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To use all four jackstands....or not, for what I will be doing? by MacGyversMullet
Started on: 12-19-2013 10:32 AM
Replies: 22 (727 views)
Last post by: starlightcoupe on 12-23-2013 03:28 PM
MacGyversMullet
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Report this Post12-19-2013 10:32 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MacGyversMulletSend a Private Message to MacGyversMulletEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Like most, I am not jumping in joy for the possibility to work under the car with four jackstands. Granted, the stands are quality Hein-Warner stands, but no matter...we all get nervous. This weekend, some friends are coming over and we are tackling quite a bit. We are doing full brakes and suspension at all four corners. The other big thing are new aluminum engine cradle bushings.

I don't mind having the car on all four stands for the brakes/suspension, since no one will be under the car. Plus, we will want all four corners available for work, so everyone can have something do work on.

What I am scratching my head about is what is safer for the cradle bushings. The more I think about it, it would seem that it would be safer to have the car on all four stands when dropping the front/rear portions of the cradle, so the front of the car doesn't have the risk of rolling back and forth, even if stabilized with wheel chocks. On the other hand, I am under the car with four jackstands, trying to bust some strong bushing bolts. And yes, I realize that I will be under the car with jackstands even if I use two in the back and have the front wheels on the ground In either case, I will have the wheels/tires under the car for "disaster backup".

Finally, do I put two stands on the front first and then raise the back for the rear stands? Or do I do put stands on one side of the car, jack up the other side and put those in?

Thoughts or personal experience? Thanks!

[This message has been edited by MacGyversMullet (edited 12-19-2013).]

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da.slyboy
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Report this Post12-19-2013 10:48 AM Click Here to See the Profile for da.slyboyClick Here to Email da.slyboySend a Private Message to da.slyboyEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If you find a good setting points for the jack stands you shouldn't have any problem safety wise. The scariest part is getting two jacks under the car after you already have two set (front or back) because of the change of angle. But once they are up you should be good to go.
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qwikgta
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Report this Post12-19-2013 11:11 AM Click Here to See the Profile for qwikgtaClick Here to Email qwikgtaSend a Private Message to qwikgtaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Don't over think it. Get it up, shake the hell out of the car. Then crawl under it. Not trying to be coy, but you can spend all day thinking about this and getting nowhere. Do it safe, do it smart, double check everything, wear saftey goggles and do it.

Again, as someone with a military background, i'm anal about saftey.

Not sure if your planning to use one, but I alway find it easier to use a engine hoist when I am messing with the cradle, not a floor jack. If the car is up in the air, on all 4's (jackstands)connect the motor to the engine hoist, and lift the engine/cradle until its just about to come off the rear stands. Unbolt the cradle from the car and then lower it a few inch's. do the mounts and then rebolt the cradle. Now, I say this with ZERO experiance with the 84-87 cars, I only have 88's, and this is how I do any work on the 88. So I applogize in advance if my advice is AFU!

Good luck

Rob

[This message has been edited by qwikgta (edited 12-19-2013).]

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Lou6t4gto
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Report this Post12-19-2013 01:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Lou6t4gtoClick Here to Email Lou6t4gtoSend a Private Message to Lou6t4gtoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
There is always the "Old standby", put a 8 foot 4"X4" from 1 side of the car to the other, just in front of the front cradle mounts (I use concrete blocks under each end of the 4x4.
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jaskispyder
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Report this Post12-19-2013 02:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for jaskispyderSend a Private Message to jaskispyderEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
When in doubt, throw the wheels under the car as "just in case" protection.
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Report this Post12-19-2013 03:09 PM Click Here to See the Profile for WKDFIROClick Here to Email WKDFIROSend a Private Message to WKDFIROEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jaskispyder:

When in doubt, throw the wheels under the car as "just in case" protection.


I'll second that. Nothing like Peace of Mind.
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ltlfrari
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Report this Post12-19-2013 03:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ltlfrariClick Here to visit ltlfrari's HomePageClick Here to Email ltlfrariSend a Private Message to ltlfrariEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jaskispyder:

When in doubt, throw the wheels under the car as "just in case" protection.


+1. If you've got the wheels off, throw them under the car, maybe with some 4x4s on top as well, anything to give you a second chance if you need it.

