Thread: Dash Lift

  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada.

    Question Dash Lift

    Durning a training session last evening, we left the ram in the truck, and decided to do a dash lift with the "Jaws". We cut a "V" notch in the "A" post, but did not have much success. Where did I go wrong?
    John Mather

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Puyallup, Wa.


    John, here are 2 ways to do this which have worked well for me.
    The first is called jacking the dash, which is a vertical lift inline with the A pillar.
    Assuming the roof is removed, the steps are:
    1. Make sure you have adequate cribbing supporting the rocker channel underneath the A pillar area.
    2. With the front door open and removed, make two horizontal, parallel relief cuts into the A pillar. They should ideally be located between the hinges, with the top cut just below the bottom edge of the dash and the bottom cut a few inches below the first.
    3. The spreader should now slightly open its tips and grab the tab you've just created and rotate this piece of metal towards the front end of the car and out of your way.
    4. The cutter operator can be severing the top rail at the same time just to the rear of the strut tower assembly( this relief cut allows the dash to move away easier and not the whole front end of the car).
    5. The spreader now positions himself to the side of the vehicle of inserts his tips into the opening thats been created between the hinges. As you open the spreader up, the bottom stub of the A pillar will compress into the rocker and you'll get positive upwards displacement of the dash after that.

    Method #2, Rolling the dash with the spreader.
    1. Crib under the rocker in the same manner.
    2. Make 1 horizontal relief cut at the base of the A pillar under the bottom hinge.
    3. Make a pie cut into the A pillar between the hinges 1-2 inches deep( this cut is just a purchase point for your top spreader tip).
    4. Make top rail relief cut.
    5. Position spreader with bottom tip on rocker slightly to the rear of the A post, top tip into pie cut.
    6. Open spreader ( direction of spread should be angled slightly to front of vehicle).

    Hopefully that was clear as mud, I'll see if I can find some pictures.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
    MalahatTwo7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.


    Jmather, I think I also may have a partial answer to your problem. I have to ask a question first though. Are you using a dedicated spreader and a dedicated cutter or are you using a combie cutter/spreader type tool? If you are using the two dedicated tools, then the procedure as laid out by Kbud, is a good one.

    If you are using a combie tool, as we do in our dept, its a Lukas model (and it works great), then the procedure won't work quite as well, because the combie tool doesn't have the spread capabiity of the dedicated spreader. I can't remember the exact numbers, but I think we can only do a maximum spread of about 18inches, where as a dedicated spreader can do almost 30inches. That can make a big difference, and it makes jacking the dash a pretty simple thing to do.

    Hope this helps some.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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  4. #4
    Forum Member
    fftrainer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Northern, NJ


    KBud's pretty much got it.

    My only suggestion is in step 4. I prefer to make all my cuts first including the cut of the frame rail. My reasoning is this. If you are moving the front end by lifting the dash while also trying to cut it, you can create the possibility of sudden movement of the front end upon cutting the frame rail. Also, depending on crash circumstances, you may not want any movement of the front end since you can create movement of the whole vehicle if the front is against a very stationary object such as one of the 100+ year old trees people like to try and run over. What I mean is suppose you start moving the dash, well in order to move it, everything its attached to has to move - all the way up to the front bumper. If you exert enough force (which is easy to do with hydraulic spreaders) the movement of the bumper area against a stationary object can cause the vehicle to move backwards.

    I make my cut at the thinnest spot, generally above the wheel well, but it depends on damage. Now what you have is a vehicle that is detached from the bumper area and when you displace the dash, the downward movement occurs at this cut rather than against the object that vehicle is up against.

    Not sure if this makes any sense. It's tough to type a description without typing an 80 page term paper.......

    Stay Safe!

  5. #5
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Cleveland, NY 13042-USA


    Just a quick note here, it is possible to do a Dash Lift with the roof in place, Instructor Ron Shaw showed me this trick. Basically it is the same as with the roof on except for the removal of a section of the A-pillar (a 4 to 6 inch section should do the trick), it is vital to do the cut of the Upper rail,that Kbud spoke of. this allows the dash to move much more freely and I believe someone else said this way the dash can move independantly (more or less) with out moving front of the car. Oh yes why would you want to do this with out removing the roof??? Think of Side Curtins SRS, this way we can if need be avoid cutting into danger zones, and Yes I do realize that on some vehicles the danger zone includes the A-posts, Once again "STRIP BEFORE YOU RIP"
    Rescue is the Art & Science of matching your tools, talents and tricks to needs of our customers!
    Carl D. Avery

  6. #6
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Extrication.Com, 19 Baldwin Cir, Plymouth MA 02360


    Carl Avery asked me to respond to this post:

    Since the introduction of side impact curtain in vehicles, one of my concerns has been the introduction to hybrid inflators in the rear pillar. Cutting into them could cause projectiles, in tests by the manufacturers, each time the pressure vessel was cut/breached, projectiles resulted.

    After a little thinking and getting away from the "that's the way we have always done it" way of thinking, I came up with an alternative or a modification of the common dash roll. Hence; "Modified Dash Roll" or "MDR" as I commonly refer to it. I stabilize & disable the vehicle, leave the roof and doors on, and only cut one side of the vehicle, and limit the glass breakage. I can usually teach a group of (4) beginners to displace a dash in 8-minutes or less using the MDR technique. What is your departments average time to displace a dash from the time you arrive? My guess at best would be 15-20 minutes, unless your on a rescue team which eats and sleeps with the tools.

