Stupid question: placement of jack and jack stands
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  1. #1
    baj
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    Stupid question: placement of jack and jack stands

    Here's a dumb one for you to laugh at:

    The service manual says a floor jack should be used roughly where the spare tire jack goes, at or near the edge of the body just inboard of the wheel wells. It doesn't say anything about a jacking point that allows both front or rear wheels to be lifted at the same time as in the case of some/many other cars.

    For jack stand placement it says that they should go someplace strong/good/safe or something like that. But in the jacking section it just told me that there are only four shuch places.

    How the heck can I put the jack stands under the car while the jack is holding it up if they have to go in the same place as the jack? And here I thought I had shelled out the bucks for the big manual so I wouldn't have to guess about stuff like this and risk making stupid/expensive/dangerous mistakes. The service manual for my other car weights about 1/10 as much but tells me how to safely jack up the car!
    Last edited by baj; 01-11-2005 at 06:18 PM. Reason: changed email notification -- no change to text

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  3. #2
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    you might want to invest on a jack block, from JC whitney, its cheap and is a piece of hard plastic to go in your jack seat, with a ridge cut in it, so you can use the stock jack positions. I would recommend the front suspension subframe for jack stands, and for the rear there is a part of chassis that fits the stands well, pm me your email if you would like pics. ~matt

  4. #3
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    baj,

    Not a dumb question. First, you should buy a set of 4 "jack pads," which are cone shaped plastic pieces that permanently attach to openings in the underside of the car. You can then jack up the car at those points. Unfortunately, you still need to lift at each corner. (Do a search for "jack pad" and you'll find plenty of info.)

    So I jack up the car on the jack pads, then lower it back down on jack stands that are placed that the 4 points for the factory scissor jack. I put the JC Whitney jack blocks on top of the jack stands so the side rails don't get bent. That works pretty well because the shape of my jack stand heads matches well with the base of the jack blocks, but it's not ideal in terms of stability.

    Ideally, I'd jack up the car at the side rail points, then rest the car on jack stands with circular heads under the jack pads, but I can't find affordable jack stands with circular heads.

    Good luck!
    Patrick.

  5. #4
    baj
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    I searched for "jack pads" and found some references to bending and a suggestion that these are only for lifting the whole car with a lift. Are these really safe for a floor jack? And if they are safe for a floor jack, is there anything wrong with using a jack with a saddle pad directly on the places where these pads would mount?

  6. #5
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    Here's what I use.
    Works perfectly without any bending.
    I place the jackstand under the subframe mounting point. My car is stiff enough that I jack jack the entire side of the car up from just this single jack point. I then place the rear jackstand under the correct pad area.


  7. #6
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    Baj, i emailed you 4 or 5 pics that should get you on track, like i said the trolly-jack pad is cheaper, its $5.59 and lets you use the jack points like the spare jack.

  8. #7
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    Poor man solution

    Here is a poor mans solution.
    I gouged a 8 in piece of 2x4 w/ my table saw.
    Works great.


  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikekiM View Post
    Turbomonkey was selling these on here, I bought one from him a couple of years ago. Works great, but you need a good floor jack, it was just a hair large for the circular area of my cheapo KMart floor jack.

  10. #9
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    [QUOTE=skismatik;2010865]Here is a poor mans solution.
    I gouged a 8 in piece of 2x4 w/ my table saw.
    Works great.

    I like to see a little MacGyver in the shop, shows your creativity...

    I was thinking the same idea a few post's before your's, then I saw the pics

  11. #10
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    Just buy a small sheet of 1/4" or 1/2" plywood and cut them into any shapes you want. Works great both for the jack AND the stands.

  12. #11
    JTL
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    Cutting a deep grove in a 2x4 and putting pressure on each side of the grove which happens when you are supporting the weight of the car bothers me. If the floor jack or jack stands are not wide enough to cover the grove and extend a ways on each side it seems like it could split at the grove. Especially if you are going with the grain.
    Kind of like scoring something and splitting it at the score point. Maybe I worry too much.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTL View Post
    Cutting a deep grove in a 2x4 and putting pressure on each side of the grove which happens when you are supporting the weight of the car bothers me. If the floor jack or jack stands are not wide enough to cover the grove and extend a ways on each side it seems like it could split at the grove. Especially if you are going with the grain.
    Kind of like scoring something and splitting it at the score point. Maybe I worry too much.
    No, good safety point. Maybe a more hearty dark wood would be better, oak, walniut.... But then your probably getting close to the cost of the mfg'd item TurboMonkey had\has?

  14. #13
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    That's why I mentioned plywood, guys (not my idea--a proven technique). Each layer of grain is in alternating directions. Use 1/2" and you get 5 layers or so, and if you glue a couple together you'll have 10 layers. The outer ones split a bit, but the overall piece will hold up for years without issue.

  15. #14
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    "proceed at your own risk"

    These are all very legitimate concerns and thoughts that were floating through my head while I was building the block. I did manage to find a good solid piece of pine and it seems to be holding up very well. I've used it repeatedly and there are no signs of wear/cracks/damage.

    You are all right though, this is a "proceed at your own risk" solution.

