General information on Car lifts?

Help Support 7173Mustangs.com:

Fredensborg

VIP Members
Joined
Jun 27, 2013
Messages
270
Reaction score
67
Location
Zimmerman, MN
My Car
1973 Q-code Mach 1
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.

 

rvrtrash

VIP Members
Joined
Aug 28, 2011
Messages
685
Reaction score
53
Location
Spirit Lake, Id
My Car
1971 Boss 351, 1969 Fairlane 500 Conv., 1965 Sunbeam Tiger
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.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

7173Vert

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
854
Reaction score
200
Location
Ontario
My Car
1971 Convertible, 1973 Hardtop
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

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Fredensborg

VIP Members
Joined
Jun 27, 2013
Messages
270
Reaction score
67
Location
Zimmerman, MN
My Car
1973 Q-code Mach 1
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!

 
Last edited by a moderator:

71coop

VIP Members
Joined
Oct 9, 2018
Messages
272
Reaction score
67
Location
Marysville Ohio
My Car
1971 Mach 1 - "Day 2" restoration; 351C/FMX, trick flow heads, roller cam conversion, CAA AC kit, upgraded springs/shocks & close-ratio steering box
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.

 

detritusmaximus

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 21, 2013
Messages
702
Reaction score
106
Location
US
My Car
1973 Grande #1 looong time ago
1970 Sportsroof #2 almost as long
1971 Sportsroof M-code #3 needs money
2008 GT #4 where the money went
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. 

 
Joined
Jan 7, 2015
Messages
8,032
Reaction score
489
Location
Western North Carolina
My Car
Multiple Mustangs!
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.

20200828_172119.jpg

20200828_172131.jpg

20200828_172143.jpg

 
Last edited by a moderator:

midlife

Shorts checker
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
4,079
Reaction score
497
Location
Tucson, AZ
My Car
No Mustangs at the moment.
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. 

 
Joined
Aug 14, 2014
Messages
3,534
Reaction score
485
Location
Madison, WI
My Car
1971 M-Code Mach 1 w/408C stroker
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.

 

Fredensborg

VIP Members
Joined
Jun 27, 2013
Messages
270
Reaction score
67
Location
Zimmerman, MN
My Car
1973 Q-code Mach 1
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.

 

computercarguy

...can't get there from here...
Joined
May 8, 2014
Messages
606
Reaction score
43
Location
Northern NY
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.

rack-rx-harshduty.jpg


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.

 
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
255
Reaction score
264
Location
North Idaho & The Bahamas
My Car
1973 Mach 1
Some other Fords
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

 
Last edited by a moderator:

cwalker509

VIP Members
Joined
Oct 8, 2019
Messages
514
Reaction score
65
Location
Missouri
My Car
1971 Mustang Convertible
1971 Mustang Mach I
1972 Mexican GT-351
4 post double wide is what I use but I use mine for storage primarily. I could raise it to at almost 7' on the locks but stop at the one lock below it. I am ceiling limited but I can walk under it without ducking (I am over 6'). You will need a taller than normal garage ceiling and a high lift door setup (can be a normal door but uses a wall mounted rotary lift unless your garage is extra deep and the doors are not a problem). I pocketed my ceiling to about 12.5'. Research it and measure, measure, measure. Shops have 2 post because they are using them to work on the cars. Very high end dealer here (think many $1M cars) uses 4 post lifts.

 
Top