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So I have a 3-ton floor jack that can lift up to 18.5 inches high. I tried lifting a small SUV and discovered that the floor jack point is so high that the total hight I lifted the car was only around 5 inches. This was just barely high enough to get jack stands at minimum (nothing dialed in) height under the jack mounting points.

Any inexpensive alternative way(s) to lift the SUV higher in a home garage?

I am aware of a build your own ramps answer

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    Some floor jacks have a "truck" or "SUV" attachment that is essentially a post 6" or so long that you insert into the end of the jack.
    – jwh20
    Jul 27 '20 at 17:52
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    Putting the jack on a suificiently strong block can work but make absolutely sure it cannot slip...
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 27 '20 at 18:34
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Add a short length of 2X4 or 4X4 to the lifting pad on the floor jack. Do not use brick as they can break. I have a 4X4 with a groove cut in it to fit the lifting point of a particular car .

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  • With the curves of the body near the lifting point, a 4x4 can be readily split by lifting forces. I had that happen extending the lift on a axle housing on a 1 ton van. Consider using a cylinder of metal, like a heavy pipe, or something less likely to fracture under the anticipated loads.
    – mongo
    Jun 23 at 17:37
  • One could consider @blacksmith37's idea in the inverse. Lay a bed of 2x or 4x lumber, like a double stack of 2x12's, which are matrixed together with screws, and place UNDER the jack.
    – mongo
    Jun 23 at 17:39
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There are several alternative jacks.

A so called uni-jack is a combo jack stand and hydraulic jac k.(<$100 USD)

There are floor jacks with raised saddles, where the saddle assembly is an extended rod, with a saddle at he top. You still have similar lift, but it is offset upwards by the metal extension. (<$100 USD and upwards)

There are floor jacks made for trucks, which have higher lift, and still have a low profile so they can get under lower clearance vehicles. ($500 USD and up)

The first two are available from common DIY tool suppliers. The latter is commonly available from industrial tool suppliers.

Similarly, there are truck jack stands which have extended height and can safely keep your ride up high when you work under it.

In a pinch, I have used bottle jacks supported by 8x8 blocks (cutoffs from polebarns). However other then cross grain compression, I would not rely on wood in a jacking system, and a split with lowering of the vehicle could be fatal.

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If you are a costco member, there are QuickJacks which are essentially lifts but without the huge size. I have a set, and it can lift my truck just fine. They can lift about 19 inches, so it will lift pretty high, so that you can remove a differential or transmission from underneath. They are expensive(CAD$1499), but they are well worth the investment because they act both as a jack and jackstands. If you are not willing to spend that much, you can try putting bricks underneath your jack, but make sure that you are on a level surface.

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  • QuickJacks will work, but will cost a pretty penny more than a rollaround floor jack and four jack stands. Jul 28 '20 at 0:30
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    I'm down with the quickjacks @RickYao, but your advice to put bricks under the jack is dangerous and should not be followed! Bricks are brittle and not strong under compression, they have been known to crush under the weight of a car. Wood blocks are a much safer option.
    – GdD
    Jul 28 '20 at 8:30

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