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('07 cobalt at present)

I've been putting cars up for 50 years, using various jacks and then blocking under the frame. I'm not bragging - some of that was wrong (blocking under the control arm) - but no disasters. I have never understood jack stands WRT (With Respect To) unibody cars.

I see what seem like two issues:

  • Intuitively (to me), and per a lot of online advice, the stands should go on under the pinch weld. But, the geometry of the stand top seems totally wrong for this. The OE (Original Equipment) jack designed for that location is shaped to carefully cradle and support the flange. The jack stands I see would bear the weight on rocker panel and the floor pan. Jack stand pad that I see do the same. Further, the notch in those does not support the side of the pinch flange the way the OE jack does.
  • If, instead, the jack stand is put under the engine cradle with just the front of the car elevated, ISTM (It Seems To Me) the stand would just make contact with the cradle along one edge, which seems unstable to me.

On the Cobalt, there is a cross-member at the front of the cradle. Do ppl put the stands there? They'd have to be considerably higher, and there are times when they'd be in the way.

Obviously, ppl (People) use jack stands. So, what am I missing?

  • Mystery abbreviation: WRT . ISTM, OE . Huh? Best practice is to spell out abbreviations when first used. Makes it easier for others to understand what you are sharing... thanks. – zipzit Mar 25 '18 at 16:49
  • WRT = With Respect To, OE = Original Equipment, ISTM = It Seems To Me, PPL = People, these are common abbreviations that were in use even before texting surfaced along with QED = Quad Erat Demonstratum ie That which had to be proved etc . ETC = Et Cetera – Solar Mike Mar 25 '18 at 17:18
  • Yeah...I once jacked my car on the pinch weld, not really thinking about what I was doing. Jacked the weld (pun intended). No longer have that car so no worries. Pretty sure every other spot I jacked or lifted that thing was wrong, but it sure worked better. – user31423 Mar 30 '18 at 20:05
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If you want to use something other than a Pantomime Jack ("Widowmaker") at the factory pinch-weld Jacking/Support locations, you should use a high-quality Pinch Weld Adapter (Link only for reference, not brand suggestion) for Jacking, and a Flat-Top Jackstand with a Pinch-Weld Adapter for Supporting the vehicle.

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For the Cobalt

I would say that the jacking points are where the jack stands need to be placed, as per the image found here for a 2005 Cobalt.

My recommendation would be to:

  • raise the front up with using a jack on the subframe (engine cradle)
  • place the jack stands at the jacking points, with jack stand pads or (blocks of wood)

Cobalt Underside

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So the jacking points are shown in the owners manuals but most seem to now be designed for the 4 arm lifts in use in the motor trade with the pivoting arms and the pads to slide and match the jacking points.

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I've been driving/servicing my unibody cars since the mid 80's. I have a true professional quality AC floor jack, with a very long reach & lift height. I've always found the rear engine cradle to be very beefy, a good spot to lift the entire front end. See white circle in the attached pic. My current car is a 2019 Kia Forte, with the typical "jack at the pinch weld" spots, as when just changing a flat. The obvious problem with that "put the jack stands under the lift point" is that you can't DO THAT when the JACK is holding the car up at that point! - Dan enter image description here

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  • Dan, thanks for answering this. Do you have anything you can add to address the stability part of the question? For myself I always put 2 stands about a foot apart under there rather than just one in the center to help make sure the car doesn't roll off to the side when I have it up. – Rowan Hawkins Mar 25 at 4:33
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Agree about the 4 arm lifts. Great if you have one, but few non-pros have that kind of $$$ for this. I lift the vehicle at the cross member (see previous post) or rear axle/suspension mid-point, then lower the car down onto 2 jack stands positioned under the crimp jack points. Here's a weird thing I found years ago that enables using the typical jack stand in those pinch welds w/o damage. Bought 4 of these very firm rubber "lifts" used on coil springs to jack up the rear end of your '66 MOPAR whatever, then cut a groove in the top (they're TOUGH, had to use an angle grinder!) which makes a perfect base for the pinch weld https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/b/rideeffex-4975/accessories-16449/truck---towing-16781/trailer---towing-16648/coil-spring-boosters-18985/9b72fb72afbd/superior-rideeffex-2-5-inch-spring-booster/181701/4740171?pos=2 See picenter image description here

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