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Old 01-20-2004, 10:12 AM
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4 post lifts

Whats everyones opinion on:
1.) a 4 post vs 2 post
2.) What brand do you have and how did you arrive on what you bought?
3.) Are you happy with what you bought?

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Old 01-20-2004, 11:18 AM
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Thoroughly do your research when you plan for a lift. They are not all the same. Make sure you buy one that has been independently tested. Make sure that the manufacturer uses quality structural steel, not mild diamond plate that looks nice. Pick a lift that is powder coated not just painted. Go with a 220v motor over a 110v motor if possible.
Most of the lift companies seem to be in the KS area. Call or write them and they'll all send you brochures. Then compare what they offer. The independent testing facility is also in KS and as I recall was affiliated with a university. The typical upright posts of a commercial grade two post lift weigh 1,000# each, so installation is not to be attempted by the novice. Installation over a 4" slab of aged concrete is fine, but I used 12" pads of steel reinforced concrete under my two post. They have to be anchored securely. Ceiling height must be at least 12 feet for maximum post clearance and lifting ability. The cost differance between a "hobby" lift and a commercial grade lift is minimal. The differance in construction quality is night and day. Spend the extra money to get the safety of the heavy duty lift.
A two post lift is more versatile for doing work with the wheels off. An asymetrical lift is really nice so you can open the doors while the car is between the posts. My previous two post lift was a commercial grade, clear floor, asymetrical FORWARD MANUFACTURING, 220v, 9,000# but tested to over 13,000#. The bad point of a two post was having to get down on my knees to adjust the arms.
My current lift is a four post SUPERIOR LIFT. It is almost identical to the well known EAGLE LIFT. It is a 7,000# lift with a 220v motor. The four post doesn't have to be anchored to the concrete and lower ceiling heights are acceptable, but still won't allow full use of maximum height ability.
I bought it at a BARRETT JACKSON auction at a great price, with every option included and delivered/set up in my shop. It's convenient to drive on and lift, but doing work with the wheels off involves using a jack tray, bottle jack(s), etc.
After you decide on a lift, then you can purchase the under lift oil catch containers, tri pod screw jacks, transmission/differential jacks, under lift lighting, etc. It never ends... but the $3,000 you spend on a lift is cheaper than a $10,000 knee replacement.
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Old 01-20-2004, 05:57 PM
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i don't personally own any but our school has 4 different types and my work has 3 so iv been around my fair share of lifts, each has its benefits and draw backs. all depends on what your using it for and how easy you want it to be. first off there are the in ground hydraulic lifts, you have to get on your knees and set them and all that, also you have to get air and fluid underground to them. some models are twin post some are single, single sucks! they go up and twist and spin in the air. twins are better cuz they are more stable and also with in ground lifts you can open the doors easily. there are also roll-on in grounds, they also can be twin or single, as with all roll on, all u do is drive on and lift, there are options for lifts under the the roll on, mostly on alignment racks tho, hunter is a big lift company check them out. I think electric is the way to go. we have some German made ones in school that are rated at 9000* but will go a lot more. there are stupid simple to operate and sooooooo nice, i trust the locks on them a lot more and are more easily maintained, you can get twin post and roll on lifts in the electric, all in all its personal preference, if it was my shop i would go with a twin post electric, if you set the car right you can still usually open the door enough to get in side and get under the dash if need be it.
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Old 01-26-2004, 05:57 PM
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2 post vs 4 post

I have a 4 post 12,000 lb lift with two 8,500 lb rolling jacks. I chose the 4 post due to the fact that a two post lift can't easily lift some types of vehicles. (Usually running boards or altered vehicles cause problems). Also I like the stability of a 4 post lift if you have to do anything that requires jerking the vehicle or torquing work under the vehicle.

I chose a "Team Lift" from Cleburne Texas and now wish I had gone with Bend Pack or Forward. I have had to spend around 400.00 more to get the lift problems along with the problems on the rolling jacks worked out. I will say that the company was always willing to help with parts but the parts I received had the same problems that I was trying to repair. I think they just don't have much (or any) quality control. The price is good but you had better check the lift out real close before putting it into operation.

I had a 10'- 6" ceiling in my garage and needed another 6"s to get under my pickup so I sunk the floor 6" and placed the lift in the bottom. This put the runways even with the floor and gave me the clearance I needed. Cars were fine but pickups need more clearance.

All in all I love the lift now that the problems are worked out. I have just one more problem to fix on it and I am dreading the job but it has to be done. I have to raise one of the main chain lifting rollers 1/4" which means notching the existing hole. The two main lifting chains are rubbing against each other. I am not sure of the best way so if anyone has any ideas I would love to here about them. The support beam ends are 3/8" thick plate on each side of the roller and about 3"s apart where the roller fits.

Thanks,
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Old 01-26-2004, 06:40 PM
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This is a great site, I am in the market for a lift and have been doing a lot of research. I am 99% sure I will go with a 4 post. I helped my neighbor install a four post and it is great. You have a clear floor (some two posts don't). You don't have to crawl on the ground to set the pads. My car/s are very low and that could be a hassle with a 2 post. I weighed all the options I could think of and here is what I came up with.

2 posts are cheaper
2 posts make removing the wheels easier.

