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Old 07-11-2018, 11:43 PM   #1
Matt16060936
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Question Jacking up my car on a slope or incline

Yup, I'm asking it. I know the risks, I've heard the stories, but just hear me out.

I have a short driveway, leading into a garage that can maybe hold a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. The driveway slope is shallow near the garage, but in the middle is between 10 and 20 degrees, and levels out again before the road.

I would really like to start doing my own maintenance, maybe new exhaust, the usual stuff. Can't fit in the garage, can't work in the street, and (yeah I admit) can't use jacks on the driveway. So in lieu of renting space at a shop, I'm wondering: are there any solutions to lifting a vehicle on a slope? Doesn't have to be a jack, but maybe it is a jack. Maybe it's some custom specialty hardware, or crazy idea you've had. I wanna hear all your suggestions!

I tried searching the internet, this forum, and clubwrx. But there's just so many posts about the dangers of jacking a car or using stands on the "strange 4 degree slope in my garage slab" that anything pertinent to my query is lost in the noise. And maybe there truly is no decent answer, but asking here and finding out for sure will bring me closure
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:18 AM   #2
CosmoTheCat
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Make friends with someone who has a flat driveway or a garage.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:49 AM   #3
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Hmm, this exact scenario played out 10km from my place about a fortnight ago. Reason I found out? One dead guy under a car made the news - situation pic was of a gently sloping driveway.

How keen are you, really?

Find a flat place you can use, or construct a level place in a convenient-to-you location. Or pay the mechanic guy to use his stuff (good luck with that one!)...

PS: There is nothing wrong with some properly constructed thing you dynabolt to GOOD concrete. eg drive (or back) as far up as you can and then bolt the constructed steel ramp to the driveway to roll back on to, including the BIG inverted angle stoppers for the higher wheels. You could engineer a solid safe system to do that, if you have the knowledge and skills. Sketch it up and post here for miscellaneous mocking and hopefully the odd informed comment!

Whenever I have a car off the ground, level, on stands, I always give it a really good shake before getting under it. Plus have a way of creating a 'survival space', typically via a wheel rim with a bit of timber chucked on top for good measure. Called a 'second means of support". You should think about that too. What exactly is going to save your life when the unexpected happens, as it surely will...?

Last edited by VinceS2; 07-12-2018 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:24 AM   #4
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Some places rent out garage space after normal working hours, ie; maybe a gas station or shop will rent you a bay for a fee?

You would have to bring your own tools but you do get to use the lift and can pretty much do what you need. Oil changes, exhaust changes/fixes, etc.
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:54 PM   #5
Matt16060936
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Figured that renting usable space would be the most popular suggestion:
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmoTheCat View Post
Make friends with someone who has a flat driveway or a garage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinceS2 View Post
Find a flat place you can use, or construct a level place in a convenient-to-you location.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai Jack View Post
Some places rent out garage space after normal working hours, ie; maybe a gas station or shop will rent you a bay for a fee?
I do like this suggestion to engineer something.
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinceS2 View Post
PS: There is nothing wrong with some properly constructed thing you dynabolt to GOOD concrete. eg drive (or back) as far up as you can and then bolt the constructed steel ramp to the driveway to roll back on to, including the BIG inverted angle stoppers for the higher wheels.
Got me thinking about forming a level landing just big enough for jack/ramp on left and right, cut into the middle of the driveway. The landing would be just inside my wheelbase. Also, maybe I would break out that chunk of driveway, and post-hole-dig (or auger) down 12~18 inches and fill it up to the desired height. That way the landing is reinforced. I have drawn up some schematics completely to scale of my idea using my best CAD software:





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Old 07-14-2018, 07:25 AM   #6
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"using my best CAD software"
You need better CAD software!

Maybe a scale on it would help. Or even a picture...?

Safety 101 is about neutralising sources of uncontrolled release of energy. That you can make better jacking points, which is what I take it you are saying, doesn't deal with the massive stored potential energy with a release mechanism - gravity and slope - to wreck stuff.

