Poll - is your jack stand flat? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
View Poll Results: Which best describes your experience with jack stands?
I have not put my lotus on stands 8 19.05%
I have put it on flat-topped stands only 22 52.38%
I have put it on conventional concave-topped stands and caused severe damage 1 2.38%
I have put it on conventional concave-topped stands and caused minor/trivial damage 1 2.38%
I have put it on conventional concave-topped stands without causing any damage at all 10 23.81%
Voters: 42. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Poll - is your jack stand flat?

I'm getting mixed signals about whether it's necessary to use flat-topped stands with our car, and whether the traditional concave-topped stands (with tops that look like little lego-man hands) will damage the car. Given that I just spent good money on a brand new set of nice stands, directly before buying my elise, I'm not too excited about purchasing yet another set of brand new flat tops just to support the elise. I'd love to use the stands I have if possible.

I hope this poll will give me/us good data to put the question to rest.

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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 08:40 AM
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I have my dads old concave style tops but use hockey pucks on them to make them flat.


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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 08:50 AM
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The original question should be modified to state the location. Any jackstand will work for the rear jacking location (D) when you are supporting the subframe. Locations A, B, or C need to be supported by a flat jackstand or else the aluminum underside WILL be damaged. I cannot answer the poll because my answer would be "I have put it on flat-topped stands only for point B and caused no damage and used conventional concave-topped stands at location D without causing any damage at all." These cars are fragile when it comes to jacking and extra care is required. Good article Locating The Correct Lift Points on a Lotus Elise Another is Lotus Elise Jack Stand Guide (The ?Step? Method) ? Driftopia.com Note in both articles they are using rubber topped flat lift pads.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandonm84 View Post
I have my dads old concave style tops but use hockey pucks on them to make them flat.


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Same here, donít see that as an option to the poll.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 10:05 AM
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Voted, but I've done both flat & concave *with* wood or polyurethane pads or hockey pucks.

I think once I did use my nice AC Hydraulic concave stands with no other support, but it was on the steel sub-frame, so "D" jack points. That's just about the only place I think it could make sense.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-21-2019, 10:30 AM
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I've only ever used flat top stands on the front. In the rear, I use a JCR lifting bar if I'm not removing the diffuser and support it with regular jack stands. If I am removing the diffuser, I lift from the center of the rear chassis bar and support it with regular jack stands at either side. So 2 flat top stands and 2 regular stands work for me.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 07:53 AM
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I have lots of little offcut blocks of 2x4, 2x6, and 4x4 lumber in the garage. Lengths vary, but they're generally in the 3" - 6" range. They go between the car and the jack pad or jack stand any time I jack anything up. One nice consequence of using a block of wood as a jack pad is that a pinch weld jack point will press into the wood (as does the jack stand cradle) and more positively lock the car to the stand. I've had cases where, after setting a lifting block on the jack pad to raise the car up higher than one jacking cycle can, the car has actually lifted the jack stand off the ground as I raised it further. The wood going 'crunch' when it's supporting an irregular surface also acts as a load spreader.

On an extruded pan Lotus, a flat chunk of wood on top of the jack pad or jack stand cradle is all you need. If it's flat on the car side, it'll stay that way, has a good coefficient of friction with the car, and is somewhat elastic. It will deform to fit the cradle on the top of the jack stand.

I just took the Elise down after a month on stands and ramps. I'm using a fine, vintage (~1970) pair of pressed steel ramps with deep tire retention divots in them that are a little narrow for the Elise rear tires, and cost a couple inches of height. I filled the divots with big chunks of 2x8 and set the tire on that after jacking the rear at point A.

Jacking the front of the car at a front jacking point (B) allowed putting the jack stand/wood block under a suspension pickup point. There's so little weight on the front of the car that a jack on one side will lift both front wheels off the ground. I sneaked my baby scissors jack (a VW Scirocco/Audi Fox item I got out of a junkyard decades ago and has been used constantly since - I wish I had five) under the driver's side front jack point with a block on it and cranked it up to level the car.

Not completely ideal (that would be a four post lift), but quite stationary, high enough for me to get under on a creeper, and saved me rolling the hydraulic floor jack around the front of the car again.

One thing I always do with any vehicle on stands is give it a bump with a hip before I crawl under it or take a wheel off. It's much better to have a jack stand demonstrate instability when the car can land on its own wheels and not you. Likewise, I tend to leave the hydraulic jack under the car raised but unloaded at the jack point even though the car is supported by stands. Why remove a redundant source of lift if you don't need to?

A point of concern: The generic imported cheapie jack stand of the last couple of decades has a U-shaped release lever for the ratchet pawl that holds the stand up. If you have the stand under your 6000 LB truck it works perfectly. Such a jack under the front of a car as light as a Lotus is a little dangerous - the stand can be made to release with an accidental bump into the U shaped pawl lever, because there's not a lot of weight holding it in place. I use stands like this, but am careful to pay attention to where the release levers point.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 10:20 AM
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I use a short piece of 2x4 on the top of regular jack stands. Works perfect, no damage to the underside of the car.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Ah! These answers cleared up my confusion. The fact that you're all agreeing with each other makes me even more confident about using a wood interface on conventional stands.

