Jack Stands in North American Rally - A Design Proposal 2008-01-2970
Rally cars are among the most technologically advanced and complex race cars, with intercooled forced induction, adaptive all wheel drive and high-feature engine management being standard features for open class racers in all major North American Rally series. This high level of technology and complexity places additional burden on the service crews and mechanics charged with the task of preparing and repairing the vehicles during the competition. As such, it is of great importance that the brief service stops (thirty minutes per FIA regulation 17.2.2 ) be executed as efficiently as possible.
In the pursuit of valuable seconds, rally mechanics have shown a great deal of ingenuity, creating tools and procedures which are unique to the sport. One such innovation is the peg-style jack stand. As with a typical jack stand, these devices are intended to hold the car suspended above the ground at a height allowing mobility of the mechanics under the vehicle to maneuver large components such as transmissions and differentials. It is popular practice for teams to fabricate customized jack stands, without following regulations set forth by any North American sanctioning body. The jack stands used vary from being low-quality imported purchase pieces, to highly engineered fabrications. While injuries due to jack stand failure have not been a major problem to date, it is prudent to examine the situation and explore the possibility of implementing regulations which govern these tools.
The sport of Rally places great importance on the safety of the drivers and co-drivers, with exhaustive regulations regarding systems such as roll cages, helmets, safety belts and fire suppression, yet there are few regulations in place to ensure the safety of the service crews. Mechanics regularly trust their lives to the jack stands which suspend the cars above them.
The following paper will explore this issue through the analysis of some exemplary, popular designs of peg-style jack stands. An alternative design, with increased strength and durability as well as reduced sensitivity to fabrication errors, ground conditions, and user errors will also be explored. This proposed design is presented with a mind towards the implementation of a regulation-mandated standardized design.