  16. #15
    Punches Dubs. True Story
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    What about the hockey puck trick? What's that cost ...$3? Score that, seat it in your jack and voila!

  17. #16
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    B5'ers,

    I attempted to lift my car, yesterday, but was unable to lift the front end up in a way that I felt it was stable enough to get underneath it.

    I have a floor jack and jack stands.

    The service manual is, indeed, a little vague on this.
    It calls for lifting the vehicle at the reinforced part of the floor well, when using a floor jack (as opposed to at the crimp weld, when using the spare tire jack).

    First, intuitively, I agree that placing something between the floorjack saddle and the footwell, to distribute the weight, is a good idea. The short 2x4 piece I attempted to use was pretty dry and brittle - it did not leave me feeling very secure.

    Second, I was a little sketched about placing the jackstands at the crimp weld points (aka the spare tire jack lift points), which the manual also calls for, because of the shape of my jackstand saddles compared to the thin surface area of the crimp weld. This is what mine look like:
    http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CEIQ8gIwAA#

    Third, with one corner of the car up and onto it's jackstand, when I lifted the other corner of the car the first jackstand (already in place) began to tilt a little. This gave me serious cause for pause.

    Here's my questions:

    1a. Where do I get one of those yellow things from TurboMonkey?
    1b. Would a hockey puck work ok as a pad to lift the car at the footwell?
    2. Am I being overly concerned about the jackstands at the crimp weld points?
    3. Do I need to jack each front corner of the car up about half way high, first, and then the rest of the way to avoid the jackstand tilt effect?

    Lastly, I do have some experience working on vehicles, but mostly on my truck which is high enough that I don't really need to jack it up. And the Passat (98 5 speed 1.8T) is such a great car I haven't needed to do hardly anything to it. Historically, I've taken it to my mechanic even for oil changes just because he's fair on charging me and does a good job on all the other stuff that I can't do myself.

    I stopped, put the car back down and knew the right thing was to check-in with you guys.

    I know this was long. Thanks for reading and your input is GREATLY appreciated.

    -Sobe

  18. #17
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    B5'ers:

    This covered it all, for me.

    Thought I'd contribute by posting it, here:

    http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?2951609

    Do you all agree this is a good & safe way to do it?

  19. #18
    Moderate Moderator Steve in Chicago's Avatar
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    Good call. If it doesn't look stable or trustworthy, do not risk it.

    I put a floor jack under the plate where the front sub-frame bolts to the body.



    I put jack stands at the jacking points in such a way that the top of the stand straddles the metal seam without bending it.



    The above picture also shows a good spot to place the jack on the rear suspension. Right where the rear suspension bolts to the body.

    You can see in the below picture how the pad on the floor jack moves BACK as it moves UP.



    What this means is, as you raise the car the jack itself will need to roll forward to compensate for this movement. If the jack does not roll forward, the car will get pulled back. If the other side of the car is already on stands, the car moving back will tilt the stands and make things unsafe.

    As you jack up the second, third, fourth corners of the car, keep an eye on the jack stands already placed. If you see them getting tilted, the floor jack isn't rolling as it should.

    Also... if you're doing work that involves removing the wheels, slide the wheel under the car so that if the car does fall, it'll land on the wheel and only fall so far.

  20. #19
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    thanks much.

    And REALLY stupid question:
    Does the passat need to be level (i.e. all four corners of the car up off the ground) to properly drain the oil?

    My truck manual specifically calls for the truck to be level, but again it's high enough that I don't need to jack it up anyway.

  21. #20
    Moderate Moderator Steve in Chicago's Avatar
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    I just lift the front to drain oil on my 1.8t. If that's all you're doing, a set of ramps might be easier, faster and safer.


  22. #21
    Super Stealth Retired Moderator JayTheSnork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sobieski View Post
    thanks much.

    And REALLY stupid question:
    Does the passat need to be level (i.e. all four corners of the car up off the ground) to properly drain the oil?

    My truck manual specifically calls for the truck to be level, but again it's high enough that I don't need to jack it up anyway.
    on my V6, the drain plug is on the driver's side at the back of the oil pan. putting it on ramps helps drain all of the oil out.

  23. #22
    Super Stealth Retired Moderator JayTheSnork's Avatar
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    answers below in bold:
    Quote Originally Posted by sobieski View Post

    Here's my questions:

    1a. Where do I get one of those yellow things from TurboMonkey?
    ans: you can't, as he doesn't make them anymore
    1b. Would a hockey puck work ok as a pad to lift the car at the footwell?
    ans: sure, don't see why not.
    2. Am I being overly concerned about the jackstands at the crimp weld points?
    ans: yes, but it is best to make sure you put the jackstand that you have at the point on the framework that works best for your jackstand type - I've seen jackstands with flat, rectangular heads; round heads; inverse arched heads; and others.
    3. Do I need to jack each front corner of the car up about half way high, first, and then the rest of the way to avoid the jackstand tilt effect?
    ans: no, but take your time and make sure the car doesn't fall off the other side as you lift the second side - always take your time and perodically look at the side that was lifted first.

  24. #23
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  25. #24
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    Thanks for all the input, B5'ers.

    I ended up using ramps to do the oil.
    Worked great.

    Thanks.

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