Before digging into some serious exhaust fabrication I first needed to get the car up in the air. This is actually a little more difficult than you might think. Just like other car shops who don’t have a lift, I put the car up on some tall jack stands that will reach almost 2 feet.
They’re some heavy duty jack stands that hold 6 tons each, so you could say that they’re pretty darn sturdy. The challenge though is getting the car up onto them when they’re that high. Typical floor jacks simply don’t go up that far. This is was the challenge I needed to address.
My plan was to create an extension for an older floor jack I had laying around. I have a nice new aluminium low profile floor jack that does a great job getting the car up about 16 inches, but then it tops out. You can get some floor jacks that cost close to $500 and will reach all the way up to 2 feet, but that’s a little pricey for my taste considering how often I need to use it and it will just take up space when storing it.
Instead I pulled the cotter pin from the existing saddle and found a bolt that would fit nicely in this opening. Then I cut a bottom plate out of 1/8″ plate steel to act as a solid base. I also found a little “horn” piece of steel kicking around so that even if the bolt backed out there was a lip around the base of the new extension to help from slipping off.
The plate was then drilled to the size of the bolt and a nut was welded on the back. The idea is that I can push the bolt up through the old hole and fasten it to the nut on the other side of the plate inside the extension.
For the extension I planned on using some of the 2×2 square tubing that I had laying around, but I wanted to make it even more rigid. To do this I cut a piece of 1×1 to run up the center of the 2×2 tubing. I placed this squarely over the newly welded on nut and then welded the 1×1 tube to the bottom plate.
I then centered the inner tube and welded the 2×2 tubing to the bottom plate and also welded the little horn material onto the bottom plate as well.
Last but not least was cutting out a circle from the 1/8″ plate for the top of the extension. I made sure that the inner tube was just about 1mm taller than the outside tube so that I ensured it was touching the top plate and filled the outside 1mm gap when I welded everything together. I also added a small ring around the top plate so that the saddle wasn’t just floating on the top.
After bolting on the extension, you can see that with this new addition my old jack now reaches the top of the large jack stands and when it’s at its lowest position it is lower than the top most position of my small jack stands. This lets me first get things up in the air on the small jack stands with my regular floor jack and then bring in the jack with the extension to lift it up to a height where I can use the taller stands.
Since I’m going to be working on the exhaust next, I figured I would try the new extension out, and it worked like a charm!
As I put the car up on the tall jack stands and made sure everything was secure and wouldn’t budge, I raised up the rear axle as far as I could. I want to have the axle all the way up where it was resting on the bump stops so that I know the top most travel of the axle in order to ensure that it won’t hit my exhaust looping over top of it.
As I was doing this I realized I didn’t have any jack stands left over that were tall enough to hold the bottom of the axle in-place. But then I remembered that I had some old jack stands laying around that I might be able to modify to be taller.
Sure enough the old jack stands used a square tube for the center that is the exact same 2×2 tube size that I have laying around the shop. So I’ll weld on some small extensions to these bad boys and they’ll work great as an axle stand!
Once I get all the jack stand extensions finished I’ll give them a nice coat of black paint so they don’t rust on me 🙂