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Unread 03-21-2020, 01:35 PM   #1
Tool Guy - Kg
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Suggestions on car ramps or jack-stands?

I'm looking for a set of car ramps for general maintenance to my SUV. I've looked around and there's a whole lot of plastic ramps. I must be getting old because I remember them all being heavy steel. While I don't doubt their ability to hold weight, I've seen the deterioration that can happen to plastic over the long haul. And that doesn't make me feel all warm and cozy knowing the implications of a failed ramp.

So, I'm looking for suggestions on car ramps....or maybe a decent set of heavy-duty jack-stands and a jack?

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Unread 03-21-2020, 02:04 PM   #2
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I've got an old set of steel ramps - that I almost never use anymore. I typically use only my floor jack and jack stands. The former being an aluminum bodied low profile unit, the latter being 3.5 ton rated Craftsman stands with welded steel frames and cast iron toothed "posts", with a quick release handle. Like there here:
https://www.acehardware.com/departme...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Unread 03-21-2020, 06:52 PM   #3
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What Dan said. Jacks stands and a jack will be much more flexible.

I’ve always hated driving up on ramps. Always felt like I was found to power right up and over ‘em!
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Unread 03-21-2020, 07:50 PM   #4
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I had a pair of steel ramps years ago. I always felt the same as PC, worried about flying over them, especially if I didn't have someone watching for me. I hit them with my front tires one time and they slid across the floor.

I drive a 1 ton flatbed Diesel now days, getting the oil changed is about 120 bucks so I usually do it myself. I use a floor jack to raise it a little and also use a stand under it for safety reasons.

I can't remember the brand of jack but it's a 3.5 ton that I bought from Northern tool. I have stands like Dan.
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Unread 03-21-2020, 08:10 PM   #5
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I have a set of ramps that I only use for my lawn mower, and then not very often. I just use a 3 ton two-stage jack and a pair of jack stands.

A note on the stands: make sure you get the ratchet type. I don't know if they even sell the kind with the pin that goes through the hole, but they're a pain in the butt compared to the ratchet type, which you just raise to the appropriate height and they self-lock. Then to take them out you just raise the car off the stand with the jack, and lift the lever on the stands to drop them.

These,
Name:  Ratchet.jpg
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Not these
Name:  pin jack.jpg
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Unread 03-21-2020, 08:24 PM   #6
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I've got a pair of stamped steel ramps that I do use for oil changes and such, Goldstein. Don't recall the brand (and it's too cold and wet and dark and scary to go look just now), but I do know the first thing I had to do with'em in weld some angle iron across the tall end to make a usable footprint for them to be at all useful, 'specially when not on pavement. I find them a bit flimsy, but once you get the vehicle on them, I'm comfortable getting under it. Wouldn't find them very useful if my little truck weren't four wheel drive, though.

I favor the stands Kevin shows in the first photo, but for my motorhome I generally use a pair of screw-type house jacks that are even older than I am.
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Unread 03-21-2020, 08:32 PM   #7
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Kevin, why are the pins a pain? Because they done adjust as fast as the ratcheting type?


Quote:
Originally Posted by cx
...I find them a bit flimsy, but once you get the vehicle on them, I'm comfortable getting under it.
Well, you’ve made a persuasive argument and I’m convinced.


Originally, I liked the idea of shoving 4 ramps under all the tires and driving up on them for fast access. Thought of maybe just making some of my own with stacks of 2x12s. But they’d be pretty bulky to store. Maybe the jack-stands are best. I like stuff like this to be obviously over-built...so I haven’t given the smaller ratcheting types a whole lot of consideration.
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Unread 03-21-2020, 09:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally, I liked the idea of shoving 4 ramps under all the tires and driving up on them for fast access.
That brings up another problem with ramps. They don’t always stay put when your driving up and will scoot forward especially when starting. I’ve never seen somebody try to drive up on for ramps at the same time. Usually it’s just the front end although I suppose you could back up to elevate the rear end.

I’ve had a pair of the pin type jackstands before. The biggest problem was it’s hard to get the pin to go through the second hole on other side of the tube. It takes a lot of fiddling and you’re usually not in a comfortable spot. The pin type are typically a lighter weight stand also and are not all that stable.
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Unread 03-21-2020, 09:16 PM   #9
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Yeah, you have to raise them with one hand and try to get the pin in with the other hand. The ratchet type you just raise with one hand and it locks in place.

