Kestrel

how do you work under your cars ?

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Just curious to hear how you guys safely work under these heavy postwar Buicks. I'm buying a '51 Super and am not thrilled with using common jack stands for general undercarriage work. I have a chance to buy a used Kwik-lift that ensures safely but doesn't require high ceilings (more $$) or periodic maintenance as with 2 or 4 post lifts. I have a much lighter smaller  '32 Chevy that I comfortably use jack stands under but have second thoughts with the Buick. I'm not a commercial shop guy,  just your average home restorer. Thank you !!

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Two post lift now but previously used 4 heavy duty jack stands on a solid level concrete floor. Nothing less. Ever........ bob

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I use a 7000 lb quick jack but back it up with jack stands. I have had jacks fail on and was saved by the jack stands the car fell on.

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Perhaps more seriously...  Jack stands. Always.  Supplemented by whatever else might provide an additional margin of safety.  

 

Speaking of which...  I always try to minimize the time under the car with wheels removed.  That's not always possible, but when I did the front end on the Riv, I did one side at a time, with the tire mounted on the other side. The car was supported by a pair of jack stands (one under each frame rail), a jack under the front crossmember, and two tires beneath the front bumper.  I wouldn't rely on a jack, but I do use one as a backup.  Generally speaking, I use the jack to lower the car onto the stands, then leave it in place.

 

I had to do some rear end work the other day which involved running the car with the rear end off the ground.  I used a jack stand under each frame rail and one on each end of the axle.

 

I've got to pull the rear axle on the Riv one of these days, and I'm trying to figure out how to do that.  I don't really like relying on just two jack stands (although it should be perfectly safe), but I'd like to figure out some backup support that won't also get in the way of removing the axle.

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 I use heavy duty jack stands, with a couple of extra at certain points, for extra safety. I don't think it matters how heavy the car is, if it falls on you, you're likely a goner.

 I also usually leave the jack in place, if at all possible.

Keith

Edited by Buicknutty (see edit history)
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Thanks guys. That Ranger Quick Jack is pretty slick.  Aaron,  have you tried it under the '53 Buick ? Just wondering if the Quick Jack's rubber blocks that sit on the lifting frame allow it to match up to the lift points on the car ? Chassis length might be too long ? I have sturdy floor jacks for now and would probably use them as a back up with such a system, as Bill stated. 

 

Are there recommended frame rail lift points locations for these cars ? I have the shop manual on order.

 

 

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I think I did have the '53 on the jack once or twice this past summer...but I have enough cars that it all runs together sometimes.  I did have my '65 Skylark on it for sure, and there were no problems there. 

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11 hours ago, Aaron65 said:

I have a Ranger Quick Jack, and it's pretty convenient.  I'd love more lift, but I too have low ceilings.

 

Exactly what Aaron said. I've had mine for about three years and couldn't be happier with it. They sell extensions for vehicles that have additional length between jacking points, so I'm pretty confident that you'll get a QuickJack to properly lift your car one way or the other.

 

Having said the above, I offer two comments: First, if I didn't lift my cars very often I'd probably not have spent the money on the lift. Getting a car up on four jack stands is a PITA, and the QJ is so much more convenient for me. However, if I lifted a car only a couple of times a year I'd use jack stands.

 

Second, you'll notice that when the car is on the lift you have no access from the sides of the car. For example, if you need to work on something between the rear end and the engine you'll have to enter from either end, and then scoot yourself all the way under the car until you reach where you want to be. Not pleasant for the claustrophobic. I'm not claustrophobic, but I don't enjoy laying completely under the car lengthwise. FWIW.

 

Jim

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Jim is correct on the access to the middle, but it is better than scissor lifts that give no access to the middle of the car.  You could still drop a transmission, for example.  I had the two sides of the lift reversed for some reason in the picture I attached above, so you can't seem them, but there are locks that keep the lifts from falling should the hydraulic cylinders fail for any reason.  Once you have the car up in the air, the whole thing is stable, plus it seems like the car's weight is distributed over a larger area than it would be on jack stands.  

