I've posted this over on garage journal as well. I thought I'd share over here. I lurk here a lot, absorbing a ton of useful info. Figured I'd contribute a bit today
The documentation that came with my lift covered alot of the major components, but I still ran into some snags along the way. I've been keeping a log of all of my notes, I thought I'd share with you all. Maybe it will help someone else along the way. So here goes. Hopefully the formatting from my Word document comes over nicely.
(I guess the maximum characters in a post is 20000 so I'll have to do this in two parts)
Congratulations! You decided to buy a lift! Iím sure youíve thought about all of the things that go along with that, right? Like, do I have room for this? What am I going to do with my existing garage door? How many times are friends going to want to come over to borrow this to change their oil? And how much beer are they going to bring? Great, youíve considered the important stuff.
A lot of this you CAN do this alone. But you might not want to. It all depends on how comfortable you are with heavy pieces and some of the troubles that come with them. Also, if you are reading these notes you may not be familiar with some of the terminology used in the documentation. Let me just say, and sheave is a pulley. There, that settles that. I know that technically there is a difference, but it threw me off.
All of that being said, this is just my experience. Iím not here to argue weather something was done correctly or incorrectly; all I know is that it works. Iím open to constructive feedback if you have some!
This is something that people might over look, but itís a critical part of getting started with this project. BendPak will deliver the lift via freight to a local terminal. If you have a forklift at home, the local terminal will deliver to your residential address, but you *must* have a forklift in order to get the package off the truck. They will not sit there and wait while you and four of your buddies unpack all the pieces and move them off individually. Unless you slip them some cash. Then maybe they will. But I did not want to chance that. If you do not have a forklift, they will store it at the terminal so that you can make other arrangements to pick it up and deliver.
This is where I ran into my very first debacle. I have no forklift, so I went the route of picking it up at the terminal. I considered all my options.
1. Rent a U-Haul trailer and pick it up myself. The cost of the trailer rental would have been ~$100. The freight terminal was willing to load it onto the trailer using a forklift. Towing it home with my Blazer might have been sketchy.
2. Hire help with a proper truck and trailer to deliver. The local guys that I talked to that knew what they were doing all wanted about $300-$400 to do this. The guys that did not know what they were doing were just dangerous sounding. While cheap, it was not my preferred method. One guy promised ďI have a long bed truck, of course it will fit back thereĒ. Hard pass.
3. Hire a tow company to deliver the package using a roll back flat bed. This is ultimately the route I choose Ė they charged me $250 for this service. Well worth it. I still had to use the hoist to help unload a bit but it was the best option I had.
There are probably more options out there, but these are the top three that I considered.
Lay out all the parts.
I know this sounds rudimentary, but you want to know what you do and do not have going into this. If you are missing parts, or some are damaged itís best to get that ball rolling NOW. BendPak is pretty good at replacing these things, but not quick. In my case, the power side runway had an outside ear that was bent very badly. I had my own concerns about what bending this metal back would do to the strength of the piece in the long run. Think bending a paperclip back and forth too many times. On a piece that is this critical to the strength of the lift I had to be confident in its strength. I submitted a ticket with BendPak and they sent me a new power side runway. It took just a bit over a week to arrive, so not quick, but this one was in good shape. I had direct driveway delivery for this piece, and the delivery driver was able to set it down right inside my garage. I then had to change over all the parts from the old power side runway to the new one. The cylinder, pull box, and all sheaves.
Assembling the posts to the side tubes.
This is a very straight forward process. You must make sure you are putting the right cross tubes on the right side in the right orientation. First identify the post where the pump will mount. There is an extra bracket on the outside of this post. This is the side where the cross tube with the SMALL WINDOW will be located. The size difference isnít all that apparent in the windows on the cross tubes but if you measure there is a difference. The window is facing the inside of the lift, not the outside. And the window will go on the side where the post with the pump mount is at.
Lay the posts down and slide this cross tube down into the posts. Then stand the posts up on end. Then do the same exact process with the other side. This cross tube will have the big windows. Again, the windows face the inside and go on the power runway side. Take the time now to triple check this. You do NOT want this to be incorrect. It will cause a lot of work later.
Once you have both sides assembled and stood up, get them as close to their final resting place as you can right now. The distance between the cross tubes from front to back should be as close to the length of the runways as it can be. Once in place, raise each of the cross tubes up to about 4-5 ft in the air. This helps with line routing later to give you some head room. Make SURE itís resting on the primary safety latches, not the slack safety. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. If they are resting on the slack safety locks, you will run into issues later on with cable routing.
Hanging the ladders.
Hanging the ladders in the posts does not require feeding them in from the top. You can fit them into the posts by turning them 90 degrees and turning them again once in there. The important part here is that you get the ladders all the way inserted into the blocks on the side tube sliders. The top slot is easy to see and get them into, but there is a second slow below this one that takes a bit of persuasion. Make damn sure you have them all the way seated in there. After that, head up to the top of the posts and put the caps on. The bolt for the ladder goes on the outside hole. Run the jam nut all the way down to the end of the threads on the bottom side, then put the cap on and put the top not on. Youíll adjust these later.
Also, included with the lift documentation you should seen an addendum that covers the spacers at the bottom of the ladders. If not, you should see some thick spacers with nut and bolts that belong at the bottom of these ladders. The spacer goes between the ladder and the back of the post on the inside. Nut goes through, washers and bolts used to secure. Pretty straight forward stuff there.
Mounting the runways.
This is by far the heaviest and most awkward part of this. Be careful here. If you donít feel safe in what you are doing, donít do it. I donít care how mighty you feel this day, if one of these is mishandled and falls, bones are going to break.
