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Chevrolet Repair/1987 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale speedometer

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QUESTION: Hello, Tom,

Thanks for your earlier responses.

I’m dealing with the next step in this procedure.

This morning, I lay in bed, unable to get back to sleep, thinking about the issue of getting underneath my car to replace the speed sensor.

Frankly, getting this right is a possible life-or-death issue, as death could result if the car were to fall on me.

First, my thinking is that I should just wait until at least the third week in January, when the car classes start again, per my understanding, at my local community college – and when I can probably get the work done (or later in the upcoming semester).

I’ve been faced with a lot of opinions and incomprehensible instructions (the latter from the owner’s booklet).

You’ll probably notice that this message is sort of in pieces – since I’ve done one thing and another, and have various questions.

I think I should avoid giving my own opinions too much but rather ask a number of questions.

First, the booklet mentions “notches” where one would jack up the car – one (on each side) about 10 inches from the front tire and another about 8 inches from the rear tire.  HOWEVER, I HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO LOCATE THESE.  This seems really serious.

Question 1: Do you see any notches in the car (regarding picture 1 – however, I’ve seen more than one such “notch” toward the rear tire, if that squarish area is a “notch.”

Also, I was informed by a student (not the teacher) at my car class that the rail, or whatever it is, near the edge of the car, is where I was to put the feet, or whatever they’re called, that would raise the car while at the lab.

Question 2: Would the notches be in this rail, which is shown in picture 1?

Someone at AutoZone thought that I could or should use jack stands on a sort of INNER rail that he pointed out to me.

Question 3: Is that correct?  (It’s maybe 6 or 7 inches further in from the edge of the car.)

More recently at AutoZone – after I found a scissor jack that was in the trunk of the car, a guy there thought that I should probably JACK the car from a “flat” area of the car – which seemed to be the frame, per him, and which runs underneath the doors, for one thing (Picture 2).

Question 4: Does that seem right?  (Note: “Notches” are no longer an issue, I suppose, if I do this.)

Question 5: Is this even safe?

Question 6: If I were to do this, could the car slip off that non-notched, flat surface?

Question 7: Would it make sense to put the JACK STANDS there, too?  (I would have a curved saddle, or whatever it’s called, on a FLAT surface, which doesn’t sound right for the jack’s design.

Question 8: Do you know where I would put the jack stands?  This is important, of course.

Also, I found out today (per chacha.com) that the curb weight of my car was between 3,500 and 3,600 pounds.  Where they got that information, though, I don’t know.  (I bought jack stands rated at 2 tons.)

I have other concerns:

- If an unlikely but possible (here in California) earthquake were to hit, I suppose the vehicle could fall off the jack stands.

- If someone – a wise guy or otherwise – were to push on the car while I was underneath it, same possible result.

- If a reckless driver were to plow into my car while I was underneath it (I’d expect to be working on a residential street), same result, I assume.

- I’d expect to be working on a SLIGHT grade.

Question 9: Is a slight grade okay?

I called around but couldn’t find ready-made blocks to use – and I’ve read that some of these, such as cinder-blocks, can break.

By the way, I really like your ramp idea.  It’s simple to use, I believe, and the main risk, I suppose, would be:

- If the tire(s) suddenly lost air, I’d be stuck, perhaps, under the car.

- If the front end were up and someone were to run into the back of the vehicle, I suppose the vehicle could be knocked off the jack stands.

Another question:

Question 10: Is the ramp actually HIGH enough?  From what I’ve been told, someone at O’Reilly, as I recall, told me over the phone that their ramps would go up 6-1/2 inches – and I think he or someone else there thought that this would be too low for my job (the speed sensor is toward the passenger side, near the firewall).

I think that’s all I should ask right now.  (That’s plenty, right? :D )

Thanks again for your insight.

P.S. I haven’t found, online, instructions for the ACDelco jack stands that I bought this week.  They’re still in the vehicle, unopened, and I might return them.  Here is information about them, though, with details toward the bottom of the screen: http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/detail/ACD9/34117/N0770.oap?ck=Search_N0770_-1.

