Introduction: Homemade Jack Stands

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…

My car requires a maintenance procedure that makes it necessary to raise the car off of the floor, but also to keep it level. A set of ramps supports the front wheels. I made a set of jack stands to support the rear of the car at just the right height for the car to be level. The floor jack in the photo was used only to place the jack stands.

Step 1: Take a Reading With a Level

I opened the door and took a reading with a level to note the position of the bubble.

Step 2: Raise and Level the Car

I raised the front of the car with ramps. I raised the rear of the car with the floor jack seen in the Introduction photo until the bubble on the level rested in the same place as in Step 1. I measured from the factory designated jack point to the floor to determine the height my jack stands needed to be.

Most jack stands are adjustable for height. I need my jack stands for a specific purpose and decided to simplify making them by making them a fixed height with no adjustment.

Step 3: Prepare Tubing

I bought some 3 1/2 inch steel tubing at a junk yard. It is at least 3/16 of an inch thick, so it is very sturdy. I marked and made three slits around the circumference of the tubes. The slits are equa-distant from one another to divide the circumference in thirds. Each slit is a little longer than the leg portion of the finished jack stand. Because the tubes had been cut with a cutting torch at the junk yard, I would need to do some trimming and needed a little extra length for that.

Step 4: Heat for Bending

I used my 220 volt welder and my homemade carbon arc torch to heat 1/3 of a tube for a bend. (See: ) I heated the steel until it was very nicely red. I heated and bent each leg on both stands.

Step 5: Pull the Leg

I actually did this project about eight years ago. The braces between the legs seen in this photo were not yet in place. I grabbed the end of the tube for the leg I had heated and pulled with a gloved hand. I expected I would have to reheat some of the legs to get the same amount of pulled angle on each, but did not. I grabbed the end of the heated section and pulled until it would not pull more. Each leg was at very nearly the same angle when I finished heating and pulling them one at a time.

Again, the ends of my tubes were ragged from a cutting torch. Next I marked where to cut so all three ends would be quite even with one another and I cut them with an angle head grinder fitted with a cutting disc. These jack stands have three legs. Even if one leg is slightly longer than another, the jack stand will still be stable. But, do try to get them as even as possible so the weight of the car is shared equally by each leg.

Step 6: Add Braces for Strength and Safety

I had some strap iron about 1 1/2 inches wide and almost 3/16 inch thick. I marked and cut pieces to weld between the legs for bracing.

Step 7: Finish

I stood both jack stands on the floor and measured to the desired height I wanted, which was 19 3/8 inch. I cut excess from the top so the stands were both at my desired height.

The jack points on my car are covered with finished automotive sheet metal and paint. I did not want to make a mess of the finish, so I made a fiberboard interface for my jack stands. I made two plywood discs equal in size to the inside diameter of the steel tubing. then I attached a piece of fiberboard. The disc is offset so I can push the jack stands under the car as far as possible until they rest against a seam in the body sheet metal.

I feel very safe under my car when it is supported by my ramps and my homemade jackstands.