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Grady Clay's Avatar
 
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How do we build the best jack stand for our 911s?

Guys & Gals;

This image of ‘Hester’ up on jack stands has finally inspired me to ask the question:
How do we build the best jack stand for our 911s?




I have yet to find one that perfectly meets my standards.

Let’s engineer one.
What are the criteria?
I’ll start a few (obviously subject to much change):
There must be one jack stand for all situations.
It must be lightweight.
It must be very inexpensive.

So much for my ‘Modest Proposal


Perhaps the first question is: How do jack stands fail? What are “jack stand accidents”?

I suspect many of the answers to these questions will be “Operator mis-use”.

So … how do we design a ‘single-use’ (911) jack stand that is less susceptible to ‘mis-use’?
Of course there are other criteria but this might be #1.
What are others?

Best,
Grady

PS: My “FIRST RULE OF SAFETY” is to never rely on one system – safety back-up is required for my body.
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:15 AM
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Here's an article I did for Vintage Motorsport magazine. More than anyone needs to know.

Richard Newton
Old 05-20-2012, 07:56 AM
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Nice project!
I'd like to add the following criteria:
  • adjustable height (just like standard jacks)
  • Must be easy to use
  • perhaps have several "heads" options (flat and padded, rounded to fit under torsion bar, have larger contact area.etc...)
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Old 05-20-2012, 08:19 AM
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Subscribed! My jack stands are cheapies. Ratchet mechanism with no locking pin. In the past when I used them I always put a wheel/tire under the car as a backup to the jack stand. I'm going to buy something better to work on the 911. I'll be interested to see what shows up here.


Tom
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Old 05-20-2012, 08:39 AM
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There are also the screw type stands...infinitely adjustable....positive lock...and can be very strong.
I used to see the mechanics at Stelco use them....they had a quick "up" mechanism (pulling up on the cradle let the threads slip) and they held several tons.
Bob
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Old 05-20-2012, 08:45 AM
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I have had good luck with the Esco stands which are copies of the AC units, I believe.

The features I like about these are:

-adjustable height with PINS and not ratcheting. The pins have a locking ring so they won't remove without taking this off.
-THREE supporting legs and not four like most. Four legs can have a situation where they are unbalanced and can wobble like the dining room chair with one leg just a teensy bit shorter than the others. This won't happen with three legs.
-flat, wide leg bottoms. The stamped legs of some can dig into the ground, the floor and hot asphalt.
-they are available with two different types of heads - flat with rubber, non-marring covers and the typical U shape.

Their down sides include being not inexpensive and they aren't terribly lightweight. However, their weight does contribute to their strength and stability.

That's all I got for now. Good thread and idea, Grady.
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Last edited by Canada Kev; 05-20-2012 at 09:18 AM..
Old 05-20-2012, 09:13 AM
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Richard,

Great article. Good for you – we all learn something.

Now…
How do we take this knowledge and devise a set of criteria for engineering a proper jack stand for our 911s?

Jack stand accident while under a Porsche....

914World.com - A Porsche 914 Community / Forum / Club

Google “Jack Stand Accident” and you will find WAY TOO MANY links, most from car clubs like ours.
That should be a ‘wake-up’ to us all.


Good ideas guys.

Kevin, I agree about the 3-leg stool principal.
What about the direction office chairs have taken over the past few decades: 5-, 6- and 7-leg design?
This principal has the load distributed among many (spider-8?) legs with some degree of load-equalizing flexibility.

Where the stand contacts the ground is one of the critical elements.
Should it be ‘skid-proof’ on smooth concrete?
Should it prevent ‘digging-in’ on soft surfaces (gravel, warm asphalt)?
Self-aligning on uneven surfaces?
Infinite (screw) adjustment to equalize the load among (4+) stands?

When discussing the ‘heads’ that contact our 911s, there is a great deal of ‘where’ and ‘how’.
For many operations we usually choose the cylindrical surfaces of the front A-arms and the rear torsion bar spring plates or the rear torsion bar tube.
‘Half-moon’ semi-circular (or ‘V’) heads work well for these applications.
Leather or plastic works well to prevent damage to the Porsche parts.
Should we consider ‘attaching’ the head to the car?

I think everyone can agree that there have been many (abet anecdotal) cases of jack stand failure.
I think the place to start is to analyze those failures and determine the causes.
If we approach this like an airplane crash investigation (which usually shows multiple causes) we may find similar situations with a 911 on jack stands.
An accident wasn’t caused by a single component failure or operating procedure deviation.

Perhaps our “911 Jack-stand” can have features (like the aircraft and operating industry) that preclude mis-use and have all the necessary (redundant) operating features.

Who are the primary (industrial) manufacturers of jack stands in the USA, Japan & Europe? (So what if the welds are in China.)
We should be able to enlist their engineering prowess to this task.

I suspect there are operating ‘instructions’ that come with jack stands. Since my last purchase was in about 1970, there are probably more recent versions.
What are they?

Best,
Grady
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:27 PM
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While I don't use jackstands very much any longer, I do have 4 of these ESCO 3-ton Flat Top Jackstand (ea)(Freight exception!) that I really like.

