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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In his opening message here-
http://www.124spider.org/forum/177-service-maintenance/7001-finished-my-first-oil-change.html
Pure Adreneline states lifting the car for access to the oil drain plug (and removing the belly pan), then lowering the car to effectively drain the oil, since the oil drain plug faces frontward

With all 4 wheels back on level ground, is the oil draining fully, or should the front end be lower than the back end to fully drain the old oil?

(I ask because I may build a pair of heavy lumber ramps, long enough to drive the whole car upon, and raise it 4"-5" above the ground. Is an extra 4-5 inches enough space to remove the belly pan and drain the oil, or do I need to make it a bit taller? And, if the rear should go higher, I could reinforce the ramps at the jack points to raise each rear wheel and slip a piece of 2x lumber under them, lifting the rears another 1.5" higher than the fronts. Thoughts?)

Thanks,
Steve.
 

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How does the dealer do it? How was the vehicle intended to be serviced?

I'm lucky since my house has a sloped driveway so I can just drive it forward on ramps and it will be pretty level, but I'd imagine if you could get the car level, it would suffice for an oil change. I don't think the dealer tries to angle the back of the car to change your oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That is what I would guess as well. I don't have the car yet to know for sure. If the plug is on the bottom of the pan, level should do it. But if they put the plug on the front side of the pan, at the bottom of the vertical face of the pan, then some old oil and gunk stays in the pan. Not much, but some. Having the rear end higher would help drain that. Now, if they were smart(!) and put the plug on the bottom/rear of the pan, elevating the front end only would be perfect, but apparently that is not the case, the way P.A. wrote his message.

Is the plug on the bottom of the pan?

I want to build my ramps before the car gets here in a few weeks.

Or, I come to your house and use your sloped driveway!

Steve.
 

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How does the dealer do it? How was the vehicle intended to be serviced?

I'm lucky since my house has a sloped driveway so I can just drive it forward on ramps and it will be pretty level, but I'd imagine if you could get the car level, it would suffice for an oil change. I don't think the dealer tries to angle the back of the car to change your oil.
I just had the dealer change the oil, after break-in. They just put Little Spidee on the lift, straight up and level, to get to the underside, and let her drain. I did check the oil level afterwards, too, and it was right-on-the-money, fill-wise. She's been running swell, since.
 

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I just had the dealer change the oil, after break-in. They just put Little Spidee on the lift, straight up and level, to get to the underside, and let her drain. I did check the oil level afterwards, too, and it was right-on-the-money, fill-wise. She's been running swell, since.
Hope you don't mind me asking, but how much did they charge to drain your sump? (POTUS wants to know).
 

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Yeah, it's going to be a challenge for us DIYers. I drove my fronts up some ramps to see if my floor jack might reach the rear X-member coming in from behind. Not even close. I'm going to look into other options.
 

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What about jack stands? Is anyone trying those?
 

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What about jack stands? Is anyone trying those?
I plan to once I get the car high enough to place them underneath. I've always believed in evenly jacking a car so no undue stresses and put on the body. For example, drive the fronts up on jackstands and lifting the rear at the X-member under the rear diff. case. I would never try to lift the entire rear end from one jacking point just ahead of one of the rear wheels.
 

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While I have not performed an oil change yet, seems like people are making it more difficult than it needs to be.

Jack up front; axle stands under appropriate points; remove shield; remove plug and drain; move axle stands; lower front; wait for oil to drain (4 minutes and 22.54 seconds); jack back up; axle stands; replace plug and pan; remove stands; jack down.

While it needs a bit of up and down, treat it as a substitute for 20 minutes at the gym. Then treat yourself to a drink of choice (oh, don't forget the oil and filter...then a drink of choice).
 

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Hope you don't mind me asking, but how much did they charge to drain your sump? (POTUS wants to know).
Mine charges $54. They've done it twice and its been done correctly both times.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
here's my ramp design idea

Here is the drive-on platform ramp design that is floating in my head, I think this just might work (won't know until I try). It gets the entire car up 5" above the ground. The question is, is 5" above the ground high enough for laying on a piece of cardboard under the car to do the necessary work? I'm guessing it will. I have a set of homemade wood ramps now for the front wheels that get me up 4.5", and that allows me to get under my Kia just fine.

