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  #16  
Old 07-28-2003, 02:22 AM
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inexpensive electric hoist for hardtop

(sorry about the double posting - I didn't see this thread here before)

Just as an FYI for US SL owners looking for an inexpensive
way to add an electric hoist to your garage to handle the SL
hardtop, here's what I've come up with...

[IMG]http://assets.************************/assets/product/100584/100584_200_1.jpg[/IMG]
if the pics don't show, windows users right-click on
pic and select 'show picture'

[img]http://assets.************************/assets/product/103963/103963_200_2.jpg[/img]
shown above with manual hoist


shown above in my garage

880 Lb capacity electric hoist from Harbor Freight
(http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=44006)
ITEM 44006-7VGA $74.99

And...

Adjustable Hoist Sling from ************************ - $59.95
(http://www.************************/ProductPage.aspx?ProductName=Adjustable+Strap+Harness&productid=100584&producttype=20)

Most electric hoist set-ups cost between $500 and $750.
This setip will cost only $134.94 + a couple of hardware
items to mount the hoist.

The hoist itself will handle 440 lbs on a straight single line pull -
more than enough for the R129 hardtop which weighs in at only
85 lbs. (107s & earlier do weigh more... but certainly nowhere
near 400 Lbs!).

The hoist plugs in to 110v power and has a wired remote - so all
you have to do is unlatch the hardtop, attach the sling straps,
and push a button to raise the top off your SL... drive the SL out
from under it, push the down button and lower the top to your
hard top storage cart.

Hope this info is useful to others...

- michael
'98 SL500

addendum:

If you want to STORE your hartop (up and out of the way) in it's hoisted position, instead of the strap harness (noted above at $59.95) consider getting the "cradle and harness assembly" from http://removabletops.com/.

They don't advertise it on the web site but you can email them and they will sell their cradle harness for $125. It's a nice cradle - nothing to screw up the weather seal - it "cradles" the hardtop on the outside edges:



From thier web site:
"The IMC hoist harnesses utilize lightweight aerospace 6061 T6 "drawn" aluminum tubing (not the breakable "extruded" tube) inside another two inch O.D. high-density foam tube with a half-inch wall thickness. This assembly constitutes a very lightweight and very strong upholstery-friendly Support Cradle that holds a hardtop securely from beneath - avoiding paint and weather stripping - and balances it with a connected harness fabricated from seat belt webbing."

Last edited by slsmag; 10-17-2006 at 12:32 AM.
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  #17  
Old 07-28-2003, 08:43 AM
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FWIW, the usually-quoted weight of the 107 top is 90 pounds. A sweet setup! I'm teetering on the edge of buying the electric unit to automate my currently-manual hoist.
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'97 SL500, 40th anniversary edition

'04 Olds Bravada (SWMBO's)
'06 Lexus ES330
'89 560SL (sold)


SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)
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  #18  
Old 07-28-2003, 09:47 AM
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How funny --

I did this! I have this exact setup in my garage.

So as to have enough clearance, I attached my hoist to a piece of wood -- a piece of 2x12 -- about 36" long (so it would span two wall studs) and then used 3 - "eye-bolts" (not sure of the name) to run the cable up near the wall and accross the ceiling to the point where I place the top. The "eye bolts" are each well installed into a ceiling joist -- the "eye-bolts" were each rated at 300lbs - and I hung (by a finger) from each of them to see if it would hold -- it did, and has held my top for about 3 weeks now.

I didn't use any pulleys or wheels of any kiind -- does anyone think that this will cause undue wear on the cable -- as it slides along a fixed eye, rather than a wheel? -- If so, any suggestions? (by the way, I did not take the hook off of the cable and so had to feed the cable through the "eye bolts" by slightly bending the eye bolts open -- I bought a pulley, but saw no way to feed the cable in to the pulley -- without taking the hook off of the cable -- which I did not want to do!)

One thing that happeded, however, is that the cable guide is not designed to feed the cable from the "side" -- so, it broke (actually snapped off a bit of the casing where it was attached by a bolt) -- I wasn't paying attention to this aspect of my rigging -- so, keep an eye on this if you do yours this way.
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1986 560SL (52.5k miles) sold 11/24/04

1987 560sl (55.6k miles)
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  #19  
Old 07-28-2003, 10:36 AM
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Dan G Wrote: I didn't use any pulleys or wheels of any kiind -- does anyone think that this will cause undue wear on the cable -- as it slides along a fixed eye, rather than a wheel?

Hi Dan -

You really should either hook a pulley to each of those closed-eyes, or replace them with pulleys.

