Urgent help needed: Jacking for the leaf springs van fell

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Wiley
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Urgent help needed: Jacking for the leaf springs van fell

Post by Wiley » Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:18 am

Problem is I am in BAJA, I removed the spring before it fell and am supposed to be out of this airbnb Sunday. No idea what I am going to do as I am a good 4 hours from home so no idea on even how to tow it anywhere, San Quintin is probably the closest city if anyone knows of specific towing options. I am feeling pretty defeated but hopefully tomorrow is a new day, can you offer any suggestions on where and how to jack safely assuming I cannot figure out a tow situation, or if jacking is just a terrible idea in these circumstances. There is also a possible (slight) downhill in the direction the van fell, and wind coming off the ocean pushing it that direction as well. Oh, and while I have it in park, with 1 front wheel chocked, I do NOT HAVE a working e-brake at the moment (unrelated, but relevant to this project with jacking up a van).

Sigh. Long details below. :(


Ok, so I never liked using the hi-lift, it is probably my lack of knowledge on how to properly jack up the van, but I also realize they are dangerous. Well today while lifting the body I had it come down when the wheel was off and the spring was removed, luckily I was 10 feet away and watched it in slow motion. Holy F.

After putting the axle on a pair of jack stands (4 Ton) with the small bottle jack, I then jacked up the body with the hi-lift and hitch. I feel like I have to jack the van body high to get in there, to the point the center brake line is just about maxed out, I really am not comfortable with how high it goes, but I do have 2 inch pucks, I have felt this way with previous times working on the van. I then removed the spring, and was grabbing the new one when it fell.... Lifting this high also raised the axle slightly but I left a small gap rather than raise and adjust the stands. This is a huge mistake, never do that, even if its just an inch or so!!!

The axle knocked over and crushed 1 of my stands with the differential when it came down . The other jack stand was knocked over, and the 1 end of the axle missing a wheel was on the ground. I now have the hi-lift, 1 jack stand, and a small bottle jack. I was able to lift the axle up with the hi-lift to get the wheel back on, and then lifted the body to get the stand under the spring mount.

I decided to give it 1 more go due to my desperation (location on needing to leave). I was forced to use the small bottle jack under the axle AS SUPPORT since I had the working stand under the leaf spring holder. The van fell again, this time I had to roll backwards in a panic as I was trying to get the new spring in. F This, I need help I don't want to get hurt.

I understand the bottle jack under the axle when lifting the body was a bad idea, but I am limited here and the jack stand was being used under the spring holder. My plan for attempt #3 is to use the wheel to cath the body a is seen in the pic below, so I can use the stand on the axle, then lift again knowing it may fall again.

Really the problem is me, or using the hi-lift jack, so I think I should try and locate a bottle jack and some wood to lift the body, but am looking for your opinion, and if that is correct where exactly to jack it up etc. Locating anything may prove quite difficult here.


To give you an idea, I am an average do it yourself mechanic. I put on the lift, rebuilt the front end, replaced the manifold gasket, etc. As I have had this van for years, am at the point where I do not imagine I would pay someone to do anything instead of tackling it myself. I am competent but not an expert, as has been shown today.

This pic is of the second fall. I do currently have it back on a wheel, with the stand supporting the body, no spring of course.
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Last edited by Wiley on Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Urgent help needed: Jacking for the leaf springs van fel

Post by Snowgeek » Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:38 am

I am struggling to visualize everything that you have going on there. But I will keep thinking about it. One thing I am thinking is that dang near every car around you has a jack and a few more jacks might be helpful lifting in sequence and alternating to add blocks of wood to get it high enough. I have put a 4x4 block of wood under the spare tire and lifted pushing up on the spare (not a good idea) but it has worked.
007CB0D8-2AF8-4CA3-B79B-77CAA9392D8E.png
I will keep thinking on this and I really feel for you.

