Jump to content

how do you work under your cars ?


Recommended Posts

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 !!

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

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. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

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. ?

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
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

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.       

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

 

 

893219.jpg

downloadqfasd.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, KongaMan said:

Until you fall into it. ;)

After 40 years the only person to fall in was a nighttime intruder.  The next morning I found blood at the top and bottom of the pit along with some tooth fragments.

I have been injured by lifts (especially 4 post) by banging my head on the structure nearly every time I get around them. 

The pit is especially handy when the job requires some top and bottom work...no need to run the lift up and down or get on ladder.

Neither my ceiling height or floor structure would accommodate a lift anyhow and I despise jack stands and creepers and the whole "lizard routine".

  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends on the job.

 

I restored a 1970's 3 Ton floor jack that seems to have a faster two speed function than more modern ones I have tried. It has a good height. I only use Hein Werner jack stands, but never one single support system. Always an extra jack or jack stand at the end I am working on, even a stack of wheels and tires under the car.

003.thumb.JPG.965c373d0c0a816918477a6a042ddca0.JPG

 

For working around the perimeter I have a Snap On scissors lift. Even though it doesn't show extra jack stands or secondary support goes with that.

This lift can interfere with the torque tube and is hard to get just right.

005.thumb.JPG.9396a1fb3ddfea5efa9fb15e3b05d1f5.JPG

 

On a high recommendation from a friend I recently bought a Kwik Lift system that I like. As shown, the floor jack would stay under while working. I also picked up four short jack stands that fit nicely under the raised ramps. I always have two supporting devices or I won't go under.

004.thumb.JPG.8f7df55cffd41a1de4688f39a2908602.JPG

 

I am in the process of cutting two doors into the wall on the right side of the pictured Riviera, arranging the cars in back 90 degrees. I may add a MaxJax when that change is done.

The cars are a wonderful excuse to buy tools. The Kwik Lift was justified because I bought the extremely high maintenance V12 BMW last February. At least that is the story my Wife believes.

 

Edit: I had my garage built in 1988 with an 8' ceiling. Two years later garage lifts stated to become popular with home hobbyists. Otherwise a 4 post with nice roller jack would be in there too, maybe an addition.

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, old-tank said:

The pit is especially handy when the job requires some top and bottom work...no need to run the lift up and down or get on ladder.

In my humble opinion, a pit would be the way to go, precisely for the convenience referred to above.  However, the government has made use of a pit "next to impossible" with regs dealing with electric. ventilation and drainage.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/10/2018 at 9:53 AM, old-tank said:

 

I have been injured by lifts (especially 4 post) by banging my head on the structure nearly every time I get around them. 

The pit is especially handy when the job requires some top and bottom work...no need to run the lift up and down or get on ladder.

Neither my ceiling height or floor structure would accommodate a lift anyhow and I despise jack stands and creepers and the whole "lizard routine".

 

 

You stating you have gotten injured by a four post....it has reminded my of a scar on my chin.   This was courtesy of an alignment rack lift.     Bang the top of my head quite a few times. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyway,

 

Her is the 54 getting a new clutch and replacement of the 3 speed.   4 jack stands.   I find sleeping under the car on the cardboard is not so bad.  I have been know to take a short nap under there from time to time. 

 

dfWvT9t.jpg  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

… before getting my expanding BenPak 7,000 lb lift …. I always and still do use a simple setup consisting of the following 4- metal ramps, one inexpensive high lift rolling 2-ton jack ( One which allows one to take the round single jack point bagel pad that comes on the jack and purchase an replacement attachment which is an adjustable width single arm with bar with dual outrigged bagel pads) . One 25-foot towing cable preferably a fabric one so it does not abrasion your under-carriage components.  Also purchase an inexpensive winch.  As an anchoring point for the winch use a metal concrete form stake that is slipped into the garage slab.  To accomplish that, one simply uses a roto-hammer with a 7/8-inch diameter bit that drills a simple and clean hole in the garage allowing for the inserting of the steel concrete form stake into the slab. This simple setup allows one to slip the neck ring off the winch over the steel stack creating a solid pull anchor for the winch.  So when the winch is pulling it is securely set and the pulling force is countered by the steel stake.  Use an 18-inch long metal concrete stake, hammer it down into the hole using a small sledge hammer being sure to leave at least 8-inches of stake protruding above the garage slab. A vis-grip will remove it anytime later whenever you need to. If installing into a garage, I place a minimum of 6-8  inches from the edge of slab from the foundation stem wall. This setup is reusable or can be permanent.  Works like a charm every time.  Set either 2 x 4 blocks or use bolts to keep the front ramp/block assembly from sliding forward on the concrete slab as you winch the car up and forward.  Winch pull the front of the car up onto the ramps and then use the rolling jack to lift the rear and set the rear ramps into place making sure to rotate the ramps 180-degrees from the front ramps as an additional safety precaution so the car won't be able to roll backward.  Set the emergency brake. Regarding the metal ramps  For additional height other than what the 6-inches height a ramp will give you.   I use 4 x 12's  &  2 x 12's cut to the appropriate length and cut them to extend at least 8-inches longer then the length of the metal ramps. If the car is not operable the winch and winch strap can be used to pull the car into the garage and up onto the ramp setup.  This will give you the 9-11 inch standard curb height as measured from the slab to the bottom of the frame plus the height of the metal ramps and the height of the number of wooden members you wish to place under the ramps.

