Everyone seems to have their preferred method and everyone thinks they know whats what, but after searching the countless threads on the subject, it has become clear to me that there is no consensus regarding how to properly jack a Protege5. There is also some debate regarding where to place jack stands as well. Searching this topic is lengthy and difficult, so I was hoping this thread could turn into a sort of forum reference on the subject. Maybe even a sticky in the proper forum.
First of all, the Protege/Protege5 is a unibody car, so you can't just jack it up wherever you feel like it and throw jackstands under the big solid frame because there is none. Jacking in the wrong place can cause local damage to the vehicle and in a bad scenario, tweaking of the subframes of the car which would cause it to be underivable, not to mention unsafe.
The owner's manual is of little help, as it only points out the locations of the 4 lift points along the frame rails. This is fine for jacking up one corner at a time, but it does nothing to divuldge where the jack stands should be placed. For instance, lifting the car at the driver's side front jack point leaves you no room to place a jack stand along the frame rail because the only strengthened point along the rail is already in use by the jack.
Below are some snippets from past threads and my interpretation of each:
I hardly ever lifted it with a jack, it's so much easier with a lift.
This is not helpful information at all. The discussion was about using a jack. If we all had access to a floor lift, threads such as this would not be necessary.
On todays cars your best bet is to jack it up one side at a time then set it on jackstands.
Okay, jacking it up one side at a time is certainly a possibility, but said user failed to discuss where the jack stands should be placed once the car is lifted.
On the frame or the pinch weld.
Define "frame" on a protege5 since there is no true frame? The pinch weld, for those who are not aware, are the reinforced notches a few inches long about a foot behind the front tire along the rail and a foot in front of the rear tire on the same rail.
read the manual. it'll show you a spot near the sides of the car that has two bumps/notches that mark the area that the stands should be placed
Yes, except the manual does not say where the place the jack if you are saving the pinch welds for the jack stands. Be specific to be helpful.
Anyway, I just wanted to provide some background for why I was starting a new thread and this is where we should begin. I have heard some good ideas and some decent ideas that lack any proof and I have heard some downright stupid ideas, so lets try to discuss our methods and certify where we are coming from with logic and discussion.
I personally have lifted the car at the locations recommended by the owner's manual, while placing the jack stands under the bolt that connects the lower control arm to the subframe of the car. Some say this is a bad idea and I *MIGHT* agree, except in that the forces that are sometimes applied to this point of the suspension and frame can be very high in certain driving conditions, which would lead me to believe that this part of the car is very solid and strong and probably won't have any trouble holding the static weight of a vehicle that is not in motion. I have held the front end of the car on two jack stands in this exact configuration for a week and did not receive any damage. So I would probably conclude that this is a suitable method. If anyone has obtained damage from using this method, please share. Speculating that there is potential to cause damage in this area is fine, but more specific, number supported information would be more helpful if possible. Does anyone, by an offhand chance, know how much this weight these lower control arm connection points can hold for instance?
Moving on to another method. I have read that some people on the forum have jacked the car up under the front cross member. The advantage to this method is that it lifts the entire front end of the car off the ground so that jack stands can be placed on either side of the car simultaneously. This method also seems logical in that you are jacking directly under a motor mount and the motor is attached to the car via 3 other strong mounts so the stress is distributed amongst multiple load bearing areas in the engine bay. On a high side estimate, I figure about 60% of the total weight of the car will be held up by the jack, which comes out to about 1650 pounds. Divide this figure by four (the number of engine mounts) and we come up with 412 pounds per engine mount. Although the distribution between each of the mounts won't be equal and the engine is actually a load bearing member in this scenario, the numbers should be reasonably close. I do not think that these figures are all that extreme especially for only a short period of time before the jack stands are placed in your two chosen locations. Feel free to argue against this if your experience or knowledge outweigh mine because I am not a mechanic or an engineer by trade.
Using this front crossmember jacking technique, where should the jacks be placed? I am leaning towards the pinch welds, but having had success with the lower control arm mount points, I am inclined to think that this is a reasonable method as well (you can see how I placed a jack under the lower control arm mount point in a picture below, fyi). For history's sake, some users have mentioned that the pinch welds have bent during lifting or while holding a jack stand. I have never had a problem with this, but I have only lifted the car at these points and have thus, never placed a jack stand here for a prolonged period of time. Has anyone received damage to the pinch welds when placing a jack under them?
I have read the following:
the cross member under the tranny is a good spot. there is a ball that sticks out you can jack it from there and then put your jack stands on either side
this opinion is supported by another similar post:
The front jacking point for raising both front wheels at once is the round dome shaped bracket under the transmission/engine. It's a little towards the driver's side and very near the front bumper. Put the jackstands under the frame rails about a foot in towards the center from the front door hinges and behind the front wheels. This will solidly support the front of the car
The latter of these two opinions is from, user MSP Pro, who is involved in autocrossing and might have a stronger grasp on how to properly jack up a Protege based on automotive experience.
Anyway, I have included a picture of the area underneath the front cross member directly below the front engine mount. At the top of the picture you will notice a convex circular protrusion in the crossmember with a small hole in it. I am assuming that this is a location that the user above was describing, BUT I AM NOT SURE so can somebody confirm?
Some people do not believe that this area is a good jack point as stated below:
That support is not designed to handle weight like that or to that amount. I do not suggest lifting from there.
This comment was provided by the same user who said that its easier to use a lift (user: BlkZoomZoom), so this may merely be a case of easy dismissal of another's technique, or it might be good factual information, but with what is provided, it is hard to say.
I have also heard of someone jacking up the front of the car using a cross member behind the engine, but after looking around this area, I was not able to find anything that looked sturdy enough to convincingly hold the went of the whole front of the car. If anyone has any info on this or pictures, please post them.
NOTE: You will see that I have placed a jack under the driver's side front pinch weld, and am backing that up with a jack stand under the lower control arm frame mount point. Do not simply rely on a floor jack to hold up a car, especially if you are working underneath. They have been known to fail from time to time, although it has never happened to me directly. Some people go a step further and backup their jack stands by placing their removed wheels under the side rails of the car in the event that the jackstands fail, thus causing the wheels to hold the car up enough so that you can get out.
In regards to jacking up the back of the car, I have another picture to share depicting the area where the rear suspension components are secured to the inner sub frame of the car:
Is this the location that people have been using the jack the rear of the car up? I assume the jack should be placed behind the flimsy looking hollow box piece that sticks down?
In closing, I was hoping to shed some light on an often asked question and wanted to invite other users to share their experience on this subject. Does anyone have any other methods they use as they pertain to floor jacks and jack stands? I am trying to avoid speculation and it would also be nice if certain methods were not dismissed as wrong without some evidence to back it up if possible. Heck, I might even find out that I have been doing this wrong the whole time myself!