Anyway, a materials list-
Four 2"x4"x12' (long ramp main rails)
Two 2"x4"x12' (for blocking between the long rails, and misc. blocking)
Two 2"x12"x12' (long ramp top surface)
3.5" "construction screws" or 16d nails to tack everything together

The Spider has a 91" wheelbase, so if the ramps are made to 9' long (108"), this lumber length will provide me 3' of scrap to build incline ramps to get the car up onto the platform ramps.

I found the car has a curb weight of 2436 pounds, and with the proclaimed "near 50/50 weight distribution" of the car, this means about 609 pound at each wheel.

I think that the 3' long incline ramps will be enough extended slope to get the car up onto the platform ramps without dragging underbelly parts at the transition between the incline ramp and the platform ramp. I could be wrong, but I think upping the platform height to use 2"x6" long rails (resulting in a 7" platform height) will make for a belly dragging transition at the incline-to-platform joint. For cars with lowered suspension, I doubt this design would work, it may not make it up that incline ramp to 5" high without dragging parts. The incline ramps would need to be made longer.

Yes, I will now have these two platform ramps tucked off along the garage wall, but for a Saturday morning of basic carpentry and 8 sticks of lumber, I can get the entire car up off the ground, level, and change the oil without the effort of jacking the car up and down a couple times to drain the motor oil. Especially since I have no automotive jacks or jack stands. And I can use them for both of my cars. And little carpentry projects like this are sorta fun, anyway. This is a design I'm thinking about for my own use. I'm no architect or structural engineer; if you decide to build something similar for yourself, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN, TAKING YOUR OWN CHANCES AND ASSUMING YOUR OWN LIABILITY!

I think I'd paint small index marks on my garage floor to align the ramps into the proper position for each car.

Steve.
 

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Here is the drive-on platform ramp design that is floating in my head, I think this just might work (won't know until I try). It gets the entire car up 5" above the ground. The question is, is 5" above the ground high enough for laying on a piece of cardboard under the car to do the necessary work? I'm guessing it will. I have a set of homemade wood ramps now for the front wheels that get me up 4.5", and that allows me to get under my Kia just fine.

Anyway, a materials list-
Four 2"x4"x12' (long ramp main rails)
Two 2"x4"x12' (for blocking between the long rails, and misc. blocking)
Two 2"x12"x12' (long ramp top surface)
3.5" "construction screws" or 16d nails to tack everything together

The Spider has a 91" wheelbase, so if the ramps are made to 9' long (108"), this lumber length will provide me 3' of scrap to build incline ramps to get the car up onto the platform ramps.

I found the car has a curb weight of 2436 pounds, and with the proclaimed "near 50/50 weight distribution" of the car, this means about 609 pound at each wheel.

I think that the 3' long incline ramps will be enough extended slope to get the car up onto the platform ramps without dragging underbelly parts at the transition between the incline ramp and the platform ramp. I could be wrong, but I think upping the platform height to use 2"x6" long rails (resulting in a 7" platform height) will make for a belly dragging transition at the incline-to-platform joint. For cars with lowered suspension, I doubt this design would work, it may not make it up that incline ramp to 5" high without dragging parts. The incline ramps would need to be made longer.

Yes, I will now have these two platform ramps tucked off along the garage wall, but for a Saturday morning of basic carpentry and 8 sticks of lumber, I can get the entire car up off the ground, level, and change the oil without the effort of jacking the car up and down a couple times to drain the motor oil. Especially since I have no automotive jacks or jack stands. And I can use them for both of my cars. And little carpentry projects like this are sorta fun, anyway. This is a design I'm thinking about for my own use. I'm no architect or structural engineer; if you decide to build something similar for yourself, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN, TAKING YOUR OWN CHANCES AND ASSUMING YOUR OWN LIABILITY!

I think I'd paint small index marks on my garage floor to align the ramps into the proper position for each car.

Steve.
Steve,

Wouldn't having someone else do it, who already has a lift or a pit, make more sense? Assembling wooden ramps seems like a lot of work to avoid jacking the car up a couple of time, and it seems safer to use a hydraulic jack and stands, than to use wood. Take it for what it's worth, but those are my thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Steve,

Wouldn't having someone else do it, who already has a lift or a pit, make more sense? Assembling wooden ramps seems like a lot of work to avoid jacking the car up a couple of time, and it seems safer to use a hydraulic jack and stands, than to use wood. Take it for what it's worth, but those are my thoughts.
Well, I see your points, thanks. I like changing my own oil on my own schedule knowing the work was done properly. Once the wood ramps are built, they are built, and the process of using them will be less effort (for me) than jacks and jack stands. And, then when the weight of the car is distributed through the lumber located below any one wheel (supported by 63 sq. in. of lumber below each wheel location, from the blocking and the long rails), the wood frame directly under each wheel will only be supporting about 10lb per sq. in. (as the load is dispersed down through the frame of the ramp). Careful placement of the blocking between the long ramp rails should disperse the load out very well, the wood shouldn't be over-stressed at all.