Very well made, stable, and safe.

Naturally, placement is critical regardless of which one you use as that's one big factor for safety. Given the different positions and shapes of the chassis and suspension, I don't think any one of the current offerings is really ideal.

When I get time, I'll fabricate some different tops for these that will make the system more flexible.
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:54 PM
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I've seen very nice stands that go in the jack hole - they pivot and allow you to lift the front or the rear accordingly... I can't seem to find a reference photo.
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Old 05-20-2012, 03:03 PM
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Steve,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your input.

In my shop (Rennenhaus) we had seven single-post, 4-prong, in-ground lifts. Perfect for 911s, 356 and more.
There were still many occasions where we had a 911 on jack stands (lift as backup).

We regularly discussed the hazards and careful operation.
In 25 years, we never had an accident.

I think the goal here (this thread) is to build the ‘BEST’ jack stand (probably plural) and to develop the ‘BEST’ set of procedures for having our 911s on stands.

I picture some enthusiast Pelican friend being crushed by their beloved 911 due to faulty equipment and unsafe procedures.
Here, we have the opportunity to help make things work the “BEST POSSIBLE”.

Every professional shop (like ours) and home weekenders (like most) can benefit and contribute - including 'down under' (Thanks John).

Best,
Grady
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Old 05-20-2012, 03:35 PM
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Grady-

This is a very worthwhile topic to discuss and hopefully leads us to some solutions.

I bought the Esco stands; very sturdy and well made and I like the three leg stability. I purchased both the flat top head and the "u" shaped head for use on my 993 and early 911.

Jack stand placement should also be part of this discussion.

Nick
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Old 05-20-2012, 03:59 PM
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The Esco stands with two heads would be nice. The ability to Switch from flat to U shaped.
Old 05-20-2012, 06:11 PM
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Grady and Team,

I normally do not get under the 911 unless I use the self-help auto shop with a full lift. However, if I were going to buy a jack and jack stands for a home project, the jack stands would have to have a safety pin that ran through the shaft...not just the lever that is pictured above -- that is a built-in failure point. The safety pin design is similar to the nautilus gym weight system. Push the pin to release the ball bearing to pull out.

BTW - My little 1970 911T, w/ 2.4S MFI is on the street and running great. I'll swing by the National PCA Club next week, located in Columbia, MD. Their new HQs is just 6 miles from Fort Meade.

Vr,
Scott
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Old 05-20-2012, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishcop View Post
I've seen very nice stands that go in the jack hole - they pivot and allow you to lift the front or the rear accordingly... I can't seem to find a reference photo.
This would be a very useful item.
Old 05-20-2012, 07:08 PM
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...great subject here...I think that the best point to support the rear is to make a cradle that positions under the u-shaped portion of the unibody seam just in front of the rear wheels...65-89 have this same seam, to the best of my knowledge...
I often use this spot w/ a pc of wood that has a seam cut out of it so as not to damage the knife edge like portion of the uni-body seam that points down twds the ground...
I prefer this point vs compressing the top of the rear rubber bushing in the rear torsion tubes ends...
I would think that making one such as I am describing...make it such that it will have a female rectangle bottom portion which slips over the top of std floor stands = the "y" shaped tops...

I have already made similar adapters = slip over the tops of the "y", but have not spent the time to make this cradle style for the body seam...

Maybe I need to fire up the welder to do it now... :-)
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:20 AM
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Why reinvent the wheel?? Majority of jack stand fail is the loose nut using them.

Digging into a surface - use something to prevent this. Plywood works...

Make sure they are on solid part of body

If stand is that uneven - move it to solid location

This is stuff you can learn I grade nine auto class. Maybe some people need to take a auto class for girls to learn basics

This is common sence guys, and is almost as painful to read as - what oil to use or what torque wrench is best, my favorite is I want to install a hoist but only have 8 foot ceiling

Come on - car guys -

I'm not against innovation but - wow - really

Last edited by Brad394; 05-21-2012 at 04:35 AM..
Old 05-21-2012, 04:26 AM
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I have a midrise lift and don't use my jack stands much at all anymore. However, after reading this thread I'm going let them all go at the next garage sale. Steve, I've never run across Welcome to Ultimate Garage before. They've got some awesome stuff.

Grady, good idea. Great post.


Thanks,
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Old 05-21-2012, 04:37 AM
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Speaking of stands check out these: jackpointjackstands.com

I saw their ad in Excellence.
Old 05-21-2012, 08:19 AM
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threaded height adjustment would be excellent. i dislike (especially when exhausted) trying to jack up the car, get the jackstand under there only to find you need to revisit the jack to lift it some more because you are "between" ratchet points on the stands. small annoyance only..we are looking for the best right?

we had these tiny bridge lifting jacks that would fit perfectly under a 911 jack points. hydraulic with a mechanical lock. would be perfect as jackstands,,and the jack.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:24 AM
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I use a square of 1/4" plywood under my jackstands. That protects my epoxy floor. I use them at the track because there are times at Sebring when I'm out in the dirt area. I don't want my stands slowly sinking into the sand.

Richard Newton
Old 05-21-2012, 11:03 AM
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