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  1. #1
    Registered User ebsbert's Avatar
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    Problem with half rack uprights tilting forward

    I have a body-solid powerline ppr500 "half rack" (others might call it a squat stand). Each 2x2 upright is attached to the base via two mounting plates and four bolts. Under normal usage with the j-cups I have no issues. But if I put a loaded bar at the end of the safeties, this causes the uprights to tilt forward a little.

    As far as I can tell this is because there's a tiny bit of slop with the mounting plates / holes / bolts and the mounting plates and uprights are finished so smoothly that they "slide" easily even with the bolts cranked as tightly as possible. If the uprights tilt forward, I can easily just push them back to vertical. (And to reiterate, the bolts are cranked tight.)

    Does anybody have any advice for getting these uprights to be as solid as possible and stop tilting? I've thought of the following:

    1) Try and shim out the slop, e.g. putting a shim underneath the front part of the upright to stop it from tilting forward.
    2) Insert some sort of thin rubber material between the mounting plates and the uprights to increase friction to hold everything more tightly and stop the "sliding" (might be a stupid idea).
    3) There is a half rack extension option for the ppr500. It adds two more uprights, but those mount via a similar plate. So I'm not sure this would prevent or minimize the tilting because the additional uprights could be prone to tilting?

    Thanks for any advice!
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  2. #2
    Registered User DarthCholo's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ebsbert View Post
    I have a body-solid powerline ppr500 "half rack" (others might call it a squat stand). Each 2x2 upright is attached to the base via two mounting plates and four bolts. Under normal usage with the j-cups I have no issues. But if I put a loaded bar at the end of the safeties, this causes the uprights to tilt forward a little.

    As far as I can tell this is because there's a tiny bit of slop with the mounting plates / holes / bolts and the mounting plates and uprights are finished so smoothly that they "slide" easily even with the bolts cranked as tightly as possible. If the uprights tilt forward, I can easily just push them back to vertical. (And to reiterate, the bolts are cranked tight.)

    Does anybody have any advice for getting these uprights to be as solid as possible and stop tilting? I've thought of the following:

    1) Try and shim out the slop, e.g. putting a shim underneath the front part of the upright to stop it from tilting forward.
    2) Insert some sort of thin rubber material between the mounting plates and the uprights to increase friction to hold everything more tightly and stop the "sliding" (might be a stupid idea).
    3) There is a half rack extension option for the ppr500. It adds two more uprights, but those mount via a similar plate. So I'm not sure this would prevent or minimize the tilting because the additional uprights could be prone to tilting?

    Thanks for any advice!
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    I know you repeated yourself, but I'm telling you, crank those bolts way beyond what you think you should. You are correct in that this is a design issue, but the easiest way to handle it is to over-tighten those suckers with BIG wrenches, leaning into it to get leverage, until you're worried that the tubing is going to start bending. I have a Titan rack that has that issue, and that's how I solved it. No issues with it tilting anymore with at least 250 lbs on it.
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  4. #4
    Registered User ebsbert's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Squeebo View Post
    I know you repeated yourself, but I'm telling you, crank those bolts way beyond what you think you should. You are correct in that this is a design issue, but the easiest way to handle it is to over-tighten those suckers with BIG wrenches, leaning into it to get leverage, until you're worried that the tubing is going to start bending. I have a Titan rack that has that issue, and that's how I solved it. No issues with it tilting anymore with at least 250 lbs on it.
    I was sure someone would call me out on this. When I first put it together I used some regular socket wrenches and cranked as tight as I could. I suspected it wasn't tight enough so I got a breaker bar for more leverage and I was able to get it much tighter. (I may have gone a bit too far as the mounting plates are just starting to deform). But it still slips and tilts.
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    Registered User ebsbert's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DarthCholo View Post
    Picture worth a thousand words in this case. Put one.
    I agree. I annotated an image at this link... but I can't post links or images...

    //imgur.com/a/XjiWcuZ
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    If welding it is not an option, I'd consider adding a support piece like this...



    Or maybe enlarge the holes to use larger hardware, while using more precise tolerances as to not allow the upright to have so much slop?
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    Registered User ebsbert's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by boxer_for_life View Post
    If welding it is not an option, I'd consider adding a support piece like this...

    Or maybe enlarge the holes to use larger hardware, while using more precise tolerances as to not allow the upright to have so much slop?
    Thanks for this. The support piece is truly the best permanent fix - but I'd have to find a fabricator to do it.
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    Originally Posted by ebsbert View Post
    Thanks for this. The support piece is truly the best permanent fix - but I'd have to find a fabricator to do it.
    You may get similar results by bolting a couple of 12" long x 1" wide x 1/8" thick flat bars at each of those spots?

