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General information on Car lifts?


Fredensborg
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I was pondering getting a car lift for my garage, but I don't know jack (pun intended) about them.  What do I need to know? Cost, clearances, saftey issues, etc. Please enlighten me.

Jason

1973 Mach1 Q-code

My carbon footprint is exceptionally large.

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I have a 4 post and like it. It has removable casters so I can roll it around the shop if I need to. Cost: If you buy a more expensive one, like a Bendpak, you get a quality unit that's well known and used by a lot of professionals. I bought a Direct Lift brand more than 15 years ago because of cost (didn't have deep enough pockets) and haven't had any issues, but it also doesn't get used every day, several times a day. Clearance: You want to determine the height of your ceiling (at the door opener or other obstructions on the ceiling) and the height of the tallest vehicle you expect to put on the hoist. If you get a two post, the cross bar can't be higher than the ceiling or anything that might be below the ceiling where the cross bar will be. Add at least another foot for clearance on either style. That's the highest you can go with your lift. Safety Issues: You want to make sure the locks are good quality. If you're under it and it falls, your day gets ugly in a hurry. Check for online reviews, other than on the manufacturer website. If you buy a 2 post, you'll want to cut the concrete under each post and pour reinforced footings. The size of them will be determined by the lift capacity of the hoist you get. If you buy a 4 post, I would recommend a 6" thick floor. Some lifts may say they work with a standard 4", but you're putting a lot of weight on 4 small pads, so you may crack the concrete. 

PS.  I've also seen several pictures, and one actual incident in a Costco service bay, of cars falling off two post lifts that had the arms placed incorrectly or the vehicle wasn't balanced correctly.

Edited by rvrtrash
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Rvr covered it pretty good. I’ll add the use of a scissor lift if you are doing lots of general maintenance. The good thing about the scissor lift is that most cars can drive right over them for parking purposes when not in use. Of course my convertible in the picture can’t because it has the factory 14” wheels and the factory look exhaust I had made has one bend that sits a little lower. I made a set of ramps to drive on when bringing this car over the lift. I’m very wary of two posts for the reasons noted above. Lots of options out there…

F4B91793-D0BA-4F0E-AA1E-86A9D9DAFC4F.jpeg

Edited by 7173Vert

"Yes dear", has kept me in the hobby a long time...

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, the 2-posters make me a little nervous too. They are a lot cheaper though...it would just be really nice to not have to lay down on a creeper anymore. There's just so many damn brands out there, hard to know what is junk and what is quality. That's an awesome garage setup you have there!

Edited by Fredensborg

Jason

1973 Mach1 Q-code

My carbon footprint is exceptionally large.

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I have a Titan 7000 lb, 4 post lift.  I use it almost every day, for general maintenance on all out vehicles, including my daughters. I originally bought this model back in 2009 or 2010, but when I moved in 2015 it stayed with the house. A year later, bought the same model for the new place.

It was around $2700 delivered. Mine has the caster,s plus i spent an extra $600 for a sliding hydraulic jack (so I could lift the front or rear off the deck plates for things like brake work). No issues/complaints, I like it.

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Black 1971 Mach 1

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My experience has only been with a four post lift. It was nice because the car sat on its wheels ( we didn't have jack 71coop mentioned). For rusty or flexible cars, I would much rather have it on the wheels than try to lift by the body. Plus, you can stand on the thing to get into the car or under the hood, can't do that on a two post. 

 

