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marcapra

How high can I jack up my car?

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I'm replacing my brake lines and fuel lines and other things that require working under the car.  Can I jack my car up some way so that it is high enough to sit under?  I know this could be dangerous, but maybe there is a safe way to do it?  Thanks, Marc.

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Use 4 jack stands.

They're cheap and available at any parts store.

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First the floor would need to be solid and level. Sitting and working height means at least 48"+ off the floor. That means multiple jacking and cribbing. Of course you will be tempted to cut a few corners. Maybe use some cinder blocks here or a few pieces of 4 X 4 there. Maybe jack stands on cinderblocks. A little wobble here. A bit off center there. What could possibly go wrong. I mean how much could a car falling from 4 feet hurt...............Bob

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Either a tall curb or a big oak root (changed a clutch on an oak tree root once).

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I used a ditch to swap out a clutch on my El Camino

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Posted (edited)

Use jack stands as others have said. I have used a chain fall hung from a steel beam to lift one end of a car nearly vertical. This made it easy to work on, easier than a lift. A wheeled creeper makes things easier. I don't care for them myself, I prefer a thin mattress pad off a patio lounge. Wear eye protection when working under a car. Rust and dirt fall into your eyes easily when you are on your back.

 

Whatever you do make sure there is no mistake about it. Use good jack stands. Don't take chances. When I raise a car up I deliberately push on it from different directions to make sure it is absolutely stable. If it is going to fall I don't want to be under it.

 

I have some oversize  jack stands made of 3" angle iron that allow raising a car 4 feet off the floor safely but I find I never use them.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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IK have some jack stands made from old ford banjo rear ends that are quite sturdy but I still wouldn't trust my life to them.

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Quote

 

Save a life, buy a lift if you want it high enough to sit under.

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Posted (edited)

Or do like the mechanics did in the old days, dig a "grease pit" that you can stand in. My grandfather's shop had one about 35 inches x 75 inches, concrete side walls, in the middle of the shop floor and there was a stout cover for it when not in use. 110 years ago, everything from cars to 50 HP Case tractors were serviced from it.

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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Ssh I've got a grease pit but keep it quiet, they are no longer legal and have not been for years. If you dig one make it long enough that you can get out of both ends at the same time.

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Posted (edited)

I wanted to put bigger tires on our 55 truck..

 

But the estate sold it.. Image from the web but the same truck..

 

We are scraping a grain lift next week.. That would get the car up four foot in the air..

 

That is what dad used to replaced the clutch in the 55 Chev..

 

We had the one on the ground..

3f6d08dd524ae5789e69b87424953037.jpg

GMC TRuck2.jpg

Edited by nick8086 (see edit history)

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4 hours ago, Bhigdog said:

First the floor would need to be solid and level. Sitting and working height means at least 48"+ off the floor. That means multiple jacking and cribbing. Of course you will be tempted to cut a few corners. Maybe use some cinder blocks here or a few pieces of 4 X 4 there. Maybe jack stands on cinderblocks. A little wobble here. A bit off center there. What could possibly go wrong. I mean how much could a car falling from 4 feet hurt...............Bob

 

I believe Bob is warning you to NEVER, EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHAT SO EVER, USE MASONRY OF ANY TYPE TO BLOCK UP A LOAD OVER ANY PART OF YOUR BODY !! Take a look at my left thumb sometime. Ask me what happened to the very tip of it. Lucky, it could have taken my hand. And I knew better. Haste, you know.   -   Carl 

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I have 4 six ton jackstands that allow me to raise the car probably 2 feet off the ground. Plenty of room to replace lines anywhere because I have done it.

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I make mine from wood. Like a 15" x 15" platform floor section, with 2 x 4 or 2 x 6  as the floor joists and 1 x stock or 3/4" plywood as the floor and ceiling. Got to take a picture.  Very stable. Wood does not slide like steel tops of jack stands.

 

________

I   I   I   I

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Jack up car a corner at a time, place wood stands, go around again and add more wood stands. Yes, you will need to use a chunk of 4 x 4 or such to get enough lift from your jack, or buy a high lift jack (they are $$$$).

 

Do NOT get under car (or any part of your body under car) while it is supported by jack and block of wood playing Jenga! Rest it on four jack stands.

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Turn the car upside down,.  no need to jack it up.

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Some one sold one on ebay for 12k  - upside down,

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13 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

 

 

Whatever you do make sure there is no mistake about it. Use good jack stands. Don't take chances. When I raise a car up I deliberately push on it from different directions to make sure it is absolutely stable. If it is going to fall I don't want to be under it.

 

 

 I also try and knock the car off of the jack stands for safety.

 

 I also have a carpet on the floor which makes for comfortable working.

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Posted (edited)

Jack stands where designed to hold loads while sitting on solid ground such as concrete, with the extensions raised no higher than designed.  The loads that have to be considered are vertical loads which is very obvious, but also a rotational load.  A jack stand is designed with spread feet to resist the rotational load.  When that stand is placed on a pile of stacked wood, however solid it may look, has there been any consideration for resistance to rotational load?  The simple test of pushing on the car is only partially adequate.  Leveraging a long wrench on a tough bolt could create more force than pushing on the fender causing the car to move or fall.  Another option for elevating a car is to place wood blocking under each tire.  In that case, rolling car movement has to be considered; the wheels need to be chocked somehow.  Stacking wood too high also requires a calculation of resistance to rotational load.

 

This response does not answer your question.  It would be dangerous to give you an answer that was safe.  A car lift can be had for less than $2,000.  Laying on your back with the car elevated on jack stands of appropriate capacity and well placed is less than $150.  The cost of medical care is expensive and unquantifiable if you are only hurt, the cost of a funeral is less than $5000 with no frills.  

Edited by kgreen (see edit history)
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Nick that overhead winch and tire cradle looks like the bee's knees. I wouldn't mind one of those in my shop right now. You can see how easy it would be to work under the car if you lifted one end as high as possible.

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Never ever use concrete blocks for support to keep a car in the air to work on. My grandfather and father were masons, and I was made well aware that concrete blocks were made and intended to be used to construct structures - buildings, houses, garages etc. NOT for use to keep a car elevated EVER. My Dad always warned me not to do that when I went to help a friend work on his car ( this was starting back in the mid 1960s even) . Note the sage advice that kgreen mentions and especially his last sentence. I lost my favorite shop teacher in high school because he trusted concrete blocks to hold up his 1959 Buick to work on it when the car was only about 5 or 6 years old.

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21 hours ago, marcapra said:

I'm replacing my brake lines and fuel lines and other things that require working under the car.  Can I jack my car up some way so that it is high enough to sit under?  I know this could be dangerous, but maybe there is a safe way to do it?  Thanks, Marc.

If you're asking this question on the internet, you probably do not have enough experience to do it safely.  

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At least he is smart enough to ask. Short answer, yes but not necessary. We don't do it that way because it is easier to jack the car up on jack stands and do the work lying under the car on a creeper or mat.

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I use ramps under all four tires. I turn the ramp part so they are toward the center of the car so the car does not roll off. I jack up the end of the car and push the ramps under the tires instead of trying to drive up onto them.

post-37352-143141728282.jpg

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