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Thread: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

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    Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Last week my driver's side front tire exploded while I was driving. When I went to lift the van to change it for the spare, I put the jack where the owner's manual tells you to put it (behind the wheel, a spot seemingly made just for putting a jack under). Well I got the jack fully extended without the van lifting up. I noticed that shortly after the jack connected with the car, there was an odd sound. I wonder if something down there was perhaps very rusty and broke when pressure was applied.

    Anyhow I had to wait for roadside assistance, and when it came, they put a hydraulic jack under the front axle. I hope this did no damage. Can it do damage? They put it right about in the middle of the front axle.

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    I will have to lift the front of this car again in the morning and am still wondering whether lifting under the front axle may have harmed something, and where else I might place the jack to change the driver's side front tire. Hoping it's not bad news, but in case it is, please, if you can, help me refrain from making things even worse.

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    There is two “horns” from the main body to the front bumper, anywhere along that , ahead or behind the axle , should do. I def. would avoid loading the drive shaft sideway!
    LG.
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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonized View Post
    There is two “horns” from the main body to the front bumper, anywhere along that , ahead or behind the axle , should do. I def. would avoid loading the drive shaft sideway!
    Thank you for the reply, which I do not quite understand! Is the drive shaft the same thing as the axle, and is a sideway part of it, or did you mean "sideways" and drop the final "s"?

    Yes, I AM that stupid!

    Also still not sure if the car was already damaged when roadside assistance changed the tire with their hydraulic jack under the front axle.....

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzu View Post
    Thank you for the reply, which I do not quite understand! Is the drive shaft the same thing as the axle, and is a sideway part of it, or did you mean "sideways" and drop the final "s"?

    Yes, I AM that stupid!

    Also still not sure if the car was already damaged when roadside assistance changed the tire with their hydraulic jack under the front axle.....
    At the back of the van the axle is one single solid piece across, drive shafts and differential are internal, you would not have any problem jacking up the van from the axle.
    At the front ,the axle is made of an exposed drive shaft on each side of a differential. These drive shaft are designed to transfer torque (twist) loads through some complex 3 dimensional bearings at each ends (in the rubber boots’) and, at the same time, telescope thanks to a spline. None of them guys are are engineered to handle the kind of loads you would apply with a jack at the center of the shaft.

    Yes, sideways, the scale of my iPad key board doesn’t always agree with the calibration of my fat fingers, and often trigger an unwanted autocorrect

    Nothing “stupid” in asking for clarification
    LG.
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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonized View Post
    At the back of the van the axle is one single solid piece across, drive shafts and differential are internal, you would not have any problem jacking up the van from the axle.
    At the front ,the axle is made of an exposed drive shaft on each side of a differential. These drive shaft are designed to transfer torque (twist) loads through some complex 3 dimensional bearings at each ends (in the rubber boots’) and, at the same time, telescope thanks to a spline. None of them guys are are engineered to handle the kind of loads you would apply with a jack at the center of the shaft.

    Yes, sideways, the scale of my iPad key board doesn’t always agree with the calibration of my fat fingers, and often trigger an unwanted autocorrect

    Nothing “stupid” in asking for clarification
    Thank you once more, for the clarification you have given here.

    Unfortunately, I don't understand YET whether damage was done by lifting the front of my van with a hydraulic jack directly under the center of the front axle. If so, how would I know -- what would the symptoms be -- and WHY would the roadside assistance PROFESSIONAL who changed my tire DO that in the first place. If he did not do damage, I wonder if it was a fluke, or if it would be safe to do the same thing AGAIN, because now I have to get the spare tire off.

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Are you using a stock scissor type jack or a floor jack?

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Quote Originally Posted by originalkwyjibo View Post
    Are you using a stock scissor type jack or a floor jack?
    I don't know the difference. When I tried to lift the van myself, I used the jack that came with the van. The one that the roadside assistance guy had was much different, it had wheels, a real long handle, and a much different shape.

    Here's what I'd like to know -- please please please someone tell me the answer, because my spare also blew up and I have NO TRANSPORTATION...:

    Could the roadside assistance guy have damaged the van somehow buy lifting it from under the front axle (about in the middle)?

    If he did damage the van, how would that damage show itself? What would the symptoms be?

    If no damage could have occurred, can I safely raise the van the same way he did (now that I am home and have access to the same kind of jack that he used)?

    Many thanks to anyone who gives the answers I need.

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Give me a couple minutes and I'll post some pics and answer all your questions.

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    ".....Also still not sure if the car was already damaged when roadside assistance changed the tire with their hydraulic jack under the front axle....."

    Are you sure he used the driveshaft? It's a pretty long reach through the lower arm. He may have used the lower arm witch would be OK. Anyway it is safer to lift the "chassis" and let the suspension droop.

    This is using a hydraulic jack under the strong part of the uni body "chassis"

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    Last edited by Carbonized; 09-13-2019 at 09:24 PM.
    LG.
    "perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." A. de St Exupery.

