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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all
I am planing on getting a lift for my garage
I am looking for advice and or words of wisdom on garage car lifts

the only thing I can faintly remember was my low to the ground GT had a hard time with lift
at the base auto hobby shop

is there such a thing as a low profile lift set-up?
or how about what questions should I ask? things to look out for ?

thanks in advance
David
 

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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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First I suggest a 4 post lift. They are much more adaptable and modifiable than 2 post lifts. 2 post lifts MUST be very firmly attached to the floor and there's always the ever present risk that your car can tip on them. 2 post lifts usually lift the body, which can be injurious to some cars and there's a wire trough that goes from one side to the other than can interfere with dollies when dropping an engine or with rolling chairs. 4 post lifts lift the car at the tires. You can put up a 4 post lift yourself with some dollies and an engine hoist, you might need pros to anchor a 2 post lift and set it up. You can even set up a 4 post lift out in your yard. Our cars are very narrow, you can drill and reposition the runways to suit the car. I have a very narrow garage and the pump was in the way, I was able to easily remount it on the wall. Except for the deluxe $5000 Backyard Buddy lift, all 2 and 4 post lifts are made at the same factory in China. One factory makes virtually all the lifts in the world, they just make them differently for different brands. I bought a Backyard Buddy Economy lift about 15 years ago for about $2100.

As far as low cars and ramps, that's a problem, especially if you have side skirts or a big air dam. My lift came with 16" long ones and the slope was still too steep and I had to make 4' long ones. I tried making many variations of home made wood and steel ramps. To get up the 4" to the 4 post lift's runways, I needed to make ramps that were 4'-5' long. Search Ebay for Race Ramps and you'll see 100's and other brands. Make sure to get a set that is at 4" high and 40+" long.



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I agree with what Gordon says. I purchased a 4 post lift 3 years ago and use it to store my GT on top and work on my Opels. Feels super safe. I bought it from a place called National Auto Tools. Looks like there's limited availability right now when it comes to lifts, and they seem much more expensive. I paid $1,995 including shipping for the exact model I linked to below.
Like Gordon said, there are different brands, but they are all the same really.
I was able to assemble the lift by myself, except for the heavy ramp that has the hydraulics on the bottom. I had a neighbor help me lift that one up. Since they couldn't offer lift gate service I had my lift shipped to a local trucking terminal and picked it up with a 17 foot U haul truck. The guys at the trucking company used a fork lift to put the massive package in the back of the U Haul and I disassembled the package in the back of the U haul at home in my drive way.
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I currently have a BendPak 4-post 9000-lb capacity narrow lift, HD9ST, purchased eight years ago. Previously, when I was in New Jersey, I had a Backyard Buddy. I will go along with the above advice that the 4-post lift is easier to deal with, in terms of installation and location, although a twin-post frame lift will allow you to do more things easier, such as tire changes, brake work, and suspension work. While BendPak and BYB offer accessories that allow you to jack up the front or rear, I have found these to be less than fully satisfactory. The really big problem with the twin post lift is that it has to be anchored to the garage floor and few residential garage floors are adequate for this. Knowing the corners that had been cut in the construction of my home, I was not ready to test the mettle of my garage floor, so I went with the 4-poster.

Both companies can be difficult to deal with. BendPak would not deal directly with me, insisting I go through their representative here in Maine, who actually was quite good about the situation and I ended up paying him to assemble it. Backyard Buddy, twenty years ago, was very difficult to deal with, especially when it came to having the unit shipped. The disagreement left a bitter enough taste that colored my decision on my more recent purchase.

In comparing the two lifts, I favor the Backyard Buddy largely because the BendPak requires an air compressor hookup that frees the safety stops, allowing the lift to be lowered. The Backyard Buddy does this mechanically with a hand-operated lever. I have had on occasion a situation where one of the safety stops on the BendPak will hang up, preventing the lift on that post from lowering, so I have to be very watchful when letting the lift down. When I purchased the BendPak, I also purchased an accessory they sold that ostensibly generated and saved enough air pressure to release the safety stops, eliminating the need for the air compressor. The accessory proved to be a poor substitute and I eventually ran a hard line from my Craftsman 30-gallon compressor to the lift's operating station. I see on BendPak's website that this accessory is no longer on offer.

My GT is basically stock and I have no difficulty driving it onto the lift, up the ramps. I can also drive my Triumph Spitfire onto it, although the Factory Five car needs help because it has lower ground clearance (I place a pair of 2"x10"x6-ft pieces of lumber under the approach ramps, finding this adequate. I do recall no difficulty driving this car onto the BYB back when I was in NJ, and I also had no trouble getting the Ferrari 246 (Dino) onto that lift, again perhaps making the BYB marginally better than the BP.

