BMW Preventive Maintenance – Jacking Up The Rear Your Car
Jacking up your car.
We showed you how to use a floor jack and jack stands on the front of your car in the Fast Times Spring 2009 issue. We will repeat some of that here, but talk specifically about the rear of the car. In using a hydraulic floor jack, you want to be sure that you place the jack’s lifting pad on a structural part of the car that can support the weight of the vehicle as you raise it. Similarly, you need to place jack stands under areas that can fully support the vehicle’s weight when the jack is lowered. (Note: If you are using ramps to raise your vehicle, you will still need to jack each side of the car high enough to get the tire off the ramp in order to fully check wheel bearings, brakes and outer suspension bushings.
Click HERE to see other maintenance articles in the Fast Times newsletters
WARNING: Make sure your car is on a level, sturdy surface such as concrete. DO NOT jack up a car that is parked on dirt, lawn or sand. DO NOT jack up a car that is on a slope (either front to back or side to side). If jacking up a car on asphalt, make sure that the asphalt is not soft (i.e. in the hot sun).
Prior to doing any jacking, loosen the lugs on the rear wheels, place the shifter in Park (automatic transmission) or 1st gear (manual transmission) and securely apply the park brake. Place a pair of wheel chocks in front of the front wheels. Give the chocks a firm kick to snug them against the tires. If your vehicle’s chassis has been lowered using sport springs or a coil-over kit, you may need to back the rear of the vehicle up onto 2″ x 8″ (or wider) lumber in order to get the floor jack under the chassis.
On BMWs that have the “A” or “Y” shaped semi-trailing arm rear suspensions (2002, Bavaria, CS, 3 series thru 91, 5 series thru 96, 6 series thru 89, 7 series thru 94, 318ti, Z3), we can jack directly under the rear suspension cross member outer bushing (Fig. 1).
Alternately, we can place the floor jack under the center of the cross member (Fig. 1), ahead of the differential housing, or on the underside of the differential housing (Fig. 1a). NOTE: while these options are safe, they do put a strain on the cross member bushings and differential mount bushings. And even though these vehicles have lifting points on the undersides of the rocker panels, these points are for use only with original BMW emergency jacks: DO NOT use a floor jack at these points, as it can damage the underside of the rocker panels.
On later BMWs that have lifting pads on the undersides of the rocker panels (3 series 92 on, 5 series 97 on, 6 series 03 on, 7 series 95 on, 8 series, X series, Z series), you can use these points for lifting the vehicle with the floor jack. Place the floor jack’s lifter under the rubber lifting pad at the rear of the rocker panel (Fig. 2).
NOTE: One or more of the lifting pads may be missing from the rocker panels. DO NOT jack on the bare rocker panel. You can either borrow a lifting pad from one of the other lifting points on your car (Fig. 3) or order new pads from Bavarian Autosport. Alternately, as with the earlier models, you can jack under the differential or carrier frame. This will allow use of the rocker panel lifting pads for jack stand placement.
On the earlier models, as noted previously, we can place the jack stands under the outer ends of the rear suspension cross member or directly under the cross member mounts (Fig. 1). On late models, jack stand placement can be under the differential and suspension carrier frame assembly or under the rocker panel lifting pads (Fig. 4). Make sure that the two jack stands are placed far enough apart that the vehicle is stable if pushed from the side.
NOTE: After final placement of the jack stands, leave the floor jack in a safeguard position that is not actually supporting the vehicle. Get out from under the car and give the car a few shoves from side to side. It should feel solid and secure, not wobbly. Once you are sure that the vehicle is safe and secure, place the floor jack in a safety position with the lifter contacting the underside of the vehicle and the jack locked in this position.