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Jack Stands vs Ramps


Mike

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-- Group Message from "Wayne Burstein" <wburstein@genicom.com> --

While both have their uses, I gave my ramps away years ago because I need

the jack and jackstands and don't have the room for both. You do have to be

a little careful with jacks and stands as Richard posted. Here is a little

story I posted to the IZCC list a few years ago that is worth another look:

I used to crew for a guy that raced a 240Z and every time a wheel

came off the car, we had to slide it under the rocker panel until

the car was taken off the jack/stands. This became a habit that

undoubtedly saved my life.

I was at the track tightening up the bolts at the rear of the differential

when the car rocked off the jack stands. Since the only part of my body

that was not under the car was from the knees down, the full weight

of the car would have come down on my chest. If I was lucky, I would

have been crushed instantly, but there was no way I would have been

able to breathe. Since the wheels were under the rockers, the car

only dropped a couple of inches, and luckily the wheels and tires

were undamaged.

It was late at night and no one was nearby. After I rolled out from

under the car, I began to realize just how serious the situation had

been. I am not at all embarrassed to admit that I had a serious

case of the shakes for quite a while over this.

Besides the obvious tip of putting the wheels under the rockers,

I learned about not doing dangerous things without someone

else nearby and about having a redundant system in dangerous

situations.

Hope this technique helps others as much as it helped me.

Wayne Burstein

wburstein@compuserve.com

Mountain Motorsports Racing www.zhome.com/racing/mmr.htm

Sterling, Virginia

WDC Region SCCA, ITS #10

IZCC #214, NVZCC

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>> LOL!

>> ...the tire trick is putting your big phat meatz under the rockers

>> while you have it up on stands, in case it falls and tries to KRUSH-U!

>--------------

>

>Ya, I sorta figured. But, doesn't that damage the rockers if it

>falls? I guess it's better to damage the rockers than YOUR BODY!

There was no damage to either my rockers or the wheels/tires. First of all,

if the tires are correctly positioned, the seam at the bottom of the rocker

will be in the middle of the tire. After all, you don't want all the weight

on the edge of the tire, causing the tire to pop out. Secondly, in my case,

the car only fell a couple of inches, so there was not too much kinetic

energy involved.

>But, I'm still of the opinion that ONE should not attempt to get

>under a car unless they are POSITIVE that it won't fall.

One of the reasons (besides feeling stupid) that I don't often tell this

story is we get into the questions about why it happened in the first place.

First of all, you need to understand a little about what racing a Z is like

when you compete against other more modern cars. While our competitors are

hanging around telling tall tales about their racing bravado, we are almost

always thrashing on the car. Some of that is self induced because my wife

has the misconception that I should be paying more attention to my family

when I am at home, so most of the work on the car occurs at the track. Most

of it is due to the brakes needing constant attention to work well enough to

be competitive. On a given race weekend, the car is up on jack stands about

four times to change/clean/adjust/bleed brakes. A set of front pads lasts

about one race, and fresh ones are on the car at the beginning of each race.

Used pads are OK for practice and qualifying.

The time that the car came off the stands, I had checked stability by

pushing on the car, and it had been up on the stands for a while because I

had been checking all the nuts and bolts to be sure they were tight. I was

tightening the bolts on the back of the diff with a 24" breaker bar when I

noticed that the boards that the rear jack stands were placed on were

sinking into the ground on the edge closest to the rear of the car. By the

time that had registered, the car was moving backwards and the jack stands

were tipping over. It seemed like it took a long time, but I had just began

to move when the car fell. Only after I crawled out from under the car did

I realize just how close I had come to dying.

Back to your question -- there is no way to be positive. All you can do is

take adequate precautions and be as safe as possible. Did I learn a lesson?

Of course I did -- I never get under a car without thinking about what

happened that day. Even in a shop with lifts, I check to see that the

safety catch is engaged. When you jack up cars as often as we do, you will

eventually have a problem. That is why it is so important to have a back up

system to protect yourself and to be as cautious as possible. Tires,

wheels, cars, and anything else material is negligible compared to loss of

life or a limb.

And yes, the guy who taught me this knows I really owe him my life. My

reason for posting this (much to my personal embarrassment) is that since

that day, I have heard about a couple of people that have lost their life in

similar situations and I hope that I can pass on the gift my friend gave me.

Wayne Burstein

wburstein@compuserve.com

Mountain Motorsports Racing www.zhome.com/racing/mmr.htm

Sterling, Virginia

WDC Region SCCA, ITS #10

IZCC #214, NVZCC

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  • 2 years later...

I say toss the ramps.....

Well, for me it was late spring 1994 I had A 69 firebird with A BB under the hood. My shifter linkage had come lose. So up on the ramps in front of my house it went. I blocked the rear tires and went under. Being cold out I had long A longsleve shirt on. As I reached up ta get to the linkage my shirt got hooked on the tran. I couldnt get it free so I said fug it and pulled to rip the shirt free. No sooner did I hear the shirt rip did I see the linkage move into N. I look up and see the front tires start to turn. At this point I know she jumped the block and was coming down. I reached up grabed the cross member and trying to push myself out the front. It didnt work. The car came down with me 100% under it.

the crossmember landed on my ribs crushing 6 of them. I was lucky cuz my head was pined in the high part of the oilpan but not crushing my head. There I sat under my car with no one to help stuck with broken ribs pushing up on the car when ever I wanted to take A breath in. I was under there for over A half hour before someone walking saw me and called 911. I didnt have it left in me to say where my jack was to the guy walking. So he held up on the car till the fire dept. showed and lifted the car with airbags.

I still have the ramps but now there paint stands and I never go under without my phone on my belt and @ min. someone that knows what I am doing if not able to be there.

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I recently changed the transmission on a Datsun Pick-Up and used a 8' long 1' deep trench lined with plasitc, because every time it went up on the stands one side would sink in and the stands rolled over! See the setup a this Link

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  • 1 month later...

A good thing ta do with putting A car up on stands. Put your car down on the stands. Then BEFORE you go under take and give the car some good jolts. Pushing the car back n forth by the roof at the window opening. This way you know the car is set on the stands and that the stands are locked in place.

If you think doing this could knock the car off the stands you shouldnt be under it anyway.If it dose come off the stands you did it wrong and your car will be about one foot right or left but you will still be around. :classic:

Another thing I do is put my jack under A strong point (front crossmember or in the rear the rearend) and put the jack up so it's touching but not lifting. This way if something gives the car cant just fall all the way down.

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I just do not trust jack stands, :paranoid: so I went out and got scrap ends of large beams at construction sites. I then build up my support typical with 6x12s then 4x6s then 2x4s etc. I soon will be rid of this system because I am building garage that will have a ~1' x3'x 8' long trench that I can drive over. I came up with this idea when I had to pull the transmission on a 620 Pickup and I was not comfortable working under the truck with ramps. So I dug a trench and lined it with plastic and it worked great! You can see it in action at Photos

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