Neither lift saw the original paint on the ramps hold up well. Plan on periodic maintenance.
 

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I purchased a two-post lift from ATLAS Supply in Indianapolis when I added on to my garage. The garage has a 12' ceiling with 6' heavily insulated walls and ceiling. When we did the excavating we laid out the plan for where the lift would be situated and poured 2' x 2' pads with an extra 4" of concrete. After the curing process several friends and I carefully laid out the plan on the concrete for the lift. When we drilled the holes for the anchors we drilled all the way through the concrete so if need be, we could always pound the anchors into the ground below as I understand they are almost impossible to remove.
The lift is a 9000 lb rascal which has done all I have ever asked of it. It has safety features which lock the feet in position and at height. I paid around $2000 for the lift and necessary hardware for the install. It has proven to be the very best tool I ever purchased. I am too damned old to crawl underneath cars any more!
 

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I built the shop for a 4 post Direct Lift Pro Park Plus Long lift. We laid deeper 6” 4000 psi concrete pads for the feet. My reasons for this lift:

- I’m too old to crawl around on the ground positioning lift pads as you would with a two post lift.

- ALI certified for safety with ongoing quality inspections, many lifts are not. Having worked with Chinese manufacturers who cheapen products, and pocket the difference if you let them, this was important for me.

- Mechanical locks, not pneumatic. Why pay for unnecessary complexity with more points of failure?

- 115 volt pump, no special wiring.

- I wanted a lift that had enough clearance under the runways to walk under without banging my head.

- Direct Lift is part of the Dover Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, with warehouses and support in the USA.

When I was working in a garage we had a Hunter alignment lift that had sliding jacks. I loved those things. With two of them you can lift the entire car off the lift for 4 wheel service.
 

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I'll add that the BendPak was available with both 120V and 240V. Select the 120V and there is no special wiring, although you sacrifice speed on the way up. However, with the BendPak, if the lift is lifting while the air compressor is compressing, it is helpful to have them on separate circuits.
 

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I looked a purchasing one earlier this year from Greg Smith Equipment, which is now ATLAS. I wasn’t ready to pull the trigger but wish I had because the cost and lead time have both risen considerably. Went up up 700 bucks and went out to a 3 month wait. I will buy one to store a car on primarily, with also using it for under car work. I plan to purchase a high lift one so I can walk under it easier, as I’m 6’6”+ and would like to not be totally scrunched up under a lift, since the purpose of having one is to not crawl up under it.

Eric
 

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I just saw a video on the youtube a few months back for a four post lift WITH a rolling inner lift/jack so could lift the vehicle on the lift for tire and suspension/brake work It also had a rolling tool and whatever bin that would run on the inner rails as well.
I thought it was a great idea I don't remember the name of the product, but it was on VICE GRIP GARAGE and he did a video on getting it installed and how it operated.
 
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We have a 4 post lift with a rolling jack that allows us to lift a pair of wheels to work on tires and brakes. I think it was a $600 option but well worth it. Whoever you buy your lift from will offer this option (every lift we looked at had it aa an option).

I neither know nor care who made our lift. As Gordon points out, most are made in China by the same company. When I was shopping and trying to find a good American made lift, it was difficult and finally I called a friend who had a lift about which one he recommended. He gave me great advice - "pick a good installer and let him take care of lift selection." I called his installer, We reviewed our requirements. He showed up, installed it, put in the rolling jack, tested it. All great. We decided to have the legs bolted down for extra safety. If I ever wanted, I could unbolt it and move it. I also have the company that installed it come out every few years and check it out for us.

Another feature we got were some light plastic trays that fit between the rails and catch any drips from our car and lets us place a car under another car without worrying about drips.
 
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Just Some Dude in Jersey
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Another feature we got were some light plastic trays that fit between the rails and catch any drips from our car and lets us place a car under another car without worrying about drips.
The trays option is very important to have. Opels leak.

I didn't buy the rolling jack, but I could make a rolling platform that would fit the width and channels on the sides of my runways and then I could just put a small cantilever jack on it for tire work.
 

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Another option if you're height limited or want to be able to move it out of the way when not using it is a MaxJax 2-post setup. lifts 4.5 feet so you can roll under on a stool, the pump runs on 120 so you can use it in any garage and it uses threaded anchors so you use bolts to hold it down instead of studs. the posts have hydraulic quick connects to the pump unit and they have wheels so when you unbolt them from the floor you can roll them away and store them in the corner with nothing left sticking up out of the floor.
 

