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Old 01-03-2013, 03:56 PM   #1
phenryiv1
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Satin White Pearl

Default DIY: Building LOW ramps for service (or to clear a lift)

Mods: Sorry if this needs to be moved.

Also, mirrored here if you want a print-in-one-shot view: http://www.subaruaudio.net/other-how...ow-rise-ramps/

So why ramps? Because I needed them to be able to park my WRX over my lift on a daily basis. The hydraulics woudl hit the bottom of the car if I parked over it, so I made ramps to make it easier to park in the garage with the lift in place.

I have had issues in the past with even the low-profile rhino ramps being too steep to park lowered vehicles without the lip rubbing, so I started looking to find plans for DIY ramps. All of the DIYs had dead pictures or looked like @$$ (sorry), so I did my own DIY.

Make them shorter if you just want them for service ramps.

I saw about 47 different threads discussing low ramps for clearing a mid-rise lift, but the how-tos were fairly basic. Since making such ramps is simple, that makes sense. But for novices, I thought that I'd put together a short how-to guide. I am sure that there are many improvements that could be made to my procedure, so feel free to post here for posterity.

I needed ramps because I want to be able to park over top of my Atlas TD6MR on a daily basis and my WRX is too low (despite only being 1/2" lower than stock) to clear the hydraulic assembly. I wanted wide ramps that would fit multiple vehicles, and I wanted them to be movable fo rtimes when I need a clear floor (or for when I am going to lift something taller like my truck).

For that reason, I went with a "ladder" configuration, and fo rease of assembly I used 5/4" decking boards for the parking surface or deck of the ramp. I am REALLY bad with a circular saw and my table saw is stored away, so I went with the 5/4" boards for ease. I like my choice, but feel free to go your own way.

I measured the wheelbase of pretty much every car that MIGHT park on the ramps and decided on a 10' length, though I could easily add an additional 1-2 feet to the front whether temporary or permanent) with almost no effort, should I need longer ramps for another vehicle.

Materials:

2x3 x 8': 15 (approximate)
5/4x6 decking material: 4 @ 10', 4 @ 8' (Should have been 6 @ 10' and 1 @ 8' but more on that later.)
2x4 x 8' pressure treated: 1
Exterior grade decking screws: 2", 3", 2.5" I went through about 1 lb. each. I should have used all 2.5" and 2" but look at the material and decide accordingly.
Misc 19/32" plywood

Note: In place of the 5/4" mateiral you can use PT plywoood, synbthetic decking, Advantax-type subflooring...pretty much anything. If yo uneed the ramps to be taller, you can use 2x4s or taller. Look at what you need and plan accordingly.

Additionally, I had some waste when I was finished. Better planning of my cuts might have saved me a couple of 2x3s. I also should have bought six 10' 5/4x6 decking boards, but I made a mental miscalculation and bought only four.

Tools:

Circular saw
Small miter saw (only because I am bad with a circular saw)
Drills- 2. Note that I have 2 of them. Drilling and screwing with the same drill is a royal PITA. I don't recommend it. Beg, buy, borrow, or steal a second drill if you don't have one.
Carpenter's square
Tape measure(s)
Material clamps
Pair of sawhorses
4' level (or other straightedge): I only used this as a fence for sawing the plywood.


The process:

Materials all laid out:



With me using (3) 5/4"x6" decking boards for the deck of the ramps, I laid them out and measured 17" for the width of the ends. Note: I forgot to allow for a nail spacing between boards. It did not matter in the end, but do a favor and add about 1/4"-3/8" for that when you cut your ends and ladder "rungs" for support.

I used a small mitre saw for these cuts, but a circular saw will do just fine.



Lay out your side boards and measure for the width of crosspieces. Mine were 14" wide:



Now for the part that I dreaded...use of the circular saw. To make the sloped portion of the ramp, I measured 16" from the end of the board and made diagonal line to the opposite corner. This gentle slope was less than most commercial ramps, bu tthe majority of the ramped end is still under the WRX when the car is parked on them, minimizing the loss of floor space and the tripping hazard.

