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Garage Lifts

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by 308tr6, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. 308tr6

    308tr6 Formula Junior

    Dec 23, 2003
    466
    SDakota
    Full Name:
    Rico
    I am in the process of building a new garage and have been checking out various car lifts. Trying to decide if the 2 post style (lift arms) is preferable over the 4 post (drive on) lift. The 4 post seems more sturdy particularly since I will occasionally use it as a storage system and park another car underneath, but curious as to any pros and cons of either system? Any thoughts?
     
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  3. ham308

    ham308 Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    358
    NE Switzerland
    Full Name:
    Richard Ham
  4. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

    Sep 4, 2001
    12,887
    Cumming, Georgia
    Full Name:
    Franklin E. Parker
    I bought the SS7000 four post lift from WWW.teamlift.com for $2600 which included the lift, jack trays, drip trays, shipping and installation. I park my M5 on bottom with my Boxer on top. The benefit of a 4 post lift is you can use them for storage and to work on your car whereas a 2 post life can not be used for storage.
     
  5. Steve King

    Steve King F1 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2001
    4,358
    NY
    Eagle for me.
     
  6. Mike Florio

    Mike Florio Formula Junior

    Jun 19, 2003
    572
    NW Rural Nevada
    Full Name:
    Mike Florio
    I have a Bend-Pac 10,000 lb two-post asymmetrical, which I am very happy with, but the 4-post lifts have their advantages (storage)

    A guy on another board I subscribe to just bought one of these

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=46604

    and it looks like a reasonable solution for someone with limited headroom, and the price ain't too bad, either!
     
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  8. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    6,992
    Groton, MA
    Full Name:
    Verell Boaen
    Nussbaum 7,000 lb 2-post assymetric. PRO: 2-posts give you best access while working on the car's underside.

    If you want use a 2-post lift to store a car w/o the suspension dangling down, mount 2 long 4x12s (or doubled up 2x12s lag bolted together) to the lift arms w/ramps on one end & drive your car up on them. Can bolt 2x6s along each side of the 2x12s if you're worried about driving off of the sides.

    Don't worry about stability with either type. As long as your garage floor meets installation specs, a 2-post isn't going anywhere.

    Several good lift threads in the old FChat archives, including my $0.02.

    BTW if you're storing a car under another one, make sure you deal with any possible oil drips from the upper car. eg: wouldn't want oil on a white convertable top...
     
  9. TCM

    TCM Formula Junior

    Nov 10, 2003
    552
    Tyngsborough, MA
    I agree with Verell. The 2 post lift is much more usable then the 4 post. You can work on your car and store it with no problems. They also take up less space. I would try to get a chain driven lift and not the cable operated ones as the chains are much less abt to break or snap. Also, make sure the lift has physical lock catches on the side to prevent the lifts from falling if the chain or cable does snap. You will love the ability you have to work and store your car after getting one. Now that I have 2 lifts in my garage, I can put in about 6 cars when a big storm is coming.
     
  10. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    6,992
    Groton, MA
    Full Name:
    Verell Boaen
    An all hydraulic system is superior to both chain & cable systems.There's no moving part between the posts, just an overhead brace w/a hydraulic line running along it. Altho I concur that chain systems in general are stronger & safer than cable systems.

    There have been some spectacular cable failures w/4-post lifts (See links in the old Fchat archives.) The 4-post lifts seem to use cables that are noticably lighter than those used in the 2-post lifts. Also, the 4-post lifts are almost all sold for non-commercial uses (eg: car enthusiasts), while the 2-post lifts are designed to primarily be sold to your local gas station & car dealer, & survive in that environment.

    Hmm, my latches are internal to the posts on the front side of the cylinders, does that make it unsafe?
    Actually, i'm pretty sure that safety latches are mandated for all lifts.

    Again, the ones for 2-post lifts are pretty much failsafe, while some 4-post mfgs have had spectacular failures(same archives).

    CLEAR FLOOR FEATURE DESIRABLE:
    Look for a lift with an overhead brace between the posts & the power transferred along or inside it. That way there's nothing on the floor or in a groove in the floor.

