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Lift advice needed


TxBoss23
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Now that the Texas floods are over construction has finally started on my shop. It is going to be 40 x 60 with 24 foot of the length taken up by an apartment and gym. So my actual shop space with be 36 x 40. I am wanting a good 4 post lift that will be suitable for working underneath my cars and also be used for storage when not working on a car. Eventually I will probably add a second for stacked storage.

 

Anyone have any recommendations from experience? Specifically brand, size, etc.

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We have a couple four posts that we use mostly for storage. Both were pretty cheap but do the job. Our main working lift is a Bendpak two post. I would recommend having a two post lift for your main functional lift and add a four post for storage and driveline work. Both 2 and 4 posts have their benefits and having one of each gives you more flexibility than having 2 of the four post units

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Both 4-post and 2-post lifts each have their pros and cons... and I don't have any experience with two-post lifts "spider" lifts - but they look WAY to unsafe/unstable for my liking. I do, however, have experience with a 2-post drive-on lift... which is marginally better (it had flip-down posts under the drive-on pads you could deploy, effectively making it a 6-post supported lift - but only at a set height). Either way, you have to make sure the car is absolutely balanced, and then when you remove or add large, heavy components from the car while it's on the lift, the balance may shift - which tends to have the car tilting forward or backward, depending on what's being removed/added. Sorry - but I don't like having such "iffy" support when I'm under a car.

 

Bendpak 4-post drive-on lifts, however, are the best things since sliced bread, IMHO. You have to have the rolling chassis jacks, though... that way you can lift the car off the lift to do suspension work, change/rotate tires, swap axles, etc. It might seem limited by the drive on pads being in the way, but I'll take that minor inconvenience over the instability of the two-post any day.

 

Not to mention, you can actually get in and out of the car without slamming the doors into the posts, or having to be skinny and sneak out through the windows since the posts are at each corner.

Eric

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I should have said asymmetrical two post lift, you can open the doors without being skinny. We have no problems with balancing the car or unloading items from it, it is very staple and secure and not at all iffy. We have two lift jack stands and will put one under the front and one in the rear if we need extra stability

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I am also going to put in a lift and know the pros and cons of 2 post verses 4 post. I did some searching on the net and they actually did testing on lifts and found that the China or off shore lifts do not meet the requirements. A 10,000 lbs. lift should be able to lift 15,000 and some of them will not even move that weight and break under the load. The accidents online usually involve a large heavy vehicle that should not have been on the undersize lift in the first place.

In reviewing some of the lift accidents that are on line I see the lag bolts in the floor pulling out. The ones I looked at had just used something like Red Heads that you drill a hole and drive into the cement and they expand when you tighten. This is just asking for failure. You should use J bolts like you do when putting up a metal frame building and there should be a steel framework of reinforcing bar that ties them together and spiders out several feet around the mount. The rebar should be welded together to make a structural design. The concrete in that area needs to be more than the normal 4" for a shop floor. If I recall correctly if you add one more inch of concrete to 4" it doubles the strength. I would go overboard and have an area a foot or more where the lift is going.

I still prefer the access a two post gives but will purchase one with a much higher rating than I need. I am not going to do outside work and will only work on my Mustangs. I will also talk to the manufacturer and find out what materials he uses in the structure. Just because the steel is thick does not make it strong. You can have a strength from regular hot rolled steel to U.H.S.S. Ultra High Strength Steel that is four times as strong for same thickness.

When anything fails it is due to design or miss use. Talk to who makes the lift not the seller ask specific questions on testing and materials. Buy U.S. made only.

Since I am going to work on specific models I will make special nests that will fit the locator holes in the frame and add safety devices to that so that the car cannot slip off. I will be lifting less than half the rated capacity and the anchors in the floor will have to pull up tons of concrete to come out.

My rotisserie is way overbuilt the same way it probably weights twice what the off shore models do but you can roll it outside because of the large tires and it is not going to turn over or collapse.

It costs so little to do it right up front. Having a four post that you drive onto a platform just takes so much away from what I need a lift to do.

My biggest problem is getting dirt to fill in the garage area need 50 loads and hate to pay the price but no free dirt here right now. When I pay to get it then someone will have 100 loads they need to get rid of. Day late dollar short.

This was long post but you need to do it right when you do it.

Keep us all informed on what you do I can probably find a diagram of how the J bolts work and you make a plywood fixture to hold in place while pouring concrete. Of course you have to know the bolt pattern before you start.

David

When a man is in the woods and talks and no women are there is he still wrong??:P

David

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Hey, I'm not knocking what you have in the least - it's WAY better than the lift I don't have. ;)

 

Whatever you're doing to make it work to be safe and stable is great, and I'm sure you feel the same way about not wanting to get underneath an unstable lifted car. I was just relaying my experience with the 2-post drive-on lift at the Air Force base Auto Hobby Shop.

 

My car was basically built on a Mohawk 12-ton drive-on lift.

 

A lot of people buy the Bendpak 4-post drive-on lifts to store cars... which seems like a huge waste to me, considering how much more stable they are compared to the 2-post lifts.

 

Here's my Jeep on a 4-post drive-on lift with the chassis jacks I was talking about:

IMGP0003.JPG

 

And here's the same Jeep on a 2-post drive-on lift:

IMGP10130005.JPG

 

There have only been 1 or 2 occasions where I've thought that a 2-post lift with the arms would've been a better idea... but that's over 24 years and at least 35 different vehicles I've seriously worked on (I'm not counting the couple hundred brought in by customers at the Auto Hobby Shop that I mostly helped with).

