Ramps, jack stands, or what for changing oil in 3/4 ton vehicles? - TriFive.com, 1955 Chevy 1956 chevy 1957 Chevy Forum , Talk about your 55 chevy 56 chevy 57 chevy - Belair , 210, 150 sedans , Nomads and Trucks, Research, Free Tech Advice

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Old 09-29-2019, 11:49 AM   #1
Polish Wizard
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Default Ramps, jack stands, or what for changing oil in 3/4 ton vehicles?

Until now it has been pricey but certainly easier and more convenient to have my oil changed in pick-ups and Suburbans than do it myself. My favorite local repair shop is walking into retirement and too many friends and I can describe poor service at some of the quick-change shops to feel comfortable throwing my money there.

I'm wondering what you folks with larger vehicles use so I can get my fat belly under the vehicle?
My purpose is to have a process that doesn't take all day to set up and tear down.

Some things to consider:
-weight of the vehicle (1/2 ton pick-up and 3/4 ton Suburban both 4x4) and capacity of the ramps
-angle of the resting vehicle while it sits on ramps -- does it inhibit draining of fluids, especially with a rock plate under the oil pan?
-tire width
-and you can come up with your own concerns to complete this list.

Long before I started with the FD the senior folks had an oak 6x6 they had cut diagonal in the center to create a matching pair of ramps, each with about 2' of slope and 2' of flat top. We placed these under the truck on each side so one was in front of the inside tires on the dual-wheel configuration, then drive the fire truck up the ramp.
The intent was to raise the truck enough to install full snow chains on the outer tires.
Safe? Smart? It worked. Especially when we had trucks with the lighter-duty automatic snow chains installed on the bottom of the spring U-bolts, eliminating many options for easily using a floor jack.

RhinoRamps seems to be the least costly of manufactured stuff on the market, but I've also read a minimal number of reports indicating how they failed.

I'm also considering stacking (and obviously fastening) strips of 2x12 with the leading edge chamfered on each strip to create a ramp without the "abrupt" rise if the 2x12 was simply blunt cut.
How high would be sufficient and still safe to work under?
Sorry, but I haven't taken time to consider how long each ramp would need to be, how much lumber I'd need, or how much each would weigh.

I'm looking forward to ideas that make backyard mechanics fun to watch.
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Old 09-29-2019, 01:16 PM   #2
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I have a pair of ramps that I forget the brand name but they are some type of plastic and have a weight rating of I think 12,000 lbs. Yes that's not a typo, not 1,200 lbs. They don't go quite as high as some old steel ones I have (and trust much less), but they work great. My girlfriend picked them up when the non-profit she works for had a thrift store so I don't know what they cost new, but they cost me $10. I've had numerous vehicles on them including a couple 3/4 ton ones. Although I range from 230 to 245lbs, my belly can get under the 3/4 ton van for oil changes without the ramps. But sometimes use them both on one side to tilt and (hopefully) get more oil out of the pan. Reminds me, it's about due. What are you guys using for filters ... an original FRAM is the best right? Just Kidding!!!
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Old 09-29-2019, 02:11 PM   #3
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My Dad had these DIY ramps made when I was a kid. He used to design oil field pumping equipment so he had the guys in the mfg shop build these about 45 years ago.

They’re completely overbuilt but I trust them and used them on my very first car and now with my current rides. I had a car fall off a jack one time so I always have items under the car in addition to jack stands.


I’m going to make some extensions like this for our lower profile rides.
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Old 09-29-2019, 02:52 PM   #4
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Unless the truck is lowered, you might be able to access the drain and filter without even elevating the vehicle. I did it on my halfton many times just by parking with the front tires in the garage opening (~ 2" higher than the drive), and since I had a 'drain grate' right in front of the garage doors I got another inch or so of 'lower drive'. I could reach under to remove the drain plug and loosen the oil filter.

POINT: Just find the right place to park the vehicle, OR make your self a lower set of ramps by 'sandwiching' a couple of piece of 2x10 to get a 3.5" lift, or more pieces to get an inch or two more. No danger of a sandwiched 2x10 to collapse on you.. 2' long piece with 30-45 deg cuts make very solid low rise ramp.
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Old 09-29-2019, 07:07 PM   #5
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When inside my shop,I use a couple of 6 ton hydraulic bottle jacks to raise it and some 12 ton jack stands under it.
I just today finished replacing the calipers,brake pads,rubber brake lines and idler arm on my 1 ton,G-30 motorhome today.
Outside,to change oil and other things under my other heavy trucks,I have a shallow ditch that I park crossways or parrallel on.Easy to get under with plenty of room.Just block the wheels to stop it from rolling.
I also have some pieces of 3"x 12"x 3' wooden blocks to drive on.The ends are tapered.Made them for the camper,but they are handy around the shop too!
Whatever you use,get up and shake the crap out of it to see if it will hold steady!
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Old 09-29-2019, 07:30 PM   #6
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Since you folks all offered ideas and cautions I'll do the stupid thing and ask about the dislike for Fram filters.

Something I should be concerned about for cars, trucks, and tractors?
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Old 09-29-2019, 07:31 PM   #7
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Keep in mind that ramps can slip when you (attempt) to drive up on them. So you'd need to be able to deal with that.

I can change the oil on my 1/2 ton late model pickup with no ramps or jacking. Being able to get farther under it is no real gain for me.
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Old 09-29-2019, 08:56 PM   #8
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I have a big gut and fit under my 2wd 2500 with ease.
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Old 09-30-2019, 12:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polish Wizard View Post
Since you folks all offered ideas and cautions I'll do the stupid thing and ask about the dislike for Fram filters.

Something I should be concerned about for cars, trucks, and tractors?
I used Fram filters for many years (60's thru the 80's or 90's?) until I begin seeing magazine tech articles comparing cut apart filters which stated that the Frams were 'inferior' to others such as AC or WIX.. I probably still have some old (new) Fram filters on my shelf that I never used, but if I needed to I'd probably use them but maybe change them out sooner than I would another brand.

Note: Maybe it's all just 'marketing' hype? I've never cut one apart and compared...
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