540K

Car Lift experience and recommendations?

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I am searching online for comparisons and experience with the various car lifts available. I would appreciate any advice on particular brands and models. I will be raising a classic weighing over 5,000 lbs, maybe once a month to clean the underside and routine maintenance. Definitely 4-post with a caster option since I'm not going to be using it on a daily basis. One friend commented he liked Rotary better than Bendpak because the Bendpak he has requires a compressed air line. I'm going to research that more. I searched this forum and only found one thread from 15 years ago (thanks for your post, Ed!) If you know of any comparison websites other than those created by a manufacturer for marketing purposes, please let me know. I'm more interested in your personal experience and recommendations. Thanks car guys!

 

If you aren't comfortable mentioning brands publicly, feel free to message me.

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Personally I prefer a scissors lift like the Atlas Kwik Bay since a lot of what I do involves removing wheels and tires. The open center gives access to most of the underside and can use blocks to lift the car off the ramps for full access.

 

Nice thing is they are designed to be portable. Are quite a few of these but for me two things are important: that the lift be able to lock in position as soon as the tires are off the ground and that the rollers not be on bare concrete, that there are trays on the bottom to avoid high stresses on the flooring. I also had a 6300 lb RV at the time and needed something that could lift it.

 

ps most use compressed air to lift the locking blocks for lowering.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)

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I have a 2 post Bendpak so can't comment on a 4 post per se. I can comment that I've had my lift for going on 10 years and are completely happy with it. Well built and no problems. I use it with some regularity although not daily. I've no doubt  Rotary is better built but they are made for heavy use and you will pay for it.

If cost is not a consideration buy the Rotary. If cost is a factor then paying for something you really don't require and which  will provide no extra benefits makes little sense..............Bob

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I have a two post, and two four post lifts. If I could only have one lift, it would be the two post. You can do more things with the two post lift. Only draw back to the two post, is body flex (can really move on a convertible). And you can not have the weight of the car down on the suspension. In some cases that is wanted.

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I second Xander if you are only going to buy one get a two post.  I have both and in my experience while you CAN work on one sitting on a four post they are really best for storing while the two post is best for getting under/into everything.  The things I wish would have know to do was get an asymmetric rather than symmetric and get one really wide inside the posts.  I have early 60s full size Pontiacs and cannot enter or exit the cars when they are between the posts ready to be lifted or lowered; I have to exit the car short and push them to the point where I locate the arms under them to lift them up.  Asymmetric fixes this problem but having the posts farther apart too would be an advantage even with asymmetric.

 

Another thing I would recommend is to be sure and get a lift that will hold your tow vehicle because you WILL want to be able to put it up too at some point.  This means you will want at least an 8k lift but IMO 10k will make you feel even better due to the safety factor.

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25 minutes ago, 61-63 said:

get one really wide inside the posts

 

Roger that.....................Bob

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In my experience, the two post lifts are the best for maintenance, and the four post lifts are the best for storage.  I began to form this opinion when I visited several large auto dealership's service areas.  I found that typically, there would be 20 +/- two post lifts and one four post lift.

 

I have a two post lift and love it.  It is the best tool this old man has ever had!

 

Just my opinion.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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I've worked under four types of hoists and in a pit with moveable lifts, they all have their good and bad. If most of what you plan to do is lift the body off a frame or leave a front wheel cradle on the ground a two post is the thing to have. On a two post cars need to be balanced and even when you're good on the lift points cars rock when you wrench on them and pickups can down right spooky.

 

For stability and versatility I like the four post rail rack, the only two things you can't do with a four post rail are get a body off a chassis and raise a car off the engine cradle.

 

4posthoist.jpg

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For my storage needs, I have a Atlas 8000 four post lift. I had this lift now for almost 3 years, it's been great. For a additional cost I had it delivered and set up in my garage ( casters are included ) My lower back thanked me.