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I would ask you to go to the working shops out there and see how many have 4 post, NOT MANY. The four post allows you to lift the car 6' up and then you can jack it up to work on it. That is the craziest thought I have ever heard of.
Needless to say I have a two post. I have worked on anything from my F-150 super crew to Hondas. I use it when just wiping down my mustang. It is a Dannmar asymmetrical 10,000 lb. lift that is certified. The asymmetrical allows you to get in and out of vehicle easier.
I installed mine at 69 years of age with no help but an engine lift. The cut laser slots in the base to use to align with a chalk line you snap on the floor. No rocket science. I rented an impact drill for the anchor bolts and was done in 30 min. I have heard member talk about their Benpac units having the oil tank just burst at night and gallons of oil all over the shop. No pressure in the tank just oil storage.
Like I say no issue with mine. They say 4" concrete but I went more where the columns were. Go talk to shops that work on cars every day and you will hear the same thing get a 2 post lift. Cheaper to build a larger building than stack cars on a lift with oil dripping down on the car under it.
I can send you all kinds of pictures and info on the lift. I do not know anyone that works on cars that has a 4 post and yes they have accidents also. Saleen uses Dannmar lifts. My son works at BMW the use only 2 post lifts at the factory. Waste of your efforts to have a 4 post. The ramps are always in the way. Nothing in the way with two post.
They have two post for low ceiling also. I will be using mine tomorrow to put in a rear seal in the automatic transmission.
Here is a great example of how a two post is better. I used the two post to lift the chassis and mount onto the rotisserie. Impossible on a 4 post.

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Edited by Carolina_Mountain_Mustangs
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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 found the root cause of the BendPac hydraulic fluid canisters failing and letting oil all over the floor: they are made of plastic that under the stress of holding nearly 5 gallons of fluid and exposure to ozone and various shop fluid vapors, fatigue, crack, and fail.  I had 2 fail on me, and then back to the factory parts manual: there is supposed to be a METAL reservoir that doesn't have these problems.  I ordered one on-line and it worked well for the few years I had it. 

Let me check your shorts!

http://midlifeharness.com

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55 minutes ago, midlife said:

I found the root cause of the BendPac hydraulic fluid canisters failing and letting oil all over the floor: they are made of plastic that under the stress of holding nearly 5 gallons of fluid and exposure to ozone and various shop fluid vapors, fatigue, crack, and fail.  I had 2 fail on me, and then back to the factory parts manual: there is supposed to be a METAL reservoir that doesn't have these problems.  I ordered one on-line and it worked well for the few years I had it. 

Good to know. I will keep an eye on my reservoir.

20160929_171923_edit2_small.jpg

 

1971 M-Code Mach 1 w/Ram Air, 408 stroker, 285/291 0.558" roller cam, Blue Thunder intake, TKO600, Hooker headers with electric cut-offs, FiTech EFI w/ RobBMC PowerSurge pump

Strange center section with Truetrac, 3.5 gear and 31 spline axles, 4-wheel disc brakes

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15 hours ago, Carolina_Mountain_Mustangs said:


I can send you all kinds of pictures and info on the lift. I do not know anyone that works on cars that has a 4 post and yes they have accidents also. Saleen uses Dannmar lifts. My son works at BMW the use only 2 post lifts at the factory. Waste of your efforts to have a 4 post. The ramps are always in the way. Nothing in the way with two post.
They have two post for low ceiling also. I will be using mine tomorrow to put in a rear seal in the automatic transmission.
Here is a great example of how a two post is better. I used the two post to lift the chassis and mount onto the rotisserie. Impossible on a 4 post.

 

That's a good point I hadn't thought of, with a 4 post the ramps would always be in the way.

Jason

1973 Mach1 Q-code

My carbon footprint is exceptionally large.

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I choose to purchase a four post for home for the same reasons others have mentioned and because I store the Mustang on top during the winter; parking my daily driver underneath. Drip pans can be added to keep the fluids from ending up on the car parked underneath. Mine is an inexpensive unit, it is not fast going up or down so I definitely would not have it in a working shop. I taught auto tech and may favorite lift was a Hunter alignment scissor lift.

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That one came with two pneumatic jacks that rolled along the inside rails to lift under the suspension. I am low tech at home using two of those small Harbor Freight aluminum floor jacks. One thing I wished I would have considered is getting the wider option to make getting a full size pickup on it easier.

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I've had both.  A good two poster will run you a bit more money than a 4 post.  There is no comparison for working on your car; two post all day long.  It is a rare dealership indeed that doesn't exclusively use two posts in their mechanic bays.

If you need dual use to store/stack a car then four post is the way to go.

When I built my dream garage I went with an asymmetrical two post and paid up for USA made.  I am really happy with my setup.

Lift.jpg

Edited by Idaho Chris
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