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Thread: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

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    Obi Wan
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    Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    I am finally getting a garage to work on my cars-hopefully by summer. One thing I am considering is having a hydraulic lift put in. For you that have these, why did you choose a 2 or 4 car lift? What model did you buy, and are you happy with it? I have a TR6 and a bugeye, but I may have a pickup in the future too-what weight capacity do you have? I was thinking of a lift with 10,000 pound capacity-most information points to 4" reinforced 3,000 psi per square inch concrete. How specifically do you meet this requirement? Any information/opinions are welcome.
    Thanks,
    Kevin

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    Yoda Geo Hahn's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    I always have one car stored on the lift so I went with a 4 post. Quick on & off and when up a car is still on 'all-fours' rather than having the suspension dangling.

    Slab concerns are simpler with a 4-post - really just a big heavy table, not stressing the concrete.

    The exact one I have isn't available but here is something similar from the same supplier:

    https://www.eagleequip.com/product/MS-8000.html

    I have had mine for about 10 years and have no problems, regrets or issues. I do have 2 jack trays (usually the lift just comes with one) to make it easier to work both ends of the car w/o repositioning things.

    If looking at a 4-post you will want to examine the distance between the ramps as some models may be too narrow for the TR and the Bugeye.

    I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't get a 2-post - they certainly have their advantages and advocates - just relating my experience.

    Almost any lift will change your life and how you feel about car projects.

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    Jedi Trainee Tybalt's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    Quote Originally Posted by ichthos View Post
    I am finally getting a garage to work on my cars-hopefully by summer. One thing I am considering is having a hydraulic lift put in. 1) For you that have these, why did you choose a 2 or 4 car lift? What model did you buy, and are you happy with it? I have a TR6 and a bugeye, but I may have a pickup in the future too-what weight capacity do you have? 2) I was thinking of a lift with 10,000 pound capacity-most information points to 4" reinforced 3,000 psi per square inch concrete. How specifically do you meet this requirement? Any information/opinions are welcome.
    Thanks,
    Kevin
    You have two basic questions, what should I consider when thinking of a lift and how do I go about getting it in there. Here is my experience and take on your questions:

    1) I have a two post lift. I have used four post lifts as well. The choice between two post and four post comes down mostly to how you see your primary usage of the lift. For most types of work, I prefer a two post asymmetrical lift. With the columns being angled out, you have much more clearance for getting in and out of the car without banging the door against a column but positioning the car is more critical than it is on a symmetrical two post lift. A two post lift is no good for storage in the event you need to "stack" vehicles.

    A four post lift places more limitations on under vehicle access, but is better for some types of work such as tightening up suspension components once you've made a quick run to let the suspension settle. You drive it on, raise the lift and then torque everything down with load on the suspension so you don't wind up with twisted bushings for example on cars that are sensitive to that such as my wife's Miata. You can get jack trays for them and raise the car up off the ramp surface, but you just don't get all the undercar access that a two post offers. On the other hand, they are very good for "stacked' storage.

    My two post is old enough that it has been superseded by a later model but the one linked below is pretty close to what I have. Mine is set up with controls on both sides columns as well as electrical outlets and pneumatic lines so I can hook up my tools right at the lift. There's nothing like an air ratchet when you have lots of longish thread runs on fine thread fasteners. As far as lift pads go, I have a set of the adjustable round pads and adjustable truck pads. I have found that the truck pads get the most use and are my pad of choice on the Triumphs since we are talking about a body on a square section tube frame cars.

    http://www.rotarylift.com/LIFTS/SPOA10-TRIO/

    Since I now find myself with more cars than holes to put them in, I am considering putting in a four post at this time primarily for storage purposes but haven't committed to it yet. I'm still researching what's out there to meet my needs and so far I keep coming up with stuff that's a bigger footprint than I really want, but as my grandfather told me when I was whining about something as a kid, "yea, and the people in **** (a very warm place under Beelzebub's management) want ice water too."

    2) A 10K capacity lift should handle most trucks so unless you go nuts in the truck department you should be OK as far as the lift goes but....

    You need to think in terms of footprint on the floor for the lift you choose as well as front and rear clearance which is more critical on a four post lift because of the rods for the locking mechanisms. As an example the four post I'm looking at requires a minimum of six foot on the controller end and nine feet on the other end of front and rear clearance for the lock rods in addition to the runway lengths. You also need to think about overhead height. While a four post lift in and of itself doesn't need any where near as much height as a two post lift, you have to think in terms of the vehicles that will be placed on it and lifted as well as the height of any vehicles stored on the floor below a lifted vehicle. With the two post, you have to think about how far ahead of the columns and how far behind the columns the vehicle will be and that is impacted by the vehicles and whether you go with a symmetrical or an asymmetrical column set up.

