You know the drill: Before every track day you must go over the car with a fine-tooth comb so as to minimize the occurrences of mechanical issues. Checking belts, hoses, fluids and the like is easily done. But getting to the brakes, changing the wheels or checking/working under the car means getting out the floor jack and carefully putting the car up on jack stands before the job can even begin. It’s time-consuming and a potentially dangerous operation if not done properly. And you will still be required to get down on your knees or lay on your back to work on your car. Yup--I’m getting tired of it too.
Every car guy or gal dreams of having a proper shop-quality lift in the garage; however, space and garage height are usually the greatest limitations to fulfilling this dream. Not anymore. Southern California-based Dannmar Equipment, manufacturer of commercial lift systems since 1991, has created a new product designed specifically for enthusiasts to use in their own garages. It’s called the MaxJax, a lightweight yet heavy-duty (6,000-pound capacity) two-post lift that will work perfectly in any regular-size garage (minimum ceiling height 7.5 feet). It’s powered by a standard 110 to 120-volt outlet with a 25 amp capacity.
Other important attributes include:
- Low-profile lift pads with a minimum ground clearance of 3.5 inches.
- It is portable and can be stored away or set up in less than 15 minutes after the original site installation.
- Allows full access under the vehicle with a maximum pad lift height of 45 inches and the wheels can be removed (unlike ramp lift systems).
- High-speed hydraulics with precisely equalized lifting allow the vehicle to be lifted evenly to maximum height in about 30 seconds.
- Maintenance-free load bearings and industrial-grade hydraulic cylinders reduce the number of mechanical wear-and-tear parts.
- It can be set up to deal with a wide range of vehicle widths and wheelbase dimensions, and has adjustable lift arms for greater flexibility.
- It can be mechanically locked at two convenient work heights for additional safety.
When my MaxJax arrived it came on a freight pallet and weighted in at about 880 pounds, so this is indeed some serious equipment. I chose to install the MaxJax myself by following the well laid out installation manual (included). Count on a full day to slowly and carefully work through the install. The first steps involve precisely laying out the position and width of the lift posts. Look for a spot that has plenty of width, no overhead obstructions, and no cracks or defects on the concrete floor. Note that the garage floor must have a minimum of 4 inches of high-grade (3,000 psi) concrete for the flush-fitting anchor bolt sockets that secure the posts.
Next, you need to drill five holes into the concrete for each of the posts, and tap in the anchor bolt sockets. (My friendly bricklaying Italian neighbor certainly helped here--grazie mille, Pasquale!) Then you install the wheels and hydraulic fittings to the lift posts. The posts can then be easily lifted off their sides, rolled over into position (each weighs about 300 pounds) and bolted securely to the floor. Next, the lift pads are fitted and the four individual lift arms are installed. The rest of the installation involved assembling the hydraulic pump, fittings, reservoir, and flow diverter, which is all contained on a small two-wheeled cart. The final steps include hooking up the two hydraulic hoses, filling the reservoir with hydraulic fluid, and bleeding the system. Now you’re equipped!
Drive your car into a central position between the posts and adjust the lift arms and pads beneath the lift points on your car’s underbody. Then, with a press of the button on the hydraulic motor, the MaxJax lifts the car easily and smoothly to maximum height in about 30 seconds. This is pure luxury; once your maintenance and repairs are properly taken car of, honestly, you’ll be looking for excuses to get your car back up on the lift. A little detailing perhaps? More urgently, my wife mentioned that her car is in need of some attention.
MaxJax retails for $1,999.95. I found it to be worth every penny.