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Old 11-05-2010, 07:15 AM
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Axle Stands Safety

I've always used 4 axle stands to hold up my car when working underneath. The stands happen to be currently in use, so I bought 4 more.

They came with instructions. I was curious as to why there would be instructions with such a simple device, so I read them. And there in the warnings, it said "Never use 4 stands to support a vehicle".

I think that's because with 4 stands, it is unlikely the weight will be evenly distributed and one stand may not take much wieght at all.....maybe none. And that could make it unstable.

Any comments before I ignore the warning?

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Old 11-05-2010, 07:25 AM
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Using 4 stands and no wheels could allow the vehicle to fall flat to the floor. If there's at least one tire and wheel mounted, it cannot do that- even though you may still be crushed.

It is always best to have a redundant set-up, regardless of how many stands are being used. Personally, I prefer to keep as many wheels on a vehicle as possible and using a stand along w/leaving the floor jack in position. The jack acts as a backup and would also allow someone to easily render aid by jacking up the vehicle if needed.

As for the cautions w/the stands you bought, I'd chalk it up to product liability as much as anything.
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:33 AM
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I've removed and installed engines with 4 stands lots of times before. Maybe I was just lucky. Work coming up is removal of transmission and clutch work. Tires will be on the car, but if it falls flat, I'm in trouble. Only 5.5" clearance between the bottom of the frame and the ground.

Liability warnings.....like the one advising the consumer not to allow children to play with the packaging plastic bags......cover your arse stuff.....but this warning might be a good one. I'll see what I can do for backup....maybe put something under the tires and lock the e-brake. If it drops, it's only the amount of suspension travel.

Another method I did use, was ramps under the front wheels and axle stands under the rear frame. Darn ramps are in use too.....too many projects on the go....LOL. Maybe I ought to buy another set of ramps.....
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Old 11-05-2010, 07:39 AM
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Generally what I will do if I have to have all four wheels off (or even one for that matter!!) is to slide the wheel/tire under the frame with enough pieces of wood on the frame side to at least let me get out (and then to shake my pant legs clear ). I even do that with my big/high F350 4x4.

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Old 11-05-2010, 08:31 AM
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Stands ?



Sīmagic
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:31 AM
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I've never felt comfortable relying on jackstands only, so I went to a local sawmill, and had 4 oak 10" x 10"s cut 20" long. Attached a length of 2"x4" to each end so the tires couldn't roll off the block. Jacked the car up, and placed one under each tire. Lots of room underneath to use a creeper, and I feel more secure when I'm under there.
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Old 11-05-2010, 09:15 AM
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When lifting with a floor jack, the lift arm moves in an arc. It is possible to pull the car off of the first two stands installed under the car.
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malc
Stands ?



Sīmagic
I really believe this to be the safest way and use it myself.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ownerT
When lifting with a floor jack, the lift arm moves in an arc. It is possible to pull the car off of the first two stands installed under the car.
Absolutely....I double check that a number of times when jacking up the end without the stands!!

********

Oldguy48 (sheesh....what does that make me?.....ancientguy51?)....good idea about the blocks with the 2x4 wheel stops.

Maybe I ought to just return those axle stands............

********

Malc......your car must be good on gas (zero rolling resistance), or do you use a Flux Capacitor?
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ownerT
When lifting with a floor jack, the lift arm moves in an arc. It is possible to pull the car off of the first two stands installed under the car.
The floor jack should be on wheels, as the car goes up or down it moves to compensate for the arc of the lifting arm.
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Old 11-06-2010, 06:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malc
The floor jack should be on wheels, as the car goes up or down it moves to compensate for the arc of the lifting arm.
Although it is true, I have seen a floor jack pull the vehicle as it lifts. It doesn't take much of anything under a wheel to hang it up. Once my brother came over with a pair of three leg jack stands, I smacked both of them with the BFH and tossed them, three legged are more prone to tipping.
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Old 11-06-2010, 06:40 AM
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safety first

I was living in Calif. In 89 when the big earthquake hit. I normally take a 16 inch tree stump with me when I get under a car. We had 2 cars up on drive up ramps . one under each wheel. I had been changing a transmission but was tired that day and was in the house laying down resting.listening to the World Series.. The 2 cars were parked 90 degrees to each other One shook hard enough and was pointed towards the epicenter and it rolled off the ramps. I would have been killed or badly injured if I had been still working under it. Now I have a hoist in the new shop and probably should use some ratchet straps if the lifting points aren't real flat. I moved from one earthquake zone to another, just down a couple of notches on the scale.
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Old 11-06-2010, 08:43 AM
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Something to consider when buying or using a floor jack is the wheel diameter.

Larger wheels will roll over cracks or obstructions, etc. easier than smaller wheels, so look for a jack w/large wheels and be sure they are lubed and roll as they should.

Keeping the wheels "straight" when jacking will also allow the jack to more easily roll with the lifting of the vehicle rather than pulling the vehicle towards the jack as the arm arcs upon being raised.

A floor jack w/a longer lift arm will allow the jack to be raised higher before the arc becomes pronounced. Try to avoid raising the floor jack to its highest point; the arc is more pronounced the closer the arm is to vertical, regardless of the length of the lift arm.
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