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I like my Quick Jack. It lifts the 1960 Buick Electra just fine.  I have thought for longer length projects to build a set of cribbing blocks to set under the tires.

That way I will have access from the sides of the car.  

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Great information. My first thought with the Quick Jack was no side access as mentioned above. I thought I saw on their website it could be used laterally or athwartship, instead of longitudinally if the undercarriage allowed it, thus solving the side access problem  ?

 

 Either way, it sounds like a great option for us low ceiling guys.  Just have to open my wallet a little wider. List around &1,700 or so. ?

 

 

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12 hours ago, old-tank said:

Service pit.

 

I actually have one in one of my garage bays. It's OK but like every thing else there's good and bad. I haven't used it since I got my 2 post lift and likely never will. Likely the safest option of them all.........Bob

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I use (2) 3 ton floor jacks to lift each side equally.  Then place 6 ton jack stands under the chassis.    Repeat the process for the rear.   Would love a 2 post lift and it would work in my garage but...I could not put both Buicks in the garage once the lift was installed.  But, I do not spend much time under the Buicks other then oil changes. Although I did the clutch in the 54 on my back and car on jacks.    Not really a need for a 2 post lift.       

 

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Have mine on ramps in front and large jack stands on rear frame at x member meets outer frame on my 49 with never ending differential operation ongoing.Getting them off the ground is about half the job.Gary

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10584044_10153038381915830_4332948669881

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Giant rounds cut with 6 inch tall shims on top.. we had to get the transmission jack under the car somehow.

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Anyone ever try these methods?  I hope not.

 

Actually I installed a 2-post lift about a year ago.  Once up in the air, the car still rocks fore and aft if you reef on a bolt or do something else that causes rocking.  So I purchased 2 under hoist jacks and place them under the frame in the front and back of the car.  No rocking and I feel a lot safer.

 

 

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 I bet the guy under the pick-up needed 3 maybe 4 friends to raise it that high. Wonder how many it would take to raise an old Buick that high ? A lot more than I got....?

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3 hours ago, packick said:

So I purchased 2 under hoist jacks and place them under the frame in the front and back of the car.  No rocking and I feel a lot safer.

 

YES!!!!!!!!

 

I bought three, one day might get the fourth. And real hoist jack stands, three legs for stability, not the pogo stick types that fall over. Makes two post lifts feel safe. No more shaking of cars, worrying about loosening large heavy parts and having the weight shift an the car fall off. I lost a friend that way, and he was a mechanic working in his shop at the time. Years of experience.  Customer's Ranger slid off, crushing him against his tool box.

 

Harbor Freight has them:

 

https://www.harborfreight.com/2-ton-capacity-underhoist-safety-stand-61600.html

 

Not many large trees to cut sections from like Beemon, but I have used "platform framing" blocks for 30 years. Very handy, and do not slide on frame rails like jack stands do. Cut some 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 material maybe 15" long. Think of these as floor joists and use 1 x 4 (5, 6) as the "floor" and "ceiling"., also about 15" long. Nail a 1 x 4 across the ends of the floor joists to resist them falling over, just like a rimboard on a house. Use 4 to 5 "floor joists" per block. 

 

Jack up car, block, jack some more (with taller jack or 6 x 6 block on jack), block more until proper working height is achieved.

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On ‎11‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 8:41 AM, Bhigdog said:

 

I actually have one in one of my garage bays. It's OK but like every thing else there's good and bad. I haven't used it since I got my 2 post lift and likely never will. Likely the safest option of them all.........Bob

 

Until you fall into it. ;)

 

My grandad had one of those in his garage, which was built around 100 years ago.

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You,re correct about falling. When i built it i made a recessed edge and cut 2 x 8s to fit so it,s covered. One thing i thought about is the remote chance of fire while working on a car. A pit is usually not the quickest thing to get out of.....bob

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