Also, I bought one set of chocks, and these could be useful even if I don’t go underneath the car, so I’m more likely to keep them.

Best regards, and thanks again.

-- George

ANSWER: HI GEORGE,THE BEST THING I CAN TELL YOU IS PUT THE JACK OR JACK STANDS UNDER THE CRADLE BOLTS.
THIS IS THE REAR OR FRONT SECTIONS OF THE FRAME RAIL..YOUR CAR IS UNIBODY..SO JUST JACK IT UP ON ANY PORTION OF THE CRADLE. THIS IS VERY STRONG AND YOU WILL NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING..IT HOLDS THE ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION UP..SO NO WORRY.IF YOU GET UNDER THE CAR IT WILL LOOK LIKE A BOX. FOUR CORNERS.. IF YOU DO JACK THIS CAR UP ON A HILL JUST MAKE SURE THE REAR WHEELS ARE BLOCKED OFF SO IT WILL NOT ROLL...YOU ONLY NEED TO  JACK THIS UP ENOUGH TO GET UNDER IT AND REMOVE THE SPEED SENSOR... ALSO PLEASE,PLEASE RATE MY ANSWER I TRY TO KEEP A HIGH PROFILE WITH ALL EXPERTS..THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO RATE ME...I KNOW YOU HAVE THANKED ME FOR MY ANSWERS IN THE PAST BUT THAT WAS WITH ME..THANK YOU ..TOM..

HI AGIAN GEORGE, I GOT YOUR RATING.THANK YOU.. THIS IS A VERY EASY PROJECT FOR YOU TO DO. MAYBE YOU DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT I HAD SAID...CAN YOU GET A FLOOR JACK ???IF NOT I THINK YOU WOULD BE GLAD THAT YOU BUY ONE..IT WILL COME IN VERY HANDY !!!JUST PUT THE FLOOR JACK UNDER THE FRONT SECTION OF THE FRAME CRADLE..THIS IS THE BIG SQUARE PIECE OF SOLID METAL AROUND THE FRONT ENGINE AREA AND TRANSMISSION..JUST JACK IT UP AT ANY POINT ON THIS FRAME AREA..ONCE IT IS JACKED UP TO THE HEIGHT YOU WANT PUT A JACK STAND OR ROCK OR BRACE OR CEMENT BLOCK UNDER THE FRAME. YOU CAN NOW LOWER THE JACK DOWN ON THIS TO MAKE SURE THAT IT IS STURDY.. IF SO KEEP THE FLOOR JACK AT THE AREA THAT YOU JACKED IT FROM JUST FOR SAFE MEASURE..IT IS NOT DOING ANYTHING BUT IT IS THERE JUST IN CASE...MAKE SURE THAT THE REAR WHEELS ARE BLOCKED OFF WITH  A BIG ROCK SPARE TIRE OR SOMETHING THAT WILL PREVENT IT FROM ROLLING..ONCE THIS IS DONE YOU ARE VERY SAFE TO GET UNDER THIS CAR,, AND DO WANT YOU NEED TO DO..LET ME KNOW IF I DID NOT ANSWER YOUR QUESTION TO YOUR LIKING,,OR IF YOU NERED MORE INFO.GOOD LUCK TOM..

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello, Tom,

Thanks for the follow-up.

You mentioned cradle bolts.  I really don’t KNOW for sure what these are (though I’m familiar with the term “carriage bolts,” which are a type of bolt I’ve used in setting up some non-automobile equipment, per instructions that came with that equipment).

You mentioned cement blocks, but I mentioned in my last multi-question query that cinder-blocks can break, per what I've read (thus, they are often considered unsafe, by some).  Did you see my mentioning of this?

You also mention using rocks or spare tire for blocking the tires.  They may work, but I also mentioned that I’d bought chocks.  Did you see that part of my message?

