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DIY Car Lift - Opinions ....SAFETY WARNING!

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ir637113
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DIY Car Lift - Opinions ....SAFETY WARNING!

Post by ir637113 »

Moderator note...added this due to content downstream

NEVER GET UNDER ANY CAR ON ANY JACK, INCLUDING THE VOLVO TIRE JACK




Hey all,

Ran into an issue working on my 850 wagon the other day - my good hydraulic jack was stolen a few months ago (odd, because I live in an awesome area and it was in the trunk of my other 850), and I haven't had a need for one since then, so I've mostly forgotten to replace it. Went to work on it, and all I've got is the spare tire jack that came with the car (little too janky for my taste - I hear way too many stories of these things snapping while you're under the car). I started poking around for ramps and had a hair-brained scheme when I saw the price stickers - a homemade car ramp/lift

I've seen a few designs around on the interwebs, and the guys using them swear they hold their cars. The one I'm thinking of looks like this:
Image

His plans look like two 2x10s on top of a few 4x4s. I was planning on putting a 2x12 underneath as well and making them in three 4 foot sections so I can store them (added benefit is that it requires more supports in between, so I'll have some added strength)

Quick look at pricing out materials puts this right around the cost of a decent set of ramps, a decent jack, OR a decent set of stands (~$60-$80)

Just wanted to get some opinions on this. I was thinking of giving it a try, but not getting underneath the thing until I have confirmation that it would hold without a sag or anything for at least a couple of hours.

Thanks
EstVolvo
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Re: DIY Car Lift - Opinions

Post by EstVolvo »

This ramp will hold your car easily.
Is 6.5" lift enough for you?
I have had my car coming down a few times while using the spare tire jack, but it was mainly because of working on a sloping or slippery surface.
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Re: DIY Car Lift - Opinions

Post by cn90 »

That is nice but very heavy to store.

Search forum for photos, we have posted many photos of car ramps (Mine is about 27" long), 3 layers of 2x10: drive the front up 2 ramps, change the oil, ATF or whatever, drive it down and done. No need for floor jack/jack stand for routine oil, ATF fluid change.
Easy to store.
Cost is about $10 for the wood, screws.
Or free if you visit a new home construction job site and ask for left-over 2x10, which is used when they install the rafters for the roof.
In contrast, during the early phase of construction, it is mostly 2x4 for the 1st floor walls.
When the builders get to the roofing stage, you will see a lot of 2x10.
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cn90
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Re: DIY Car Lift - Opinions

Post by cn90 »

EstVolvo wrote:...I have had my car coming down a few times while using the spare tire jack, but it was mainly because of working on a sloping or slippery surface.
The single most important step in jacking up the car is to chock both the fore and aft portions of the diagonal tire.
So if you replace the RF tire, chock the LR tire on the fore and aft parts of the tires.
In the middle of nowhere, find some wood, rocks to chock the wheels.
At home, I use the Harbor Freight wheel rubber chocks, about $7/each, it is worth every penny.
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ir637113
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Re: DIY Car Lift - Opinions

Post by ir637113 »

I took a look at ramps, but would like to get the whole car up (it's slowly needing parts replaced, so I've been going up and down the whole thing.) It'll be about an 8 inch lift, which gives me about 16 inches of working space, more than enough considering I'm a fairly small guy

Heavy, yes, I agree. The 4 foot sections would each use an entire 2x10x4 and a handful of 2x4s. Thankfully, I've got the storage room, so they wouldn't move more than five or ten feet at a time.

My only big concern is the weight of my wagon and minivan (although they're roughly the same weights apparently). I don't want to be under this thing and have a piece of wood snap on me and have the whole car come down.

Only downsides I see are the weight of the ramp/lift pieces and that I can't do any work on or around the tires (brakes, etc.)
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Re: DIY Car Lift - Opinions

Post by abscate »

I can run the calcs on lumber but if you stop with the wheels over blocks it will never fall.

The problem with anything wood is you have to maintain it.

You can get a nice set of ABS ramps now for about 35-40 bucks which stack nicely
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Re: DIY Car Lift - Opinions

Post by rspi »

The wood would probably hold twice it's weight, no problem there.

You should NEVER get under a vehicle with ANY KIND OF JACK.



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ir637113
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Re: DIY Car Lift - Opinions

Post by ir637113 »

rspi wrote:The wood would probably hold twice it's weight, no problem there.

You should NEVER get under a vehicle with ANY KIND OF JACK.

I agree. I've had one issue with the 850's issued jack, and that was enough for me. Was changing a spare (my old 850 had an issue with the struts/alignment, so we went through our front tires about once every 3-5 months). Was going a little too quick, and didn't realize that the jack wasn't 100% on right (the "C" on the jack was not positioned correctly). Went to bang on the tire to get it loose, and the jack did very much the same thing as it did in Robert's video. On the bright side, the wheel popped off (it was stuck on there pretty good), and the tire managed to stay on enough to keep the car from crashing my rotor, et al onto the ground. Downside was I was clear across the country without a jack, my tire was no longer connected to my car, and my wife (fiance at the time) was yelling at me about how stupid I was to not set it up quite right. Got it worked out in the end, but I've VERY seldom done work underneath a car without something to support the car other than a jack (come to think of it, I had to change the oil this weekend, and it might've been the first time in 2 1/2 year)
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Re: DIY Car Lift - Opinions

Post by 1998v70xcbill »

Very nice, but limitied access. I love custom ramps, but love access also. But very nice for checking auto trans with no dip stick.
ir637113
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Re: DIY Car Lift - Opinions

Post by ir637113 »

1998v70xcbill wrote:Very nice, but limitied access. I love custom ramps, but love access also. But very nice for checking auto trans with no dip stick.
I love access as well. I think it's pretty cool I should be able to remove the middle sections and go in from the side if I need to. The only thing I am not a fan of is losing access to working on anything that would involve removing a wheel (Although I might be able to use one section as a ramp and hoist the opposite end up with jack stands - plenty of options, I guess)
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