Ryan
2004 Astro (was AWD now 4X4) 125,000 miles: purchased April 2012
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Re: Urgent help needed: Jacking for the leaf springs van fel

Post by Wiley » Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:46 am

Thank you sir, just seeing a reply has me feeling a bit better. My plan for attempt #3 is to get everything setup, and put the 1 good jack stand under the axle rather than the bottle jack, and laying the wheel under the body in case it goes again. But really it is the hi-lift that is causing the issue, so I may be too scared to try it.
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Re: Urgent help needed: Jacking for the leaf springs van fel

Post by Wiley » Sat Feb 23, 2019 5:22 am

Plan is to use the wheel as a base to the small bottle jack to lift the body, an idea from 97cargocrawlers on the other forum. That will enable me to lift the body from the side that is missing a wheel, pushing it towards the side that has the wheel attached, obviously much safer. Jacking from the hitch with the hi-lift makes it to easy to fall either way. If I had rails then the hi-lift would be fine, but not from the hitch for this type of work. I will let you know if I am successful.
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Re: Urgent help needed: Jacking for the leaf springs van fel

Post by Wiley » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:17 pm

OK, thank you all for the help!

I now have the original leaf spring back on, lowered the van, and will now go crank down on the nuts/bolts. Appreciate the help, I hope future noobs can learn from my ignorance. With a stand under my hitch it was a million times better, I only put the original back after not being able to get the new one in, I probably could have but didn't want to push my luck, I will swap them in the USA.
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Re: Urgent help needed: Jacking for the leaf springs van fel

Post by Snowgeek » Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:25 pm

Sounds like you got it on your own but sometimes being able to talk it out through the forum is helpful!!

Ryan
2004 Astro (was AWD now 4X4) 125,000 miles: purchased April 2012
Colorado Camper Van poptop
4" Overland lift, Rancho 5000 Cooper AT3 245/75/16 C,
4x4 - NP236 Transfercase
Propex HS2211 propane heater
I am copying a few of you hope you don't mind!

See my build here

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Re: Urgent help needed: Jacking for the leaf springs van fel

Post by Wiley » Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:10 am

Snowgeek wrote:Sounds like you got it on your own but sometimes being able to talk it out through the forum is helpful!!

Ryan
Oh man I feel like an idiot now that I understand what was wrong vs doing it correctly, it felt a million times safer today. You are right, I needed to step away and get a better understanding of things. Embarrassed as I could have been killed had I been under it, but I learned a lot.
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Re: Urgent help needed: Jacking for the leaf springs van fel

Post by Herbie » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:39 am

Man, I was travelling all weekend, so I just saw this. Really glad you got it sorted, as that must have been scary/frustrating as hell.

I wouldn't have offered much more than what Snowgeek did - while probably not the preferred method, I have put jackstands under the rear hitch while I was doing axle work. I also carry a Bogert bottle jack and break-down jackstand kit, but in the situation with the axle in the dirt, I'd have had to dig a hole. (I have a shovel, too.)

I think the time to think it through was most important. The guy who taught me offroad recovery, etc. used to rate all such problems in terms of how many cups of tea would be required. (An Englishman, naturally.) Just about anything more severe than one wheel dug in on a rutted road was a minimum 1-cup-of-tea problem. (As in, at least one cup of tea would be made and drunk, while considering options, before recovering.)

Serious stuff got into the 3- or 4-cups-of-tea range.

EDIT: Forgot to add: I too really hate Hi-Lifts. I refuse to carry one on my van. As you say, maybe if I had rock-rails, I'd consider it.
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Re: Urgent help needed: Jacking for the leaf springs van fel

Post by Snowgeek » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:29 pm

Herbie wrote:I also carry a Bogert bottle jack and break-down jackstand kit, but in the situation with the axle in the dirt, I'd have had to dig a hole. (I have a shovel, too.)
I must say I did not know about collapsing jack stands.... that is now on my list of needs. And I really like the idea of digging the hole to reduce how far up things need to be lifted...... pain in the butt for sure but worth the time if safety is in in play.

Ryan
2004 Astro (was AWD now 4X4) 125,000 miles: purchased April 2012
Colorado Camper Van poptop
4" Overland lift, Rancho 5000 Cooper AT3 245/75/16 C,
4x4 - NP236 Transfercase
Propex HS2211 propane heater
I am copying a few of you hope you don't mind!

See my build here

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