1. Offline

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    I have been using jack stands bought from Sears and home made wood ramps:

    [IMG]

    [IMG]

    If the car is on the wood ramps, I put the jack stands under the side railing and the engine as backup. If the car is on the jack stands, I put the wood ramps under the engine as back up:

    [IMG]

    This setup seems plenty safe for me to crawl under the car but my wife still thinks everything will fail and I will be crushed under the car. Is there any chance to convince her otherwise? If so, how?

    Or is it indeed dangerous as she thinks? :eek: I heard cinder block (or concrete?) can disintegrate in an instant but could 3 layers of 2X10 wood split simultaneously all of a sudden? Or can the weld point of the jack stand fail all of a sudden?
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    Michgal007 Senior Member

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    I don't think all of it will disintegrate at once. But, same with wearing seat belts. Most of the time, everything will be ok. When it doesn't.. <ouch>!

    Just make sure you don't do this when you are alone. :)
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    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    I use Rhino ramps on the front and jack stands in the back if I am raising the entire car. Wood ramps with 2X10 should be just as safe as the Rhino ramps.

    If I use the jack stands I usually keep the hydraulic jack just below the jacking point after resting on jack stands for backup.

    One guy carries a tool box or something thicker than he is under the car so that if it does fall for any reason it will not crush him. Not a bad idea.

    I am not sure what else it will take to convince your wife it is safe though :)
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    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Since you have both the wood ramps and jackstands available, that is the logical equivalent of wearing a belt and suspenders to keep your pants up, and that should be quite safe.

    I use jackstands supplemented by my hydraulic floor jack located at the corner of the car that I happen to be at.

    The Prius weighs ~2,900 lb so the weight at one wheel is < 800 lb. Also, if you have all tires mounted, that will limit the downwards travel of the car.

    If your wife is concerned then that should give her a reason to check on you frequently, bring a beer and/or snack periodically, etc.
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    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    Wooden ramps won't crush like concrete blocks, but they can split. Wood will split along the grain, or lengthwise for your ramps. Distributed loading is not likely to cause splitting, so tires are okay, but point loading under a metal bracket could cause trouble.

    If you want to be extra safe, laminate a layer of plywood into the stack; this will provide cross grain support. For maximum safety, use several thin layers of plywood distributed through the stack. For example, a thin layer at the top, bottom, and in the middle.

    Tom
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    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    The only real danger I see is those tires. I found the differences in handling and braking so significant, after switching from the original Integrities, that I'd consider them unsafe.
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    nh7o Off grid since 1980

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    I made my ramps with plywood and 4X4s, and drove a much heavier tractor up on them first, just to be sure. One addition I would make to your ramps is a stop on the end, because going off the end would spoil your day.
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    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    Looks like overkill, PERFECT!
    As most above have noted, it looks safe. Maybe ramp up the car, give it a slight shake to see how really sturdy it is. When you are really confident, get your wife, give her the demonstration!
    My wife always worries when I climb my tower for antenna work, wives do that, it's a good thing!
    Life must be nice on Maui, a callsign and Google Earth work well together! :D
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    dustoff003 Blizzard Brigade #003

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    Your ramps and methods both seem sound. I would only suggest a stop be placed at the front so you could not drive off the ramps as easily. I can tell you that wooden ramps are quite common in the bus/motor coach RV conversion world, like the one currently in my avatar.
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    Mike500 Interessen-Gemeinschaft Prius

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    What's your life and your health and safety worth?

    I hated the Rhino Ramps that I had for 10 years, because they slid on concrete.

    So, I got these;
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/product/B003ZA8WIE?tag=priuschatcom-20
    They're the best I've ever used. Just check the reviews. I got the "FREE" wheel chocks, too, in a couple of weeks.

    They are definitely worth the money. I use them on concrete and grass. There is no slipping and sliding and do not damage my new Prius v. I've had the "v" on them five times. They clear both the front and rear bumpers with room to spare.