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Son of a ..... Carbonized beat me to it. Lol If you still need more let me know and I'll post the photos I took.

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    There is no "front axle". There is a differential and 2 CV axles. If the jack was van center under the front differential there is a structural cross member there. Perfectly fine to jack the van up using that location.

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Quote Originally Posted by VanCo View Post
    There is no "front axle". There is a differential and 2 CV axles. If the jack was van center under the front differential there is a structural cross member there. Perfectly fine to jack the van up using that location.

    This. I lift mine there pretty much every time. I put the jackstands there, or where Carbonized has his jack (on both sides of the van. Just make sure you use some fairly heavy duty (3 or 4 ton) jack stands there... your supporting the engine as well as the cab, axle and etc...

    For the back I just put the jack under the rear axle as well as jackstands, unless the rear axle is getting yanked. In that case I use the rear track bar mounts directly in front of the rear wheels.
    Front, Like so...
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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Quote Originally Posted by VanCo View Post
    There is no "front axle". There is a differential and 2 CV axles. If the jack was van center under the front differential there is a structural cross member there. Perfectly fine to jack the van up using that location.
    Allright then, where the front axle would be if it had one. It looked like an axle to me when I peeked under there to see just where he was putting the jack.

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonized View Post
    Are you sure he used the driveshaft? It's a pretty long reach through the lower arm. He may have used the lower arm witch would be OK. Anyway it is safer to lift the "chassis" and let the suspension droop.
    I wouldn't know what the lower arm looks like.

    Let's forget for a moment the names of these parts; it looked to me like the spot where he put the jack was directly under where the gearshifter is in the cabin. Does that tell you anything?

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Thanks to all who posted pictures. A for effort. I'll have to study the pics, because I can't discern (so far) where it is safe to put the jack so as not to harm the van somehow. The verbal descriptions don't tell me much because I don't know the terms very well, if at all.

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzu View Post
    it looked to me like the spot where he put the jack was directly under where the gearshifter is in the cabin. Does that tell you anything?
    Ok looks like he used the sub frame that Vanco described in a earlier post. If so don't worry about damage done to the van, that is about the strongest area of the under side of the van. It is also hard to reach on a flat tire without a Low profile (van is lower) fast action (limited range of motion of the pump handle) floor jack. So if you can lift from the area shown in my or Flecker's pictures, something flat , boxy, that look strong, with no moving parts, wires , hoses, tubing, to interfere with, you should be fine. The battery box does not qualify as a lifting point!!!!
    LG.
    "perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." A. de St Exupery.

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Look Suzu, I mean this in the nicest way possible... maybe it's better off for you to take your van to a mechanic? If your struggling this much to find the safest way to lift your van and stabilize it, it's just a recipe for disaster. People die often from this exact scenario...

    If your bound and determined to crawl under your rig, then I suggest the FSM (factory service manual) and some reading on the factory lift points. I don't know how any of us could explain it better.

    My recommend is that you DO NOT for safety sake. Between this and some other post you have made I am a bit concerned for firstly you. AND your Van. Your safety is more important. Might be time to hit up the Auto shop.

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonized View Post
    Ok looks like he used the sub frame that Vanco described in a earlier post. If so don't worry about damage done to the van, that is about the strongest area of the under side of the van. It is also hard to reach on a flat tire without a Low profile (van is lower) fast action (limited range of motion of the pump handle) floor jack. So if you can lift from the area shown in my or Flecker's pictures, something flat , boxy, that look strong, with no moving parts, wires , hoses, tubing, to interfere with, you should be fine. The battery box does not qualify as a lifting point!!!!
    Thank you!

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    Re: Safe spots to raise front end with a jack?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flecker View Post
    Look Suzu, I mean this in the nicest way possible... maybe it's better off for you to take your van to a mechanic? If your struggling this much to find the safest way to lift your van and stabilize it, it's just a recipe for disaster. People die often from this exact scenario...

    If your bound and determined to crawl under your rig, then I suggest the FSM (factory service manual) and some reading on the factory lift points. I don't know how any of us could explain it better.

    My recommend is that you DO NOT for safety sake. Between this and some other post you have made I am a bit concerned for firstly you. AND your Van. Your safety is more important. Might be time to hit up the Auto shop.
    That's understandable, and I appreciate your concern, but I already had to pay a tow truck once, when the spare failed. Now I have a new spare tire, mounted and ready to put on, and no more money. I've changed many a tire in my five decades of driving. I'm not afraid of this, I just want to be sure I put the jack in the right spot.

    I wish someone would have explained what could have gone wrong with the spot I tried to use initially, which is where I've always put the jack on this car (because that's where the owner's manual says it should go). This time, a few cranks after the jack connected with the lifting spot, I heard a dull popping sound. I continued cranking until the jack was fully extended, but the van never raised up.

    ETA: No, the jack wasn't sinking into the ground. I watched for that.

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