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BUYING 3-TONNE AXLE STANDS

BUYING 3-TONNE AXLE STANDS

by Gary Stretton, 28th August 2017

Gary Stretton finds out which axle stands offer the best supporting role for your Land Rover


Given the weight of most Land Rovers, the SWL (Safe Working Load) is an important factor when buying axle stands. The 3-tonne stands tested here will be suitable for most Land Rovers and, if your vehicle is loaded with kit when it’s supported, the additional SWL will be welcome. Traditional tripod designs with a locking pin are still popular and, if their base print is broad for stability, they work well. Four-legged designs, typically with ratchet posts, are taking over though, offering a one handed affair for setting the height and for lowering the post afterwards. Consider also that some axle stand feet might sink into a Tarmac surface in warm weather. If you use axle stands solely on a Land Rover vehicle, it’s worth sourcing those with a height – when set at minimum – that is close to the height required to raise an axle sufficiently to allow a wheel to be changed. The less extended a stand is, the more stable it will be. The cradle of an axle stand is equally as important as the base, and should be considered before buying. For supporting the round shape of a beam axle casing, avoid flat cradle designs at all costs. They should only be used to support flat areas of the chassis. Iron cradles are preferable to steel, and a crescent shape cradle will be better at preventing an axle from slipping.

TIPS FOR BUYING AND USING

Height is everything – The working heights of axle stands must be considered due to the increased ground clearance of the Land Rover vehicle range. The stands on test allow for working on a Series vehicle’s brakes and axles without being fully extended.
 
Versatility – 3-tonne capacity stands are, by their construction, reasonably heavy and bulky to store. One folding exception to this rule is included in the test. If you must keep axle stands on board, ensure they are secured safely and can’t be thrown around due to vehicle movement.
 
Value for money – Don’t buy axle stands on price alone. Look for quality of construction, such as continuous welds where necessary, and stable cradle design for the support you need.
 
Key Considerations – On a level floor, four feet can be more stable than a tripod design for prolonged or heavy duty work, especially on tarmac. That said, broad base tripods are better than smaller four-feet designs. Note that when raising a vehicle off ratchet-type stands, it is possible for the cradle post to inadvertently stick to the axle underseal, potentially changing the height.



^ A cradle with a cut-out definitely offers greater stability than a flat or curved one.



^Ratchet stands must have this tab pressed in to prevent the post lifting out if it sticks to the vehicle underside.



^ Ensure the SWL (Safe Working Load) is per stand, and not just a combined load ‘per pair’. Check the specs.





PRICE: £51.14


LASER 3-TONNE TYPICALLY
 
Excellent quality stands that offer increased peace of mind when working beneath a vehicle. That confidence comes from the locking pins that prevent the post ratchets from being accidentally moved, altering the support height. The cast-iron broad cradle design is very stable.
 
KEY FEATURES:
• Fast ratchet for easy height settings
• Height 280 mm – 420mm
• Locking pin to prevent accidental release
• Large cradle with stability cut-out
• Steel base plate with broad feet
• Max capacity per stand: 3 tonne (3000 kg) each
 
SEARCH FOR: Item 5074 www.toolconnection.co.uk

*Rachet design works well with one hand adjustments possible. The additional locking pins offers peace of mind. Cradle design is braod and stable.

PRICE: £31:00

DRAPER 3-TONNE RATCHETING AXLE STANDS

Excellent quality, on a par with Laser’s stands, but without an additional locking pin. These are the only stands stamped with their SWL, which is a worthy touch. Fully extended, they’re the tallest on test, thanks to that large, stable cradle with a stability cut-out that doubles well as a sill positioning slot.
 
KEY FEATURES:
• Fast ratchet for easy height settings
• Height range 288 mm – 435 mm
• Large cradle with stability cut-out
• Steel base plate with broad feet
• Max capacity per stand: 3000 kg
 
SEARCH FOR:
Item 30881 www.drapertools.com

* SWL rating is stamped on, so it’s permanent. The tallest stands on test by 15 mm. Broad cradle is stable, and is the largest on test. Good quality ratchet stands, chunky cradles.



PRICE: £29.34

SEALEY 3-TONNE FOLDING AXLE STANDS

If you want to keep axle stands on board, this clever pair could be the solution. They weigh less than the others tested and will fold flat enough to store on a spare wheel or under a seat. The cradle design is better suited to chassis and sill support. The locking pins have twin retaining clips, so you can’t lose them or knock them out accidentally in use.
 
KEY FEATURES:
• Folding tripod design for easy storage
• Locking safety pin
• Large post cradle without cut-out for additional stability
• Steel base plate with broad feet
• Height range 265 mm – 415 mm
• Max capacity per stand: 3 tonne
 
SEARCH FOR: Item AS3000F www.sealey.co.uk

* Folded dimensions mean they will fit flat inside a spare wheel. Sliding mechanism is sturdy and easy to use. Large cradle design is stable but less so on axles than others tested. Clever design makes these ideal for occasional, emergency use.


PRICE: £24.78

SILVERLINE 2-PCE SET

Silverline’s set is a worthy purchase for £25. Similar stand construction to Draper, with the simpler design post cradle being the only major difference. The cradle performs well supporting the axle tube, though it lacks the cut-out for sill work.
 
KEY FEATURES:
• Fast ratchet for easy height settings
• Steel base plate with broad feet
• Height range 285 mm - 420 mm
• Large post craddle
• Max capacity per stand: 3-tonne

* Easy to use ratchet and sturdy construction. Silverline’s broad cradle is stable in use. Cradle has the largest, continuous surface area on test. Solid construction at a keen price.
 

> LRM VERDICT

Axle stands are all about good design and robust construction. This little quartet certainly delivers on both scores with subtle and a few not-so-subtle differences. Although the only stands of their type on test, the folding Sealeys are well worth your consideration. They are of solid construction, and they function without any problems. Their use of a traditional locking pin might be enough to persuade anyone who doubts the idea of a ratchet design stand being secure enough. For occasional use and keeping on board for emergencies, what’s not to like? Recommended for sure. Silverline have done a good job with their sub £25 stands. Visually similar to the Draper and Laser, the ratchet mechanism also functions as well as theirs. The smooth, wide cradle design worked excellently, though it lacks a central cut-out for sills, which is worth bearing in mind if sill support is required. Laser’s axle stands are my pro choice here. Their construction is first rate. I like the deep cradle design which offers solid support for a beam axle. The clincher – and I wish the other ratchet stands tested had them too – is the locking pins. In theory, they are not needed as the ratchet design means the weight of a vehicle locks the ratchet. When the weight is removed however, it is possible for the post to be raised if it sticks to axle paint, underseal or dirt. I’ve experienced this in the past. The price difference between the Laser stands and the others is the only potential barrier to ownership for occasional use. And so, our overall winner is the Draper pair, with excellent construction and finish at a wallet-friendly price. The large cradle and its central cut-out design allowed the axle to bite into it for additional anti-slip support. Equally, that cut-out is ideal for supporting sills. As a bonus, in 20 years time when you’ve forgotten such things and the stickers have fallen off, their SWL is still clearly stamped into them. I really like that.

THE LRM AWARDS
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1. Overall Winner:
Draper 3-Tonne ratcheting axle stands 30881

2. Recommended:
Sealey 3 Tonne folding axle stands

3. Pro Choice:
Laser 3-Tonne 5074

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