    I relaly like the high front stops.
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    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    NICE FIND +1:D

    click, ordered!
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    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    Here in NM, if you don't use old wheels, cinder blocks, or even rocks, people call you chicken. I can't think of anything else that you would need to do to make it safer.
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    Mike500 Interessen-Gemeinschaft Prius

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    I definitely would rather be a "live chicken," than a "dead duck."

    If you knew that your ship was going to sink, like if you were on the "Titanic," moeny is no object when it comes to how much the life preserver costs. I would like yo have the best one available anywhere.

    That's why I got the Race Ramps. Each one is hand made in the USA. i.e. individually had cut, individually inspected and coated with a urethane coating with small bits of high traction ruber on all of the surfaces.

    Each ramp has a load carrying ration of 1,500 each. They won't collapse, since the structual foam core is solid, not hollow as with Rhino Ramps and others. Best of all, they don't slide.
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    cnschult Active Member

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    prius1.jpg
    I had plastic ramps and I had the slipping problem as well. So I built mine after my deck project was done with the leftovers. The way to solve the slipping problem is to make the first board extra long, first picture shows that its easy for the tires to make the one inch climb onto the first board, after that the weight of the vehicle makes it so the ramps don't move at all when climbing the rest of the way up, of course I had to add some black traction (aka sandpaper) as the Prius struggled to get up, especially when the tires were wet as I often don't get under the car until I give it a good body and undercarriage wash. I bought tougher rubber treads but just haven't had the time to install them yet.
    prius2.jpg prius3.jpg
    2nd & 3rd picture shows that other people's advice on the stop block is good advice, but not entirely necessary if you have a helper or mirror outside your vehicle letting you know when you've gone far enough, but with the torque of the electric motor I prefer the stopper block and I highly advise anyone using ramps to use their left foot for the brake pedal and the right foot for the accelerator pedal. (notice I didn't say gas pedal ;))

    4th & 5th picture shows that I obviously built my front ones wider and stronger (criss-cross the grains of the boards) than the rears, but they are the exact same length (it may not appear so due to the stop blocks) which I feel is extremely important. They also raise the front and rears at the same time & rate but I don't think that's nearly as important as making the overall length the same. In the red circles I used a cool Kreg jig to join boards side by side, I wanted to try the Kreg jig out before making new cabinet doors so this was the perfect project to become familiar with it, I used dozens but you can only see a few.
    prius4.jpg prius5.jpg
    Wood is very strong, I wouldn't hesitate to lift a full size pick up truck with my ramps.. And unlike plastic, wood would give you a very loud audible warning if it was about to fail, and even if one board fails homemade ramps are made with layers of boards, they wouldn't all fail at once. The only thing that would make this unsafe is if you didn't drive straight onto them, but that would apply to plastic rhino ramps as well. Anyone planning on building ramps ignore the advice about using particle board as that substrate disintegrates when wet and would lose most of its structural integrity, use boards!! My advice to OP would be to drive onto your ramps one night and then show your wife the next day that all was fine and dandy, if that doesn't work dig out a service pit in your garage but tell your wife she's going in it as you have to stay above to make sure not to overfill the oil :rolleyes:.

    The people saying they use both ramps and jack stands are wrong, they serve 2 completely different purposes. Jack stands are necessary for any work when taking off the wheel (see last picture, those are brand new rotors after 1 rainstorm!! I was too lazy to put the wheel back on while waiting for struts to arrive, its not rust just some surface gunk that CRC will take care of). Ramps are super convenience when doing anything else that doesn't require taking wheels off (i.e. draining fluids, changing fog lamps bulbs, installing EBH, finding/patching exhaust holes, R&R headlight level sensor, etc).
    prius6.jpg
    and before anyone asks why i'm still running my blizzaks into April, they have 3/32" tread remaining, not enough for next winter, so I'm going to use them until I no longer feel safe in order to save as much tread on my all season tires. Also, when changing a tire on the side of the road with scissor jacks, always place a wheel under the side of the car you are on, that way if the road is not level and the car falls off the jack, you only ruin a wheel and save a thousand plus dollars in damage. Scissor jacks don't work on dirt/grass, if you have to pull to the right shoulder to change a right tire, you have to u-turn to face oncoming traffic so that your jack is on solid surface, this is opposite for John as he drives on the wrong side of the road :D. -Chris
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    PaulHS Member

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    Good point. Furthermore, there is no task where one ramp is not better served by two ramps together.

