MaxJax Case Study and Comparison

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MaxJax Actual Use Testing and Comparison

As posted on Garage Journal by Dolfan, Senior Member.

Testing

I first just ran the lift up about 2 feet and back down several times. Then once feeling things were good I ran it all the way up. 

 MaxJax-Lift-Storage

I decided the first test was just me on the lift and took that opportunity to stand on the arms and bleed the cylinders. I felt good and secure on a single post as you can see.

MaxJax-Lift-Bleeding-Cylinders

Next I chose my Dakota as the first test, for several reason, one it's just my truck! Also, the jacking points with the frame are real easy to get to, and at about 4400# it is the heaviest vehicle I have, I figured I'd rather test it at the high end of my use! 

MaxJax-Lift-Truck

MaxJax-Lift-Truck-Hoist

You can see that I put a 4" magnetic level on one post so I could look for any movement. I ran the truck up half way and just left it on the lift for about an hour while I did other stuff, I never noticed any change in the level on the post.

After the Dakota, I moved onto my Z06, which is actually extremely wide with the jacking points on the outside edge of the car, and you must use lift pucks. This is where I noticed that I think I should have spaced the posts another couple inches wide so the arms when not extended at all would hit these jacking points better. But once I got it in place, it lifted great as you can see.

MaxJax-Lift-Best-for-Service-Corvette

Case-Study-Testing-MaxJax-Lift-Corvette

Finally I tested the Passat and that was fine as well. 

MaxJax-Lift-Best-for-Service

MaxJax-Lift-Clear-Access-Vehicle

Tests completed, I'll post back with impressions from jobs on the lift and comparison of the MaxJax to the mid-rise lift.

Project #1

First job using the MaxJax lift was replacing the rear shocks on the Passat. So getting started I just swap car places and put the Passat in place and set the arm and up it goes! Pull the rear wheels and I'm starting the job, this is what I want in a lift, saving me running all around the car setting jack stands and moving floor jacks.

 MaxJax-Lift-Versus-Mid-Rise-Compare

So I put the car up to the first safety position and then I placed jack stand to hold the rear axle from rotating down once the shock are out. Then I just lowered the lift down until I got just a bit of weight onto the jack stands. This went great and quick!

 MaxJax-Car-Lift-Mid-Rise-Compare-Sale

Then I just swapped the shocks and replaced the wheels. I had tons of access to the rear suspension area of the car but I think that would have been similar on the mid-rise. 

 MaxJax-Lift-Versus-Mid-Rise-Comparison

One thing I did, was leave the car up on the lift overnight and not on the safety stops, so it was on the hydraulic pressure the entire time, not sure if that is recommended but I had no issues.

All things considered the MaxJax made this rear suspension job easy.

 

Storage

I might not use the MaxJax in the same manner as some, moving the posts after each use. I managed to park one car in forward and one in reverse in a way that getting in and out is not a big issue. Also as I'm in a 3 bay garage I can still get bicycles and things out between the bays with no post.

That being said I was getting tired of the hoses on the floor to the power unit, so after the Passat shock job I decide that if I just removed one of the lines from one post and unplugged the power unitI could move the power unit and hoses around to the side where the post is close to the wall. So doing this I now have a clear floor around my work bench and storage areas.

Here you can see that the lines get in the way and the power unit is right in front of my work bench.

Case-Study-Testing-MaxJax-Lift-Storage

So I removed the line off the right post, and slid the power unit around to the left side.

So I guess the idea here is that even though the MaxJax is marketed as a lift you can set up before each use, that fact that the posts are movable, and that the hydraulic lines have quick connectors, and there are no other safety release lines to consider how you "store" the lift between uses can take on different meaning based on you garage needs, this flexibility is a nice option.

I'm thinking now that a little rearranging of my storage and equipment and I'll probably leave both posts mounted 80% of the time and just pull the control unit and hose out of the way for storage to have a clear walking/working path.

For me justification on a tool that allows me to do my own service on brakes/shocks/oil/ etc. It is pretty easy to see how in the long run it saves me money not paying for labor charges of $85-120/hr.

Like I posted replaced the rear shocks on my wife's car that needed it and only paid for parts, that one job I'll bet I saved $150-$250 in labor. But, everyone has to make their own decision and has their own finances to look after, Good Luck.


FWD sedan on lift comparison

What I have here is a the same FWD Passat sedan on the two lifts. This will give you a good look at how they compare.

Here is a view of the Passat on the mid-rise lift.

MaxJax-Lift-Versus-Scissors-Lift

Here you can see the access to the front of the Passat.

 MaxJax-Lift-Versus-Mid-Rise-Comparison-Under-Car

And the rear access on the mid-rise.

 MaxJax-Lift-Versus-Mid-Rise-Scissors-Lift-Car

Now the Passat on the MaxJax

 Case-Study-Testing-MaxJax-Lift-Best-for-Service

Access to the front.

MaxJax-Lift-Clear-Access-Under-Car

Access to the rear on the MaxJax.

MaxJax-Lift-Clear-Access-Vehicle

You can judge for yourself but the access to all areas of the vehicle is great with the MaxJax. That being said for FWD vehicles there is still a good amount of access to critical areas with the mid-rise.

 

Garage Space Impact

Many people consider the impact of the lift in their garage when it comes to doing other work not using a lift, general storage impact, parking and access.

