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Keeping automotive ramps from sinking in

I am considering buying or building a set of ramps similar to the first set on the page ( My only concern is where I use them. A concrete slab is unavailable and I plan to use them on a compacted dirt surface. I expect it to sink in to some degree, but I’m not sure how much. Would there be any issue with sinking in?

I was thinking about using quickrete and pouring small slabs under each support on the ramps, or burying solid concrete blocks under each support. Which one do you think would be better? I have to level out the land before I bring in any ramps, so either way would be easy enough to do.

I have a short set of ramps from Harbor Freight that seem to work fine, even in the dirt. I just want something longer to make exhaust work easier. I assume that the long set wouldn’t sink in any more than the short ones, but by the time I have an 6000 pound truck on versus just the front or rear wheels on the short set, will it still be OK? The largest thing I plan to put on it will be a 99 Suburban, but that may change later. Definitely nothing more than 3 tons.

Thanks in advance!

P.S. I always use jackstands under the vehicle, even when on the ramps and the wheels will be chocked. If I have to have the wheels off, I use two jackstands for each wheel removed and I leave the jack propped up under the truck as well as the wheels are placed under the frame.

Have a welder put a one square foot 1/8" plate under the front edge of the ramps so they can’t sink in…

Some pieces of plywood under the ramps are all you need to keep them from sinking in. Laid on gravel it’d be almost impenetrable.

Either of these two suggestions will work. If the dirt is compacted enough, you won’t even need that.

Thanks for the suggestions. I can weld, so I’ll probably do what Caddyman suggested. Only thing is I’m paranoid so I’ll probably use 1/4" steel. Thanks again!

You never can be too safe,I have a love hate relationship with ramps-Kevin

Another vote for plywood. I’ve used it numerous times with no problem.

I am in agreement with kmccune here. I pulled my truck on a set of ramps and went to get my jackstands. When I returned a few minutes later the ramps had collapsed as flat as a pancake. I bought a sturdier pair and now have my jackstands standing by when I use them.

All of this is good as long as you are safe. In my 30+ years of shade tree work I have only dropped the frame on the ground once. And it was on jack stands on gravel. I don’t do that any more. A good piece of plywood or paving stone or something better than gravel.

Hmmm, If you are going to spend $1100 on car display ramps, I’d really think about that. You can get a very nice lift from Northern Hyd for a little over $2000 if you have a place to put it. Sounds like you might be outside though so guess I’d just use some treated 2X lumber.

Missileman & euryale1 - I understand where you are coming from. I have never had an issue with collapsing ramps or jackstands, but I do not plan to start now! I did one drop my storage shed two feet while leveling it…another story though.

Bing - I would love to have a lift, but my problem is space. I don’t have a garage that I can drive into, only one with a single door that I use as a shop. That leaves me outside to work on cars. I am probably going to build my own ramps, as I am able to weld and can get steel for a lot less than the ramps already built would cost. Of course, I will use jackstands in addition to the ramps.

I don’t do a ton of automotive work, but I really need to speed it up when I do. It takes way too long to lift each end of the car, especially when I am working and go to test drive it and end up having to lift it back up.

I noticed wood was suggested too, I have decided to use all metal because we get a lot of rain here and the freeze/thaw cycle ruins all the wood I have outside. I will use wood for a lawn mower, but not anything heavier.

Any thing is better than the thin legs of the stand/ramp on gravel. The idea of little concrete pads has my full support. It is tough to work outside. I hesitate to say that I have a two bay concrete floor garage now, but too much crap inside at the moment to fit one car, unless I really have to.

Plywood will distribute the weight so the ramps won’t sink into the mud. If you keep the plywood dry by storing it in a garage or similar, it won’t warp. I had a different problem when I bought new, lower-profile ramps to accommodate my current car–they would skate across my asphalt driveway when I tried to mount them with my RWD car. My solution was to find some rubber mats like are used in commercial kitchens and hotels, and place them under the ramps.

I faced a similar issue with my metal ramps on asphalt. I just stuck some 1/4" plywood under the ramps so the sharp edge wouldn’t sink down into the asphalt. If you use treated wood, it should stand up to weather for a good long while.