    PLAN TO MOUNT LIFT POSTS IN ABOUT 1" RECESSES IN THE FLOOR.
    The arms of 2-post lifts can't come all the way to the bottom of the lift posts because the posts have a 1/2" or so thick mounting plate. As low as Ferraris are, you need to post to come all the way to the floor. FoNE has their lift posts mounted in shallow recesses in the concrete floor, so the lift arms can come down flat against the floor.

    Because I don't have floor recesses, I have to put down 4 pieces of 2x12 & drive up onto them to get my car up high enough for my lift arms to go under it. Minor PITA, but once I marked the exact spots on the floor for the boards it became routine.
     
  11. FastTalk

    FastTalk Formula Junior

    Aug 20, 2002
    556
    Calabasas, CA
    Full Name:
    Adam Alexander
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  13. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

    Sep 4, 2001
    12,887
    Cumming, Georgia
    Full Name:
    Franklin E. Parker
    How can you use a two post lift for storage ? You will damage the suspension if you leave it extended for a long period of time. I sure wouldn't want to use the board idea described above ! Also, as to failures I believe you will find cables are stronger than chains. That's why they use cables for bridges and not chains. Plus, with a four post lift such as mine you have a large hydraulic cylinder that operates four separate cables with four separate safety locks welded to the posts to protect you. The odds of more than one failing at any one time are very small. And, since the lift will stay up with only one cable or one safety lock holding it, I believe it is very safe. In fact, I've tried this as a test. I raised the lift and locked only one of the safety locks. I then tried to lower the lift. When the three unlocked sides go down about a foot the tolerances are such that the lift binds up and will not lower any further . I then had to raise the lift back up to get it even and then lower it back down. The only avantage a two poster has is ease of use when performing work that requires wheel removal, which is rare in my case. With a four poster you have to use small jacks and a jack tray to do any work that requires wheel removal. But, for fluid changes and the majority of work i do on my car, the four poster is fine. Plus, i have the advantage of using it for storage.
     
  14. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    6,992
    Groton, MA
    Full Name:
    Verell Boaen
    Please explain why not?
     
  15. LSU348

    LSU348 Formula 3

    Dec 19, 2003
    1,032
    Sugar Land
    Full Name:
    Mike
    I am betting he assumes the car would be riding on two wood planks as described which were in turn resting on the lift.

    I have seen two styles of lifts with two posts. One type grabs the center of the car and lifts (under the frame of course!). This first type has no drive on rails. The second kind has wheel rails and the wheels are always supported. I have a feeling you two are talking about the two different kinds.

    If not...well...there is no way in Hades I would drive my car onto planks and then jack her up over another car. Noooooo way. Snap Crackle Pop...crunch. Followed by a HOLY @#$^#$@% once I reach the garage.

    Has anyone got a picture of these "new" single post lifts? I saw one somewhere. Looks like a Ferrari-spatula.

    I am leaning in the 4 post direction with optional (self installed) brace between the two posts closest to the wife's car to prevent catastrophic-wife-hit-the-post failures.
     
  16. 308tr6

    308tr6 Formula Junior

    Dec 23, 2003
    466
    SDakota
    Full Name:
    Rico
    Thanks guys
    I am not sure I have an answer yet, but give me the right things to think about. I will probably do the 4 post lift, because storage will be an issue, though I agree a 2 post is probably the least obstructive regarding working on your car. The 4 poster just looks safer especially for longer periods of storage.
     
  17. henryk

    henryk Formula Junior

    Dec 9, 2003
    479
    Door County, WI
    After checking many lifts, I have decided on the "MohawK" brand, 2 post, 9,000 lb lift............it was the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!! I had mine for 4 years now, with NO problem.
     