Eric

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2 post lifts have been around forever and are safe. You can get a used 7000 pound Rotary lift for around 1000.00 all day long.

 

Pay a professional shop equipment company to pre-service it and install it. That will be another 500 to 750. Worth every penny.

 

Lastly - if it has been professionally installed - then your insurance will be more likely pay up if there is boo boo.

 

Be sure to get one that does not have anything across the floor between the legs.

 

Asymmetrical lifts are the best for what we do especially in a smaller space.

 

- Paul

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If you want to store a car on it for a period of time you'd better go with a lift with ramps so that the car sits on its wheels.

I don't want to know what a convertible would look like after spending 4-5 months on a two post lift that supports it under the chassis. :)

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Mike
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Lux - totally agree that the 4-post drive-on lifts are the best for storage - no argument there. ::thumb::

 

I (me, myself, personally) don't feel as comfortable with 2-post lifts for doing maintenance as I would 4-post drive-on lifts. Again - that's just me. :P

 

BTW, Paul - The Bendpak 4-post lifts don't have anything running between the posts on the floor, like 2-post lifts typically do. ;) All the cabling electrics, and pneumatic lines run through the lift "platform." They also have a "box" shaped lift platform, whereas the Mohawk lift I built my car on has a "U" shaped platform - so yeah, it connects the 2 drive-on pads at the rear, but is completely open from the front to the rear.

Eric

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Thanks for all the input guys. I'm going to start with one 4 post. By the time I am ready for a 2nd lift I will know if I need a 2 or another 4. In readding more online sounds like the Bendpack is the way to go.

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I personally like the 2 post lifts. That is what I will be installing in my garage. We just installed one in my buddy's garage and it works very well and is stable. We have had his f350 diesel dually on it with no problems. Its 11,000lb capacity. My other buddy has a 4 post drive on lift and it is nice for storage but its a little more costly when you have to buy the jacks that slide under the vehicle to lift it up off the ramps. The hand jacks are less money but a pain in the butt. I will going with a 2 post.

If you are planning on 2 lifts I would use the 2 post in my main work bay and have the 4 post for easy storage.

Installing them is very easy. Couple studs in the concrete, case of beer and couple buddies to help stand up the posts. We installed my buddy's in about 4 hours and I think he bought it for around $1000 used but in very GOOD condition.

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Kevin
1971 Mach 1

408C Stroker - C4 w/3,000 stall - 8.8" Rear w/3.73's - Disc brakes all way around.

 

 

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The studs in the concrete drilled in is the weak point for sure. Looking at pictures of failures I saw most where the studs pulled out. Yes the manufacturer says that is ok to install that way but if I was doing new floor I would pour them in the concrete using J bolts and a welded reinforcement frame to make it even better. If I see a point of failure I would try to fix it.

I like the two post better like you say takes a lot of hassle out of the use. If you google two post lift failures there are some videos showing some and you can see how they came loose in the floor. Failures are caused because the operator has done something wrong like over load the unit or not installed correctly. How high is your ceiling 16' I am guessing if the level is a 4'?

I would pour the studs in for a four post if I were going to put one of those in also. I just like to make things as strong as possible if I know there are failures there.

David

When a man is in the woods and talks and no women are there is he still wrong??:P

David

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I guess it all boils down to what you're used to. The lifts in the pictures I posted are what I "started out with," and I've never used a 2-post traditional (non-drive-on) lift before. I just know that when the cars are on the 2-post drive-on lift (in the picture), the whole thing will rock forward or backward a degree or two as it goes up if the car isn't perfectly balanced - a little unnerving if you're not used to it and maybe not entirely trust the lift.

 

My rule of thumb when the shop was open: if it's the Jeep, I didn't have a problem with using the 2-post. But for everything else (the Grand Prix, the Ram, the Mustang) I would wait to use the drive-on lifts (even though we've had 3500s/F-350s on the 2-post without issue).

 

Drive-ons will be a little more expensive, because as I mentioned you'll need the rolling center jacks in order to do anything with wheels and suspension.

 

Have you been to any shops that have examples of both? Discount Tire pretty much uses 2-post traditional lifts, and I've seen alignment and exhaust shops go with 4-post drive-ons. They're the ones who use 'em everyday - I'm sure they would have opinions to offer. ;)

 

Good stuff here folks! ::thumb::

Eric

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Our four post lifts are not bolted down hence our two post is definitely more stable. Tire shops, Muffler and alignment places all have specific needs. A muffler shop for example wants the suspension under load and easy access to the center of the vehicle so the four post drive on makes perfect sense. Discount tires needs the wheels off the ground and that is easier with a two post or a body lift. Both lift styles have their advantages and disadvantages. The reality is if you really want to be set you should have one of each. If you only can have one and you need vehicle storage than go with the four post and add the bridge jacks

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I have an ATLAS four post lift in my garage and I love it. I have a sliding jack and a jack tray. It came with 4 drip trays and runs on 110v/ hydraulic. I chose this because the posts on a 2 post lift were way too tall for my garage. My 4 post has shorter posts and fits in my garage nicely. I can't go all the way up because of my roofline but I can still work under it without a problem.

John

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Since this is about helping and spreading knowledge/experience I'll jump in. I have both, and this is my second two post. I'd recommend the two post asymmetric lift with overhead equalizer to start with. Some two post have a cable or chain that assures the two columns stay even. This equalizer can be a real pain when doing transmission work. My new with overhead equalizer is the tops. The four post is a floor space hog. It's always a head knocker.

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