As for the cradle, I’m surmising that this is the same thing as the “inner rail” that I mentioned, as it seemed to be an inner set of rails that formed a rectangle underneath the car and some inches inward of the outer rail that I’d photographed.  I can perhaps look into that further online and match up what I learn there with my car.

You asked if I could get a floor jack – but I mentioned that I found a “scissor jack” in the car.  I assume that would be okay.

I still don’t know about the “notches,” and you didn’t address anything about that.  

My manual doesn’t say anything about jacking up the car from the front or rear.

If you answer each of the enumerated questions from my last message one by one, it may be helpful.

Meanwhile, my intention is to wait for assistance, as far as fixing the speedometer goes, UNLESS I really know what I’m doing.

I understand that my last set of questions, in particular, takes time to read and answer, but all of the questions were meaningful to me and most, if not all of them, were safety related.

Thanks again,

-- George

ANSWER: GOOD MORNING GEORGE,I WILL TRY TO ANSWER ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS FOR YOU..BUT FIRST LET ME SAY I DO HAVE THE GIST OF YOUR QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS..IF YOU ARE GOING TO USE YOUR SCISSOR JACK THIS WILL WORK..YOU WILL NEED TO PUT THE JACK UNDER THE PINCH WELDS UNDER THE ROCKER PANELS.[THIS IS WHERE YOU TOOK THE PICTURES AND SENT THEM TO ME.THIS IS WHERE THIS TYPE OF JACK NEEDS TO GO...THIS WILL ONLY WORK ON A CAR THAT HAS NOT SEEN A LOT OF RUST LIKE WHERE I LIVE IN A SALT MINE ROCHESTER NY..YOUR ROCKER PANELS LOOKED VERY SOLID SO NO WORRY..THIS SHOULD ANSWER YOUR QUESTION ON JACKING YOUR CAR UP..SO WE WILL NOT NEED TO GO INTO JACKING IT ON THE CRADLE BOLTS. IF YOU DO NOT FEEL SAFE WITH CINDER BLOCKS AND A PIECE OF WOOD ON TOP OF THE BLOCKS [WHICH I FEEL ARE SAFE IF USED CORRECTLY.]YOU STACK THEM LIKE WHEN YOU BUILD A BASEMENT WALL..NOT END TO END BUT SIT ON THE GROUND THE LONG END THEN STACK ON THEM LIKE THAT..SO IF THIS WILL NOT WORK FOR YOU THE NEXT BEST THING OTHER THEN JACK STANDS IS GOING TO BE 6 BY 6 WOOD BLOCKS STACKED AND HELD TOGETHER WITH CLAMPS OR NAILED JUST SO THEY STAY TOGETHER..THIS IS VERY STRONG...STACK AS MANY AS YOU WANT TO. SO WHAT EVER YOU DECIDE TO USE PUT THE SUPPORTS UNDER THE CRADLE WHICH IS THE FRAME THAT HOLD THE ENG AND TRANS IN PLACE. YOU COULD ALSO PUT THE SUPPORTS UNDER THE PINCH WELDS WHERE YOU ARE JACKING THE CAR FROM OR BOTH THE LEFT AND RIGHT FRONT CONTROL ARMS CLOSER TO THE LOWER BALL JOINT AREA,THESE AREAS ARE VERY STRONG AND THE CAR WILL NOT GO ANYWHERE LIKE THIS.. AS FAR AS KEEPING THE CAR IN PLACE AFTER JACKED UP CHOCKS ARE THE BEST YOU CAN BUY AND USE..JUST BLOCK THE REAR TIRE FRONT AND BACK SIDE.CAR WILL NOT ROLL LIKE THIS. [GOOD CHOICE GEORGE]IF THE PARKING BRAKE WORKS USE THIS AS WELL FOR A GOOD MEASURE..ONCE THE CAR IS UP AND AT A LEVEL THAT IS GOOD FOR YOU TO WORK JUST SLIDE UNDER THE CAR AND REMOVE THE 10MM BOLT AND LIFT THE SPEED SENSOR OUT OF THE TRANSMISSION AND PUT THE NEW SENSOR BACK IN THE SAME WAY. THIS WILL ONLY GO IN ONE WAY...PLUG THE HARNESS BACK INTO IT AND YOU ARE DONE...I AM SORRY I DID NOT ANSWER ALL OF YOU QUESTIONS THE LAST TIME.I SKIPPED AROUND THINKING THAT YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO SEE WHAT I WAS SAYING TO YOU..BUT I KNOW IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE THIS BEFORE IT IS OVERWHELMING..TO ME THIS WOULD BE A JOB THAT SHOULD TAKE NO MORE THEN 20 MINUTES. BUT DO NOT LET THIS GET THE BEST OF YOU,THIS IS NOT HARD TO DO AND I KNOW YOU CAN DO THIS WITHOUT HELP...GET BACK TO ME IF I DID NOT ANSWER YOUR QUESTION. PLEASE AGAIN RATE THIS ANSWER.THANKS AGAIN AND GOOD LUCK TOM...

