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Old 11-22-2015, 01:43 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Servicing Your Own Van

I know there are quite a few here who like to service your own generators and chassis engines. I ran across a nice product for around $59.00 that might help you a great deal for working under the van safely.

http://www.amazon.com/RhinoGear-1190.../dp/B0117EETEK

Please feel free to share your tips and tricks for DIY service.
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Old 11-22-2015, 02:41 AM   #2
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Here's how I do it:

Lift f.jpg

Lift.jpg

Made from 2x12 lumber I got from the "cull" pile at Home Depot (very cheap). Adds 5" of clearance. Works really well.
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Old 11-22-2015, 04:14 AM   #3
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I use these. The set cost about $12.
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Old 11-22-2015, 05:06 AM   #4
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for anything "real" I have a creeper, jacks and jack stands which support the vehicle by the frame.
for many services, you want the weight off of the wheels.

for changing the oil ( chev), I can reach the drain plug and oil filter with the van on level ground...although using my "lego" like leveling blocks to raise the front driver wheel 2" makes even easier as my catch pan has a high lip.

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Old 11-22-2015, 01:16 PM   #5
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I, too, have jack stands for operations that need the weight off the wheels. But I feel very much safer under the van with the wooden "lifts". Extremely stable. I made them when working on an extensive project to convert my vehicle for 4-season use. Now, I can't live without them. Takes less than a minute to get up or down, and having the whole vehicle 5" higher makes the difference between almost-impossible and easy-peasy--especially with a creeper.
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Old 11-22-2015, 04:27 PM   #6
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Very nice, especially if you have the materials and tools handy to build them.

The option I linked to on Amazon is now only $47.99 and lifts the vehicle 11 inches with no time required to build them. I will acknowledge that building them yourself is a lot more fun and rewarding
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Old 11-22-2015, 04:40 PM   #7
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Third post on this topic - http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f5...amps-2474.html - plastic ramp collapse.

I use wood for ramps for the van now also. That topic also has some useful info about what year ratings standards to look for on stands.
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Old 11-22-2015, 04:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
Third post on this topic - http://www.classbforum.com/forums/f5...amps-2474.html - plastic ramp collapse.
Great post. The key words were "They had not been used for years..." Plastic degrades over time and that amount of time is anyone's guess. Solid materials able to take high compression loads - plywood (the good stuff with no voids), pieces of solid lumber, etc. - seem like a safer alternative. One can also make them as wide as you want for your tires.
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Old 11-22-2015, 06:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
I, too, have jack stands for operations that need the weight off the wheels. But I feel very much safer under the van with the wooden "lifts". Extremely stable. I made them when working on an extensive project to convert my vehicle for 4-season use. Now, I can't live without them. Takes less than a minute to get up or down, and having the whole vehicle 5" higher makes the difference between almost-impossible and easy-peasy--especially with a creeper.
I agree. I don't like the idea of anything moveable or load collapsible lifting a vehicle as heavy as a van. Solid wood would be OK.
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Old 11-22-2015, 07:28 PM   #10
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Yes. It's not like you are going to carry ramps around with you. No room anyways. I just slide the wood ramps to the side of the garage until they are needed.
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:46 PM   #11
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The concern with ramps is driving off of them. Either at the end or off the side. Some of the wooden ramps above take this into consideration while purchased ramps would not. I have seen many fenders/kick panels crushed by someone driving off a ramp.

I would never drive onto ramps alone. When I had to use ramps when I was alone I jacked up the vehicle and placed the ramps under the tire. It might sound silly but you will avoid all of the pitfalls this way. They can be driven off with no issues however.

By having a ramp wider than the tire allows for some deviation left and right and also allows you to use them in the back for duallies. Wood ramps also have less of a grade than purchased ramps which helps in avoiding issues as well.
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:58 PM   #12
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The "driving off" issue is one reason why I made my wooden ramps only 5" high. At least on a Sprinter, that allows plenty of room to work underneath, and the van can take a 5" drop without issues.

I strongly agree with the advice to make the ramp considerably wider than the tires. I used 2x12s, which provides a very comfortable margin. I also made six ramps and use one per wheel in the back. Wooden ramps made this way are vastly superior to purchased ones in every way (except weight). I have no issue at all with using them alone. I just stick my head out of the window.
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:59 PM   #13
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I've found the biggest issue with purchased ramps is they slide when you try to drive on them. The wooden ones, while heavy, I also stapled a patch of old rubber floormat on the bottom ends. So far, no sliding issues at all.
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Old 11-24-2015, 12:23 AM   #14
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I had the same problem where the ramps slid when driving the car on them flipping one out and slightly denting the car also somehow it ended up with a big crack in it. I use the wood now an I double up keeping some in the van for leveling blocks when camping
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Old 11-24-2015, 01:53 AM   #15
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When I built my ramps, I considered nailing on a piece of thin plywood as my lowest layer so that the tires would roll onto it first and capture the unit before it could move. Didn't prove to be necessary, though. The first course of 2x12 accomplishes the same thing.
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Old 11-25-2015, 03:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkguitar View Post
using my "lego" like leveling blocks to raise the front driver wheel 2" makes even easier
I just picked up a neat little package of those little "lego" dudes at the tail end of my last trip when I realized that it's actually really annoying to be slightly out of level. Encouraged to see that I might be able to use them to do the black water drainage work I need to do on my rig. Any advice for using them as mini-jacks? Do you use wheel chocks to avoid rolling?
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Old 11-26-2015, 09:10 PM   #17
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I made some ramps with 2x10 solid wood. I've got a gravel driveway. After using them a few times (and maybe leaving under the van for the winter), a couple of them split lengthwise. I made some new ones using a few sheets of plywood. I feel safer with these.

Do you really think that a few voids in one of the layers would really be a safety issue?
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Old 11-26-2015, 10:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Do you really think that a few voids in one of the layers would really be a safety issue?
I don't think so. I know I said "the good stuff with no voids", but if you are going to be stacking several layers and you probably won't line up any voids. Marine ply will not have voids, but thinking on it now, that's overkill for this application. But if you want to leave outside (suggest under cover) use exterior grade ply.
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Old 11-26-2015, 11:20 PM   #19
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Good point concerning the exterior grade plywood. I hadn't thought of that. Not sure what I got, but it's holding up so far.
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Old 11-27-2015, 04:28 AM   #20
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a marine grade or baltic birch is hardwood.

many ply woods are made from strands of soft woods and is not meant to resist compression

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