 

Steve

LIFT #1.jpg

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All hoist types have different ways that they shine. For working on cars though, four posters don't let the axles hang. Great for fitting exhaust, some suspension work, etc. All that ramp metal is in the way for most other work. The axles and suspension are in the way, too.

 

If you are working on cars on the hoist, and can only have one hoist, what you need is a two post hoist with the columns offset forward. Nothing else really comes close.

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Since 540K is buying a lift to store the car and clean the bottom vs. work on it like a mechanic,  he really needs a 4 post lift with the weight of the car on the wheels. 

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Agree, all have different pros and cons. I needed a non-permanent lift (portable) that would fit under a 8.5 foot ceiling and allow easy wheel/tire removal and engine/transmission/axle/gas tank work. Multiple car storage was not needed so a two cylinder scissors lift with 3 feet of open space in the middle made sense for me.  Friend has different needs and a big two post was his best solution. Agree about wide/offset enough to open at least one door. Finally are many 6,000 lb lifts. My RV being 6300 lbs, 148" wb, and 85" wide required something a little different.

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I don't do well rolling on the floor. A two poster requires crawling under for every lift.

A four poster is a drive on and go.

I use my lift daily.

For brake work I have a sliding jack that will pick up one end or the other. I can even put one end on stands and then jack up the other end.

If I need to unload the suspension the sliding jack will widen to the chassis.

Never did care for  the two posts, the old in ground one posters even less.

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I work on old cars  ......... big long 145"Chryslers/ Packards and others using a 2 post Rotary professional lift.

I'm older now and setting the arms is sometimes a real pain to get them set  just right...up and down.... up and down on the knees. I don't like it the way the cars move doing heavy rear axle /trans work sometimes.

At home I decided long runway 4 posts with rolling jacks would make it quick and easy to get the cars on the lift. The two rolling jacks made all chassis work safe and easy.

10 years later it's still so true.

I have a pit...single post and two long runway 12,000lb 4 post lifts.

This works 100% for all my personal cars.

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On 8/26/2017 at 9:42 AM, alsancle said:

Find your wallet and buy the Rotary.

 

:D I've been told I can squeeze six pennies out of a nickel, but, as you know, I'll pay up when it's important - particularly for safety.

 

So far I have compared the specs on Rotary, Bendpak, Advantage, Backyard Buddy and Direct Lift. I have some questions to ask when businesses open on Monday, but at the moment I'm leaning towards Direct Lift. Partly because there's a dealer/installer within 30 miles. The Rotary is the second choice but it just seems like overkill for a 14K# lift, which is apparently their lowest rated lift now. One thing I've noticed so far is a lack of any significant negative reports on any brand. I'm not sure I can go too far wrong given my needs.

 

Thanks for all the responses and advice! I'll keep digging. Anyone with Direct Lift experience, let me know.

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One more thing, ask how the safeties work. On some older lifts you will always see them disabled because they make an ear-shattering noise as the lift is moving. Quiet safeties that still work would make the decision on brand for me.

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On my two post 10K Dannmar lift, I just hold the lever in while raising the vehicle to keep the clunk noise down. 

 

I lost a mechanic friend when a Ranger fell off a two post lift and pinned him against his tool box, another mechanic friend had a Caravan fall off a two post lift with the metal pads because the vehicle was wet. Lift safety is always on my mind. 

 

Don't laugh at the source, but every two post lift owner needs hoist jack stands. And I'm not talking those unstable pogo stick types. Mine are from Harbor Freight (you cans top laughing now:P). Put three of these under a car and it will not move when prying, jerking, and removing heavy parts.  Keeps 1 ton extended cab trucks nice and stable. I would say use four, but after I bought the third one, everything was stable, and they do take up floor space! 

 

I do not have experience with a Dannmar four post, but I can recommend the two post 10K  (Brigadier) 10ACX model. It is from China, but did not require machining of parts like other cheap ones I have helped install!

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21 minutes ago, Frank DuVal said:

 

On my two post 10K Dannmar lift, I just hold the lever in while raising the vehicle to keep the clunk noise down. 