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...1017/204225767
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    Originally Posted by boxer_for_life View Post
    You may get similar results by bolting a couple of 12" long x 1" wide x 1/8" thick flat bars at each of those spots?

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...1017/204225767
    I replaced the angle supports and had stationary spotter arms fabricated out of 7 and 9 guage. Great for bar loading.

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    Registered User DarthCholo's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Asjogren View Post
    I replaced the angle supports and had stationary spotter arms fabricated out of 7 and 9 guage. Great for bar loading.

    That looks crazy strong. What exersize do you load plates in them for? Those hammer strength half racks are nice. Didn't realize how much my rep fitness half rack is inspired by it.
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by ebsbert View Post
    Thanks for this. The support piece is truly the best permanent fix - but I'd have to find a fabricator to do it.
    2x4 and a table saw would get the job done.
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    Registered User DarthCholo's Avatar
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    C'mon man. This is the bb forums. Use this as an excuse to upgrade to a rogue rack!
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by DarthCholo View Post
    C'mon man. This is the bb forums. Use this as an excuse to upgrade to a rogue rack!
    If only decisions in life were so simple. Thanks for all the suggestions so far!
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  14. #14
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    Originally Posted by boxer_for_life View Post
    You may get similar results by bolting a couple of 12" long x 1" wide x 1/8" thick flat bars at each of those spots?
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...1017/204225767
    Originally Posted by Duplicitous View Post
    2x4 and a table saw would get the job done.
    These are both good ideas. If the width won't get in the way of plates, I'd get a 2x10, and bolt it to the outside. There would be a two bolts through the upright, one in front, and one in back. If you think the plates might hit it, put it on the inside or go with Boxer-For-Life's idea. That's even stronger, but do it to the front and the back! If you just do it to the front, the steel could bend, but front and back means one piece of steel would always be in tension.

    Also, given the low quality of most bolts and how think the tubing is, a breaker bar is risky! You're trying to accomplish something with friction that can't be done without crushing the thin metal of the supports or destroying a bolt.

    One last point. Be careful. Those safeties may not be enough to catch a heavy bar if you pass out or fail badly. A full rack will be safer!
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    2x4 wood stud and cut the ends at a 45 degree angle, can be easily done with a handheld electric jigsaw and use a pencil to mark the angle. Drill a hole in the end so it lines up with existing upright hole spacing. Bolt it together with the existing holes in the rack uprights, and for the lower part you'd have to drill a new vertical hole on the back horizontal tubes or you could sandwich it with another two pieces of wood or metal and mount the bolt horizontal. If you put it on the backside it wouldn't interfere with your workout at all other than losing the holes on the upright.

    Otherwise the rack extension would probably remedy the issue but it costs a lot more money than some scrap wood and four nuts and bolts.

    Another way if you don't want to use wood is to use steel square tube, maybe slightly larger than the rack tube and cut the steel away on one side so it sandwiches over the square tube of the rack then bolt through it horizontally, perpendicular to the uprights, not sure if this size square tube is available.
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    Registered User ebsbert's Avatar
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    Hey guys, thanks for all the suggestions.

    First a quick word on me. I'm an experienced lifter who has made do with sub-par gear all my life. I'm also not a huge guy - the most I've ever benched is 215 and squatted 260 for reps... and now in my advancing age with joint issues here and there I've come to accept that I'll never move "huge" weights ever again.

    I got this squat rack because one of my kids wanted to train to be able to do a pull up in gym class - and I was also showing him how to bench press so I wanted a reasonable solution for safeties. And me being a pansy I didn't want anything super heavy duty that was a pain to deal with regarding shipping, assembling, moving, etc. So 2x2 was fine for me.

    Now if any of my kids gets into lifting I'll be sure to invest in a full power rack. But me as the primary user I'm fine with what I have.

    That being said... I also have no metal or woodworking tools or skills or infrastructure (beyond making a 2x4 calf block or a pinewood derby car). So any of the engineering solutions suggested would have been a pretty significant undertaking for me.

    So with that context, I tried a solution and it looks like it's working. I'll describe it in a follow up post to avoid any TL;DR...
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    Registered User ebsbert's Avatar
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    So I tried the lowest tech, easiest, quickest, and most preposterous solution... sandwiching rubber between the mounting plates and 2x2 posts to increase the friction and stop the slipping.

