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Garage Lift Recommendations
#1
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DavidPackard
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I feel like I’ve high jacked johnrhodes81’s thread on his ’53 transmission project, so I would like to start a new thread on this subject. I think a lot of us have questions that others can answer/help.

I would surely like to buy a lift someday soon, but get lost in the 4 post, 2 post, and scissor debate. I do not have the head room to lift a car enough to walk under, so unless it’s a low/mid-rise scissor design I won’t be using the full capacity of the device.

I do like the idea of portability and would like to ‘wheel’ the lift from one bay to another. If this is a must have capability then the 2 post designs are left on the wayside . . . unless the two post is the type that can be unbolted and rolled to the side of the space for storage. Right now I’m leaning to a scissor design like John’s, but I could/may change my mind before I finish this sentence.

I was wondering if a scissor lift could be rolled under a car the wrong way, meaning approach the car from the side, lift the car high enough to use jack stands or cribbing, then lower the car and roll the lift away with the car high and dry on the stands. Something like a whole car trolley jack. With the lift gone there would be no difficulties with complete driveline access. I’m not sure any lift manufacture would consider that a serious question, because of the possibility of getting the center of gravity of the car wrong in two directions.

Comments?

Posted on: 5/13 14:15
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Re: Garage Lift Recommendations
#2
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John
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I'm like you, I don't have the ceiling height for a regular lift to use it to full capacity. I doubt a scissor lift could be removed after placing it under the car. Even they weigh quite a bit. John

Posted on: 5/13 16:38
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Re: Garage Lift Recommendations
#3
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DavidPackard
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Most of the scissor lifts have two wheels , let's call that the back, and then a bit of structure on the front. The hydraulic pump unit has two wheels and a feature to engage that aforementioned structure. Once the hydraulic pump cart is broken over center the front end of the scissor lift is lifted and the weight is on the HP cart wheels. Lots of mechanical advantage, so there isn't a lot of effort to lift the lift. Now rolling over cracks in the floor is another kettle of fish.

If this business of rolling the lift from the side of the car is technically feasible, then once the car is up on stands the lift should be able to roll out of the way, or just sit there not carrying load. From what I’ve seen on the G Smith website they want the car on stands if the anticipated ‘lift’ time is 8 hours or more.

Posted on: 5/13 16:47
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Re: Garage Lift Recommendations
#4
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HH56
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The Universalift-2 is an interesting concept. The video of an installation shows it can be erected without too much difficulty although it is probably heavier than the guy lets on. After that it could either be left in place or come apart and stored somewhere out of the way.

Since it has two separate posts I would imagine it could be shared with two bays. if an outside set of anchors were placed for each wall side and the middle floor position anchor was the flush fully embedded in concrete type placed carefully, that post could be rotated as needed so the hoist could be shared with two bays. https://www.naautoequipment.com/Univer ... -7000-2-post-car-lift.htm

Posted on: 5/13 17:20
Howard
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Re: Garage Lift Recommendations
#5
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DavidPackard
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HH56 thanks for the input and link.

I’ve looked at the 2 post ‘portable’ units. There is a minimum concrete thickness, and I suspect a minimum concrete strength, for the anchors to react the moment at the base. One of the manufactures has changed their base geometry to increase the moment arm of the two critical bolts. That would reduce the pull-out force on those anchors. Before I jump to that design I will have to bore a hole to measure the depth of the garage floor . . . and assume 3500 psi is likely the minimum strength that may be marketed. Another option is to manufacture a few steel plates (thickness TBD) with an even larger moment arm from those two bolts.

I’ve also looked at cutting the floor to put in some footings for an ‘in floor’ scissor lift. That would result in a free space under the entire drive line and easy drive in and out for the Mrs.. That extra construction cost could be avoided if the side entry/retraction scheme is doable for the run of the mill scissor lift.

If the weight of each post in the 2 post portable design gets out of hand I could always use a ‘cherry picker’ to lift and move ‘to and from’.

dp

Posted on: 5/13 17:52
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Re: Garage Lift Recommendations
#6
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kevinpackard
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I've done some research on lifts because I'll be getting one at some point. A lot of guys with normal garage ceilings end up going with a 4 post lift like Bendpack, Atlas, or Wildfire. They may not be able to use it to its full height, but they can lift them enough to get work done. If they are under the car they use a rolling stool to scoot around on. If they need to remove wheels or work on the axles, the 4 post lifts have optional jacks to lift from the axles.

The 4 post has the benefit of parking a second car underneath if you wanted to. Lots of pictures and videos online of normal garages set up for this type of use.

One other thing to consider it how the garage door is mounted. Typically the roll-up doors are mounted on hanging tracks, which severely limits how much space you can use for a car lift. Most guys have the tracks moved to the ceiling and install a wall mount garage door opener. This way you can lift the car literally up to the ceiling and maximize your space.

