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Questions about lifting my van, as in with a floor jack

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1968-2013 Full Size Vans Econolines. E150, E250, E350, E450 and E550

Questions about lifting my van, as in with a floor jack

 
  #1  
Old 07-03-2019, 01:56 PM
Silent Dan
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Questions about lifting my van, as in with a floor jack

Howdy all, I've been lurking and learning for a while and I'm glad there are other folks out there who are "van people". There's darn few resources it seems for DIY information. I have learned much here.

I have a 2005 E-250 cargo van that I bought used about 4 years ago with 103,000 on it. Good body and well maintained mechanically. Felt pretty lucky at the time because it checked nearly all of the boxes that I wanted. First owner had evidently used it mostly for camping. I use it for an occasional camping trip and as a truck whenever I need one. 113,000 miles on it now. It's great around town but good God I've hated driving that thing on the freeway. I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about. I'm not a newbie. Vans and trucks have been part of my family forever. I've owned and driven many. Most of them had many more miles on them and were not as well maintained as this one and they were all a breeze to drive.

Everything that was not perfect with the front end has been professionally replaced. All new top of the line tires. It has been aligned 3 times by my local Firestone shop. (They have always maintained the fleet of E-250's at the company I used to work for) They unfortunately refuse to even discuss using Ingalls bushings to adjust caster. They are all about that sweet spot 3.5 degrees.

My wrenching days were well behind me I thought. I'm 54, fat, bad shoulders, questionable knees and back and arthritis in my feet. I still have all my shop tools though. Vans too tall for my garage so here I go wrenching in my driveway like I'm 24 years old again. Albeit much much slower. If this thing doesn't break me physically I'll be a better man for it. I have a few other projects in mind for it as well.

I have just finished installing the bushings adjusted for max caster myself and a after quick trip around town I think I'm on the right track. I do need to get back under there now and adjust toe-in.

Oh yeah, my questions. I've read that you should not lift the rear end from under the pumpkin (rear differential housing) That's news to me. That is how I was taught and how I've always lifted RWD vehicles. If anyone here has opinions on that I would like to hear them. As for the front end, is it kosher to lift at the crossmember just behind the I-beams? (Being very careful to avoid the oil pan that is so very close behind it) So those pins facing forward on the I-beams are factory recommended lift points for raising one wheel at a time? What if I had a cross-support that could reach both of them at once to lift the whole front? Better to use the pins or just lift under the I-beams? At some point I would like to have this thing up on 4 stands to make work easier. Raising it up one corner at a time does not sound fun or safe to me.

Again I'm old and rusty but not a newbie. My floor jacks and stands are Snap-on and Hein Werner products and are rated for more than this van. Safety is my first priority.

Any tips, tricks or words of wisdom from the DIY veterans here is much appreciated.
Thanks!
 
  #2  
Old 07-03-2019, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Silent Dan View Post
It's great around town but good God I've hated driving that thing on the freeway. I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about.
Not me. Sounds like you have a problem, what does it do that makes you hate highway driving?
Originally Posted by Silent Dan View Post
Oh yeah, my questions. I've read that you should not lift the rear end from under the pumpkin (rear differential housing) That's news to me. That is how I was taught and how I've always lifted RWD vehicles.
I think on heavier vehicles in particular this can distort the diff housing and potentially break the seal and/or permanently damage the housing so not recommended.


Originally Posted by Silent Dan View Post
As for the front end, is it kosher to lift at the crossmember just behind the I-beams? (Being very careful to avoid the oil pan that is so very close behind it)
I think you're playing russian roulette with that one, I have never done that on anything but a small car and even then I avoid it if there is anything fragile close by.

Originally Posted by Silent Dan View Post
So those pins facing forward on the I-beams are factory recommended lift points for raising one wheel at a time? What if I had a cross-support that could reach both of them at once to lift the whole front? Better to use the pins or just lift under the I-beams?
I always lift the front of these trucks from under the beams right inside the tires and the jackstand goes just inboard of that under the beams.
 
  #3  
Old 07-03-2019, 06:36 PM
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Thanks for responding Conanski. Hopefully I formatted my answers/responses correctly.

[QUOTE=Conanski;18736881]Not me. Sounds like you have a problem, what does it do that makes you hate highway driving?