    Since it sounds like you will be having a new building constructed, to meet the requirements for the floor strength and lift envelope dimensions, you talk it over with your contractor and if there is one directly associated with the project, the architect as well. The concrete guys know what they need to do from a thickness, reinforcement and concrete make up and can make the floor meet or exceed (my recommendation) the requirements stated by the manufacturer/seller of the lift. As far as just making it thicker/stronger in the area where the lift will be located, unless it is a very small area of a very large building, you're better off just having them make the floor the same across the entire shop.

    When I was getting my shop set up it was essentially a matter of handing them a copy of all the stuff from Rotary with the lift's envelope and floor requirements and saying this lift is going in the shop's middle bay, make it work.

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    Obi Wan
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    Thanks for the detailed reply. What is the difference between symmetrical and asymmetric hoists?

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    Obi Wan
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    How easy is it to get cars on and off a four post lift? Do you know what the maximum height of the four post lift?

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    Yoda Geo Hahn's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    Getting TRs on & off the 4-post is easy as I can see the left front tire if I lean out a bit -- I have marks on the ramp to guide me.



    Yeah all that tape means something to me.

    My E-Type is trickier to park on the ramps - I have to hold a mirror out a ways to see the front tire & steering while moving forward looking in a mirror is not intuitive, but it works.

    Other uses for a lift:

    Raising heavy parts to a comfortable work height:



    Providing a solid base for mounting a tire changer:



    Breaking beads:


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    Yoda Geo Hahn's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    Quote Originally Posted by Tybalt View Post
    ...You need to think in terms of footprint on the floor for the lift you choose as well as front and rear clearance which is more critical on a four post lift because of the rods for the locking mechanisms. As an example the four post I'm looking at requires a minimum of six foot on the controller end and nine feet on the other end of front and rear clearance for the lock rods in addition to the runway lengths...
    On mine those clearances were needed during assembly only - you had to have space to insert the rods into each end. I got around it by having the overdoor open on one end and a door to a large closet open on the other. Other way around it would be repositioning the whole unit after assembly (not too bad) or even drilling a hole in a wall.

    Once assembled, the clearances are more a matter of what you can work with.

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    Yoda Geo Hahn's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    Quote Originally Posted by ichthos View Post
    ...Do you know what the maximum height of the four post lift?
    You will want to look at the specs for the specific lift you consider, On mine I raise the cars to the next to last notch for ideal working height (I am 5'10"). My ceiling is about 10 (about because it slopes) and there is plenty of room. I used to have to place the windscreen in a specific area to avoid the garage door opener but now have a side-mounted opener which is the way to go if you can.

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    Darth Vader Rut's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    Kevin,
    Im in the same position as you and my shop should be completed before the end of June. After much research I’ve decided to go with an asymmetrical two post life with a 9000# capacity and a clear floor. I talked to my concrete guy and 3000 psi concrete is what they use and they will pour a footing at least 6” thick to prevent the bolts from going all the way thru which weakens the mounts. We were discussing lifts on another forum and the one that fits my needs is also the one that fits Haps for his new shop and it’s $1495.00 and comes with everything we need...Greg Smith is the retailer. The discussion also talked about storage and a lot of people store cars on a two post lift and say they are happy with that as well.
    Rut
    Rut, '60 Bugeye, '70 MGB, '62 TR4, '66 TR4a IRS, '67 TR4a IRS, '68 TR4a IRS, '72 TR6

    When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life. John Lennon


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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    I have a 4-post and agree with the others. I have two spanning bridges where I can place a jack to lift each corner if needed. For me, it's also great for storing 2 cars over winter, fixing exhaust leaks. It's dark under there so I put LED strips on the inside of the ramps which is perfect to quickly check things out.

    Mine is a Bend-pak USA made and 6"+ of 3000lb strength concrete was specified so that's what we poured.


    I don't have colored tape to guide me, just a 3 foot piece of masking tape on the ramp. I do use label on the post safety detentes to show max lifting points for each car, min oil drain pan height. My shop has a 9 foot 6 inch ceiling height and more between the rafters if I need extra lift. Now I have to get some colored tape!
    PeterK
    1958 TR3A 1966 TR4A both HVDA

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    Member parkerg1's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    I have a Atlas 408SL 4 post from Greg Smith. It is a 8000lb, and has been in use for 6 years. No issues at all, and I am very happy with it. I went with a 4 post mostly for storage. I know keep 4 cars in a one car garage. The 3 cars I use the lift for are a TR3, MGTD, and BMW Z3. My wife's Honda will still fit in last partly under the lift. Since the pictures were taken, I have put a overhead door in the end of the garage, and can put 1 and 1/2 cars in my workshop on the end of the garage.. I made hinges on the ramps, so they can just be folded up out of the way. I also have a 2 x 4 behind the ramps, so they cannot come down accidently. My house was built in 1955, but there has been no issues with the cement floor. I also bought the castor kit with the lift, so it can be moved forward and back, if need be.
    Garylift-web.jpglift-2-web.jpg

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    Yoda PeterK's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    They're also great for lifting bodies off frames and putting them back. Also R&R gearboxes, clutches, hydraulics. I love mine!
    PeterK
    1958 TR3A 1966 TR4A both HVDA

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    Luke Skywalker 3798j's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    I went the 4 post route with two rolling jacks. The main reason I didn't go two post was I didn't want to be kneeling on the floor trying to maneuver the lift arms to the lift points. I've got a couple of vehicles with low ground clearance...when I realized what the process would be to correctly set things, my decision was made.