I clamped the material to a pair of sawhorses for stability.



At this point, I took a deep breath and cut the diagonal cuts as smoothly as possible. Overall, it went pretty well. I made 4 cuts in long pieces, resulting in 4 full length boards with angled ends and 4 angled sections fo runder the sloped board. For extra support for the angled part, I then made an additional couple of the wedges.



Assembly:

With the ends cut and wedges ready, I started assembly. All holes were drilled out and then screwed in with exterior grade screws. I had na assortment of screws from 2" to 3" and I used them somewhat interchangably. I would recommend 2.5" or 3" for building the "ladder" and then 2" for attaching the deck to the frame.

First assembly was to add "rung at the end of the angled long sections of the ladder. Next was to the wedges to the end rung. I placed one in the center (7") and then one on either side at the 1/4 and 3/4 positions.



After that, I built the ladder with 12" centers on the rungs. Here is a detail of how I scabbed the 8' 2x3s together to make the full 10' length that I desired. Keep in mind that I had lost 16" to the angles at the end, so these add-ons were approximately 40" in length. To ge thtese exact, I laid out my 10' 5/4" boards beside the angles sides and then laid another 2x3 beside it, measured the difference, and cut the additional 2x3 to length. As I said- I ended up around 40" for the additional boards.

The back end of the ladder was made with a 2x4 that was cut to width. This gave me a "stop" for the decking boards. Had I thought it through, I would have used a 2x6 and that would have served as a "STOP" board when driving on the ramps, btu I can always add that later.



Here are the 2 laddres, mostly assembled:



To make the ramp ends, I used some 19/32" plywood that I had around. I could have 45*'d the ends, I could have used diamond plate, I could have...whatever. I used plywood.

I determined the distance of the angled part of the wedges to be just over 16" (thank you, geometry class) and marked it off on the plywood, then used a 4' level as a fence for my circular saw.



After that, I laid out the decking and began the process of drilling out to attach the decking to the frame. Remember- this is just carrying weight, so no need to go nutso on the screws here. It isn't subject to wind, lift, adverse weather, etc. I did 1 screw every other board for now (also in case I screwed up and had to undo everything), btu will go back and fill in later.

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Old 01-03-2013, 03:57 PM   #2
phenryiv1
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Another picture, mid-assembly:



I secured the plywood to the wedges with 10 screws per ramp.



The ends of the deck boards at the non-ramp end were attached to a ledger that I had initially forgot to include. I put the 2x3 between the side rails and allowed the decking to rest on there for a soild attachment point. Plus, the 2x3 then carries the load at the end of the assembly.

As you attach the decking, please be sure to use a nail or a spacer between the decking boards to allow for expansion and contraction. You can see the nail in the gap in the picture below.



All assembled, before use:





From about 8' off of the floor:



Car on the ramp:








Because my garage is a side-load garage with a "J"-shaped driveway, I have to turn to get into the garage. I used a 5/4" board screwed to the side of the ramp to act as a curb to tell me that I am at/near the edge of the ramp deck. If you look at the front, I also added a short section of 2x3 to tell me where to stop the car as I pull onto the ramp.

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Old 01-03-2013, 03:58 PM   #3
phenryiv1
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A couple "in-use" pictures:





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Old 01-03-2013, 04:06 PM   #4
jay25RS
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Looks nice! Great job!
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:33 PM   #5
LiCelsior
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nice job! how much did that lift cost ya? looks interesting.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:36 PM   #6
phenryiv1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay25RS View Post
Looks nice! Great job!
Thank you.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:39 PM   #7
phenryiv1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiCelsior View Post
nice job! how much did that lift cost ya? looks interesting.
The lift? $1000. I bought it used off of Craigslist, and it was virtually brand new. I think the guy had owned it for 3 months.