    I got 2" wide 1/16" thick commercial neoprene solid rubber strip and trimmed pieces to cover all the mating surfaces like this //imgur.com/a/zTqc6Rw

    Installed it's not much to look at //imgur.com/a/vr6J8oL

    But it actually worked. The uprights don't slip at all now and the joints feel really solid. I'm not dumping 400lbs at the end of the safeties to test it - but I think for my usage this is going to hold up.

    Here's a pic of my final setup //imgur.com/a/blJ8TvH
    Which shows what started this process. My elbow joints aren't stable and I've injured them every now and then during bench press liftoff (even with light weights). So I found monolifts that fit 2x2 with 5/8" holes (from Titan). But the monolift setup was causing the uprights to slip and tilt.

    In case anyone is wondering, I can't use the monolifts to squat with this particular rack because the rack isn't tall enough. But I'm fine with that, I only needed them to bench.

    We'll see if this solution holds up over time, but for now it's working!
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    Originally Posted by ebsbert View Post
    So I tried the lowest tech, easiest, quickest, and most preposterous solution... sandwiching rubber between the mounting plates and 2x2 posts to increase the friction and stop the slipping.

    I got 2" wide 1/16" thick commercial neoprene solid rubber strip and trimmed pieces to cover all the mating surfaces like this //imgur.com/a/zTqc6Rw

    Installed it's not much to look at //imgur.com/a/vr6J8oL

    But it actually worked. The uprights don't slip at all now and the joints feel really solid. I'm not dumping 400lbs at the end of the safeties to test it - but I think for my usage this is going to hold up.

    Here's a pic of my final setup //imgur.com/a/blJ8TvH
    Which shows what started this process. My elbow joints aren't stable and I've injured them every now and then during bench press liftoff (even with light weights). So I found monolifts that fit 2x2 with 5/8" holes (from Titan). But the monolift setup was causing the uprights to slip and tilt.

    In case anyone is wondering, I can't use the monolifts to squat with this particular rack because the rack isn't tall enough. But I'm fine with that, I only needed them to bench.

    We'll see if this solution holds up over time, but for now it's working!
    Set up looks pretty good to me, and I'm also in the aging joints stage
    My son is now lifting more than me and I got him the Movestrong DSL bar for his 18th Birthday yesterday.

    Your solution might hold up, but I'm not a big fan of trusting friction when safety is a factor.

    Where are you located. I've got a pretty decent shop downstairs including a CNC machine and a metal cutting chop saw. I can pick up the $6 metal Boxer-For-Life linked to, cut it with 45 degree ends/drill it for you, and ship it.
    I'll just need measurements. Length, hole spacing, and hole size.
    Happy to do it if you want a sturdier fix.
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    Originally Posted by JustTheDad View Post
    Set up looks pretty good to me, and I'm also in the aging joints stage
    My son is now lifting more than me and I got him the Movestrong DSL bar for his 18th Birthday yesterday.

    Your solution might hold up, but I'm not a big fan of trusting friction when safety is a factor.

    Where are you located. I've got a pretty decent shop downstairs including a CNC machine and a metal cutting chop saw. I can pick up the $6 metal Boxer-For-Life linked to, cut it with 45 degree ends/drill it for you, and ship it.
    I'll just need measurements. Length, hole spacing, and hole size.
    Happy to do it if you want a sturdier fix.
    That's incredibly generous of you. I feel good about my hack for now - if things change I might get back to you.
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    Originally Posted by DarthCholo View Post
    That looks crazy strong. What exersize do you load plates in them for? Those hammer strength half racks are nice. Didn't realize how much my rep fitness half rack is inspired by it.
    Mainly for loading the bar for cleans ,rows and deadlifts. Plates are 6" off the floor.
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    Originally Posted by ebsbert View Post
    That's incredibly generous of you. I feel good about my hack for now - if things change I might get back to you.
    Any time. Just let me know if you change your mind.
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    Originally Posted by Asjogren View Post
    Mainly for loading the bar for cleans ,rows and deadlifts. Plates are 6" off the floor.
    I think having stationary safeties at the ground for loading and supporting the rack is a great idea. Do you ever run into situations where you wish they weren't there? Offhand I can't think of any... unless maybe you needed to have your moveable safeties low in that area.
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    Originally Posted by ebsbert View Post
    I think having stationary safeties at the ground for loading and supporting the rack is a great idea. Do you ever run into situations where you wish they weren't there? Offhand I can't think of any... unless maybe you needed to have your moveable safeties low in that area.
    I have low back issues so I figured this would help when loading the bar..Haven't had any issues from having them there. I really like it for rows
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