    '66 TR4A '68 GT6

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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    I have a 2 post. Best option if you are doing a lot of work on your car/cars because of the accessibility to 90% of the car.
    Must admit though, having to kneel down on the floor to position the arms is a downer.
    Also have a steel cross beam bolted across the top of the 2 posts so that I can attach a winch to lift engines out of cars.
    Use one of the extended arms to lift engines etc to a working height...eg fitting transmission to engine.

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    Jedi Trainee Tybalt's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    Quote Originally Posted by ichthos View Post
    Thanks for the detailed reply. What is the difference between symmetrical and asymmetric hoists?
    There's a video as well as text and diagrams regarding the two at the link below, scroll down the page a bit to see them:

    http://www.rotarylift.com/LIGHTDUTY/Two-Post-Lifts/

    Quote Originally Posted by Geo Hahn View Post
    On mine those clearances were needed during assembly only - you had to have space to insert the rods into each end. I got around it by having the overdoor open on one end and a door to a large closet open on the other. Other way around it would be repositioning the whole unit after assembly (not too bad) or even drilling a hole in a wall.

    Once assembled, the clearances are more a matter of what you can work with.
    Agreed, those additional clearances for the lock rods are needed during assembly primarily but could also be needed in the event of some types of service work on the lift, should it be required. Your installation has the necessary clearance based on your description of the install, but others either may not or it could limit how the install is done. The four poster I am looking at can have the controller mounted to either the left front or right rear post. Based on the nine foot clearance needed for the lock rod opposite the end of the lift with the controller, I would only be able to mount the controller on the front of the lift for example, not the rear which would actually work better for me were I able to do so. That's the primary reasons why I haven't pulled the trigger on getting the four poster, I haven't been able to decide if mounting the controller on the front left would get in the way or not since that left side of the lift would be between bays on the side and along a walkway to some stairs on the front.

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    Jedi Trainee Tybalt's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    I knew if I dug around long enough I'd find these pictures. If you look at the columns on the lift you will see that they are angled out as opposed to directly facing each other. When go from one picture to the other, you can also see that the front and rear arms for the lift are different lengths. I'd banged enough doors into the columns on a symmetrical lift to know that when I was spending my own money on a two poster, it would be an asymmetric lift. The elongated black boxes on each column house the lift controls.

    These pictures were taken when we were finishing out the shop and hadn't moved any of the "car stuff" into the shop yet. Everything was still covered in dust from the drywall work. When my wife came up in her Miata, we decided to toss it up on the lift to see how well it worked and for a worms eye view of her car. This was the first car to take on ride on the lift.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Darth Vader Rut's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    This is the 2 post asymmetrical 9000# lift that Hap and I are both interested in. At $1495.00 it looks like a good deal and it’s made by Titan lifts...I’m sure it’s an offshore product, but for a home shop it may be exactly what I need.
    Rut
    http://www.gregsmithequipment.com/Elite-9KOH
    Rut, '60 Bugeye, '70 MGB, '62 TR4, '66 TR4a IRS, '67 TR4a IRS, '68 TR4a IRS, '72 TR6

    When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life. John Lennon


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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    I have a 9000# 2 post because I didn't need the storage space and I had the ceiling height. Cost about $2600 installed in Southern Missouri.

    Helps that I have a 60'x18' RV garage built under my house....(Previous owner had RVs)

    It's great, I don't think I'd put something at 9000lbs but it does what I need it to do.




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    Jedi Knight TRMark's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    I paid $1995 delivered for my cheap 8000 lb 4 post lift. Cable were not routed properly so I had to fix that, not big problem. I will probably never lift more than a 4000lb vehicle on it, certainly no where near its stated capacity. IIRC the lifts are rated at a balanced load, not 5000 on one end and 3000 on the other. I particularly like the ability to work at a comfortable height sitting on a stool. A small car on a 4 post gives very good access to all areas. I have never wanted for more access when working under the TR4. As said earlier, a lift does change how you approach a project.

    DSCN1269 (1280x960).jpg
    ex spec5 Mark

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    Member parkerg1's Avatar
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    Re: Hydraulic lift opinions/info needed

    If I remember correctly, the 8000lb Atlas lift that I used, can have the power unit located on any of the four post. That is one reason I picked it as I wanted the control on the left rear column.
    Gary

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