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  #1  
Old 05-21-2008, 11:03 PM
Coming back from burnout
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: in the Pacific Northwest
Posts: 2,274
Ramps--man those things are dangerous--Use a Jack!

I watched my neighbor drive his car up his ramps last weekend and I knew exactly what was going to happen. He was using them on glass smooth new concrete.

To go up ramps right, you got to get a head start of 4 feet. He tucked his right under the tire edges, gave the car some gas and one slipped out , the other caught and he drove right over it and landed on his floor pan.

I chuckled very hard. Yes I have done it. I like Heavy steel well made Ramps and the feeling of safety you get, but the best way to use them is to jack your car up high and shove them underneath your tires.

Its the only way I will go undernath a car if I am going to do a frame shaking job like put in a new engine and transmission.

Of course, 35 people are going to say Ramps are the greatest and they never make a mistake. Of course, because you have been fixing cars for 2 years.
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  #2  
Old 05-21-2008, 11:09 PM
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Ramps work well on asphalt. Other then that, Jack it up and slide them in.
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  #3  
Old 05-21-2008, 11:19 PM
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Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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Our ramps are solid wood...so they have a lot of surface area on the bottom, they don't slip (only in the snow )....and we have pretty rough older concrete on our driveway, not that new glassy smooth stuff....so they've always worked well...
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  #4  
Old 05-21-2008, 11:59 PM
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I've never had a problem with my ramps. I like them because there's no way to damage the undercoat on the car with them.

-Jason
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  #5  
Old 05-22-2008, 12:45 AM
compress ignite's Avatar
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Location: 32(degrees) North by 81(degrees) West
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Plastic Ramps

'bought a set 6 years ago on sale...They have little rubber "Feet" on both ends.
'Put the edge under the tire...drive up,gently...chock everything up and set the brakes...finish project and reverse procedure.

If I am going "Underside" a Boat or a Car for anything more strenuous than an
oil change...It's 12"X12"s,or 8"X8"s cut into 12" lengths laid side by side with
the next layer at 90 degrees to the preceding as tall as needed to raise the work [at the frame ,or stringers].
'last thing I will worry about is the "Project" falling whilst I'm underneath wailing away with a mallet on some recalcitrant suspension part.
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  #6  
Old 05-22-2008, 01:03 AM
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Location: Sunnyvale, Texas (DFW)
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I have to jack the car up and slide the ramps under the tires in the garage. The concrete is simply too slick for them not to slide. I usually use them in the grass next to the garage. That is where I do my oil changes.
Other work in the garage requires jacking and sliding, but I prefer that to using jack stands usually.....
Good thread Richard. I'm on board.
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  #7  
Old 05-22-2008, 01:37 AM
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Well, I've been fixing cars for 30+ years and you are right about using them on smooth concrete - BAD idea.

My driveway is an exposed aggregate - kind of a rough pebbled finish. No slippage to speak of. My ramps are the heavy-duty 2-ton rated steel type. Probably 30 years old.

Personally I like the ramps better than jackstands or a jack. If they are used properly - wheels centered - both side to side and front to back in the flat upper part of the ramp (which is actually a dished depression about an inch deep on mine), with the parking brake set, the vehicle is more stable than on a jack or jackstands.

I've pushed a car hard enough and far enough to topple jackstands or push one off a jack a couple of times. Never have managed to push one off my set of ramps though.
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  #8  
Old 05-22-2008, 07:34 AM
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... screw a piece of carpet to the ramp portion of the ramp... extend 12" or more past the beginning of the ramp... drive smooth on... no need for speed to get on the ramp. carpet holds the ramp still.
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"as I ride with my a/c on... I have fond memories of sweaty oily saturdays and spewing R12 into the air. THANKS for all you do!

My drivers:
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5-5SPEED!!!

1987 300TD
1987 300TD
1994GMC 2500 6.5Turbo truck... I had to put the ladder somewhere!
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  #9  
Old 05-22-2008, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vstech View Post
... screw a piece of carpet to the ramp portion of the ramp... extend 12" or more past the beginning of the ramp... drive smooth on... no need for speed to get on the ramp. carpet holds the ramp still.
Jeeze, what a great idea!
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  #10  
Old 05-22-2008, 08:08 AM
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I've use ramps for years as well. Like anything that's designed to work with a heavy load, it's something to be respected. FWD cars can climb a ramp on pretty much any surface since it's clawing it's way up instead of pushing.

