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Discussion Starter #1
Jack stinks!

In this case, "Jack" isn't a person, "Jack" is the scissor jack Toyota provides for changing a flat tire.

I went out to the RAV4 after warming up the engine (remotely) only to see the TPMS light was on. My thinking was that probably the spare tire is low, but I should get out and at least visually inspect all four tires. Sure enough, the driver's front tire was flat.

This was due to the seal not surviving a very cold temperature change, per the local tire shop. Fortunately it wasn't damaged because I hadn't driven an inch on it. Also extremely fortunately, it all happened in my garage, which although very cold, was at least out of the wind.

While that all stinks, by far the worst part of the experience was dealing with the jack, moreso than dealing with the cold (though I had dressed appropriately).

First, I couldn't get the jack out of it's storage spot. It turns out (per RAV4World) that you have to turn the drive bolt in it a few times to get the jack to compress a little in order to get it out of it's storage spot. Ok, one small screwdriver later and the jack was out.

But I swear it took something like 25 minutes of turning and turning and turning and turning before the RAV4 was high enough to put the spare tire on. It took for-stinkin'-ever.

I would NOT want to have tried that on the side of the highway.

Does anyone have any alternate suggestions for a better / FASTER jack that would work well with a 4.3? I'm thinking maybe a small hydraulic bottle jack. Any specific brands or models that are short enough to fit under the frame when a tire is flat, yet still carry around easily in the awesome underfloor storage bins?

Thanks for any thoughts (other than AAA ;) ).

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I hear you loud and clear!

I have briefly looked into 12V electric scissors jacks. Perhaps it is time for me to get serious before I end up freezing my a** off. Is 14" enough lift? If not, then a 4x4" block underneath might help.

I want to see one in-person or hear from a good authority.
 

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I use a bottle jack from my old 4Runner when changing between snow tires and summer tires. I put a small piece of plywood between the jack and the lower suspension arm to distribute the load. Way more efficient than jacking by the pinch weld points since you're only compressing the suspension, not raising the whole vehicle.
 

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I am not sure but have a look at the Powerbuilt Unijack 3 ton model. It lifts from 11 to 21 inches and it is a bottle jack with jack stand. I checked if this fits my model but it is too high but it may fit your model. It is compact enough but not as much as the scissor jack. You pump the jack up and lock it in place with a pin to prevent it from dropping. The good thing with this is it works better than a regular bottle jack as the surface contact area is bigger, wider and flat. So just measure the jack points if it is higher than the 11 inches. You can check out the 2 ton model also it has height range of 8/58 to 18 3/8 inch.
 

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As often as I need to change a flat the scissors jack is fine...however if it's to be an issue for you why not carry a small floor jack in the rear under floor storage...plenty of room for one...and much more stable when in use than a scissors or bottle jack...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am not sure but have a look at the Powerbuilt Unijack 3 ton model.
Even the smaller one has a minimum height of over 8 inches. While that would probably work if jacking up the vehicle to do something like change the brakes (where you start with inflated tires), in a flat tire situation my concern is at the jack pinch points there isn't enough clearance below the pinch points to fit this jack (or likely any bottle jack).

So some flavor of (better) scissor jack or small floor jack are probably the only kinds that will work.

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I have no problems using the jack. Maybe because I use the side-step support bar to raise it but it takes no more than 20 seconds to raise on side of the RAV.
DVS, did you hook up the crank that is found in the compartment on the other side?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have no problems using the jack. Maybe because I use the side-step support bar to raise it but it takes no more than 20 seconds to raise on side of the RAV.
DVS, did you hook up the crank that is found in the compartment on the other side?
Yes, I did. I spun the adjustment bolt by hand until it went into the lift pinch point, then used the crank handle to finish the job.

It just took ages (in below 0°F temperatures) to raise the RAV up high enough to be able to put the spare tire on.

Keep in mind that it starts a few inches lower than when the tire is full of air. If you're used to starting to lift it when the vehicle is at normal running height, I could see how that would take noticeably less time.