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi, Tom,

Here are some further comments regarding your latest response (your response, then my response/question(s)):

SCISSOR JACK THIS WILL WORK..YOU WILL NEED TO PUT THE JACK UNDER THE PINCH WELDS UNDER THE ROCKER PANELS.[THIS IS WHERE YOU TOOK THE PICTURES AND SENT THEM TO ME.THIS IS WHERE THIS TYPE OF JACK NEEDS TO GO...THIS WILL ONLY WORK ON A CAR THAT HAS NOT SEEN A LOT OF RUST

OK, I don’t really know what pinch welds are.

I don’t know what rocker panels are.

I sent numerous pictures.

I can look these things up on the Internet and see what I get, unless you want to make it more clear.

SO WHAT EVER YOU DECIDE TO USE PUT THE SUPPORTS UNDER THE CRADLE WHICH IS THE FRAME THAT HOLD THE ENG AND TRANS IN PLACE. YOU COULD ALSO PUT THE SUPPORTS UNDER THE PINCH WELDS WHERE YOU ARE JACKING THE CAR FROM OR BOTH THE LEFT AND RIGHT FRONT CONTROL ARMS CLOSER TO THE LOWER BALL JOINT AREA,THESE AREAS ARE VERY STRONG AND THE CAR WILL NOT GO ANYWHERE LIKE THIS..

Don’t really know what control arms are.

Have heard of ball joints, but don’t know where mine are, or what they look like.

(Since I have jack stands, I can use these, I suppose, versus blocks.  At $24.99, they weren’t too expensive, and I haven’t heard anything bad about this brand of jack stand (ACDelco), though I read that someone’s Torins folded over – also (on Amazon.com), that Torin(s) had faulty welds.  HOPEFULLY, mine will be okay.)

I’d like to take this opportunity to send you a link I found some days ago, regarding a fatal jack-stand accident.  One suggestion the article makes, by the way, is to have a “pit” in which to work, which, of course, I do not.  Here is the link:

http://mshp.mines.edu/UserFiles/File/MSHP/Signal%20Creek%20Energy-Crushed%20by%2

Also, I’m not truly understanding where/what my “cradle” is – again, I can look it up and, I think, figure it out.  By the way, if I figure all these things out, I WILL have learned something, that’s for sure! :)  That’s one good thing.  (If not, then I’ll be guessing.)

While I’m at it, I still have the unanswered question as to:
- Whether ramps would be high enough;
- Whether ramps are safe, if (unlikely), tire pressure is lost.
(I’d be buying plastic ramps, by the way, I expect.)

Thanks again.