Thanks again,
Steve.
 

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Here is my plan.
I have those widely available plastic ramps so I will put those ahead of the front wheels and drive up on the ramps. This gets the front plenty high to get underneath and loosen/remove everything that needs to be done to get the oil flowing out the drain. Then using the floor jack under the cross member by the rear diff I will lift the rear till it is a little higher than the front to ensure all the oil drains out. I wont worry about jack stands for the rear because I have no reason to go under the car at this time. After 3 minutes, lower the rear floor jack back down and resume the work at the front of the car.install new filter and the drain plug, Fill with 4 liters of oil and drive back down off the ramps.

What could go wrong?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Lifting the rear when it is lower than the front? The weight is shifted to a rearward bias, sorta like it would be leaning backwards, the weight rotating around the pivot point of the front axle line, wanting to balance itself again. At the moment of the rear wheels leaving the ground, could the car be prone to want to roll backward off the front ramps? This is what I see happening in my mind.

I don't know if this plan is very safe. How would one chock the floor jack to keep it from shifting backwards, or chock the front wheels on the ramps for that matter? You are not just lifting the car vertically, the car is actually swinging in an arc. This was part of the problem with cars rocking off the pre-1980s bumper jacks, the car was lifted too high and the top of the bumber jack would lean into the car in an arch becoming very unstable. Without the grounded wheels being chocked, the car, with little effort (pulling against lug nuts, for example), could tip over the bumper jack.

See message 6 above, you method may not work.

In this case I'd think jacking the front onto jack stands, then lifting the rear end will be more stable, it takes the front wheels out of the equation.

Me, I think I'm going to build my ramps.

Steve.
 

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Here is my plan.
I have those widely available plastic ramps so I will put those ahead of the front wheels and drive up on the ramps. This gets the front plenty high to get underneath and loosen/remove everything that needs to be done to get the oil flowing out the drain. Then using the floor jack under the cross member by the rear diff I will lift the rear till it is a little higher than the front to ensure all the oil drains out. I wont worry about jack stands for the rear because I have no reason to go under the car at this time. After 3 minutes, lower the rear floor jack back down and resume the work at the front of the car.install new filter and the drain plug, Fill with 4 liters of oil and drive back down off the ramps.

What could go wrong?
I don't know about your plastic ramps, but my steel ramps have a well on them for securing the wheels so that they won't roll off when the rear is lifted. Lifting the rear with a floor jack is what I plan on doing as well, but I am in the market for an ultra low profile jack to use for this purpose, since a regular jack may not fit under there with the front end lifted.
 

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I don't know about your plastic ramps, but my steel ramps have a well on them for securing the wheels so that they won't roll off when the rear is lifted. Lifting the rear with a floor jack is what I plan on doing as well, but I am in the market for an ultra low profile jack to use for this purpose, since a regular jack may not fit under there with the front end lifted.
I should have mentioned this in my original post. Yes, the plastic ramps have a well in them just like the steel ones. Thankfully the manufacturer of the ramps thought about the backyard mechanic that might try to use their ramps without proper safety precautions.

I have used this method before for other work when I have put the car up on ramps on the front then jacked it up to put jack stands under the rear and it has worked fine and is secure. I would not recommend this procedure if your driveway isn't flat because it is not a huge lip on the ramps.

I appreciate the comments warning of the potential problems if the ramps did NOT have the built in lip. It is a very valid point.

And yes, it does require a low profile jack with a fairly long reach.
 

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I should have mentioned this in my original post. Yes, the plastic ramps have a well in them just like the steel ones. Thankfully the manufacturer of the ramps thought about the backyard mechanic that might try to use their ramps without proper safety precautions.

I have used this method before for other work when I have put the car up on ramps on the front then jacked it up to put jack stands under the rear and it has worked fine and is secure. I would not recommend this procedure if your driveway isn't flat because it is not a huge lip on the ramps.