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As often as I need to change a flat the scissors jack is fine...however if it's to be an issue for you why not carry a small floor jack in the rear under floor storage...plenty of room for one...and much more stable when in use than a scissors or bottle jack...

Yeah I put one of these in the rear floor storage
http://www.autozone.com/engine-and-vehicle-lift/jack/1duralast-2-1-2-ton-suv-jack/189970_0_0/?checkfit=true

Fits works fine. Never pulled the scissors jack out.
 

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I have never used this particular scissor jack, but I have used others plenty. Getting the jack out can be difficult for me since the cubby that the jack is stored in if full of stuff. I have the 3rd row so no under the trunk storage compartment. I carry flares, tire chains, tie down straps... in that bin.

But the jack should be stored only finger tight. Next to get the jack to "ready to use" height, I hold the turning lug and spin the entire jack. The weight of the jack (and more so when it opens) keeps the thing spinning. I typically only have to give it a few good flings to get it opened. Finally do you use the "speed crank" to crank the jack right. not a screw driver. Hook crank in turning eye, hold shaft with one hand and allow it to spin, crank clockwise with the other.


I believe my RAV comes with a 2 part crank that uses the lug wrench.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Finally do you use the "speed crank" to crank the jack right. not a screw driver. Hook crank in turning eye, hold shaft with one hand and allow it to spin, crank clockwise with the other.


I believe my RAV comes with a 2 part crank that uses the lug wrench.
Therein lies the issue, I think: I did not use the lug wrench as some kind of 90° extension handle to the crank shaft. It just wasn't obvious. I was thinking of it as...oh, I don't know...a lug wrench, not some kind of additional handle for the jack.

Thanks!

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I use to do tire rotations with my spare and the stock scissor jack. I would take the bar with the hook and chuck the square end into my cordless drill (with 1/2" chuck). It does a decent job of cranking my small truck up. I recall that I can get a full rotation (5 ups) with one fully charged 14.4 battery. Though it really heated it up. I am sure that is one of the reasons why those batteries did not last long.
 

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IMO, a floor jack is nice and I use one in almost exclusively in the garage, but it's a lot of iron to haul around all the time to save a few minutes once in hopefully a long while.
I'd recommend a 12V electric scissors jack like the one I used on my dyno 1 Ton Electric Scissor 12V Cigarette Adapter Auto Car Jack Lift 2000 Lbs | eBay until it failed due to overloading and abuse. Unlike on a car where it gradually gets loaded I was subjecting it to max load lifting the heavy end of the dyno in the fully down position, at it's weakest mechanical advantage point.
 
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Discussion Starter #15

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I saw that one (actually, I think there is only really one), but it doesn't get very good reviews, mostly because the piece on top that goes into the pinch point is PLASTIC, and has been known to basically shatter.
I don't remember any part of mine being plastic but I may very well have removed the top piece to get the extra clearance I needed. All I can say for sure is what didn't break was the motor because that's the only part I kept.
 
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Fortunately I haven't had a flat so far with my RAV, but when we lived in the U.K. I got a flat every month or so, and with the omnipresent scissor jacks in vehicles there I always carried a block of wood to place atop the jack and lessen the jacking distance along with the possible danger to car components from the jack's steel block head. Now with the RAV I also have a wood block.
 

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The scissor jack is suppose to fit on the pinch weld. However the pinch doesn't carry the load. The notch on top of the jack allows the pinch to be recessed while the load is carried by the flat part above. The jack/ pinch weld interface should not be interfered with a piece of wood. If you do want to use a piece of wood to shorten the distance make sure it is wide enough and set it below the jack.
 

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The scissor jack is suppose to fit on the pinch weld. However the pinch doesn't carry the load. The notch on top of the jack allows the pinch to be recessed while the load is carried by the flat part above. The jack/ pinch weld interface should not be interfered with a piece of wood. If you do want to use a piece of wood to shorten the distance make sure it is wide enough and set it below the jack.
The wood blocks I have seen used have a slot cut in them to accommodate the pinch weld. I have even seen a picture of a hockey puck with a slot used for the same purpose.
 
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