9  
Old 12-04-2004, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeamM3
edit: apology, missed the HF jack note in the original post
No problem. Just don't let it happen again.

By the way, this guy says the HF jack won't work on the rear jack point either (without blocks). That's a slightly bigger jack than the one you linked (they're both 3000 lbs), so I'm guessing the smaller one won't work either.

So it's not clear how much that cheap-o HF jack brings to the table above and beyond my 2.5 ton Sears jack. Both weight 24 lbs and will jack up the car with questionable confidence. I guess the HF jack would do it with less pumps.
  #10  
Old 12-05-2004, 01:43 AM
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Raffi Raffi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumratt
By the way, this guy says the HF jack won't work on the rear jack point either (without blocks). That's a slightly bigger jack than the one you linked (they're both 3000 lbs), so I'm guessing the smaller one won't work either.
I have the same HF jack and I have no problems jacking up the car from the rear - and my car is lowered about 1.5". The front is another story, I need to drive up on 2 x 4s to use the center jack point.
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  #11  
Old 12-05-2004, 06:31 AM
PhilH PhilH is offline
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Nice review. I love my 2 ton aluminum Sears jack, even though I need to use the stock jack on the sides in order for it to reach both the front and rear jacking points.
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  #12  
Old 12-05-2004, 07:47 AM
JetBlack330i JetBlack330i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumratt
- It is NOT easy to release the load slowly. If you get it just right, it will drop slowly, but if you twist a hair too far, it drops very quickly. This kind of sucks, actually.

- The cup doesn't have any kind of rubber padding. It's just flat metal, with a small lip and four spikes/peaks around the edges. They're relatively short though. Putting the small piece of thin carpet in the cup made a nice flat surface, but the carpet compresses. I'll probably engineer my own rubber pad of some kind. I tried a hockey puck, but it's so much smaller than the cup; it looked ridiculous.
The innability to modulate/control the release is a sign of cheap hydraulics. I'd observe it very closely. It may develop a leak over time. Both my HF jacks had that problem and I returned them for a DK-20. Worth the peace of mind.
I use a hockey puck. It fits and works perfectly for about $1.
  #13  
Old 12-05-2004, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilH
Nice review. I love my 2 ton aluminum Sears jack, .....
Yes and it does not weigh 100 lbs.
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  #14  
Old 12-05-2004, 08:40 AM
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I don't have any problem controlling the drop rate on my HF jack bt if you crank it too far, too fast it will drop right down which is generally what a pit crew wants at the track
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  #15  
Old 12-06-2004, 09:20 PM
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Update: I used the jack 2 more times and I have managed to get better at a controlled drop. I did the following:


1) Greased the end of the handle where it meets the jack.

2) Don't twist it so tight when closing it. I was really clamping down, which I've read is unnecesasary, and bad for the jack.

3) when lowering, don't do it with the handle in the upright position. The handle turns a shaft that has has an angled joint. When it's up, it's at a substantial angle. When the handle is down, it's straight, so there's more of a direct connection to the hydraulics.


After all of this, it's easier to get a smooth drop. You just have to make sure not to turn to far too fast. If you turn it just a tiny bit, you get a very slow, smooth drop. But if you crank it to fast, it drops quickly.

If I can manage to get a smooth drop consistently, I'm keeping the jack. If not, it goes back.
  #16  
Old 12-06-2004, 11:18 PM
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that jack's not going anywhere, you two have already bonded ...
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  #17  
Old 12-07-2004, 09:10 PM
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Update

Today I came home with the two ton Sears aluminum jack.

I bled the air out, then tried to jack up the car. It worked OK but made a horrible screeching sound. I thought it might need oil, so I added jack oil and repeated, but the screech was still there.

I added jack oil one more time. Then, when trying to push down on the handle, the valve poped and sprayed oil ALL OVER ME. WTF? I found two parts from the valve, but there's no way I can get them back together. The thing is going back.

However, I did conclude one thing. The drop on the Sears jack is much better. I can drop the car smoothly with no problem. You still need to be careful not to turn too far, but as long as you're paying attention, it's easy to get a smooth drop. I played around with the Arcan again and although I'm getting better at dropping it smoothly, it's way to easy to drop suddenly. I think the arcan might go back because of this. The drop isn't good.

It takes more effort to get the car up with the Sears jack, but it's not too bad. The sears jack has a rubber pad, and has the nice feature that when there is no load on the saddle, it comes up quickly to meet the jack point.

I may try one more time with a second version of the Craftsman...

Last edited by rumratt; 12-10-2004 at 06:49 PM.
  #18  
Old 12-07-2004, 09:28 PM
JetBlack330i JetBlack330i is offline
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The drop on the DK-20 is even better.
  #19  
Old 12-07-2004, 10:33 PM
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You might want to check the clearances with the Sears jack before you exchange it. I have the 1.5 ton jack and I noticed that even though the lift pad is very low, the sides ramp up fairly steeply. This means you might have difficulty reaching the center lift points.
  #20  
Old 12-07-2004, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetBlack330i
The drop on the DK-20 is even better.
OK, the thing is $400, but my DK13HLQ just has no issues to deal with. No, it's not portable, though I've hauled it around before. Plenty of reach, plenty low, plenty easy to drop.
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  #21  
Old 12-07-2004, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumratt
- It is NOT easy to release the load slowly. If you get it just right, it will drop slowly, but if you twist a hair too far, it drops very quickly.
  #22  
Old 12-08-2004, 07:28 AM
JetBlack330i JetBlack330i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaz
OK, the thing is $400, but my DK13HLQ just has no issues to deal with. No, it's not portable, though I've hauled it around before. Plenty of reach, plenty low, plenty easy to drop.
I paid only $270
  #23  
Old 12-08-2004, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumratt
.
I like it! But...
Spoiler. Are you planning on jacking up your house? It seems 2 of the little dingies (2 ton jacks for $20 each) are enough for my purpose, one for each side of the car, and they are much lighter to handle and maneuver.
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  #24  
Old 12-08-2004, 08:36 AM
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maybe you guys should assemble your wares and do a Bimmerfest Uber Jack-Off Review thread
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