Each time the cable is pulled through the eye it's acting like a cable saw and eating away at the eye (or vice-versa depending on which metal has a higher hardness). Hey, post a picture of how you have the hoist mounted! (I did mine directly overhead - no additional pulleys were needed)

- michael

Last edited by slsmag; 07-28-2003 at 10:49 AM.
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  #20  
Old 07-28-2003, 11:07 AM
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I was afraid of that (the saw effect)-- but I don't think I can take that hook off to feed the cable onto a wheel -- I paid out all of the cable to see how it was attached to the spindle -- and didn't want to mess with that end either. I guess you avoided the whole mess by direct hanging -- (I don't have the height in my garage-- as it is, the top clears the windshield by about 5 to 7 inches). I figure as the top went up and may never come down again (I can store the car right underneath the top all winter) - there won't be a back and forth movement of the cable(?) -- I did buy some pulleys, but could not figure how to take the hook off to feed the cable!!!!

With respect to pictures, I think I need to have the photo hosted on another site to post here -- and I don't have that capability -- I'll try and take some pictures and email them to you.

In short, I bought the wood and carriage bolts of the same diameter (I think they were #10 metric) as those that are provided with the hoist (for use with the pipe surround mechanisms) but two inches longer (bolts were 2.5 inches)-- I made a template of the top of the hoist and marked the location of the holes on the wood (leaving ample margin on both sides for connection of the wood to studs) -- I drilled through the wood,
and threaded the bolts through the wood into the top of the hoist -- my wood was soft enough that I actually drove the bolt heads into the wood surface -- part way (I figured that the wood would go against the dry wall of the garage, so the bolt heads would just press into the dry wall when the wood was attached to the studs). I drilled probably 4 pilot holes on each side of the wood for very long, large wood screw, and one each above and below the center of the hoist (as the wood was about 36 inches long it would span 3 studs -- near each end and one in the center).

I found two studs and held the wood/hoist combo to the wall as it rested on a shelving unit -- which was at a good height -- (about 3 to 4 feet above the floor) -- I then drilled the screws in to the wood and studs -- and then added a lot more screws just for good measure.

I put an hook-eye into a joist directly above the hoist -- making a pilot hole for each hook-eye and using a small crow bar through the eye as a lever arm to turn the bolt -- I put a second hook-eye about half way to where the top would go and a third above where the top would go.

The only problem I have encountered is that the hoist does not make small moves well -- when you finally get down to putting the top onto the car, it will still be helpfull to either have another set of hands to make the small precision moves or to put some padding on the car, so that the last jerk before it is at the right height does no damage.
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1986 560SL (52.5k miles) sold 11/24/04

1987 560sl (55.6k miles)
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  #21  
Old 07-28-2003, 03:17 PM
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Dan -

You can make the movement much smoother (more finely controlled) and reduce the 'strain' on the hoist by adding a double pulley (block & tackle) set-up to what you have. It's basic physics: by adding a double pulley you cut in half, and in half again the amount of force required to lift the object while at the same time doubling, and doubling again the amount of travel the cable has to move to lift the object.

All you have to do is add the pulleys. Note that the cable hook will now go to a fixed location (like a celing joist) - this is what will now take on half the burden of wieght. Again, the real benefit of setting your system up like this is that you will gain 2 times the control over the movement.



- michael

Last edited by slsmag; 07-28-2003 at 05:18 PM.
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  #22  
Old 07-28-2003, 03:22 PM
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Thanks Michael -- I had thought about using the pulley that comes with the hoist to do this -- I would add an extra hook-eye on which to attach the hook. I had not considered that this would offer more control (just allow more lift power -- and since the top was well within the limits of the hoist alone . . .), but I will give it a try --maybe this weekend? (oh-oh -- more wear for the cabel-saw!)
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1986 560SL (52.5k miles) sold 11/24/04

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  #23  
Old 07-28-2003, 05:16 PM
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Hi Dan -

Yup... that will work... you don't need to add all the pulleys in the
pics above - they would just give you very fine control (and you'd
be able to lift the hardtop by pulling on the cable easily with one
hand).

If you just add that 'block' pulley that comes with the unit, the
hoist will need to take-in/let-out twice as much cable to get the
weight (hardtop) to move the same distance... and the "fixed"
end makes your celiling joist (or whatever) carry half the burden:



- michael

Last edited by slsmag; 07-28-2003 at 05:21 PM.
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  #24  
Old 07-28-2003, 05:47 PM
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Yikes!