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Report this Post12-19-2013 04:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PyrthianClick Here to Email PyrthianSend a Private Message to PyrthianEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
when putting in the 2nd set of stands - make sure the jack will be able to roll on its wheels as it jacks, and not snag in a pavement seam, and pull the car towards the jack as it goes up.
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Arns85GT
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Report this Post12-19-2013 07:00 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Arns85GTClick Here to Email Arns85GTSend a Private Message to Arns85GTEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Look at the rating on your stands and believe it. However, to do the cradle bolts it is best to put your front wheels on the ground in my experience. Or, better, you can put a floor jack under the body jacking points, with ALL wheels on the ground, and just take the stress off the bolts and they should pop out if they are not rusted in place.

For the brake work, put your stands forward of the front axle on each side on the rail, and at the back, put them under the rear corners of the cradle.

Hope this helps.

Arn

[This message has been edited by Arns85GT (edited 12-19-2013).]

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Harold James Kie
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Report this Post12-19-2013 11:13 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Harold James KieClick Here to Email Harold James KieSend a Private Message to Harold James KieEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I just did a complete brake job and suspension (Herb Adams anti sway bars, Eibach springs...) and replaced the gas tank (with an 88 tank) so I lived under the car for a few days. I had it on four jack stands but I did not feel safe with them alone without back up so I built two "lincoln log" style cribbing out of 2X6's and placed one at each end of the car. You can cut them to any width and length that you please and the height is dictated by how many stacks of lumber that you decide on. I used wood screws to fasten each layer together as I built them up so they would not disassemble at any unplanned time. Alternate the joints at the corners (like laying bricks) for structural integrity and even then use simpson ties on the corners at the top and bottom and use screws, not nails, to hold it together. It will take you an hour or two to build them but you will feel safer with them. Make sure that you are on level, solid foundation and shim any "wobble" before setting the car down on them. If you level the car it helps when doing the alignment especially if you have removed the struts or any suspension parts. Get good, straight Douglas Fir from a good lumber company and it will go easy.
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MacGyversMullet
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Report this Post12-20-2013 09:45 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MacGyversMulletSend a Private Message to MacGyversMulletEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Great advice everyone, thanks. That is good to know that it may be easier to swap out the cradle bushings with the front wheels on the ground.
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Report this Post12-20-2013 11:20 AM Click Here to See the Profile for theogreClick Here to visit theogre's HomePageSend a Private Message to theogreEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jaskispyder:
When in doubt, throw the wheels under the car as "just in case" protection.

Wheel on side can bend/break w/o warning. Hitting w/ a jack up car often similar to concrete blocks... Often w/ bad results.

You do not need to get under car to change cradle bushings. Those are easy reach to get at. Put rear wheel On the car before you try it.
I did mine 1 at a time. (I did polly)

Make sure all bolts are loose Before you replace anything. Cradle and brake bolts can take hours if rusted.

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starlightcoupe
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Report this Post12-20-2013 11:40 AM Click Here to See the Profile for starlightcoupeSend a Private Message to starlightcoupeEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Great posts and I strongly recommend you reading every one of them closely. I didn't know you could change the bushings without getting under the car--new info for me.

I am anal too about safety and I adapted a six foot or so piece of chain to put into the slots on the rear firewall and I use my engine hoist plus jack stands and a 4X4 under the jacking points just to the front of the rear wheels. I also use very strong ramps. All this gets in the way but I am destined to die if all those fail safes fail me.

I had to drop the fuel tank in my friend's front yard in Mississippi to get to the fuel pump. I brought a good array of parts and two fairly sturdy jack stands. I bought ramps from Autozone plus two sturdy jack stands for the front. I never ventured past the front part of the gas tank during this repair job.

The primary reason for my being overly cautious is I had the Fiero fall on me while I was under it the very first time I worked on it. My chest was firmly lodged between the concrete and the transmission. Luckily, one jack stand on the rear driver side didn't tip over when it fell and I was able to slip out of the jacket and get out from under the very oily car.

Please be careful!

Richard
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MacGyversMullet
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Report this Post12-21-2013 02:02 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MacGyversMulletSend a Private Message to MacGyversMulletEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by theogre:

Wheel on side can bend/break w/o warning. Hitting w/ a jack up car often similar to concrete blocks... Often w/ bad results.

