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Background: I would really like to begin doing my own basic maintenance on our vehicles (2009 Rav, 2007 Prius). The closest I have ever gotten to my own auto work to this point has been sitting in the waiting room at the dealership, but the Rav needs transfer case/rear diff fluid changes, so this feels like the perfect first job. We have a fairly level gravel driveway (no garage), and at this point I have purchased a set of ramps, a 3 ton low profile heavy duty jack, four 3 ton jack stands, and wheel chocs. I read through my manual and the jacking points seem pretty darn simple, but from exhaustive google and forum searches, jack stand locations on the Rav seem conflicting and less than ideal and when you couple that with my gravel driveway, I am gun shy to use the ramps and/or jack stands.

Possible Solution: Through my reading I stumbled across this "Wood cribbing block DIY for raising the car in addition to jack stands" post and the build process begins about half way down the lengthy post. Quoted below is a snippet and here is the full link: Wood cribbing block DIY for raising the car in addition to jack stands | VW TDI forum, Audi, Porsche, and Chevy Cruze diesel forum

Parts to build DIY wood cribbing blocks
Yields 4 blocks 14" tall, 16" wide, and 24" long each.

Disclaimer: The procedure shown were generic steps for my car only. You must measure your car to see if a 24" long or 16" wide plank is stable enough for your vehicle and load. You must customize these plans to fit your needs by calculating the strength of the wood you are using vs. the amount of weight it will support. Consult a qualified engineer before making your own design or copying these generic plans.

2x4 wood planks (2x4s are actually 1.5"x3.5", I don't know why, they just are)
24" long 2x4 = 40 pieces
16" long 2x4 = 44 pieces

2x16 wood plank, 24" long = 8 pieces

coarse deck screws, 3.5" long
coarse deck screws, 2" long
electric hand drill and various bits (preferred)
I am thinking about building a set of these to use for fluid changes and other non-tire removal jobs (in addition to the jack stands as back ups). I recognize it's overkill as compared to driving up the ramps, changing the fluid, and rolling back down, but it feels so much safer given our gravel driveway.

Questions:
Have any of you built anything along these lines, and if so do you have alternative specs or write ups linked anywhere?
Would the dimension of 16" wide and 24" long be appropriate for stock rav 16 or 17" tire sizes?
Any other feedback?

Thank you,
Greg
 

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I agree that working on gravel is very dangerous if you're trying to use jacks, stands and ramps meant for solid floors.

You definitely need a wider base of wood or steel. The only issue with homebrew stands or ramps is you are the certifying safety official so you need to be very careful to overbuild them.

Those pictured look good but I recently acquired a set of large pine beam chunks from a friend's new home construction. I use them under the wheels for extra protection even tho I work on jack stands on a concrete floor.

Since I burn firewood I've also cut sections of large tree trunks to use for stands. I recently used some 18" diameter ones to support my camper trailer two feet off the ground while I worked on it's floor.

One caution. I've given up on ramps. Just don't like them. They can slide while you're driving off or on. You can drive too far. They can tip. Made some up years ago to save some $$. They ended up in the wood stove!
 
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I have used cribbing to support all sorts of vehicles and those pictured are more then adequate for supporting a Rav4. You do not need jack stands to augment what is shown. If you want to just use jack stands on gravel cut a piece of 1/2 inch plywood about 4 inches bigger all around then the base of the jack stands, and place the jack stands on the plywood base. The metal legs of the jack stand will dig into the plywood, and secure it in place.
 
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