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Old 05-23-2017, 06:38 AM   #1
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Jacking up a bus?

as I prepare for my Transmission replacement on the RedByrd, i did some measuring, and realized that due to the small wheels on my bus, that im going to have to raise it to be able to slide the old trans out and the new one in.

I have some 10 ton (per pair) Jackstands to support it once it is raised up , but I first need to get it there..

what os the best way to jack up a bus? im going to be jacking up the REAR of it and not the front.

the front suspension has a definite rake to it so the least amount of raise will be needed if I raise the rear.

can i jack on the rear diff like I did classic cars?

should I use to bottle style jacks and go back and forth one on each sside of the axle ? seems to me if I just try and jack one side up at a time with a heavy duty truck jack that I'll flex the frame and do damage..

im assuming jackstands under the axle tubes close to the air springs is a good spot to place the stands...

yes I have chocks for front and back of the front tires.. since my bus parking brake is on the trans I'll have no brakes holding it during the process.. so both front tires chocked for both directions.

ideas?

GO!
-Christopher
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Old 05-23-2017, 07:41 AM   #2
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I jacked up a box truck a few years ago. I used a heavy duty floor jack on the rear axle and used railroad ties as cribbing until I got it high enough. Cribbing is way sturdier that stands. I think we had railroad ties 3 high stacked in a square pattern under each side of the frame. This method was really solid but it used up a lot of space. We were changing rear axle.
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Old 05-23-2017, 07:47 AM   #3
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I've had mine jacked up several times. All four wheels last summer, in fact.

I use a 20-ton bottle jack. For the rear axle the jack can be positioned close to the leaf springs. The front axle is a bit harder to get under, so I typically have to position the jack so it's pushing on the leaf spring as close to the axle as possible. Once the axle is high enough to get the jack underneath I throw some cribbing under it, lower the jack and reposition.

The bottle jack doesn't lift the wheels high enough in one go when lifting the whole axle so I walk it up using 4x4 wood blocks as cribbing. Depending on the job, the cribbing can be position right next to the leaf springs to support the axle, or on the frame rails to hang the axle. Supporting the frame rails requires a good number of wood blocks.

Frame flex hasn't been a problem. The suspension will take up the twist.

I personally don't like jack stands for these heavy muggers. I like cribbing much better. It's easy to get a 3'x3' footprint with cribbing and the wood/metal interface has a greater friction coefficient than metal/metal. I'm also usually working on gravel, so that plays a part in forming my opinion.
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Old 05-23-2017, 07:50 AM   #4
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I dont have railroad ties or use for them..

are big jackstands unsafe? ive always used them for cars just nothing like a bus..

the ones I have are rated 10 tons for the pair.. I havemt yet weighjed the rear of the bus but the whole GVWR of it is only 9 tons.. so the curb weight of the rear has to be 1/2 that? ill be going up like 6-8 inches or so.. enough that I can roll my tranny jack with a tranny on it slightly tilted (so the converter doesnt fall of).. out and new one in.

-Christopher
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Old 05-23-2017, 07:55 AM   #5
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Here's a good article on using cribbing. Cribbing For Heavy Vehicle Lifting


Note that the most basic 4x4 variant they show is rated for 24,000lbs.
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Old 05-23-2017, 07:57 AM   #6
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ill be on concrete / asphalt. the weather is cooled down and plans to stay that way for a bit (ugh I HATE cool weather).. so the asphalt shouldnt dent too bad with stands..

but it sounds like stands are bad and I need to go buy a bunch of wood I'll have no use for afterwords...
-Christopher
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Old 05-23-2017, 08:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
but it sounds like stands are bad and I need to go buy a bunch of wood I'll have no use for afterwords...
I ain't no pro, but most jack stands don't have enough of a footprint to keep me happy while working underneath 10s of thousands of pounds of steel. Especially when moving parts into place that may be in the several hundred pound range.

Just like jack stands, the wood cribbing can be reused repeatedly. They're great building blocks for getting things just the right height to work on, including motorbikes, lawnmowers...
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Old 05-23-2017, 08:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jazty View Post
I ain't no pro, but most jack stands don't have enough of a footprint to keep me happy while working underneath 10s of thousands of pounds of steel. Especially when moving parts into place that may be in the several hundred pound range.

Just like jack stands, the wood cribbing can be reused repeatedly. They're great building blocks for getting things just the right height to work on, including motorbikes, lawnmowers...
these are better than most but definitely not a 3x3 footprint.. normally i have no need to raise a bus.. changing a tranny hopefully I dont have to do again.. at least not for a long time..

and yes the trans is in the 400 lb range with the converter on it..

-Christopher
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Old 05-24-2017, 04:29 PM   #9
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Chris, a #2 4x4 is $11 at Homer's. For that you get 4 2 ft pieces that true out at 3-1/2". Or a 7" raise of cribbing. For $22 you get to both sides. For $66 you get 21" of raise. Is that enough? How much is your butt worth? Somebody around here will take them off your hands after the fact if you are really steamed about the expenditure.