I envy you. Seems some of them are fine from the factory, some are not. I've seen many complaints like mine on this very forum. It drives okay most of the time but once in a while will hit an uneven portion of road or gust of wind and decide on it's own that it needs to change lanes. I have to fight to correct, then fight to correct the correction.

I think on heavier vehicles in particular this can distort the diff housing and potentially break the seal and/or permanently damage the housing so not recommended.

Always heard Dana 60's were near bulletproof. I guess not in this respect.

I think you're playing russian roulette with that one, I have never done that on anything but a small car and even then I avoid it if there is anything fragile close by.

Respectfully noted. I will refrain.

I always lift the front of these trucks from under the beams right inside the tires and the jackstand goes just inboard of that under the beams.

One corner at a time?
 
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Old 07-04-2019, 05:29 AM
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Too much scattered info here to address point-by-point but for the most part I'm in agreement with Conanaki here. Generally lifting and supporting any vehicle is most safely achieved with the suspension attachment points OR the actual frame if one is present. Even then lifting and supporting close to an attachment point is still the best practice.

-I'd never raise a vehicle by the differential housing---where once upon a time those were substantial enough to get away with that unsafe practice its just not worth possible damage.

-the front crossmember lifting is okay for the vehicle but that location carries a lot of weight---if your jack isn't at least 5 ton or higher rated you're not working as safely as you should. Once the tires have cleared the floor I use Snap On or any other well made jack stands anywhere from just behind the front bumper back no more than 12" or a place where the frame rail is basically parallel to the floor. Perhaps redundant but chocking the wheels while lifting just one end is another good idea.

BTW I'm 68 with physical issues that come with working hard over the years along a rough and tumble younger lifestyle makes crawling around on a floor wrenching on anything not as much fun as it was when I was 10-12 years old. I'm not as quick and agile these but don't let age alone deter me from working on my own vehicles. I don't trust for-hire mechanics unknown to me for just about everything so I'll put up with a bit of discomfort to know a job has been done correctly. I save a bit of money but that's not the issue--its finding quality trustworthy mechanics that's the problem, IMHO anyway.

HTH
 
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Old 07-04-2019, 11:41 AM
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And all this time I thought JWA was the hot chick in his avatar. Way to ruin my fantasy, JWA

Steve
 
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Old 07-04-2019, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Maillemaker View Post
And all this time I thought JWA was the hot chick in his avatar.
Best laugh I've had all day.
 
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Old 07-04-2019, 07:50 PM
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I kenw this from the get go.
Go Team Green, Paul! Until last summer I had a Kaw Z1R turbo
 
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Old 07-05-2019, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Maillemaker View Post
And all this time I thought JWA was the hot chick in his avatar. Way to ruin my fantasy, JWA

Steve
Sooooooo sorry 'bout that Steve---didn't realize my avatar had such a following.

Originally Posted by Conanski View Post
Best laugh I've had all day.
Oh yeah---I got a big chuckle of of that too. But ya know there have been a few women on several vehicle forums who post photos of themselves, most guys thinking they just appropriated an attractive girl's photos. Quite the shock when they're real women.

But onto the topic of lifting vehicles---work safe!
 
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Old 07-05-2019, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by JWA View Post
But onto the topic of lifting vehicles---work safe!
Agree with Conanski also. My van has a Class IV hitch so to lift the rear, I will put the jack under it.

As far as lifting by the pumpkin goes, you will probably see shops that do that. Best to avoid those shops IMO.
 
  #10  
Old 07-08-2019, 01:31 PM
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I'm very paranoid of being squished like a bug while under the van (much more than rational people are), so I only lift if the wheels need to come off (and even then will still not go under it for any reason). Otherwise it's up the ramps. I read a story one time about a guy who was found dead under his vehicle when the jack failed, and ever since then I get the ******* just thinking about it. I know never to get under a vehicle for any reason if it's only supported with a jack. And I know my big jack stands can hold up the van forever, but I still get too weak-kneed to crawl under it. Spiders, no problem. Snakes? Bring 'em on. Ghosts? I dare you. But heights and being squished scare me. Fortunately the van sits high enough that I can get under it without lifting or ramping for oil changes and stuff.
 
 


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