  18. JIMBO

    JIMBO Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 31, 2003
    1,263
    Bradenton, Florida
    Full Name:
    Jim DeRespino
    The Mohawk is generally accepted as the ultimate in lifts, but is almost twice the price of Bend-Pak out of California. The Bend-Pak has roller bearings instead of plastic casters like some cheaper lifts and will customize the height of your lift at no additional cost.
    The added price of a mohawk is not justified for hobbyist use (IMHO), unless you just want the best and you have extra money to burn. It is designed to be used commercially, every day. constantly. I have had a Bend-Pak 9,000 lb assymetric post lift (so you can open the doors easier when the vehicle is between the posts) installed in my garage since 1992. I installed it myself (you need strong friends or an engine hoist, a hammer drill and 3/4" masonry bit and "red head" concrete fasteners) and it has performed flawlessly for 13 years. They are a reputable company, stand behind their products (they sent me the wrong length cable and OVERNIGHTED a new cable (60 lbs) at no cost), and seem to be honest.

    By the way, a lift must be able to withstand a load of 3 x the load rating dropped for a distance equal to 2 safety stops without failing. In my case, that means 27,000 lbs dropping 16 inches and being held by the safeties with nothing breaking (hmmm...any motorhomes nearby?). Also, get yourself an underhoist support from harbor freight (cheap) for extra comfort. My lift has no clearance problems under my 512TR.
     
  19. henryk

    henryk Formula Junior

    Dec 9, 2003
    479
    Door County, WI
    I was sold on the Mowhak due to the 1/2-3/4 inch thick steel construction........NO stamped steel here. Besides, it is I who is standing under that 3,800 lb car, which is very unbalanced with the engine out. I also have a F-350 diesel truck, which is VERY front heavy. I just diddn't want to take any chances.

    The cost is high...........$5,000 with delivery and installation.........but I feel it is well worth it.

    I stopped into a Harbor Freight store here in town, and it seems that almost EVERYTHING they sell is made, either in China, or some other 3rd world country. I will NEVER buy tools from either of these places..........they just don't last........VERY cheap in quality, IMO.
     
  20. Ingenere

    Ingenere F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Dec 11, 2001
    5,906
    On the Limit
    Full Name:
    Dino
    I have talked with several lift companies about clearance issues...but I can't get a straight answer.

    My garage ceiling is 106"...but the garage door (when open is 87"). I have a 348 (46") and a TR (44.5") that I want to stack....is this going to work. Since the garage door when open comes half way up the car's nose.

    Also....with the 4 post units....if you are doing a major with the engine out....would you support the car with jack stands while it is on the lift. I have been doing (struggling!) with my majors with floor jacks and alot of contortions!

    Any help would be appreciated!

    Ciao....Dino
     
  21. bigbaddad

    bigbaddad Karting

    Oct 31, 2003
    135
    Arizona
    Full Name:
    John Roberts
    Hey Dino -

    We are also shopping for a lift. Have you found any place locally that sells or distributes them? I got info from all the lift vendors at the BJ auction.

    For clearance, I THINK I can squeeze two low cars without changing the garage door. If not, then I will end up having the door run closer to the cieling. But it seems like they will make it, aspecially if the top car is backed onto the lift. Then, the lowest part of the car (the hood) is under the garage door. It seems like $2000 gets you a budget lift, $3000 is a decent lift. Any more $$ is a pro lift. I am going for a 4 post.

    -John
     
  22. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

    Sep 4, 2001
    12,887
    Cumming, Georgia
    Full Name:
    Franklin E. Parker
    Ingenere, go to www.teamlift.com and there is a formula for determining if your ceiling is high enough; which is the height of the two cars plus 4 inches. So you should have enough height with a little room to spare. I have 120 inches and can park my 44.1 inch Boxer over my 56.5 inch M5 with plenty of room to spare.
     
  23. mondial86

    mondial86 Formula Junior

    Nov 1, 2003
    298
    MA
    Full Name:
    David Holmes
    I am just wondering ,I keep hearing that storing on a 2 post lift for a long time is not good for the suspention . What is bad ? what gets hurt and how bad is it ?I store my 73 2002 on the lift for years and cain't see any problems with it ,SO FAR
    DAVID
     
  24. TTG

    TTG Formula 3

    Jun 11, 2002
    1,537
    East Hanover, NJ
    Full Name:
    Todd Gieger
  25. TCM

    TCM Formula Junior

    Nov 10, 2003
    552
    Tyngsborough, MA
    My father used to have Mohawk lifts in his old shop and hated them. While I was young, I remember he always had problems with them, so much so that he had Mohawk come and take them away. Now we have Bishamon lifts, which he loves. Strong and no problems over the past 8 or so years. As with many items, everyone has their opinions on what is best. Any lift is a huge advantage over no lift IMHO. The usefullness they bring is incredible.
     