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I have both, but if you are going to seriously do a lot of mechanical work, on any cars, a 2 post lift is the way to go. There are things I like about the 4 post lifts, and there are things I don’t like. At the end of the day, I am constantly looking to free up my 2 post lift to get car on it. I have three 4 post lifts, bought a fourth, and sold it to a friend. They are good for storage, exhaust work to an extent, and interior stuff, but the heart of what we need a lift for is full access to the driveline. I’ve done an engine change on a 4 post lift, it sucks. I would say the anti-2 post lifters are ones that haven’t ever worked with one. I need about 2 more of those
 

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Lots of good info here.

Never got a response to my question. What is the main purpose? I have two four post lifts in my garage. Mainly for storage. I have a two post in my workshop. It is an older Ammco (rebranded Challenger lift, made in USA). I am not a huge fan of having to plump compressed air to the lift for the release, but wasn't that big of a deal since I needed to plumb air all over the shop anyway. I got an incredible deal on this lift, and had actually used it many time, so was familiar with it before I got it. If I was shopping new, I would prefer to purchase one with mechanical safety release. Although, now that I already HAVE air in the area, I don't know that it is a big deal.

David specifically asked about low profile. On my two post lift, the pads are 3.75 inches from the floor to the tops of the pads with the lift all the way down. If the top of the pads being 3.75 inches is not low enough, it is very easy to keep a few 1x6 boards handy. Figure out exactly where they need to be, and drive the car up on those boards. If you need to go higher than 3/4, you can put a pair of 1x6 boards together for each tire. If you car is SOOOOO low, you can't drive up a 3/4 inch thick board, then I can't help you.

ASSUMING your garage can accommodate either (big assumption, I know), depending on what you have for concrete, how high the ceiling is, etc. IF all other things are equal, you want a two post for working on cars; a four post is better if you need it mainly for storage.

A "top plate" two post has no plate running across the floor between the posts, so that really is not an issue. I would not consider a bottom plate two post.

In my workshop, I had to cut out two 5 foot by 5 foot areas of concrete and pour thicker (10 inches..... yes, I KNOW that is overkill) reinforced (#5 rebar every foot) to make certain the floor could hold it. It was worth it to me. The two post is far superior for working on cars.

Gordo is correct, in that the four post is much easier to install. Sherri and I put in the four post lifts in one afternoon, and I had never installed one before.
Sherri and I also installed the two post lift, but it took more than an afternoon, and I doubt would could have done it (unless I borrowed a fork lift) without my gantry crane. Much more involved, technical and time consuming. Again, to me, worth the extra effort.

If you are wanting a review of the Challenger lift raising an Opel GT, I will be glad to run my car down to the shop, but mine is not lowered at all (in fact sits a bit higher than stock in front because I relocated the battery), so it won't help with that analysis at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
wow a lot of great info
so my check list is starting to look like this

1) mostly for maintenance so = 2 post lift ?
2) ceiling = 10ft
3) concrete floor thickness = ??
4) location of lift (do I want to have it next to the outer wall or toward the center of the garage) =??
5) I have 4 cars in my back garage will it be possible to still get 4 small cars in the garage after the lift = ??
6) cost, do I want a turn key operation or do it your self = I really prefer a turn key but it will depend on cost
some pics

thanks everyone
Cloud Sky Wood Road surface Shade
Car Tire Vehicle Motor vehicle Automotive design
 

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The ten foot ceiling takes a top plate two post off the table (or the floor).
Most are 11 foot plus.
I have never used a bottom plate two post, but dislike the idea of stumbling around on the bottom plate. Plus, it may make it impossible to use a transmission jack. Not a problem with an Opel, as the trans is light enough you don't need a jack.

Given the small size of the garage relative to how many cars you want in there (it helps that they are small cars) you likely can't fit anything other than a 4 post in there. For maintenance you will need jack trays and jacks. Even a four post takes up significant room. I had to move four support posts in my garage to get my two 4 post lifts in. You can see where I built headers from double LVLs glued together with plywood between to relocate posts about 18". The ceiling is just a tick under 10 foot in my garage.

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There is an incredible amount of info over on The Garage Journal website.
 

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I have a 4-post lift. My 9 ft ceiling does not allow for the car to be lifted up enough to stand under. I use a low rolling seat that has worked out. I also bought a sliding jack to lift the wheels up (converted it to air/oil).
The lift came with removable casters so I can move the lift around for long-term projects to better utilize my garage space.
 
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