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Old 03-06-2010, 11:56 PM
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Vehicle Hoist

I am looking for a vehicle hoist. I have done some reading but still am not sure on a reputable brand. I am interested in safety because I would hate to drop my car 6 ft with someone underneath of it. I am curious about the symmetric and assymetric lifts also. What the heck is the difference.

Another thought I have had looking at them, would I be able to mount H-beam to the top of the lift for a trolley hoist?

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Old 03-08-2010, 10:50 PM
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I don't know of a disreputable brand. There was a company much posted about here a year or more ago, "American Pride" or something-you could search for it, that was pretty awful. Good lifts, just bad business people. You'd want to avoid them.
All lifts have safety "locks" about every foot or so. So they can't drop six feet. I have seen a lift failure or two that were scary. One dropped a couple of inches until it locked that was startling. The real problem was getting the car down from the non-functional lift.
Another was a shop I worked in that had a sticky lock on one side. You raise the car off the locks, release the locks, then let the car down. When the lock on the opposite side failed to release it was real heart starter to realize one side of the car was about two feet lower than the other and still coming. No harm done though. Lesson learned to always give a lift your complete attention. It happened a couple more times but since I was watching for it, it was just an annoyance to raise the car back up and unlock again.
Most folks prefer symmetrical lifts. Asymmetricals have better access to the the inside of the vehicle while on the lift, especially if you're a bit on the rotund side. They look a bit odd with short and long arms but are usually better balanced. Front wheel drive cars and four wheel drive pickups in particular tend to be very front end weight biased So they are actually better weight centered on an asymmetrical lift.
If you have a front engined car you'll always want to put it on the lift "nose first". You can put a vehicle either way on a symmetrical lift.
I never thought of adding a trolley beam to a two post. I don't see why not though. Likely even make the setup stronger. A lot of shops use just the lift arms for hoists. Many an engine or transmission has been unloaded from a truck with a chain hung over one lift arm. Most lifts are also robust enough to use just two arms on one side to pick up a motorcycle for service. If you wish to do such stuff you want to be sure you have a 10,000 pound rated lift solidly bolted to a 6 inch concrete slab.
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:39 AM
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You need to decide 2 post or 4 post and go from there. What to consider in this decision? 1. Do you have a good level surface to install the lift? 2. Is the concrete thick enough to handle a 2 post lift? 3. Are you capable to install the lift or do you need a pro? 4. Do you have 220 power available? I personally went with a 4 post lift because I have seen too many pictures of vehicles in many awkward positions around a 2 post lift. Also, my in floor heat did not lend itself to the depth of anchors required for the two post install. I just like the security of 4 feet on the ground vice 2.

Take a hard look at Worth Lifts. They offer all kinds, but I went with the 12,000 pound lift so I never have to concern myself with overloading it. Worth also uses heavy duty, double roller chains vice cables. There is minimal maintenance to chains while cables require a lot of attention. Bendpak was my second choice but after seeing the Worth, they missed the cut by a mile.

Trees
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:42 AM
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just some thought for hoist selection;
if your only working on cars, check out craigslist.net. there are a lot of used hoists out there in this economy.
if your going to be working on long trucks get a 12,000lb hoist, long trucks are harder to balance on an asymmetric hoist.
if your tall, some hoists won't go high enough for you. our shop has 3 asymmetrics, i can only work comfortably under one. i wish it went 6'' more.
custom exhaust work is tricky with a 2 post because the suspension is unloaded. that said; we do a lot of exhaust work on them.
4 post hoists take up a lot of floor space. a lot.

if your posting here, you probably have the knowledge to install one.
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:30 PM
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I've been pondering a hoist for ahwile and have a couple of questions? I like the security of a four post but it looks really restrictive in the amount of access to the underside of the vehicle. Can you use a four post to remove the engine trans on a fwd car? I would think you need a 2 post for that.

