Jack Up The Front of a Lowered BMW

You will need the following tools:
- Small flat blade screwdriver
- Spare tire jack from your trunk
- Floor jack
- Jack stands and/or ramps
- A few pieces of 2x4 ~12" long

Jacking up a lowered E36 can be a bit tricky because it's nearly impossible to get most floor jacks underneath. The first thing you've got to do is get the car lifted just enough to get your floor jack under the engine crossmember. Start by setting the parking brake, put the transmission in 1st (manual) or PARK (auto) and stick a block of 2x4 behind each rear tire. Carefully pop the front plug out of either rocker panel using the screwdriver. Once that plug is popped out you can use the spare tire jack to lift the body of your car slightly. You shouldn't have to lift it high enough to lift the front wheels off of the ground.

Once the body is raised enough, slide the floor jack under the front of your car and carefully position it under the middle of the engine crossmember. The engine crossmember is the sturdy metal piece just in front of the oil pan and behind the steering rack. DO NOT JACK UNDER THE OIL PAN OR THE STEERING RACK! Once your jack is in position, begin raising the car with the floor jack. It's a good idea to stop after a few pumps and double check that the jack is positioned properly under the crossmember. If everything looks stable, remove the spare tire jack from the rocker panel and continue jacking with the floor jack.

Now depending on what type of work you are planning on doing you will use either ramps, jackstands or both. If you need to remove the front wheels (suspension or brake work) use the jackstand. If you are doing work that doesn't require the front of the car to be very high off of the ground (oil change) use ramps. If you are doing work that requires the front of the car to be high off the ground (shift lever install) use both. If the front is lifted pretty high the tires probably won't touch the ramps, but it's still nice to have them there if you're going to be under your car.

Place the ramps under the front tires and/or the jackstands underneath of the front "hockey pucks" and adjust to height. Lower the jack slowly until your car is resting on the ramps and/or the jackstands. If using jackstands, check that the "hockey pucks" are resting firmly on the tops of the jackstands, if they are not then lift the car slighty and move them to fit better. If you need the room you can now lower the jack and move it out of the way leaving the car supported by the ramps and/or jackstands. However if it's not in the way you can leave the floor jack in place to provide one more device to prevent you from being crushed by your car ;)

When you've finished with the work you were doing it's time to set the front tires back on the ground. Make sure all your tools are out from under the car. Position the floor jack back underneath of the crossmember and jack up the car high enough to remove the ramps and/or jackstands. Once they are out of the way begin lowering your car slowly. Stop when the tires are about 4" off of the ground. Depending on how "lowered" your car is you may need one or more pieces of 2x4 stacked under one of the front tires to be able to get the floor jack out, you'll have to test this for yourself. Carefully position the 2x4 piece(s) under one of the front tires and continue lower the car until the jack is all the way down. You should now be able to remove the floor jack. If the body of the car is sitting on the jack preventing you fron removing it, jack it back up and stack another 2x4 under the tire.

Remove the 2x4s from behind the rear tires and carefully pop the rocker panel plug back in. Hop in your car and slowly drive off of the 2x4s. Congratulate yourself for not being crushed under your car!

Spare Tire Jack


Lift Up


Jack Stands

Jack Stands




Coming Down

2x4s Under Tire


Remove Floor Jack

Rocker Plug

Drive Off