 

 

This is exactly what I was talking about. Frank can quiet his while using it without disabling anything. This is what you want. Hopefully other owners will chime in.

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1 hour ago, Bloo said:

 

This is exactly what I was talking about. Frank can quiet his while using it without disabling anything. This is what you want. Hopefully other owners will chime in.

 

1 hour ago, Frank DuVal said:

On my two post 10K Dannmar lift, I just hold the lever in while raising the vehicle to keep the clunk noise down. 

 

I lost a mechanic friend when a Ranger fell off a two post lift and pinned him against his tool box, another mechanic friend had a Caravan fall off a two post lift with the metal pads because the vehicle was wet. Lift safety is always on my mind. 

 

Don't laugh at the source, but every two post lift owner needs hoist jack stands. And I'm not talking those unstable pogo stick types. Mine are from Harbor Freight (you cans top laughing now:P). Put three of these under a car and it will not move when prying, jerking, and removing heavy parts.  Keeps 1 ton extended cab trucks nice and stable. I would say use four, but after I bought the third one, everything was stable, and they do take up floor space! 

 

I do not have experience with a Dannmar four post, but I can recommend the two post 10K  (Brigadier) 10ACX model. It is from China, but did not require machining of parts like other cheap ones I have helped install!

 

I noticed that noise on the video of the Direct Lift, but I figured a nice ca-chunk isn't a bad thing to know the safeties are engaged. Thanks for the lever tip. I'm still leaning towards Direct Lift, though I have moved up in size in case I ever want to put my truck on it. Maybe I shouldn't say "leaning" when talking about lifts! :P

Edited by 540K (see edit history)

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A nice cachunk wouldn't be a bad thing.  Some of them make a ringing bang-bang-bang that seems like it might split your eardrums. Although I have never disabled one myself, I can understand how a person would not be able to stand even one more bang. 20 years ago I saw many disabled in shops. Maybe this noise issue is ancient history by now. It certainly should be. I doubt you would be able to tell from a video.

 

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, JACK M said:

I don't do well rolling on the floor. A two poster requires crawling under for every lift.

A four poster is a drive on and go.

For brake work I have a sliding jack that will pick up one end or the other. I can even put one end on stands and then jack up the other end.

If I need to unload the suspension the sliding jack will widen to the chassis.

Never did care for  the two posts, the old in ground one posters even less.

     I don;t do floors well anymore either.  Just to lift the car with a two post lift. its 8 trips to the floor!  Set the lift arms at 4 corners then

    lift a few inches and check all the lift points again before going up.  Gets old fast.   I bought a 4 post and love it.

    Another big consideration for me was clearance under the lift tracks.  With 3 cars that are 68" tall, the 67" clearance of small 4 post    

     lifts

    was not enough.  I had to go to the longer size to get 70" to be able to park under it.  I like to set it at 74"so I can walk under it anywhere     without hitting my head.  If you are over 6'2", wear a helmet.

    Just drive in the barn onto the lift and raise the car, no hassel.  Plus I can gain a parking space for work area.  

c

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1 hour ago, Paul Dobbin said:

     I don;t do floors well anymore either.  Just to lift the car with a two post lift. its 8 trips to the floor!  Set the lift arms at 4 corners then

    lift a few inches and check all the lift points again before going up.  Gets old fast.   I bought a 4 post and love it.

    Another big consideration for me was clearance under the lift tracks.  With 3 cars that are 68" tall, the 67" clearance of small 4 post    

     lifts

    was not enough.  I had to go to the longer size to get 70" to be able to park under it.  I like to set it at 74"so I can walk under it anywhere     without hitting my head.  If you are over 6'2", wear a helmet.

    Just drive in the barn onto the lift and raise the car, no hassel.  Plus I can gain a parking space for work area.  Get the taller one...

c

 

I am under 6' tall and still have to duck under all three of my 4 post lifts & cannot park my tall cars under them.

Edited by Mark Shaw (see edit history)

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