-- George

Answer
HI GEORGE,IMAGE ONE HAS A CLEAR SHOT OF THE PINCH WELDS.THEY ARE UNDER THE ROCKER PANEL NEXT TO THE FLOOR BOARDS. CONTROL ARMS ARE THE LONG PIECE OF STEEL THAT GOES TO THE LOWER BALL JOINT BACK TO THE FRAME CRADLE..THE BALL JOINT IS AT THE BOTTOM PORTION OF THE WHEEL SIDE AREA NEXT TO THE  BRAKE ROTOR.IF YOU LOOK AT THE BOTTOM SECTION OF THE FRONT BRAKE ROTOR AND BACK FROM THERE THERE IS THE BALL JOINT AND THE BALL JOINT IS CONNECTED TO THE CONTROL ARM..THE ENGINE CRADLE IS UNDER THE FRONT SECTION OF THE CAR..AGAIN IT HOLDS THE ENG AND TRANS TO THE CAR IT IS SHAPED LIKE A SQUARE..THIS IS MNADE OUT OF METAL.IF YOU LOOK FOR YOUR CONTROL ARMS WHERE I TOLD YOU,BOTH THE LOWER CNTROLS ARMS ARE ATTATCHED TO THE CRADLE..ALSO THE RACK AND PINION STEERING GEAR IS ALSO ATTATCHED TO THE CRADLE...IT HOLDS EVERYTHING IN PLACE...I WOULD SUGGEST YOU LOOKING UP IN GOOGLE [FRONT FRAME CRADLE AND YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE IT LIKE THIS FOR SURE.] YOUR LAST QUESTION IS GOOD ABOUT RAMPS..I USE THEM AT HOME ALL THE TIME. MINE ARE ASLO MADE OUT OF HIGH IMPACT PLASTIC. EACH RAMP WILL HOLD 2 TONS [4,OOO LBS.] YOUR ENTIRE CAR IS LIKE 3800 LBS..  THESE ARE VERY SAFE AND YES ITHINK THEY WILL BE HIGH ENOUGH TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO. JUST MAKE SURE YOU BLOCK OFF THE REAR WHEELS AND KEEP IT IN PARK..EVEN IF A TIRE GOES FLAT YOU STILL WILL HAVE ENOUGH ROOM TO GET OUT..NOT TO MANY PEOPLE HAVE A PIT TO DO WORK IN..BUT THEY ARE NICE..THE DELCO STANDS ARE VERY GOOD WE USE THESE AT OUR SHOP...GOOD LUCK TO YOU,,TOM

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PLEASE READ ALL OF THIS BEFORE ASKING ANY QUESTIONS. IF THIS CHEVY SECTION IS MAXED OUT.YOU CAN REACH ME IN THE OLDS/BUICK SECTION. Will answer questions from 6:00am to 10:00pm all days [EST][[[ NO DIESEL OR PAINT QUESTIONS]]] will answer all 1965 to present QUESTIONS ON ALL GM'S on mechanics of these cars. Keep in mind i am not there in person i am going on what you are telling me !! PLEASE IF ASKING A QUESTION GIVE ME AS MUCH INFO AS POSSIBLE. THE MORE THE BETTER. SUCH AS YEAR,MAKE,MODEL,ENGINE SIZE. THIS WILL HELP ME HELP YOU. I will not be able to answer all questions because of some situations that i would really need to be there and see things for myself,such as electrical issues. In many cases i would need wiring diagrams. I can also give you an estimate on what the cost would be at our repair shop as an idea to help you. Keep in mind that my answer is ONLY MY ADVICE,ck with your mechanic as well.. >> THANK YOU, TOM..

Experience

I have been a ASE certified master mechanic for over 30 years and certified IN ALL 8 CATEGORIES,[engine repair,engine performance,auto trans,manual trans,clutches,steering and suspension,brakes,electrical systems,heating and air/cond. I am also a state CERTIFIED inspector for over 30 years. I do computer work [pcm]fault codes,pcm flashing,state inspection monitor readiness,repairs on exhaust,fuel service,[injection and carburetor,] charging system problems, running issues,alignments,frame problems,tire balance,struts and of course standard and anti-lock brakes.

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