Originally Posted by Grizwald
I have a 2008 Roadtrek Versatile 210 and even after having the chassis lifted about 3" last off-season, there is not enough room to get underneath and replace a macerator discharge hose. Does anyone have a recommendation for a set of ramps/jacks/lifts that ae relatively inexpensive, yet safe and effective to gain access for simple DIY repairs and maintenance?
Thanks in advance,
"Clark" Grizwald -
You don't say whether you also have a garage parking need as well, & since others reading here may need more garage parking - I've also covered lifts below. But they're generally not going to be cost effective for just doing work under your RV &/or other vehicles.
For cost effectiveness - either ramps rated for 9000+ lbs if store-bought or 2x10 or 2x12 will work.
But as others have said you need to have the top steps long enough to place wheel chocks front & rear - whether using one end or all 4 wheels up.
For a bit more cost, but maybe worth it if you're working on your RV &/or vehicles a lot - is a floor jack + 2 or 4 jack stands (one end or all 4 wheels up respectively) - ALL of which rated for 9000+ lbs of your RV or heaviest vehicle you'll be lifting.
If only lifting one end, then you'll need to chock front & rear of the grounded wheels.
As for jack stands - Do NOT get the Ratcheted type - as they've been proven to be fatal & injurious when the ratchets slip or are bumped. Use only the type with set-pins
to hold the adjustable shaft.
Also get the jack & stands rated for the full load that you'll be lifting - not just for the one wheel or one end (1/2) of the total weight of the vehicle, because you don't want any one jack stand or the jack compromised if any other of the 4 corners' stands/jack are unsupported or drops/fails.
The most expensive option are the lifts, which make sense if you're doing a lot of vehicle work, restoring cars/trucks, &/or need to make extra parking spaces with a lift. They range for several $100+ for portable & fixed scissors lifts - to $1-4000+ for built-in 2 or 4 post lifts.
However - I would not recommend anything but a 4 post lift if you're looking to park 2 or 4 cars on & under lifts, due to needing stability in the case of earthquakes &/or tornado/hurricane/wind forces that can set a 2-post lift off-balance, failing & then losing 2 or 4 cars.
4 Post lifts come in singe or double wide flavors depending on your needs & garage layout, in order to double your parking capacity in one or both garage bays.
However, you need to have the necessary interior clear height in your garage for the lift carriage height + the bottom vehicle height with a couple/few inches clear above it + the top vehicle ht. + a couple-few inches clear above it to the nearest ceiling/rafter/joist/lights/roll-up door/etc. above.
Usually you would put the lightest, shortest, smallest, least used vehicle(s) on top. So you'd probably keep even the less used RV on the floor space(s), & that's where you put your little weekend driver sports car or resto project or "Dad's old car" on top.
If you have adequate garage clear height - then a 4 post lift will be less costly than expanding or rebuilding your garage, and often less cost if you can raise the clear height of your garage a bit or raise it's roof. The needed minimum clear height will vary by lift design & manufacturer/model, and by what vehicles you'll be parking in there.
This is especially so for those of use with small city lots lacking space to expand at ground level for more cars, &/or have zoning &/or CCR/Homeowner Association restrictions on expanding their garages for more cars - &/or where less expensive steel sheds & prefab garage buildings are prohibited by any of the preceding.
If you have enough floor area to fit in 1 or 2x or 3x single car lifts or 1 + 2 or 1+ 2 + 1, then you'll be well served to have at least one single lift for working on a vehicle, without needing to move out 3-4 cars just to work under one. If you're lucky enough to already have a 2, 3 or 4 car garage with enough clear height & width to do single post lifts - then you could opt to keep one bay (parking slot) open to park your RV on the ground level, & then have 1 single vehicle service lift, plus one or more single &/or double vehicle lifts to expand your indoor vehicle parking storage capacity.
However, in some cases with a tight 2-car garage you can only use a double 4-post lift, & just have to move 2 vehicles under & 1 or both on top. For example in our case - we have space/zoning/cost limitations - and our 1921 "2 car" garage was made for Model T's & wagons, and as such it's only 18' W. x 17'-6" D. out-to-out including the 2x3 walls & x 7' Clear H. - so we must both raise the interior clear ht. & do one 2 vehicle 4 post lift to get 4 parking spaces in our garage.
In these types of garages & in some tight 1-car garages you may need to use a manufacturer & model who can allow you to customize the footprint & height of the lift(s) to fit you situation. Also, some offer 4-6-8 post lift designs to fit vehicles in tandem parking garages with 2 cars one in front of the other in the garage & on the lift.
As above for jacks/stands/ramps - the lift should be rated for the combined weight(s) of all vehicles which would be using them.
In some areas you may still need city/county permits, and especially if you may have to saw-cut your existing floor-slab to insert & tie-in with reinforcing rods for deeper footing pads under the lift leg bases - depending on your garage floor slab's thickness, reinforcement & weight rating vs. the lift's specs.
So while you can certainly build some cost effective 2x ramps to change your hose - if you also need more garage parking spaces - the lift option may be your better long term solution to do eventually.
Good Luck & Be Safe!