Suspension and exhaust work all seems better on a 2. Other then changing oil and parking a spare car, what are the benefits of a 4 post for a home mechanic?
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:58 PM
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I have no doubts about being able to install the lift. I am a millwright by occupation and am constantly installing machinery and working with steel, not tin, I am talking iron baby. But anyways I am grateful for the input and am interested in the two post over the four post.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speede5
Other then changing oil and parking a spare car, what are the benefits of a 4 post for a home mechanic?
I have wondered the same and look forward to hearing the responses. 4 post lifts seem like they prevent you from doing majority of the work you would want a lift for.
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Old 03-10-2010, 10:45 AM
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had a few used 2 post lifts def able to do more work on them. now i have a 4 post easier to park and store one car over other thats the only benefit .also a 4 post does not have to anchored to the floor and is easier to move
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:04 AM
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Some 4 post lifts must be anchored to the floor and are not movable. I could easily remove the motor/tranny from a FWD using my 4 post lift. The runways are long enough so that the front cross member will be under or ahead of the front bumper. The runways can be easily moved closer or further apart to enhance accessibility underneath. At times, the lift arms of a two post lift can make accessibility a pain in the butt. Basically, there is no such thing as a perfect lift so make your decision and don't look back. You will be glad you did!!
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Old 03-14-2010, 12:12 AM
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Go to the Greg Smith Equipment website: Greg Smith Equipment

A lot of the racers in my area recommend them. There is a LOT of info about both 2 post and 4 post lifts on this site.
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Old 03-15-2010, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEd36
Go to the Greg Smith Equipment website: Greg Smith Equipment

A lot of the racers in my area recommend them. There is a LOT of info about both 2 post and 4 post lifts on this site.
That is a great site, thanks for the link
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Old 03-15-2010, 07:38 PM
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I like their "Before you buy a lift checklist", especially the last checkpoint:

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Old 03-18-2010, 01:13 AM
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I've got a 12,000 lb 2 post Rotary. Bought it used, about 2 yrs old, when a local car dealership went bankrupt. Rotary has the reputation of being the best lift on the market. Rotary uses a cylinder on each post with a cable mechanism that's strictly for maintaining level lift. I'd look for a lift with this design over one with a single cylinder and load bearing cables to the 2nd post. The sheaves on the cable type lifts are necessarily fairly small diameter, and wire rope doesn't like traveling over small sheaves. So, you can count on replacing the cable at some future point. From what I've seen, there's not much price difference between a 2 cylinder lift and a single cylinder / cable type.

The 12K Rotary sells new in the $5000-$5500 range and I got it for $1500. OTOH, I went to a lot of auctions before buying it, and saw lots of car-only size lifts bring $1500 when you could buy the same thing brand new for $2200 or so. Not worthwhile to buy used IMO for that sort of savings.

Don't know why it is the heavier lifts seem to sell for a much less percentage of their original price as compared to the smaller ones, but that seems to be the situation pretty much across the board. The heavier ones don't really take up significantly more space, so its not a question of one fitting the space and the other not fitting.

If you happen to run on a good deal in a used lift, make sure it has all the various frame adapters and spacers included. If not, and you have to buy them from the mfgr as replacement parts, they ain't cheap, so what looks like a good deal can end up being no good deal at all.
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Old 03-20-2010, 03:01 AM
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I have a four post lift that I have had for over 10 years, I chose the 4 post because I do alot of streetrod work, and my customers are often worrysome about having anything jacking up on the freshly painted or powdercoated framerails. I had a 2 post lift in the past, and never felt comfortable when doing heavy pounding or removing frontends or rearends for the fear of unbalancing the lift. I had a 59 chevy I was building at the time, and could never get the two post to work on the cruciform frame right. People will fight you to the death 2 vs. 4 post, My advise is to do your homework, and get what works for you!
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:03 AM
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It definately comes down to what work you're going to be doing and finding the hoist that will be best for that. Personally I have a 2 post asymmetrical hoist, think its 7000lbs or so. I have not major complaints about it, but I work on mostly smaller cars and trucks, and am still nervous when putting a car on it. I usually lift it about 6 inches and give it a little shake test, then recheck all the lift points before lifting all the way. lol.
Think mines a Daytona but there are lost of brands that are just as good.
We are considering getting a 4 post for mainly storage but they are also good for oil and exhaust work as meantioned earlier.
I also do body work and when lifting the vehicle to a good working height the airs sometimes get in the way...but still better than crowling around on my knees.
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