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  #1  
Old 10-30-2002, 01:42 PM
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
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Garage Lift Opinion

I am on the verge of buying a two-post lift for my garage. Already selected the manufacturer and satisfied with the design, quality, and price.

What I'm interested in with you folks is a final reality check to make sure I haven't missed anything. The garage has ten foot ceiling and I'm six feet tall. The lift will definitely fit and I'll probably have to 'duck' a little depending on the car on the lift.

What experience do you folks have? Any warnings/advice?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2002, 02:09 PM
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Warning...

Make sure the antenna is down before you lift it
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  #3  
Old 10-30-2002, 02:16 PM
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And the hood isn't in the 90 degree position!!
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  #4  
Old 10-30-2002, 02:49 PM
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Apparently, you two have seen my work before! Thanks for the chuckle.........
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  #5  
Old 10-30-2002, 02:59 PM
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What brand and model lift do you have in mind? I plan on building a shop soon and intend to buy one.
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  #6  
Old 10-30-2002, 03:15 PM
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I chose American Automotive Equipment model TP9. 9000 pound capacity and designed for lower ceilings. Price ain't bad, either. There are lots of manufacturers out there that are making good equipment.
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  #7  
Old 10-30-2002, 06:39 PM
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Do you already have your plans Stephen? I may be interested in "borrying" them if possible.
Don't forget room for the overhead "trolly" hoist.
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  #8  
Old 10-30-2002, 07:07 PM
M D Nugent
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Home lift safety

Two-post lifts (especially with a Benz on top) concentrate a LOT of weight on the post pad area. I'd think to be safe, you'd need footings under the posts, not mere garage concrete. Not being an engineer I can't provide the correct numbers or formulae, but if it were mine, I'd want at least a 3'x3" pad at least 12" thick with rebar or mesh embedded in each one.

If the concrete cracks under load, the lift will surely lean, and what comes next won't be pretty.

For what it's worth, I bought a much cheaper "low rise lift" (see picture) that raises 26-27" - great for tire/brake work and body work. If I need to work for an extended time underneath, I raise the car on the lowlift and then lower it down over jackstands so if the lift fails, the car won't squish me.

M D "Doc" Nugent
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  #9  
Old 10-30-2002, 07:40 PM
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Can you pull a tranny on one of those low lifts?
A good rule of thumb for a diyer would be that you want the weight of the concrete/rebar in your lift foundation to weigh as much as the weight it will be carrying. Obviously, you do not want to use this "rule of thumb" for designing skyscrapers but for a car lift it will be fine. Also, I would imagine that the vendor can give you all kinds of info on the foundation needed for their lifts.
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  #10  
Old 10-31-2002, 01:58 AM
M D Nugent
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Reply to engatwork

We bought the low rise lift in the first place so that we could drop the engine and trans as a unit from our (mid-engined) Porsche 914s, and it works extremely well for that.

Dropping a trans from a front engine RWD car is never easy due to the weight, but I'd think that task would be easier with a full height, both sides lift (my hydraulic piston down the middle might get in the way, depending upon where the trans is front-to-rear).

Back to the garage floor for a minute, most are 4" of unreinforced concrete and the best are 6" of reinforced concrete. I'd trust the latter with a four post lift, but neither with a two post lift.

MDN
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  #11  
Old 10-31-2002, 11:27 AM
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Good points, all. As far as room with the garage door open - I built my garage with ten foot ceiling and eight foot high doors (standard is seven). That way, when a car is on the lift, the door will actually be over the trunk area, depending on the car. Obviously an SUV would pose a different situation - but things look good at this point.

Regarding the concrete: 12" thick with rebar? My gosh, that would be a little extreme. Specifications call for 4" thick, reinforced, 3,000 psi concrete with hoist posts at least 4" from any seam or joint. That means MOST standard concrete floors will meet that spec - and since I built this garage, I made sure it was set up for a two-poster.

My bigger concern is puttling the lift close to a side wall. I will have about 18" space between the post and the wall and I'm a little concerned about having enough room to work on brakes and wheels. One of my waiting projects is an axle replacement and I'll probably have to back the car into the bay so I have ample room to slide the axle out of the housing.
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  #12  
Old 10-31-2002, 11:35 AM
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There is one rule to remember about shops and closets...

You cannot build one that is too big!!
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  #13  
Old 10-31-2002, 11:39 AM
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Don't raise the bridge, lower the water.

How about a pit under the car instead?
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  #14  
Old 10-31-2002, 11:59 AM
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My uncle has a pit in his shop. The only problem is that you have to carry everything down and then up. Be that a wrench or a transmission!!
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  #15  
Old 10-31-2002, 08:13 PM
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Yes, lots of people want a pit. But for a homeowner, there can be a lot of tradeoffs:

1. Local codes (hey, I live in Wisconsin!) can get very particular.
2. Presumes you don't have watertable or drainage issues.
3. Safety (I just KNOW I'd wind up falling in the damned thing!)
4. It still leaves the wheels on the ground.

All things considered, my preference is to have the car hoisted up with the four wheels off the ground an plenty of access to drop tranny, work on drivetrain or engine bay, etc. If I did a lot of lube type work or undercarriage adjustment, a pit might be a good choice. With a hoist, I get all that plus the ability to work with wheels/tires removed - an no walking up and down. Just my opinion.
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