In my case, I mounted the non power side first. I had three extra people there helping me out with this and we still ran into some small snags. We found that the easiest way to do this was to use furniture dollies on each end to roll the runway close to in place. Once it was there, we slid one side of the runway past the end of the cross tube. Then picked up the other side of the runway and pulled it back toward the other cross tube so that we could get it sat up on there resting on the tube. From there we picked up the other side and slide the runway back into place. If you did your measuring beforehand correctly, these should fall into place nicely. Rinse and repeat for the power side.
Since my power side came in a week later, I did this one by myself. It was the same process as I had done with my help, I just used an engine hoist instead. Hoist connected to one end, dolly under the other. I raised the first side up past the cross tube and sat it down on there pushed just a bit out. I left the hoist connected here so that it was still supported on that end should something go awry and to prevent it from moving left to right. I went down to the other side and picked up that end of the runway sliding into place just as the other done went. It fell into place nicely. Be ready if you plan to do this alone. These are not light to pick up.
Next bolt the runways into place. This can be interesting if the bolt holes did not line up properly. I used a screw driver to pry around in the holes to make them line up. In my case, I have the HD-7W lift so I had two options of where to mount the non-power runway. After measuring the width of the vehicle, I planned to store up there I went with the narrow mounting option. Measure whatever you plan to have up there and plan accordingly. I left these bolts finger tight for now. You may want the out later when running cables. If you do leave them finger tight, do NOT forget about them. Go back and tighten them up later.
At this point, you have the basic frame assembled. Pat yourself on the back and go to the fridge for a beer. Youíve earned it if you did all of this in one sitting. The next section is where I went a bit out of order from the directions that come with the lift. It just seemed easier to me. You can do as you like.
Running the air lines.
This is where I went next so that I didnít have to fight with all the cables under there while running these lines. This is straight forward stuff. Make sure you have a sharp knife to cut the lines with. The only thing more dangerous than a sharp knife is a dull knife. There are retainer tubes on the outside and inside of the runways and cross tubes where the air lines run. There will be one line ran to each corner. Use the ďTĒ fittings that came with the lift, and route the lines as shown in the diagram in the instructions. This one is actually pretty clearly drawn. Try to un twist these as you are running them. They are shipped coiled up and tend to want to stay in that shape as you are running them. I wonít spend too much time here as this should be easily done. Especially if you are familiar with the compression type fittings that the ďTĒ fittings and the locks each use.
Extend the hydraulic cylinder.
In the documentation, they use a rubber tip gun connected to an air compressor. For the life of me, I could not find mine to do this with. So, I used a ratchet strap connected to the far end of the lift and pulled the box down the runway. This worked fine and did not require a lot of effort. Just make sure itís fairly centered so itís not binding up when pulling it.
Routing the cables.
This is an understated activity. These things are big, heavy, thick and unruly. Start by identifying the cables from shortest to longest. Then connect them at the top of the proper posts. The instructions diagram out clearly which belongs where. I did not thread the nuts too far through at this point at the top of the columns, I just had them hand tight. Next you route them through the slack safety locks, and the first sheave in the cross tube. Here is the time where if you did NOT make sure that the cross tubes were not resting on the slack safety locks that you are going to kick yourself in the ***. I had one that was incorrectly resting on slack safety lock. The arm with the small pulley on it would not move thus preventing me from routing the cable correctly. I had to lift that ends cross tube using the hoist and hold the slack safety lock while having my help lower the hoist to set it down on the primary safety lock. If you donít have a hoist to do this with, you are going to want to recruit some help. At this point itís heavier than hell.
OK back to routing cable. Remove the cable retainer under the sheave by removing the small bolt. The bolt and retainer will fall out, keep an eye on them. They are easy to lose. Then remove the sheave from the cross tube by taking off the retainer clip on the pin and removing the pin. Be ready when the pin comes out, the sheave is heavier than it appears. Run the cable on the correct side of the slack safety sheave, then down and into the cross tube. Once itís pulled all the way through, install the sheave and retainer reversing the process of removal. Then snake the cable through the cross tube over to the windows. Be certain you are running the cable UNDER the runway mount bolts. This is why I left them finger tight, so I could quickly remove them at this point and shine a light in there to make sure the cables run under all of the bolts. If you have an endoscope to use here, this might help get a good view in those holes. I pulled all four cables to this point before I continued.
Next, youíll be installing sheaves in the window section of the cross tubes. Be certain you are following the cable routing diagram at this point. Itís easy to get a cable on the wrong side, or in the wrong slot and cause yourself a LOT of re work later.
Another note for my case with the 7W lift. Rather than having a long hydraulic cylinder on the power side runway, I have a short one with what BendPak calls a pull box, essentially another set of pulleys attached to the end of the cylinder ram. The diagram for cable routing here is again pretty well detailed. It was a huge pain in the *** to get some of the cables to cooperate going around the sheaves in the pull box. I found it easiest to remove the sheave, put the washer into the box aligned with the hole. Then wrap the cables all the way around the sheaves in the proper grooves, and then put the sheave back up and into the box. When putting it back into the box, use one hand to make sure to use the other hand to hold the washer so it doesnít slide around. Grab the pin, get it started in the washer and then adjust the sheave as needed while moving the pin to get it the rest of the way through.
What is not very detailed in the documentation is the cable anchor plate. These are the brackets that are welded to the inside of the lower power runway toward the big window side. Remove the two small bolts from the bottom and feed the cables up through there. Make sure they are seated properly and re install the two small bolts to retain the cables should they move around.