Same for dropping them. The ratchet type, you just lift the release bar and they drop.

I've had the same set for over 25 years without a single problem.
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Unread 03-21-2020, 10:37 PM   #10
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Personally, I don't like the torsional stresses it puts on a vehicle when you jack up one edge. On some vehicles, you can try to raise a whole end at once, but there's not always a point that is accessible that can handle the weight.

If you go with ramps, you want a good backstop or wheel cradle so it's not going to go over the far edge!

Depending on the vehicle and clearance, the slope of some ramps just doesn't work with all vehicles.

Probably the neatest vehicle I ever owned was a 1971 Citroen ID19...to jack up one side of the car, you just moved the lever with the engine running and it raised the whole car up almost 12". They had a bipod that you stuck on a stud on the side you wanted to work with, then moved the lever down, and it let all of the pressure out of the hydraulic system and you had that side's wheels sucked up to the top end of their travel, about 8" or so in the air. To supplement the bipod, you could then put in some jack stands. Or, instead of the bipod, you could put jack stands under each corner, then relieve the same pressure, and you'd have all four wheels off the ground! No pumping a jack handle, no ramps, quick and easy. That car had real power brakes...the pedal was literally a valve into the braking system that was pressurized...travel of all about 3/4". When there was normal system hydraulic pressure, the gear on the rack and pinion pulled away, and you had literally power steering - no mechanical connection between the wheels and direct to the steering. As you turned it away from straight ahead, you could slightly feel the valves opening. The suspension and steering and brakes ran off of a 2650 psi high pressure hydraulic system. The springs were nitrogen filled rubber spheres, totally progressive springs.

Anyway, for most things, I prefer a good set of ramps. Quick and easy. Haven't paid for an oil change in decades.
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Unread 03-22-2020, 05:33 AM   #11
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Unread 03-22-2020, 05:59 AM   #12
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I drive up on 4 ramps with 4 wheel drive. never had a problem. If you have plastic ramps (or anything plastic), just keep them out of the sun as much as possible.
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Unread 03-22-2020, 06:26 AM   #13
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My old ramps are also stamped steel, but have a horizontal brace that runs from front to back on both sides to prevent them from collapsing under load, have "pockets" for the tires, with a built in hump in the front to kinda-sorta prevent an over run. I trust them completely. Same problem as others though, they do tend to scoot on the garage floor.

The ramps are probably useless with most of today's cars; they being much lower, with much longer overhangs in the front. No way you can get the leading edge of the ramp snugged up to the tire without hitting the bottom of the bumper cover. Impossible to use them on my daily driver.

Even jack stands are a challenge to use under modern cars; the undersides are increasingly covered with plastic pans to smooth the air flow to aid aerodynamics, so finding a spot to place a stand is a challenge. My DD has such a belly pan, which has a small removable section under the oil pan drain bolt. For all the good that does me; it doesn't have a friggin dip stick (they really don't want people working on these things). Thankfully thankfully the pick up is high enough, and I'm skinny enough, for me to get under it to do whatever I might need to.

If stands work for you the ratcheting ones are the way to go. I do wish they made the adjustment increments a little finer though. and a decent floor jack is very nice to have.
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Unread 03-22-2020, 07:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss3964spd
The ramps are probably useless with most of today's cars;
I just scraped a set of the most heavy duty ramps you could possibly imagine. My grandpa built them probably 20 years ago, A couple weeks ago I got the wild idea actually measure how wide the ramps were, and I'll be damned they were too skinny to fit any of my f350 tires and it to make them work I would have had to well the flat plate on the top of the ramp then weld new angle iron on the side of the ramp to create a channel for the tire to go into. I was so mad that I have moving these things around for the last 10 years only to find out I couldn't use them


I should also mention on my last post I have those same jack stands I think ( I have some from harbor freight and they are 3 tone) and I use them on all my trucks. 2 of my duallys have a Gvrw of 12500
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Unread 03-22-2020, 02:35 PM   #15
jadnashua
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This one is kind of neat (but expensive...probably available elsewhere for less) in that most of the ramp part can be removed, to give you more room to work. https://www.ecstuning.com/Search/SiteSearch/car_ramps/
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