Those diagrams brought back my engineering college nightmare days!!!
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  #25  
Old 07-28-2003, 08:44 PM
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Only disadvantage of the double-purchase system is that you'll double the amount of cable that needs to pay out or reel in for the lift. If the reel capacity is adequate, go for it.
I'd be very reluctant to run the cable over simple hooks. Check your hardware store first, and if necessary a marine supplier like West Marine. You should be able to find pulleys that can be taken apart, removing the axle of the wheel to allow inserting the cable and reassembling, and you probably won't have to go beyond the cheap hardware-store components to do this. I had the same issue with an electric hoist we used to get a SeaDoo up a ramp for routine storage, and solved it by taking the pulleys apart; simple job.
FWIW--My own hoist was rigged from Sears roof-gutter hooks, nylon webbing, West Marine blocks and a couple of cleats (jam cleat especially useful), is entirely manual, and is almost exactly as pictured above in the 4:1 version; it works quite well, and one hand can indeed control the line while the other lines up the top for precise installation.
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'97 SL500, 40th anniversary edition

'04 Olds Bravada (SWMBO's)
'06 Lexus ES330
'89 560SL (sold)


SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)
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  #26  
Old 07-29-2003, 12:57 AM
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Originally posted by cbdo
Only disadvantage of the double-purchase system is that you'll
double the amount of cable that needs to pay out or reel in for
the lift. If the reel capacity is adequate, go for it.


Hi Craig - the cable that comes with the hoist noted above is 38'.
The most anyone is going to lift their hardtop in a garage is a few
feet so the cable length, even in the quad set-up, shouldn't be a
problem with this hoist... unless someone mounts the thing more
than 20 feet from the centerline.

I'd be very reluctant to run the cable over simple hooks.

Couldn't agree more!

You should be able to find pulleys that can be taken apart,
removing the axle of the wheel to allow inserting the cable and
reassembling...


The tackle that comes with the hoist is terrific... instead of coming
apart at the axle, it uses a clevis pin on the top - I'm looking for a
source for more of these and will post when I find them. Here's a
picture of it:



...as pictured above in the 4:1 version; it works quite well, and
one hand can indeed control the line while the other lines up the
top for precise installation.


Absolutely... 4:1 on less than 100 lbs is a piece of cake by hand...
the real advantage for going 4:1 with this electric set-up is in the
amount of control you get over the movement - and the
advantage of going electric is, well, because, it's cool.

Regards,

- michael

Last edited by slsmag; 07-29-2003 at 01:04 AM.
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  #27  
Old 08-01-2003, 03:01 PM
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Re: Hard Top Holder

Also - I have a hard-top staorage cart (& cover). I use the hoist to lift the top from my cart and lower it on to the car... and vice versa. A storage cart is not a substitue for a hoist.

(I wouldn't recommend storing the hard top by just letting it hang from the sling - at least not with the type of sling I have pictured above. Long term, those clips could easily effect the performance of the seal.)

I use a non-folding hard-top cart with locking heavy duty casters (and cover) - I bought it from www.carpartsdiscount.com - for $115 +$20 S/H.


- michael

Last edited by slsmag; 08-04-2003 at 01:07 PM.
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  #28  
Old 08-04-2003, 12:02 PM
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I'm happy to see that the off-topic post by the salesman (vis-a-vis purchasing a top cart from him) was removed.

This weekend I added some wheels to my set-up and another "hook-eye" to which I attached the hoist hook, and then attached the supplemental hook and pulley provided with the hoist between. I can actually pull the top higher than before and am more comfortable with the cable running on wheels. There was already some damage to the cable -- a few broken strands. Thanks for the advice on adding the wheels!
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1986 560SL (52.5k miles) sold 11/24/04

1987 560sl (55.6k miles)
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  #29  
Old 08-04-2003, 01:11 PM
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Hi Dan -

I'm glad you added the pulleys before you did more damage to the cable! So... now that you are using the 'double line' can you feel the difference in the amount of control you have over the movement?

The way you have it set up now the hoist must take in/let out TWICE as much cable for the top to move the same distance as it did withthe single line set up... you should have much finer control over the movement of the top.

- michael
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  #30  
Old 08-04-2003, 01:13 PM
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Ive had my car since 95 and have the Stowaway unit. It comes in either manual or electric. I have the manual. The top stows up at the ceiling of the garage, you back the car in to have room. I have had the top on the stowage rack and in its cover for the last 8 years. I never put the top on. Having the top at another location can be a pain. If you need it and you drive in the rain to get it. You now are storing the fabric top while its wet. this is not recommended by Mercedes. You can start growing mold on the top fabric and it will ruin it.

http://home.earthlink.net/~garbiso/menu.htm

Get the cover for the top if you go this way. Flying and crawling bugs may want a new home especially if you leave it stowed the way I do, 8 years.

Dave
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