As another thought, the Interwebs quotes the compressive strength of cinderblock at 5500 psi. There's enough square inches there to support half a bus. You can pick up 8" for cheap that way, although as other folk have pointed out wood is the best for the layer that the bus is resting on.
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Old 05-24-2017, 04:46 PM   #10
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Cinder blocks are not the answer one good bump with the jack or a heavy tool and it will crumble.
I would think that your jack stands would do it but with the asphalt I would use at least a 1'-2' square of 3/4 plywood to keep the feet from sinking in. Cold weather or not.
Good luck and play safely
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Old 05-24-2017, 05:45 PM   #11
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Definitely avoid cinder blocks. As noted, they crumble with discouraging ease. Solid timber make the best cribbing. Check the big box stores cut off and warped piles. I find 4x4 & 6x6 ends there routinely.
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Old 05-24-2017, 06:43 PM   #12
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I bought a pickup load (thrown not stacked) of pressure treated 4x6 "seconds" from a local lumber yard for $40 a while back. WAY more than what I needed for the project. Over time I have found a use for every one. Then I went back and got another load....
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Old 05-24-2017, 07:49 PM   #13
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so jackstands are really THAT unsafe???? do they just collapse? whats the danger? im trying to learn here.. ive used them for yeaers... others have used them..

so why all the hate? are there a lot of stories about them collapsing? or copulds it be that people misused them?

-Christopher
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:18 PM   #14
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Jack stands are not unsafe. Get ones that can take the load and then some, set them on some steel plates bigger than the footprint of the stand.
If the bus can move under it,s own power, ramps about 10 in high. I use commercial ones at work for our big tow trucks. I think ours are 16000 lbs a pair and cost around 100.00. I have even seen ramps made of 12x10x32 in lumber.
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:29 PM   #15
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Forgot to mention, spend the cash on a good bottle jack, you will need it in the future. Also NEVER use cinder block to hold up a rig you are getting under. Under concentrated load like holding up a bus one impact with a hammer, bar or anything could cause it to shatter.
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:36 PM   #16
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good idea on the steel plates I like that idea!.. what do you mean by moving the bus under its own power and rams 10" high?

the stands ive got to use are 10 tons / pair.. the GVWR of the bus is 17500.
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:42 PM   #17
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definitely good jacks will be useful in the future I agree..

and yeah I was told by more than one person years ago never to use concrete to hold up a vehicle for that reason, it can crumble very easily..

the wheels arent coming off the bus..

a suggestion an aquaintence of mine made that I havent ever done (he has done it with his cars)... os he said with hydraulic brakes I should start the bus... press on the brake and use a pedal lock to hold the pedal down (0then shut it off) as a secondary means in addition to wheel chocks to keep the bus from moving.. locks the front wheels in place while the rears are off the ground on stands..

ive not heard of doing that before.. and wondered about the pads locking to the rotors doing that... or the constant pressure on the caliper piston...

-Christopher
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:06 PM   #18
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C Kid. Years ago while under a car supported by properly rated jack stands I wriggled my way free when I noticed the three legged stands slowly collapsing. I was very lucky to survive. I've used 2x4 cribs, 12" x 12" x 12" ever since--even when I was moving houses from one site to another.

My montra is "wood is good". Be safe.

Jack
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:22 PM   #19
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I heard rumors about old 3 legged stands.. fortunately im not taking the wheels off the bus.. I still wouldnt want it to come down..

the reason for raise is simply so I can slide a jack with a transmission on it out fro mthe bus and then slide the new one in.. I probably wont lift it until the transmission is loose.. and may not keep it lifted once i roll the new one under...

having the bus be a little lower while im working underneath is actually beneficial for reach and such..

at some point I will probably have to figure out the right way to crib it.. if I ever go to do something suspension related like replace an air spring or do brakes where the wheels are off..

me having really no idea how to properly support a bus with wood is probably more dangerous than using a good set of stands...
-Christopher
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:52 PM   #20
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When I installed each of my four tanks I had to lift one side of my bus almost 12 inches so I could slide the tank in under the bodyside. I have two 20-ton, a 12-ton and a low-profile 12-ton bottle jacks, two 12" x 12" squares of 3/8" steel plate, and six pieces of wood cribbing. I had bought a 10 foot length of 6" x 8" pine and had the lumber yard cut it into four 24" lengths and two 12" lengths. I used the 12-ton jack under the front axle and a 20-ton under the rear, placing both jacks under the spring pads for safety. Each jack lifted only about 8", but 2" of that was just to get the tires clear of the ground. After jacking up as far as possible I slid one of the 24" pieces of wood under the tire, then lowered the jack and blocked under it with a 12" piece of wood and a plate on top, then jacked up a second time and put another 24" piece of wood under the tire. There's no way that I would trust any jack stands to hold up a 26,000 lb bus; good pine cribbing will hold that weight with no problem, as long as there are no cracks or loose knots in the wood.

I buy the cheapo made-in-China bottle jacks from Harbor Fright when they're on sale, and apart from one beginning to slightly weep they're still working just fine. Hydraulics seems to be one thing the Chinese can do reasonably well, at least for non-critical applications like this. However, I always derate any Chinese jacks by 50% for safety and longevity - I use my 20-ton jacks for 10-ton loads, and the 12-ton jacks for 6-ton loads, which just happens to be about right for my bus's weight. So far, so good.

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