In consideration of these things the mid-rise lift is actually fairly good, while the overall footprint is about 33" x 80", with most people the lift is under a parked car. The impact though comes by way of parking ramps that might be needed and these can get in the way a bit, especially if they are built to accommodate different size cars. One thing I really don't like about the Atlas is the length of the supplied hydraulic hose and the safety release cable. With the control unit stored against the front wall the cable and line don't sit flat to the floor in front of the car, If it had another 2' of length then I think it would and I could put something over to not trip on it. This may not be a problem for all garages, the length of my garage is about 23' 4" wall to doors.

Here you see that Atlas lift is completely under my C4 Corvette, other than the power unit and lines in front it is only the ramps I needed that impact the space. If it wasn't for the height, you might not know a lift was in there.

Mid-Rise-Scissors-Lift-Mid-Rise-Lift

For the MaxJax the idea is that you can store the lift while not in use, for many this is the best feature. The posts do move easily, so moving the post to be stored against a wall is easy. In order to move the post the lifting arms need to be removed and you might need to come up with a clever method to store these out of the way. These arms are heavy though, so you're not going to toss them up on a particle board shelf tacked on the wall. One consideration is if you can position the lift as I did close to a wall maybe that post will not need to be moved regularly. I'm thinking that I'll only break down the post in the middle of the bays, and leave the other makes things easier and faster to get up and running. Also, I noticed during install the just that small section of wall between two adjoining garage doors is good place to put the posts out of the way.

Here you can see the MaxJax and the left post positioned about 10" from the wall, the only thing lost hear is a clear path on that side of a car. I just made one change in my garage us and now back the Z06 into this space so I can get out more easily even with both posts in place. I can get into teh C4 next to this bay with no impact.

MaxJax-Lift-10-Inches-From-Wall


Lifting

If you are like me you want a lift to make the process of getting a car off the ground quick easy and of course safe. I was surprised with the mid-rise lift, on the pickup it was great as you have the frame exposed and tons of lifting options. For the C4 Corvette I need to make the custom blocks so that the lift would not impact the exhaust, that could just be based on my exhaust. The other odd thing was lifting the Z06, I didn't consider the width of the jacking points but with the arms slid straight out from the lift they barely reach the jacking pucks, in fact the puck will overhang on one side maybe 1/4"-1/2". This issue with the position of the arm means you really have to nail the position of the car as you drive over the lift, I had to reposition several times to hit it just right, frustrating! 

With the MaxJax the swiveling arms and the extending capability make hitting jacking points easy. I jacked the truck in an instant with the truck extensions on. Even a bigger surprise was that the lift arms slid right under my lowered Z06 and that was with the lift pucks in place and the MaxJax pads removed. Of course you still need to position vehicles properly to center the load but doing that and with posts at 124" I was able to get out of the doors. I do think I would recommend to most people with C5 or C6 Corvettes that the minimum post position be extended out to 126" for better lift arm flexibility.

Here you see the Z06 on the lift and with the posts at 124" you see the arms are at their shortest length, a couple more inches of width would make this more flexible.

Case-Study-Testing-Corvette-On-MaxJax-Lift

One note, I did this test with the lift already in place, if you first have to "setup" the lift you have some time there to deal with before lifting.

Conclusion: MaxJax is easier lifting.

 

Under Car Access

Well this is pretty simple, this is where the MaxJax shines. With just the 4 lift arms that reach in from between the wheel areas to the jacking points, this leave a completely open car underneath. Pretty much any under car project will be easier with the MaxJax. One special note is that if you do a bit of exhaust work or drop drive shaft components a lot this is a big reason for the MaxJax over a mid-risedesign.

View of a sedan on the MaxJax, total open access from front to rear, makes it easy for wheels tools like transmission jacks, and a shop seat to roll anywhere needed.

MaxJax-Lift-Clear-Access-Under-Car

Now if you work exclusively on FWD vehicles I can say that the mid-rise does allow good access to the front under car area. But for many other cars as the engine and transmissions have been move further back toward the center of the vehicle over the years access to the transmission area can get a bit cramped with the mid-rise.

View of same sedan on the mid-rise, good access in general but some areas that are tougher to deal with.

Lift-Versus-Mid-Rise-Comparison-Under-Car

Conclusion: MaxJax is the clear winner for under car access.

Custom Installation

One thing I was considering before the MaxJax was to cut out the center concrete and pour in a dropped concrete pad to lower the mid-rise lift. The advantages of this are several, you won't need any additional ramps for parking over the lift and without those ramps it will open up much more of the floor when working under the car. I've seen pictures of this being done and it looks slick. It does give up the "moveable" capability of the mid-rise if you wanted to easily move to another garage bay.

But now considering the open floor capability of the MaxJax I'm not sure the additional effort is worth it. Considering the average price of a mid-rise lift maybe being $150-$350 less, if you contracted for this concrete work you would have a more costly solution. Even if you did the custom pad as a DIY project with rented concrete tools and delivered concrete you might break even, but still would give up some access to the center area of the car. The further consideration on the MaxJax is that you can set up different bays with different width post settings and reuse anchors by rotating the post 180degrees. You'll have to supply and of course install additional anchors.

So if I already had a working mid-rise lift I think I might drop in a custom pad, but if evaluating for new purchase between these two and considering the additional work I think I would advise to go with the MaxJax and skip the concrete work.

Conclusion: Custom install maybe not a great choice for new lift buyers.

 

I put together this video that I sent in to the MaxJax folks, shows the lift in operation.