OT Watching a Patty Duke epiode from 1966, another teenager keeps
working under his car with nothing holding it up afaict but bumper
jack. There scenes like that.
I know I didn't have safety stands until 1970 or maybe much later, but
I also didn't lie under the car when it was jacked up.
Was this sort of standard in 1956, for teenagers, amateurs, even pros?
I've had my car fall off the bumper jack twice, once when it was on a
hill, I was only changing a tire and I didn't put anything under the
car, only my arms in the wheel well for a few seconds. Once I had to
borrow a jack from another guy on the street, to get my jack out, and
then I used both jacks.
Yes, Bumper jacks were the most common way to lift a car and probably
the only way for most shade tree mechanics. A lot of brake shoes were
changed using nothing but bumper jacks to get the wheel off the ground.
Most people were a lot skinnier back in those days, I could usually
take a drive shaft out with having to raise the vehicle. Oh the good
old days, a piece of cardboard to lay on and a hand full of tools and
you could fix a lot of things on the old cars....
On Sat, 21 May 2011 05:27:44 -0700 (PDT), Bob Villa
That's true. I knew the sheet metal was thinner than before, but it's
twice as thinner. Just trying to break ice in the crack between the
hood and part of the body that surrounds the grill, I put tiny
indentations in my car with my own hand, and it didn't even hurt. I
only see them when the light is just right, but I couldn't have dented
my '65 or '67 Pontiac without breaking my bones.
But sometimes it does take a computer to fix a car. The digital dash
panel in my explorer died, disabling the entire vehicle because that's
where the security circuits reside. The instrument cluster was
replaced and the shop used a laptop to reprogram all default vehicle
values, including the odometer reading based on last oil change.
Before the scissor jacks, about the only advancement was a slit in the
bumper where the jack inserted, making it only a LITTLE safer. I always
carried a bottle jack and a small floor jack, as many times you needed a
combo of jacks. And now, if you have a flat, and the ground is uneven, you
can't even get one of those scissor jacks under the car. And it takes a
gorilla to turn some of those.
I have stopped to help a few motorists, and when I pull out that floor jack
and zip zip zip, I believe I have sold a few floor jacks for companies. As
on trailers, sometimes they're so low that a little floor jack is all you
can get under there.
I just saw a car the other day with the slit in the bumper. I didn't
catch the year/make/model as I was too busy asking my son "What do you
think that little slit is for". (He had no clue.)
The summer cars are beginning to hit the roads now that spring is
On Sat, 21 May 2011 13:40:09 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03
I didnt' know the ones that fit the slit were safer. I thought about
it, but hadn't reached a conclusion.
But I sort of didnt' like them, becusae it meant the jack in my car
would only fit a bumper with a slit, instead any bumper (any bumper at
I actually tought the scissors jack wasn't an advance but a sacrifice
to the fact that cars no longer had bumpers that could be lifted,
without cutting their vinyl cover.
That second car I had that fell off the jack was on a scissors jack,
and I don't think I was even on a hill, but I leaned against the rear
bumper iirc and the car fell off the jack. What was good is that the
jack wasn't stuck in place after that.
Anyhow, everyone, when did safety stands become popular, for pros who
weren't using a lift, and then for amateurs???
Well, I started as an apprentice mechanic in 1968 and I wouldn't have
deampt of crawling under a car without jack stands (or a reasonable
facsimle there-of). I'd never trust a bumper jack, with the possible
exception of a "tripod" - or the garage type bumper jack or "end lift"
that had safety stops and a tip-proof frame.
Even with the bumper end lift I USUALLY used stands if I was going
Did a lot of work under axle end-lifts too - but ONLY with the safety
I used jack stands(screw type) in 1968,when I worked on my 64 Triumph
Herald. but I had a scissors jack for that lightweight car.
The real problem was when you didn't do a full downstroke on the jack
handle and the ratchet didn't catch(or it was worn) and the thing would
ratchet back down with the jack handle flipping back and forth as it went
down. Scary,and hazardous.
of course,that is when cars had real bumpers. Can't use the bumper jacks on
today's cars. I use a hydraulic jack for my cars. it's much easier (and
safer,IMO) than the scissors jack that comes with most imports.
Ah, an answer to my question. Anyone notice them before then?
Yes, if it did that without my encouragement, it woudl be scary.
I only had that happen when I wanted it to. I felt cool and very
skilled that with one stroke, I could get the car to go all the way
down. I kept my hand near the handle, though, just out of caution. I
think I could have stopped it.
The advantage of the scissors jack is the hole that mades with the
"bump" under the frame. Do bottle jacks have anything like that?
Or is it even an advantage? Soetimes it's a pain trying to get the
two parts to match up, and I'm not really sure what good that does.
I'd jack the car up and put a couple of concrete blocks under for
safety, jacking the car down to rest firmly on the blocks before
scooting under. I prefer the bumper jacks to the current system but I
guess bumpers aren't strong enough to take the weight anymore. These
days I use ramps or a hydraulic jack.
Concrete blocks are "dicey" and cinder blocks a no-no. If using
concrete blocks, put a board on top so no edge of the frame or
suspension nicks the blosk.
A cinder block can disintegrate with little provocation and no
On Sat, 21 May 2011 22:54:44 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I also had a cast metal jack stand cave in. It was rated at 3000
pounds I think, and the whole car weighed only 3000 pounds. No one
was under it when it collapsed. I told the store I bought it at, but
I doubt they cared.
Excellent point. They can crumble pretty easily if they have an internal
flaw and you've positioned the block precisely the wrong way. I'd never put
a car up on cinder blocks, especially *stacked* blocks.
I've had sheet metal stands buckle on me, leaving me pinned under a 2 ton
Jaguar Mark X. My mother, who noticed I was no longer making noise, came
out to the garage, saw me pinned under the car and lifted it off me. She
was 4'10" and under 100 pounds. Amazing what adrenaline can do. (Of
course, the full weight of the car wasn't on me since only one of the 4
stands had failed, but it was enough weight across my chest that I couldn't
free myself). Working on cars was never quite the same for me after that
even though I went out and bought a hydraulic jack and expensive, well-made
jack stands. Two minutes of thinking "I am going to DIE here under this
lousy car" while struggling to breathe seems like an eternity.
Yeah, Britannia may have ruled the waves, but her cars can't navigate a
puddle without the engine dying. Learned all the Lucas jokes, too. "Why do
Brits like warm beer? Because Lucas makes refrigerators."
Jags are fun if you do your own work and like to do it, but as a primary
car, not so reliable. I hear they've gotten better but I can't see it. I
rented one the last time I was in CA and it had water in the headlight lens
assembly. Enough to put goldfish in. Didn't matter much after I hit a deer
on the Coast highway near Big Sur. Cops said I was lucky - deer crashes
send some cars off the road and into the ocean. Fortunately, it was one of
the few times I bought extra collision insurance. Signed two pieces of
paper and that was that.
I wouldn't mine having an XKE in the garage, though. One of the sweetest
looking cars ever made.
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