  26. DGS

    DGS Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    May 27, 2003
    39,433
    MidTN
    Full Name:
    DGS
    When you raise a car by its frame, the suspension is fully extended at the (upwards) limit of travel -- a position the car only rarely experiences in use (e.g. when "grabbing air" on a jump). Leaving the suspension in this position for extended periods might cause issues, depending on how the suspension reaches this position.

    That can depend on the type of suspension. With conventional shock absorbers, the piston rod passes a dust seal at the top of the shock body, leaving a bit of shaft exposed. When you raise the car by the frame, the suspension extends fully, leaving more of the shock shaft exposed to the air. In humid environments, that can lead to pitting and surface rust, which would then degrade the dust seal as the pitted shaft passes it, once the car is back on its "feet". Some "coil-over" McPherson struts have bellows type dust seals covering the entire shock shaft, so they would be less exposed to the garage air.

    It can also depend on what defines the limit of travel on your suspension. If the suspension limit is the travel of the shock piston, then the unsupported wheels could be hanging from the shock piston.

    Some four post service lifts can have optional frame jacks added, to lift the car by its frame off the tire rails.

    To briefly recap lift types: "Storage" lifts tend to have solid plates extending across the width of the lift. This catches any drips from the stored car before it falls on the car below, but does not provide any access to the underside of the car. Four post service lifts have two parallel wheel rails with open space between, providing limited access to the underside of the car. Optional "drip pans" for four post service lifts can be placed to catch drips in expected places. Two post lifts have arms ending in pads which are positioned under the frame, and provide the clearest access to the underside of the car. You have to lift the car by its frame to work on suspension elements, change tires, or work on (wheel mounted) brakes. "Asymmetric" lifts are two post lifts with a long and a short arm, so the lift post is forward of the car's center line, which sometimes helps when trying to open the doors on two-door coupes (that have the doors in the middle).

    Low-rise and mid-rise lifts are (usually portable) lifts which just sit on the floor and lift the car by its frame, but not as high as installed lifts. "Pad" lifts (typically low rise) have padded rails which lift by the frame between the front and rear tires. For cars with fiberglass or other non-structural side skirts, pad lifts need to use lift blocks to lift by specific frame points, rather than by the side skirts. This can also be a concern with two post lifts -- make sure the lift pads provide sufficient clearance that the arms do not press against non-structural side skirt material.


    A consideration when ordering a lift is delivery. Most lifts are delivered to service shops, and require a fork lift to remove from the delivery truck. (UPS isn't going to take this up to your front door.) ;)
     
  27. TOM B

    TOM B Formula 3

    Jul 24, 2003
    1,038
    Orange County, NY
    Full Name:
    Thomas Buckley
    I'll probably be in the market for a lift within the next twelve months. I do most of my own work on the car and thus require ease of access to the suspension and other components that need to have the wheels removed. This makes me lean toward a 2-post. On the other hand, I am intrigued by the concept of having an additional parking space which makes me lean toward a 4-post.

    It seems a good compromise would be a 4-post with jacks. Does anyone use jacks with their 4-post lift and are there any issues ? Thanks in advance.

    Tom
     
  28. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

    Sep 4, 2001
    12,887
    Cumming, Georgia
    Full Name:
    Franklin E. Parker
    My SS7000 four post lift from www.teamlift.com came with a jack tray that can be slide the lenght of the lift so I can jack up either the front or rear of the car for wheel/tire/suspension type work . It works great. Plus, I use it to park two cars in the garage space of one. At only $2600 installed, it is the best money I have ever spent for my garage.
     

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