If you did a cut and fill on the slope off to one side, with a retaining wall PROPERLY CONSTRUCTED, and 4" minimum thick reinforced slab to give yourself a little flat section off to the side THEN you are good. Maybe you can't make it real big and a little hard to get into, but when you do flat solid ground awaits, it's a win. Put a dinky little carport cover over it for good measure. But is this even possible, let alone the $1k it would cost to do.
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VinceS2 View Post
You need better CAD software!

Maybe a scale on it would help. Or even a picture...?
You're right! So I spent a little time after work the last few days learning just enough Blender to animate the idea I was trying to illustrate. Check it out here:
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Old 07-20-2018, 07:32 PM   #8
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This can't end well....
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Old 07-20-2018, 09:28 PM   #9
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A few degrees of inclination/declination is fine, which we are aware of.

Even if you create a flat area to allow for the use of jack-stands, how will you lock the front wheels in place and if the jack itself is on a slope, the jack-arc will be opposite of the direction of the car when it is being jacked-up; the jack will want to roll up hill, which most-likely will not happen and instead will want to drag the car rearwards.

I would not commit to this and yes, find someone, somewhere that has a relatively flat surface to work on.
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Old Yesterday, 01:37 AM   #10
VinceS2
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Talking Beautiful Blender Does Not A Brilliant Solution Make!

I have something much uglier that'll get you a lot closer...



Do something like this, WELL, and you should be good.

Are you SURE you can't create a bit of flat land to work on. Honestly, that rose garden near the bottom of the driveway is nowhere near as important as being able to work on your car at home! You can sell that one, right...?

PS: Of course, the next thing with this solution is, when you get under the car, you and tools need to not roll away either. Something out of 10mm marine ply could probably help there... Heck it could even double as a stand to get inside the engine bay too, since that will be pretty hard on the air stair...

PPS: Just in case it is not obvious, the first brace point is meant to coincide with a jacking point, which is probably OK to lift a side up as long as think about where props go. If just lift front wheel to get rim off then ensure detail of the wheel pad allows for a jack. Obviously this thing could be structurally optimised, but do find a friendly local engineer to help you with that one as I will only be giving you a 'big 'n boofy' solution that would work. No drama with proper stitch plates being used to disassemble the thing into storable / handle-able pieces, but you own it as this is still a fairly bs solution, even done well! Which of course 'those present' can't resist repeating the 'find level ground' chant ad nauseum, and I'm there too!

Last edited by VinceS2; Yesterday at 01:51 AM.
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Old Yesterday, 01:40 AM   #11
Matt16060936
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Backroad Rex View Post
This can't end well....
Don't worry, I wouldn't put myself at risk without some seriously rigorous testing (eg. finite element analysis, and proof of concepts with expendable load and appropriate safety margin). And even then I'm not a very tough guy, so the prospect of pain is a pretty good deterrent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big-E View Post
Even if you create a flat area to allow for the use of jack-stands, how will you lock the front wheels in place
Big ol' chocks is my first thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big-E View Post
and if the jack itself is on a slope
It's not, the purpose of digging out an area and re-filling is to give the jack an explicitly level surface.
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Old Yesterday, 01:47 AM   #12
Matt16060936
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VinceS2 View Post
I have something much uglier that'll get you a lot closer

...

Are you SURE you can't create a bit of flat land to work on. Honestly, that rose garden near the bottom of the driveway is nowhere near as important as being able to work on your car at home! You can sell that one, right...?
This is exactly the kind of stuff I'm looking for in this thread! I had considered integrating some sort of lift into the driveway, like in your illustration. Some serious engineering would be required, but hey at least now I know someone else thinks it's possible. I wonder if anyone will post about an existing product / service which can provide this kind of solution.

And you're right, making a scrap of land flat enough to work on would totally be the easiest and safest way for me to work on my car at home. In fact right next to my driveway I could probably just lay down some boards for the jack / stands to press against, drive over there and call it done, any time I wanna do car work.

I'm just exploring what my more permanent options are, not committing to anything
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