Front Lift Point

Hi, I recently bought a 2003 E320 and I am also into DIY projects to save a few bucks. I have done alot of car work on american cars in particular '96 Crown Vic. I normally jack up my Crown
Vic right in the middle of the cross member. In this car there was an under belly pan and a splash guard in the way though. There was a small black block made of either rubber or plastic though atteched to the bottom of the cross member that sticks through the splash guard and under belly pan. I tried to jack it up just to take a look at where the jackstands go so what I did was I took a normal floor 2.5 ton hydraulic jack, took the circular cup off to have a flat mating surface and jacked up on the small black block. but right when the car got up to the top it slipped off and fell. It scared the s#$t out of me and I'm thinking that it was because I took the cup off and as the jack went up it moved off the block (cause the jack moves forward while ot goes up and they did not stay at the same place). Luckily there was no structural damage and no leaks or damage (just a hurt to my pride). Just the splash guard broke. I am still determined though to lift that car up so that I can take a look at it and see where to put the jack stands on so my first question is what did I do wrong??? Should I have left the cup on the jack??? When I jack my Crown Vic up there is no rubber pad, just metal to metal should I take that rubber pad off (can you for that matter?). I want to attempt to lift the car up but I am now very scared to do it. And once I lift it up where do I put the jack stands. That was a pretty traumatic event that has discouraged me from attempting to work on cars even though I have been doing it for years. Any advice would help,
Nick
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Shop jack points are just below factory jack points... there is a black rubber cushion on the side of the car just below the rectangular cover for factory jacks. There are 4 jack points... two on each side. There is no other 'safe' place to jack up.
Always leave factory jack circular pad in place.
As far as jack stand goes... it would be on the lower control arm... just behind each wheels. There is other but you must physically see it... remove the plastic underbelly covers to reveal strong structural frame members. Do not jack up at any crossmembers of any part.
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