You do not need to get under car to change cradle bushings. Those are easy reach to get at. Put rear wheel On the car before you try it.
I did mine 1 at a time. (I did polly)

Make sure all bolts are loose Before you replace anything. Cradle and brake bolts can take hours if rusted.



That's interesting to know that I don't need to be under the car for the cradle bushings, as the research I have done shows everything from under the car. Thanks for that tip and I will go for that route first.

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MacGyversMullet
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Report this Post12-21-2013 02:03 AM Click Here to See the Profile for MacGyversMulletSend a Private Message to MacGyversMulletEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

MacGyversMullet

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Member since Nov 2013
 
quote
Originally posted by starlightcoupe:

Great posts and I strongly recommend you reading every one of them closely. I didn't know you could change the bushings without getting under the car--new info for me.

I am anal too about safety and I adapted a six foot or so piece of chain to put into the slots on the rear firewall and I use my engine hoist plus jack stands and a 4X4 under the jacking points just to the front of the rear wheels. I also use very strong ramps. All this gets in the way but I am destined to die if all those fail safes fail me.

I had to drop the fuel tank in my friend's front yard in Mississippi to get to the fuel pump. I brought a good array of parts and two fairly sturdy jack stands. I bought ramps from Autozone plus two sturdy jack stands for the front. I never ventured past the front part of the gas tank during this repair job.

The primary reason for my being overly cautious is I had the Fiero fall on me while I was under it the very first time I worked on it. My chest was firmly lodged between the concrete and the transmission. Luckily, one jack stand on the rear driver side didn't tip over when it fell and I was able to slip out of the jacket and get out from under the very oily car.

Please be careful!

Richard


Holy moses, that is just scary to read! Glad you came out of that okay.
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82-T/A [At Work]
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Report this Post12-21-2013 10:01 AM Click Here to See the Profile for 82-T/A [At Work]Send a Private Message to 82-T/A [At Work]Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

I really, REALLY don't want to die... so I really prefer to look at things like this from a very negative perspective. You're replacing four well placed wheels with four 1.5" by 1.5" plates that the frame is resting on. A quick body-check by a football player would knock the car off the stands. In my opinion, if you HAVE to resort to using four jack stands, then I prefer instead to have either the front or the rear of the car supported by "ramps." Then, I support the other side with jack stands. A car is far less likely to fall of ramps. I mean, I'm not talking about the $10 dollar plastic ramps from Wall Mart, but something like this:




...and then put the other side on stands.


 
quote
Originally posted by jaskispyder:

When in doubt, throw the wheels under the car as "just in case" protection.


I 100% concur with this. I ALWAYS, ALWAYS do this, and I also strategically place the wheels under an area where I know that if the car was to fall off the stands, the wheel would immediately have the highest point of support. You might still end up with a cracked skull, but it'll prevent your head from being flattened. (IE: you'll survive)
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lateFormula
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Report this Post12-21-2013 10:41 AM Click Here to See the Profile for lateFormulaSend a Private Message to lateFormulaEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Wow I am surprised to read all of the fearful posts here. I've been wrenching on cars for over thirty years and I routinely work under cars that are only supported by jack stands. I am smart enough to never get under a car that is only supported by a floor jack, but I have no fear that any car will come down off a set of jackstands if I have put it up on the stands myself.

The one tip I would give MacGyver is if you want to get the car up in the air on four jackstands, you might want to get an eight foot 2"x12" and cut it into four two foot lengths. When you are going to put the car up in the air, put one of the pieces of wood in front of , or behind each of the tires on the car. Then drive the car up onto the pieces of wood. Raising the car up one and one-half inch will make it easier to get a floor jack under the jacking points under the car, especially once you have one end of the car up in the air. I have always found it easier to raise the front end first, then the rear.
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turbo86se
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Report this Post12-21-2013 01:36 PM Click Here to See the Profile for turbo86seClick Here to Email turbo86seSend a Private Message to turbo86seEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
This is a great read. I'm one of those nearly terrified to be working on my Fiero on 4 jack stands. Haven't done it yet, but the fuel pump must be replaced. Currently I have two metal ramps I can jack the car up on (it doesn't run) and two jackstands. The ramps have quite an incline to them. Would I be able to pull the gas tank with only the rear wheels off the ground? Or does the front of the car need to come up too? Sorry if I hijack the thread, but it's great to read about what other people have done.