    Modified Dash Roll Technique for Displacing a Dash
    After properly stabilizing, and disabling the vehicle, the respoder will first cut out the windshield, then; on the side of the dash displacement, sever the top rail of the front quarter panel behind the strut tower and infront of the bulkhead. This cut separates the front end of the vehicle from the dash. The cut should be as close to the bulkhead or firewall as possible (You can also incooperate this to the common dash roll to improve the technique). Next cut a 3-4 inch section out of the A-pillar (windshield-pillar) above the dash if there is a side impact curtain with a rear mounted inflator. If there is not airbag, attach a strap or webbing with a girth hitch to restrain it by another responder so it will not fall on a patient, then cut the pillar at the dash level frist, then up to the top of the A-pillar at the roof rail to remove the entire section.

    This will allow the dash to pass through the windshield line. Next drop down below the dash, if using spreaders make a small 1.5 inch pie cut or notch to act as a purchase point for the top tip of your spreaders (28-32 inch arms) or small to medium ram. Drop down to the weld flange or the transition area where the bottom of the A-pillar meets the Rocker channel/panel and sever the pillar. This needs only to be done on the side of the roll, no mirror cuts are needed on the opposite side.

    Remove the plastic or metal trim on the rocker channel, the crib/block up under the rocker channel where your bottom tip will be pushing off from. If you don't, you will loose reach and this can be critical. For every inch of drop, you need two inches to recover, this is critical in shorter spreading tools. The bottom tip will be positioned at the begining of the transition from the where arch on the weld flange starts.

    For the most part, removing the door is adding time to your extricaiton. Unless you intend to "Jack the Dash" or lift it straigh up, you do not need to remove the door. Once you have completely stabilized the vehicle and the vehicle weight is resting on the cribbing or blocking, two firefighters using brutt force, can easily bend most doors back to beyond 90 degrees. Once this area is open, what benifit is gained by door removal. This simple method without tools will normally only take 10-15 seconds, how long does it take to pop or cut a door off?

    This method is just another option, and if you have plenty of time, your EMS sector needs a large open space then roof removal is still a consideration. However, avoiding cutting into roof mounted SRS devices is a reality. If there is a inflator in the A-pillar, and the dash must be displaced, you have no option than to go against the recommendations "DO NOT CUT INTO AN AIRBAG OR SRS INFLATOR". However, do the old try before you pry/cut to see if there is an inflator; if yes: then move the cut high against the roof line. Yes you will cut the airbag or curtain, however as the dash is being displaced the open butt you created by the cut will now be pointing upward away from the patient and must be considered a hot zone.

    These inflators store pressurized gas at 3,000 psi or greater at static pressure. If there is an accidental deployment, you now have an open butt where the pressurized gas is now released into the ambient atmosphere. Again that area around the cut must be considered a "Hot Zone" to avoid.

    If you are having trouble with the MDR, its usually because you didn't make full cuts through the Top Rail or the bottom of the A-pillar. The home page of Extrication.Com shows picture of a dump truck perched on top of the hood of a passenger vehicle. One of my instructors is showing a student from Monroe CT how to roll the dash. Normally this would be impossible to do, there would be to much resistance. Also, when you do the common dash roll, the nose dives and the seat arches back moving the patient as you hyper extend the lift. Rule of thumb lift only to the point to free a patient. If it were required, a 40-42 inch spreader or large ram can completely lay a dash on the hood of a vehicle when mirror cuts are done to both sides.

    Ron Moore and I did the first MDR in Dallas Texas, it was done to a Toyota pickup truck. I rolled one side, Moore "Jacked the other side. When jacking, the door has to be removed or broken loose from on set of hinges, either the top or bottom hinge.

    Another mistake, although not critical, is the angle of the spreader with the two tips in place. The tool should be as close to 90 degrees from the frame of the vehicle. This gives the proper angle and ensures that you hit the cowl cross member just above the notch where the top tip is position.

    Again, don't go changing your SOPs because there is a technique that can save you time. I don't show this until the intermediate skills level programs. I feel that the basic skills class needs to get the basic fundimentals down before they move on to this technique. It is again shown in all the advanced programs we teach.

    The IC sould communicate with the EMS sector to see if the patient priority is non-emergent or emergent. Is the responder at risk do to hidden SRS devices, is patient removal compromised unless the roof is removed. I can't honestly say that there is one technique that can do it all. Common sense plays a big part, periodic training and education is a must especially when dealing with new technology.

    I hope this helps you...
    Ron Shaw

  7. #7
    lutan1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    I come from The Land Down Under!


    The dash lift is a great technique when it works. The major problem we've encountered that have hindered us in doing this has been rust in the floorpan area, which continuously rips when attempting to lift with the spreaders.

    Check out the link below to another forum I started in recent months regarding the dash lift technique vs the the dash roll. It has a couple of photos and some good points and arguments for both techniques....

    Dash Roll vs Dash Lift Discussion Forum

  8. #8
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2002


    the bigest thing that I have seen overlooked is completly cutting through the "A" post low. there also has to be some type of relief from the roof. It was mentioned removal of the roof should be avoided and i tend to agree with that. By cutting the A post high and at the dash there should be ample room for the dash to raise.I also feel the less tools the better.

  9. #9
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Default dsah-roll

    Seems that all of the replys have given great information on how to perfect the modified dash roll/push. The key issue is to make sure that there is an adequate "base" crib beneath the area where the A-post and rocker panel join together. If not, you will actually displace the rocker panel towards the ground. Also, cut/purchase for the spreader tips should be just above the lower hinge since this area contains more and thicker metal as a "pad" for the tips of the spreader. We haven't noticed any more success utilizing any other cuts to the "A" post not to the front upper frame members next to the strut towers. Removing the additional metal between the lower hinge and the top hinge only eliminates the metal that will create an additional "pad" or "contact area" that the upper tips of the spreader will push. Good luck on future attempts.....

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