They run $1600 new, but you have to have a way to offload it from a truck (forklift, loading dock, both...). Buying it used I had to pick it up with a trailer. I used a comealong to get it on a trailer. Most people use an engine hoist but I did not have access to one at the time (I just bought one Saturday).
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:52 PM   #8
dangerousatom
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mmmm! Im soo lusting over that porta-lift
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:57 PM   #9
indianlarry
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+1 for a nice write up and build.

how high can that lift safely raise your car?
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:11 PM   #10
stevejones19
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I'm surprised no one is commenting about how over built that is. I think its awesome.

Do your job, big or small. Do it right or not at all
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:16 PM   #11
phenryiv1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangerousatom View Post
mmmm! Im soo lusting over that porta-lift
The lift weights about 1000#...not really portable!

I deadlift about 360 and I can barely move it laterally. Even pushing it with the roller cart is not easy.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:23 PM   #12
phenryiv1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indianlarry View Post
+1 for a nice write up and build.

how high can that lift safely raise your car?
I can't get the website to load, but it has locking positions every 4-6 inches and the max is 53 1/2" (4' 5 1/2"). I had about another 8" before hitting my open garage door in those pics. If I can get my garage door raised (I have a 12' ceiling), I can go all the way to max height, provided I have the opener raised tight to the ceiling.

It isn't quite tall enough to stand beneath, but it is close.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:24 PM   #13
phenryiv1
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:32 PM   #14
indianlarry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phenryiv1 View Post
thanks! this would come in handy and is reasonably priced.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:41 PM   #15
phenryiv1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indianlarry View Post
thanks! this would come in handy and is reasonably priced.
http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/At...e-Scissor-Lift

List is $1400, but shipping to just about anywhere is $200. Add dock fees or unloading fees to that. Many people have them delivered to freight depots or to a tow yard that has a rollback, then they pick it up from the loading dock or pay the rollback driver to deliver.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:50 PM   #16
indianlarry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phenryiv1 View Post
http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/At...e-Scissor-Lift

List is $1400, but shipping to just about anywhere is $200. Add dock fees or unloading fees to that. Many people have them delivered to freight depots or to a tow yard that has a rollback, then they pick it up from the loading dock or pay the rollback driver to deliver.
That does sound reasonable, granted I could have it shipped to a buddy of mine and delivered for a case of beer
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:32 PM   #17
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Great Job, gives me some ideas until i can get my garage built.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:07 PM   #18
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great one more thing to add to the nice to have in the shop list
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:16 PM   #19
goleee33
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Does the jack just press against the body to lift?
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:06 AM   #20
phenryiv1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noeladams View Post
Great Job, gives me some ideas until i can get my garage built.
If you build them from all PT lumber you could certainly leave them outside all of the time. I went with untreated pine since they will be inside...and because 2x3s don't come pressure treated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irongrave View Post
great one more thing to add to the nice to have in the shop list
The lift or the ramps?

The lift was on the "I'll never afford it" list but then I actually started pricing them and found this one on Craigslist. I had the money to buy brand new but saving the $1600 was a bonus. With the leftover money I bought some other garage toys: a new toolbox and an engine hoist.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:08 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goleee33 View Post
Does the jack just press against the body to lift?
No, the 4 arms on the top swivel out and the octagonal pads go on the factory jack points. On some vehicles they just line up with the drip rails near pinch welds. For trucks or vehicles that have low-hanging parts underneath (fuel/brake line, exhaust, driveshaft, etc.) there are a second set of pads that have a 3" riser to clear the bottom plane.
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:41 AM   #22
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Very nice phenryiv1! Car audio, ramp? What next? lol
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:43 AM   #23
phenryiv1
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Originally Posted by luan87us View Post
Very nice phenryiv1! Car audio, ramp? What next? lol


I also have how-tos for a Koni install, aftermarket HID projector foglight install, and about a half-dozen parts reviews.

I try to give back to the community.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:09 PM   #24
my name is joe
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You should paint it with some coating so it won't rot. I'm sure you drive your car in the rain or snow. It'll be a while before it rots though. Just talking from experience.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:44 PM   #25
HonduhPowa
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Awesome job and write-up!

Last edited by HonduhPowa; 01-04-2013 at 01:54 PM.
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