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HippoRamps - How To Guide

Discussion in 'Technical Archive' started by Hippo, May 26, 2014.

By Hippo on May 26, 2014 at 10:30 PM
  1. Hippo

    Hippo Lord Hippo

    Nov 22, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Updated 29 July 2015.

    This write up shows the design and measurements used to make my HippoRamps. The original ramp section was shorter. This guide shows the betterer longer design with a shallower slope. It was a bit hit and miss driving up the ramps if the tyres were damp on the original shorter version. My Freelander can now drive up all 4 ramps at the same time. It can also do it in front wheel drive only. You can make taller HippoRamps but be careful of the sill height. Taller HippoRamps will fit under the front bumper ok but not the sill where you place the rear HippoRamp for the rear wheel to drive up.

    HippoRamps are made from wood. Each HippoRamp is made of 1 base and 1 ramp. The ramp sits in front of the base and is not connected to the base. I remove the ramp when my Freelander is on the base to stop the ramps being stolen.

    Warning: Be careful when lifting vehicles. Always chock the vehicle wheels after driving onto the HippoRamps and use the handbrake. If you intend to release the handbrake don't rely on the transmission to hold the car on the ramps. If the gearbox is in neutral your vehicle could roll forward/backward. If any of the wheels are lifted in the air make sure the other wheels are chocked. Failure to so do could allow the vehicle to move forward/backward. If you drive onto your HippoRamps and your vehicle is not central or unsafe in anyway, drive off them, realign the HippoRamps/vehicle and try again.

    Video: HippoRamps

    Warning: You need to chock the front wheels to stop your Freelander rolling. Don't rely on the handbrake on its own.


    HippoRamps are made out of lengths of wood cut as below. I used Sawn Kiln Dried Timber as it was cheap and suitable for the job. It has a square edge to work with. At the time of writing this guide the wood was available as 47mm x 100mm in different lengths. A 3000mm (3 meter) length costs £6.87 UK price from B and Q. You will need 10x 3 meter lengths to make 4 complete HippoRamps, or equivalent smaller lengths totalling 28 meters + waste off cuts. If you only make 2 HippoRamps you will need 14 meters + waste off cuts. You will also need some 4 inch nails or screws. I used 88x 4 inch nails. Total cost for the wood and nails was something like £74.

    If you don't have a roof rack you can buy shorter lengths but it's more expensive per meter of wood. They're not keen on cutting the wood in store and if asked they will probably tell you their saw is only for cutting sheet wood. You could take a hand saw and tape measure and chop them in half in the car park like I did. I used a hand tree saw. They int too keen on that either. ;)

    If your using 10x 3 meter lengths like me cut the wood in sections as follows:

    Length 1 = 600 / 600 / 600 / 300 / 300 / 300 / 250
    Length 2 = 600 / 600 / 600 / 300 / 300 / 300 / 250

    Length 3 = 600 / 600 / 600 / 300 / 300 / 300 / 250
    Length 4 = 600 / 600 / 600 / 300 / 300 / 300 / 250

    Length 5 = 600 / 600 / 600 / 300 / 300 / 300 / 250
    Length 6 = 600 / 600 / 600 / 300 / 300 / 300 / 250

    Length 7 = 600 / 600 / 600 / 300 / 300 / 300
    Length 8 = 600 / 600 / 600 / 300 / 300 / 300

    Length 9 = 600 / 600 / 600 / 600
    Length 10 = 600 / 600 / 600 / 600

    If your using different lengths cut the wood to make the same size and number of lengths as above. I used a table saw for my cuts. It's easier to have a tilting cutting blade to make the angled cuts for the ramp section.

    Each HippoRamp is made of 1 base and 1 ramp.
    Each base requires 6x 600mm and 6x 300mm lengths.
    Secure together with 4 inch nails or screws as follows:


    The ramp part is more difficult to cut due to the angles.
    Each ramp requires 2x 600mm and 2x 250mm lengths.
    You should be able to cut one of the 250mm lengths to create 2x part B's.

    You will notice the height of the ramp is slightly taller than the base. This is because the base is made of 3x 47mm deep lengths of wood which bow slightly after being used. Your vehicles weight will cause the base lengths to blow slightly. The ramps are 145mm tall to compensate for this.

    The angled cuts are all 12 or 78 degrees depending on which side of the wood you measure the angle from. I used a table saw with a tilting blade to cut mine. If you can't measure the angle use the measurements to mark and cut the wood instead. My advice would be to create 1 ramp and put it together loose to see if the wooden blocks sit ok with each other. If they fit together ok nail or screw them together on a strong level surface. Secure the 2 longer lengths to part C first, then secure part B.

    Cut the wood and secure together with 4 inch nails or screws as follows:


    The ramp build should look something like this:




    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
    mojofilter and Mr S1 like this.
Tags: this article has not been tagged


Discussion in 'Technical Archive' started by Hippo, May 26, 2014.

    1. SES88
      Well done Mr H!! Does 6"x2" (150x50 nominal) not work out cheaper? Less cuts too :D
      Hippo likes this.
    2. Hippo
      I think larger sizes of wood would work ok. Peeps can use what they have available. Some have used a chain saw and chopped up train track sleepers. Just need to be careful the base isn't too heavy to lift. My bases were made during 2004 so I bought what was available at the time. I think I would have compared the price too. Cutting isn't a problem for me but working by hand saw would take much longer. I did check to see if the same size is still available and it is. There's also some 45 x 145mm available. A wood yard would be cheaper and probably have larger cuts. Larger cross sections of wood mean you need fewer meter lengths. Woods not cheap. It's doesn't just grow on trees. Anything to reduce the cost is good as long as you keep the strength.
    3. zefrench
      Wow thanks so much for taking the time for this and the video!!
      Hippo likes this.
    4. slimboy
      Nice one Hippo looks like it will be out with the saw and tape measure this weekend:D
      Hippo likes this.
    5. smnbyt
      This should be made a 'sticky'
      Hippo likes this.
    6. willie j.
      willie j.
      Made myself a set of 4 HIPPO RAMPS. Just exactly as you instruct in this excellent guide. I can only say, A thousand thank you's for an excellent idea I have more faith in them than the metal ones I have from years ago. Beautiful job. Best wishes..... Willie J.
      Hippo likes this.