What I do in the garage since the concrete is slick is simply put down 2 2x4's between the ramps and the wall so they can't scoot.

Speaking of accidents, one time I had a car on ramps. I had it in neutral and the e-brake set, running the engine looking for a leak or something. The owner walked around front, bent over with her hand on the bumper to see what I was doing and that was enough to cause the car to start to roll back off the ramps. Appearantly, the e-brake was useless... Anyway, I'm laying on the ground under the side of the car with my hips in the path of the oncoming tire. Since there was no way I could get out in time, I sucked in and turned my face sideways to hopefully keep from getting it squashed. I also pulled my arms back flat to the ground in an attempt to get as skinny as possible.

Here's where the miracle happened... The flashlight I was holding (cheap plastic thing as I remember) got stuck on the undercarriage as I was pulling it back. As the car rolled down the ramp, the flashlight planted in the ground and acted as a wedge - actually raising the car body. The wheel bounced into my hip (not too pleasant) and the car came to a stop with the flashlight perfectly straight up and holding the car body off of me. I couldn't even move enough to scootch out so the girl had to drag me out by me feet...

Moral of the story - always block the tires when using ramps...
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  #11  
Old 05-22-2008, 09:19 AM
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I've never liked the idea of ramps. Seems like an idiot (like I am capable of being) could easily drive off the high end of the things and do FAR more damage to their body work than jacks generally do.

I grew up watching my dad (and grandfather) do everything we've ever done with jacks and jackstands, and feel comfortable working with them myself. I don't deny the possibility of an accident and I'm careful... but having never had experience with ramps, I feel a lot safer with the IDEA of jacks and jackstands.
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1986 M-B 300SDL, retired due to rust and electrical problems. Donated engine to:
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1982 M-B 240D, odo stopped at 308,000
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  #12  
Old 05-22-2008, 09:37 AM
vstech's Avatar
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on level stable ground either support device is fine, and Stands are MUCH more versatile for various tasks like suspension etc...
on NOT level ground, I would think the ramps are superior, since they are so much longer in contact with the ground, but they kinda limit what you can do to the raised car... brakes etc kinda difficult with the tire on...
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John HAUL AWAY, OR CRUSHED CARS!!! HELP ME keep the cars out of the crusher! A/C Thread
"as I ride with my a/c on... I have fond memories of sweaty oily saturdays and spewing R12 into the air. THANKS for all you do!

My drivers:
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5Turbo
1987 190D 2.5-5SPEED!!!

1987 300TD
1987 300TD
1994GMC 2500 6.5Turbo truck... I had to put the ladder somewhere!
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  #13  
Old 05-22-2008, 10:31 AM
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I much prefer ramps when ever possible but I have had them slide when driving up on them. I have thought about drilling a hole in the floor and the front of the ramp so I could drop in a pin to hold it in place while I drive up them.
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  #14  
Old 05-22-2008, 10:46 AM
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There's two factors at play with my commentary on jacks vs ramps... Might as well share them since they relate somewhat.

1. We have a smooth concrete floor garage - slick enough I think ramps would scoot. So level surface isn't an issue.

2. I'm an oil drainer, not an oil vacuumer. Therefore, my car gets jacked up every 5,000 miles because I rotate my tires every time I change the oil... so ramps are useless for 95% if not an even higher percentage of the work I do to the car. If the tires come off 95% of the times the car goes in for service, what's the point in having ramps anyway?
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"What could possibly go wrong?"

~Michael S.~ -
1986 M-B 300SDL, retired due to rust and electrical problems. Donated engine to:
1987 M-B 300SDL, odo dead. New project.
1982 M-B 240D, odo stopped at 308,000
1982 M-B 300SD, 175,000
1989 Dodge Ramcharger, 87,000 - 4wd, 318
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  #15  
Old 05-22-2008, 10:59 AM
Craig
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I use both depending on the job, at the moment the 240D is sitting on ramps with the AC compressor dangling waiting for a replacement bolt/spacer that somehow fell out of the bracket. I prefer ramps to get under the front of the car.
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