    Oh No! Using a scissors jack at all is asking for trouble. It is the worst possible tool likely to be needed under the worst possible conditions. Bad weather, traffic, unpaved shoulder. I tried using the jack that came with the Prius as a test. The base is simply not wide enough to be stable and cranking on the screw is a forever job when what you want is to get the car up, change the tire and be off as quickly as possible. I removed that jack and the other jack paraphernalia from the car altogether and replaced it with a rapid pump hydraulic. Why take an additional risk when you're already in a bad spot?
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    cnschult Active Member

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    Agreed, but why carry around a heavy hydraulic jack when you can just keep one of your 2 pound jack stands in the car? I separate the 2 pieces and wrapped the release handle in masking tape so I don't get annoying rattles, I also keep a tire plug repair kit and foot pump on the trunk so I can make most repairs w/o even removing the wheel.

    the only danger of a scissor jack damaging your car comes after you've removed a wheel. But if you loosen the lugs first, then lift with scissor jack and then put car on a jack stand on concrete you are being absolutely safe w/o adding 20+ pounds of weight. The worst case scenario is your car shifts while lifting (maybe carry a plastic chock as well), but as long as the wheel is still on it will just fall onto 4 wheels, no real harm done, or am I missing something?

    In fact, I reckon that me using a scissor jack with a jack stand is 10X safer than you using a hydraulic jack on its own.
  17. Offline

    cnschult Active Member

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    Also, the top of the scissor jack swivels, I've found that turning a scissor jack so that it is on a 45 degree angle to the car adds tremendous stability to it, you would also think that car companies would include a 8"x8" piece of steel in the trunk to give further stability to a scissor jack, its not like we don't have the room back there. Some aftermarket scissor jacks have feet that spin outward for more stability and inward for storage

    WD-40 every other year on the moving parts of your scissor jacks will make life that much easier when the day comes that you need it.

    We all love our hydraulic jacks, but there's no need to show that much disdain to a scissor jack, I bought a 30" pipe to stick on the end of my hydraulic jack handle to give it a more "professional" look. I even added padding for comfort and to protect vehicles and it also functions as a breaker bar for my wrench.
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    PaulHS Member

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    Granted, the weight of the hydraulic jack exceeds that of the scissors jack, but it's not as great as it seems. Mine is aluminum. And the additional weight is a sacrifice I'm willing to make. Besides, you're adding weight as well with the jackstand and foot pump.

    What you're missing is that my concern is not about damage to the car. My previous post was addressing the safety aspect of using a scissors jack in a time, place and conditions not of your choosing. A scissors jack or a jackstand on an unpaved surface or slope can become someone's worst nightmare.

    Well, no offense meant, but that's just bravado. Back it up with some reasoning. I reckon you could end up dead wrong.
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    Southern Dad Active Member

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    My father who wasn't a mechanic but was very thrifty and did most of his own maintenance by reading about it then doing it used this technique. He always raised the vehicle up enough that his large red toolbox slid under just in case the jack failed.

    I learned a lot of lessons from my father. This was one of them. I've already had an occasion where it bought me enough time to get out from under a heavy old Mustang when a Walmart jack stand collapsed.
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    PaulHS Member

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    Now you are pointing out deficiencies with the scissors jack. Face it, the jack that comes with the Prius is a car maker's afterthought; a poor tool that just might work in an emergency under ideal conditions.

    No, I don't love my hydraulic jack; it's just a better tool. Disdain? I don't know, why such an inordinate defense of an inferior tool?

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