I appreciate the comments warning of the potential problems if the ramps did NOT have the built in lip. It is a very valid point.

And yes, it does require a low profile jack with a fairly long reach.
Which jack do you have?
 

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Which jack do you have?
It's a Daytona professional 3 ton. I picked it up at Harbor Freight. It wasn't cheap and it is very heavy, but I was tired of buying cheaper jacks that didn't do the job I needed. Hopefully this jack will outlast my DIY'er days.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
I built the ramps this weekend, to a modified version of the plan I showed in message #11 above. Big changes from that plan- 2"x6" frame rails rather than 2"x4", 10' long flat ramp surface (thought of using 9'), and the incline ramp having 4' of slope length rather than 3'.

2"x6"x10' frame rails (left full length).
2"x6"x8" blocking between the rails, spaced 12" on-center, nailed to the framing rails with two 16d framing nails from each side. Net width of frame, 11".
2"x12"x10' driving surface secured to frame with #9x3" Torx-head coated decking screws. Screwed between the blocks to the frame rails, and into the center of the blocks. (From this lumber mill, a 2"x12" stick of lumber is only a weak 11-1/8" wide, rather than the 11-1/4" it was historically as milled lumber.)

It pays to be picky about the sticks of lumber brought home, get the straightest ones, free of cracking and twist/warp and other defects. There were no perfect pieces to choose from, so each ramp has a wee bit of twist but the weight of the car solves that! I bought standard framing lumber (#2 or better grade spruce/pine/fir, i.e. SPF), (2) 2x12x10'; (1) 2x12x8' (for the 4' incline ramps); (6) 2x6x10' (frame rails and blocking); (2) 2x6x8' for the incline ramps and spare blocking lumber, just in case. (I think one 2x6x8' was unused in the end, oh well, I'll use it for something sometime.) And fasteners as described.

The incline ramps- the incline plank is 4' long. I hate mathematics, and geometry is not my bailiwick. So it took a little fiddling for me to get the angled frame rails right to create the slope. Anyway, I mounted the incline ramps to 5' long pieces of 3/4" plywood (with 7d galvanized nails) I had stashed in the garage. The point here was to get the weight of the car on the incline ramp structure before ascending the incline, to keep everything from being pushed forward as the tires made first contact. This works very well, I don't have to worry about the ramps being blocked up against something solid, like a wall, or some anchor point secured to the concrete floor. At the forward end of the ramps I installed stop blocks ahead of the front wheels, and will chock the rear wheels as well whenever under the car. Yes, the incline ramps are separate from the flat ramp structure, they are not connected. They could be connected while in use if you'd like, creativity will make that connection for you.

My "hamster cage" has a wheelbase 10" longer than the Fiat 124 Spider, and weighs anywhere from 200-600 pounds more as well. The ramps did not have any issue with being parked upon, and there is a cross block directly under the front wheels. The under-car height increase is 7" (5.5" of frame rail, and 1.5" of top surface plank). My Kia Soul has exactly 1" more ground clearance than the Spider at whatever point is measured to create the actual ground clearance. A quick check at the Soul's oil pan area measured about 14" of clearance. The wood ramps (front wheels only) I normally use are only 4.5" in height (three layers of 2x lumber stacked on top each other), giving only 11.5" at the pan. I'm going to speculate the Spider should have about 12" or so of clearance under the engine once up on these ramps, maybe a bit more.

With the rear wheel on the concrete just before the plywood, and then on the plywood, I have several inches of clearance at the closest point between the car and the ramp- I got out of the car and looked. I'm sure this clearance will be a bit less with the Spider, but I'm not fearful of hitting the undercarriage on the ramp getting the Spider up top. I'd be worried about dragging the undercarriage at the top of the incline ramp if I made shorter incline ramps.

For storage, I tipped them on their side (the 7" dimension) and stacked them up against the wall, putting scrap blocks under them to keep them up off the concrete floor. I spent about $90 on lumber and fasteners, cheaper than buying the necessary extra low floor jack and jack stands to get the car up for an oil change. And it was a fun carpentry project, too.

Once I determine where the ramps need to be for proper use with each car, I'll paint some registration marks on the floor for easy ramp set up. Again, I'm no architect or structural engineer, I'm just showing what I built, and if you decide to build ramps you have all the responsibility and liability of keeping yourself safe and your car free of damage. Having someone sight your progress from a safe vantage point while ascending/descending the ramps would be advisable.

Steve.
 

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