4 post lifts don't require thicker concrete, don't need to be bolted into the floor (unless you want to), and many models have wheels that can be attached to move the entire assembly somewhere else.

-Kevin

Posted on: 5/13 18:48
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Re: Garage Lift Recommendations
#7
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DavidPackard
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Kevin, 4 posters are still on my list for sure. My ceiling height is something like 9’ 4” (I just measured it). I’ve seen a few videos on how easy they’re to move . . . with only one person it looks like quite a challenge, but at least it doesn’t take a crane. I think having casters on all four corners distracts from directional predictability. A positive for those lifts, as you noted, there is nothing stopping you from parking a car underneath a raised lift. I don’t have enough headroom for another car on top, but surely with a simple floor ‘stuff’ could be stored above a car. I’ve looked into the wall mounted door openers, and I’ve considered getting rid of the electric door opener where the lift would normally be located. I won’t be taking the Packard out in the once a year rain storm, so getting out of the car to open the door is not an issue. Since the car fits between the door tracks I don’t think they have to move unless you want the garage door open while the lift is UP, but all of that stuff is simple, and has been done many times before. I’ve looked into a few of the brands you mentioned and the post height, at least the standard height lifts, will fit under my door tracks, so I could move bay to bay with the tracks I have. Everything looks like a 4 post lift will fit, and in the worst case one or two cabinets need to move to give the posts enough room to center the lift in the door opening, which is not absolutely necessary.

As for bolting down the posts, I was looking for some data on what was the maximum floor pitch that would be acceptable with full load and full height, but I couldn’t find anything of that subject. I was wondering if shimming the low posts would be OK. One downside of drive-on lifts is the extra height of the car when it’s on the lift, and where does one stand when working in the engine bay. A simple work platform would solve that access issue. I know when I was removing the starter on the ’54 I took the LF wheel off to allow the car to kneel and allow me to reach the starter without climbing on the fender . . . but I did anyway.

dp

Posted on: 5/13 19:53
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Re: Garage Lift Recommendations
#8
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Fish'n Jim
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Unless, you're 4'3" tall or working on MG midgets, I'd forget it, if one doesn't have the ceiling height. It'll be half way. Need at least 12', 14-15' high point is better. No magic solution out there. Rent a garage with one in it, if you need one for some work.
You can put them outdoors, if you have the climate.
I've been through this and it's just not economical, and if you can't get it high enough to use the stand up "tools" like trans jack, oil drain, etc. it's not much different than the ol' jack stands and crawling on the floor. So why spend money on what you already can do? How much under car work is there to do? Exhaust pipes, drive shaft, springs, replace lines, trans drop, etc. Most of these can be accommodated from the floor or sent out.
I built a garage specifically so I could put a lift in. I was working globally and fish'n tournaments and never put it in, then sold that place when I retired to warmer clime. This garage is bigger, but still only 10+' first floor and the way the trusses and roof are, it's a pot of money to raise a section, plus you lose access on the first floor for posts etc.. I've even looked at building a separate high bay garage, but just not doing that much work any more to justify. I'll farm out the work if I have to. I'll make sure the next place has the right stuff.

Posted on: 5/13 20:29
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Re: Garage Lift Recommendations
#9
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MJG
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I'm wrapping up my garage build and hoping to get my roof on next week. Did all the framing myself and I'm spent... can't wait to take off my carpenter hat and put on the mechanic's hat. I built it the largest footprint that I could without going belly up on concrete. Ceiling is 12' to accommodate a Bendpak four post. I couldn't justify the extra cost in concrete for a two post. Bendpak however makes bridge jacks for their four post lifts. I plan on using it as a service and storage lift. This is a nice compromise IMO.

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Posted on: 5/13 21:09
1948 Custom Eight Victoria Convertible
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1941 Cadillac Series 62 Deluxe Convertible Coupe
1956 Oldsmobile 88 Sedan
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Re: Garage Lift Recommendations
#10
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Packard Newbie
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Hi MJG,

Looks like you have done a stellar job on framing up your garage! Very nice. I am still a ways out on starting mine as I purchased additional property beside us to have room for it, only to find out I must amalgamate the lots before being issued a building permit, and a full land survey is required, costing thousands of dollars. %&@#$#!! Oh well, is what it is and one can't fight 'town hall'.
I have grappled with the hoist/no hoist question ad nauseum, and at the end of the day, I am tending to agree with Fish'nJim that for all the ceiling height and extra concrete, I am probably further ahead taking the car to a local garage and renting a bay for the relatively infrequent times I'll need to be under the car working. Don't get me wrong, I'd LOVE to have one - just am having trouble 'getting there' as far as expense and structural add-ons needed to be able to 'push that button'. I don't know what building materials are doing stateside. but an 8' 2X4 is running between $10 & $12 up here right now, and all I see ahead, post Covid, is economic disaster. I sure like your building though! Chris.

Posted on: 5/14 12:09
'If you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right!' Henry Ford.
1939 Packard Six, Model 1700
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