Vs.

4 post has every other advantage. You can still remove the wheels. You can open the doors (depending). You don't have to get on the ground, they are very stable if you have some jerking to do, If you need to do some frame work it can be done (cutting welding, tubing etc..) you don't have to worry about vehicle weight bias changing and the vehicle becoming unstable.

These are the reasons I think 4 post is the better way to go. I haven't bought it yet so if I am missing anything let me know.

Other than costing a little more I don't see any real disadvantage. The company I am looking at is Auto Lifters web site www.autolifters.com I still have some comparison shopping to do.

Royce
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Old 01-26-2004, 07:53 PM
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Royce,
I posted above regarding four post and two post lifts. When I was looking for my first two post lift, AUTOLIFTERS was one of the companies I initially considered. The reason was obvious, they advertise in all of the car magazines and they're cheaper. That was not a good basis for choosing an automotive lift.
I got their brochures and compared their products to EAGLE, SUPERIOR, FORWARD, BEND PAK, WESTERN and others. The AUTOLIFTERS product was not as good in quality materials used. I consider them a hobbiest lift.
If you use you lift as much as I do...and you will when you have a good lift...you want the best over your head. Compare the specifics in steel specifications, paint vs. powder coating, cables vs. chains, types of safety locks, types of linkage, motor options, etc.
Spend the extra money and get a good quality lift.
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Old 01-26-2004, 08:51 PM
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hotwheels,
Thanks for the heads up. From what they say, it makes you think they are the best thing going. Supposed to be strong and tested, etc...

You're right I saw them in the back of the magazine and went to their site.

I will keep looking at other lifts.


Thanks,
Royce
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Old 01-26-2004, 09:39 PM
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Camaroman7d,
We have all three types of lifts where I teach school.
We have a "twin-post hoist" in one shop that is air over oil. It was used for transmission work(RWD only) and muffler jobs too. It is very hard to cent a car or truck on it so we bought a drive on 4-post from Eagle. It has worked out very well. We have a valving problem but once we figured out how the thing worked we got it repaired. Because it can be moved when you install the wheels it makes clean-up much easier.
The single post air over oil is used for oil changes, brake work and shock work are also done on this lift. The biggest problems with either the twin or the single post is it needs to be installed in the concrete not above. So they either must be installed before the concrete work or the concrete must be sawed and then the hole dug and back-filled and then the concrete re-poured. Not for the home I would think.
The two poster is fine for all work but they do not move and if parts are removed the balance of the vehicle is changed so care must be taken when removing anything from the car.
Good Luck
Scholman
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Old 01-26-2004, 09:52 PM
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Royce,

Keep in mind that a 4 post is limited in what you can do with it without the rolling jacks and they can run from 1,000 to 1,500 a piece. Add to that an air compressor, regulators, lines, oilers and hookups. Without the rolling jacks you are back to using a jack under the car on the drive on ramps. A car is bad enough balanced on a jack on the ground but worse when up in the air on a lift that will wiggle to some degree and they all will move some. You can save some money on just getting one jack but then it becomes a hassle trying to rotate tires.

I went to several shops that had been running 4 post lifts for a few years and the one that seemed to have little or no maintenance was the Forward. I am not sure how easy they are to get parts for but then they don't seem to need much upkeep. Forward had a few different things on their lifts that the others didn't. The one that caught my eye first was the anti-sway device on each leg. I am going to try make some for my lift.
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Old 01-27-2004, 10:35 PM
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Well, I have a Forward 12000lb 4 Post, with 7500 lb center jacks front and rear. These are great for almost all types of work. My brother has a Rotary 2 post 7000 lb, bought it at a car show as a demo. Was never installed just opened up for display. I use his hoist for frontwheel drive cars. This is much easier if you have to change a trans on a frontwheel drive car. Now I use his alot because everything but trucks and Suv's are frontdrive. Of coarse they suck when trying to lift a lifted 4WD truck and have the right height under it to work. But if your work is mainly older rear wheel drive or truck go drive on!
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:10 PM
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2 post mohawk lift with a 9k pound rating.
that is the best lift i have ever worked with. i have lifted 15000 pound trucks with the thing i know that sounds really stupid but i had to put a clutch in a gas truck. the thing is real solid
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Old 01-28-2004, 07:38 AM
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I have an Autolifters 6000# 2-post and am very happy with it. It IS a hobby lift.....but cars are a hobby to me. Very few vehicles are over 6000# anyway. It's is not as heavy duty as some lifts but serves my needs. I've lifted pickups to Cadillacs with no problem.
I assembled and installed it by my self which I wouldn't recommend(it's heavy) and the only problem I encountered is anchoring to the concrete.I have 6" of 4000# concrete which is more than adequate, but the expansion type anchors are supposed to be at least 6" from the edge of the concrete (or any joint or crack). I had to locate it closer than that, so I used Redhead A-7 Epoxy to anchor any bolts that were closer than 6". This precludes the concrete from blowing out when the expansion bolt is tightened.
As for 4 post VS 2 post...............No brainer: have one of each! I'm going to pick up a 4 post soon, primarily to add another place to fit another car in my garage! Cheaper than extending the garage(I can only fit 4 cars in it and have room to work right now.)
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