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commerce
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Report this Post12-21-2013 10:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for commerceSend a Private Message to commerceEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
This is a good topic. Safety first when going under a car.
I still see cars supported with cinder blocks. Some people seem to think they have tremendous load bearing capacity, they don't, and will crumble.
If I am working on something that doesn't require taking off the tires, just getting the car up higher, I feel pretty comfortable with steel ramps.
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olejoedad
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Report this Post12-22-2013 08:03 AM Click Here to See the Profile for olejoedadClick Here to Email olejoedadSend a Private Message to olejoedadEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by lateFormula:

Wow I am surprised to read all of the fearful posts here. I've been wrenching on cars for over thirty years and I routinely work under cars that are only supported by jack stands. I am smart enough to never get under a car that is only supported by a floor jack, but I have no fear that any car will come down off a set of jackstands if I have put it up on the stands myself.

The one tip I would give MacGyver is if you want to get the car up in the air on four jackstands, you might want to get an eight foot 2"x12" and cut it into four two foot lengths. When you are going to put the car up in the air, put one of the pieces of wood in front of , or behind each of the tires on the car. Then drive the car up onto the pieces of wood. Raising the car up one and one-half inch will make it easier to get a floor jack under the jacking points under the car, especially once you have one end of the car up in the air. I have always found it easier to raise the front end first, then the rear.


This post makes sense.

Ramps, NO!
Blocks, NO!
Wood, NO!
Floor jacks, NO!

Jackstands, YES! ONLY USE QUALITY JACKSTANDS, 3 Ton rating each or higher for good working height.

[This message has been edited by olejoedad (edited 12-22-2013).]

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theogre
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Report this Post12-22-2013 12:34 PM Click Here to See the Profile for theogreClick Here to visit theogre's HomePageSend a Private Message to theogreEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Wood can be ok but depends on many things.
One example google: box cribbing

Al cradle "bushing" then don't tighten the bolts til done. Al one have less play to work.

[This message has been edited by theogre (edited 12-22-2013).]

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Report this Post12-22-2013 01:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for zkhenningsSend a Private Message to zkhenningsEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If you are dropping the cradle to do the bushings, definitely leave front wheels on the ground, you may have to remove the front bumper if you have an aero bumper.

I personally do not chock the front wheels when jacking the car from the middle when dropping the cradle. I have had the car almost fall off the 4x4 when I chocked the front wheels. I much rather prefer that the car moves and the jack stays stationary. I never chock the wheels during any kind of jacking, I only chock them once the car is in place on whatever jackstands it is on.

Working under 4 jackstands is only nerve wracking at first.

Here is what I do, I put the front end up on jackstands at the lowest setting, then put the back up at the setting I want, then raise the front to the same setting. Make sure your floor is clean/smooth and that the jack can roll or you will pull the car right off the jackstands. Once it is on all the jackstands, make sure they settled flat to the floor. Then I pretty much try to progressively knock the car off the jackstands. You will realize quickly that it takes a massive force to get the car to even budge a tiny bit. Bigger jackstands help if you are still worried.

Bottom line, if you are using jackstands correctly, there is really nothing to worry about.
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starlightcoupe
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Report this Post12-23-2013 03:28 PM Click Here to See the Profile for starlightcoupeSend a Private Message to starlightcoupeEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by turbo86se:

This is a great read. I'm one of those nearly terrified to be working on my Fiero on 4 jack stands. Haven't done it yet, but the fuel pump must be replaced. Currently I have two metal ramps I can jack the car up on (it doesn't run) and two jackstands. The ramps have quite an incline to them. Would I be able to pull the gas tank with only the rear wheels off the ground? Or does the front of the car need to come up too? Sorry if I hijack the thread, but it's great to read about what other people have done.


It really depends on the height of your ramps--mine are about ten inches high and I use a 2X10 on the ramps to get the car a little higher The first time I dropped the fuel tank, I didn't jack up the front of the car and only used the ramps. I could barely get the tank out and had to use my engine hoist to get the car high enough for me. I am not overweight or a big man but it was simply easier for me to drop the tank. I think I could have gotten it out without the engine hoist but it was easier. Good luck.
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