I can't seem to find a link or button to edit my poll options as suggested, but I think you've all cleared it up pretty well anyhow

Feeling bad for whoever got the severe damage from concave stands (ostensibly happened without wood or puck interface?)
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 12:25 PM
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One more safety point I'd make about the 'block of wood interface' method: The one potentially scary but generally benign failure mode is when you put a pinch weld car down parallel to the grain of a straight grained block of wood.

Amusingly enough, a gnarly bit of wood with a knot in it is probably better for the application because it doesn't have a uniform grain direction - exactly what you don't want for woodworking, so more likely to be an offcut scrap anyway.

Anyway, the failure mode is that the pinch weld can split the wood like a wedge if the grain is aligned with the pinch weld. It's generally benign because the pinch weld usually has a load bearing horizontal surface above it, so if it does split the block open things just settle a little (with a crunching noise of splitting softwood), especially if you have the conventional curved saddle jack stand underneath it all, which tries to keep things pushed together.

The work around is trivial: just angle the jack pad or jack stand so that you're crossing the grain with the pinch weld. Anything more than about 10 degrees of angle is plenty, and precision is emphatically not required.

The last time I had people around the house doing major work (building two decks), they thought I was crazy for asking for little bits of scrap. I kept the bigger ones for projects - built a woodshed out of them, but the little chunks were sought after just so I didn't have to get my Skilsaw out and make my own jack pads for the garage. Likewise, when I topped the 4x4x10 posts down to a uniform height on sloping ground, the short 4x4 off cuts went straight into the garage and the leveling block bin for the camp trailer.

Incidentally, if you have hardwood scrap available from somebody's cabinetry hobby, grab it - it's even better for jacking pads.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-22-2019, 12:36 PM
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I use the concave style but have use pucks that I cut up to fit snugly on the grooves so it doesn't move around easily just for peace of mind. Jacked my car up on them plenty of times and seem to be very secure IMO.

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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Okkkay I just tried locating jack point C and my intuition is really fighting me - that area looks like a bad idea. Half the area of that sheet metal has nothing on the other side. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the owner's manual?

I made quick video to illustrate my trepidation....

I'm wondering if there's a different spot, not in this video, that you guys are using... In the first place I point to in the video, half the sheet metal has nothing on the other side, and would clearly bend under the weight of the car, so you'd need to ensure your jack is under the slim strip that actually has crossmember on the other side.


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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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For the record, yes, realize how ridiculous it is that I can't even jack my car without posting on the forum... I've jacked up a ton of cars in my life, and never had such a bad feeling about a jack point
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 06:31 AM
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I support with the first spot 0:26
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 02:36 PM
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So you want to favor the back side of the pan and go between the bolt (1) and the stud (2). This is with the pan removed and you can see you have a hefty aluminum beam under the pan all across the car at the trailing edge of the pan. Feel it for yourself to make sure. I have never used jack point C, only D when I have the pan off.
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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 03:46 PM
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When I first got thr Lotus I was also very nervous about getting the car in the air and thought I needed flat jacks too. I'm glad I didn't get them because I haven't needed them.
I have only used jack points A & D and have pretty much done everything with this car. I have not needed to use flat top stands or hockey pucks, etc.
I think the only time I would need flat top stands is if I needed to get the front in the air with both wheels off.
My typical go to is ramps in front and regular stands under points D ( or jack helper). Sometimes I will just use ramps in the rear.

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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lance_mn View Post
For the record, yes, realize how ridiculous it is that I can't even jack my car without posting on the forum... I've jacked up a ton of cars in my life, and never had such a bad feeling about a jack point
Don't feel bad brother! It's "out of the norm" from 98% of the cars out there. When I did my first fluid change on the my Elise over a decade ago....I found myself looking up the very same thing you are asking here.

I myself only use flat tops and those are only typically used when I am doing a brake job. 99% of the time I jack at the mid point and place the rear wheels on ramps to do a fluid change.
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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 08:24 PM
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I thought that people were using/buying RV jack stands from Walmart? They're cheap and have flat tops.

Drives a Prius (clearly knows nothing about cars).

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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Well, thanks mostly to you guys, I finally got this rudimentary task done haha.

For real guys, you're all incredibly helpful and should probably give yourselves a pat on the back.
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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 04-24-2019, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gray View Post
I thought that people were using/buying RV jack stands from Walmart? They're cheap and have flat tops.
I bought those once and they looked so frail that I took them back. I realized that RV jack stands are really just for lifting a very small amount of weight to stop the RV from rocking and that most of the RV's weight was still on the wheels. I did not feel safe going under the car on RV stands. A stack of 2x6 under point A is far safer.

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