 

In the first two photos the winch location can be seen in front of the car.  It was used to pull the car up onto the front ramps. It will pull the car up with the ramps along with a setup that include 4 x 12's and 1- 2 x 12.  I set  The rear ramps as stated above were placed by lifting the rear end with the single beam jack and simply placing the metal stands/wood under rear wheels.  The  height of this setup pictured below allows 18-1/2 inches as can seen of free workable secure space. As stated If additional height is required than add more 4 x 12 or 2 x 12 as desired

 

 

 

 

 

.  

Coupe Frame 8.JPG

Coupe Frame 30.JPG

DSCF1734.JPG

Edited by buick man (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a photo of my Bendpak lift in my shop.  Although the  7,000 lb capacity lift goes to 7-feet, due to my limited 8-foot ceiling height I can get about 40-inches of workable clearance and in only a matter of minutes.  I use 4-rubber blocks strategically located so the frame is off the ramp which allows me to work under any portion of frame or sill area

 

 

Fatnwide 2.JPG

Fatnwide 4.JPG

Fatnwide Sump 4.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, buick man said:

Here is a photo of my Bendpak lift in my shop.  Although the  7,000 lb capacity lift goes to 7-feet, due to my limited 8-foot ceiling height I can get about 40-inches of workable clearance and in only a matter of minutes.  I use 4-rubber blocks strategically located so the frame is off the ramp which allows me to work under any portion of frame or sill area

 

 

Fatnwide 2.JPG

Fatnwide 4.JPG

Fatnwide Sump 4.JPG

 

That jack looks very good.  May I ask some questions:

* Does the mechanism of the jack have a safety locks for less than full height? 

* Can you leave the jack on the floor and drive a car over it on a continuous use basis?  Not daily use, I'm just wondering if the jack could be stored compressed on the floor and then driven over a few times a week or so?

* Is the jack mobile enough that you could drag it outside and use it at it's full height?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great questions John …. Yes, safety locks at your desired height ….This BenPak lift uses an auxiliary shop air supply line to actuate a solid chunk of heavy metal tooth that rides over the top of an opposing solid "step piece" that is set into the lift foot base and the solid heavy metal tooth rides over the top of and sets for each 4-inches or so as the lift rises.  This sliding lock action secures the lift as it goes up the steps and effectively locks the assembly at each 4-inch stage.  To lower, the control tower as can be seen in the photo has a air actuated push button on the console.  To lower you first raise the lift slightly enough to disengage the metal locking tooth and then push the air button and hold, then begin to lower.  It will automatically lock the tooth at any desired height by releasing the air button allowing the tooth to once again bite into the step locks.  Each side of the ramp has this locking/air mechanism so as the lift rises this lock system engages.  7,000 lb capacity to 7-feet high.

 

Yes you can leave it on the floor when not in use and drive over it at anytime and just use it as a parking bump :D if you will.  The lift surprisingly lowers to a height of around 5 1/2 inches.  There are heavy removal ramps forward and aft for each ramp.  The dead weight of this unit is 2,300 lbs.  So once it is set it's not going to slide around on the floor.  I bought this one as used and rented a tilting flat bead trailer with ramp to get it home and backed it up to the front of the shop.  Then used my winch setup as explained above to pull the entire unit off sliding down the ramp onto my shop floor.  Then used the winch to position into place.  Some folks, cut out a rectangular section of their garage floor, then form up and place reinforced concrete so the lift itself can be lowered into it so the ramps are slab height.  This lowered section is about 6 inches deep once formed and in place, but driving over it with GM steel and the height of our cars is no problem including my 2001 full sized Buick.  The Porsche pictured had no clearance problems as well but as shown has not front or rear bumpers attached.  The guys with lowered cars like the idea of cutting the slab and placing the lift down so their cars can easily drive over the top of the lift since it is at slab height.  Neat trick but I would only do that if I had a duty purpose only shop and not as a garage/shop combo.  Oh God maybe someday, please I will have a dedicated shop/studio setup. :wub:   The BenPak folks want you to bolt the lift to the existing slab but it can be use without the bolts.   - dave

 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I just came across this picture and remembered the topic. You can see the four mounted wheels and tires we put under the rear bumper as a back up to the jack stands and the jack. This was after we rolled the rear end out and prepped the underside for cleaning and fresh undercoat.

 

010.thumb.JPG.60c5814ed05f3799aac358511cced00b.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...