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4 post lift


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Guest 70 Electra

I have the Auto Lifters M6, which I think is still being made. Auto Lifters was in Newton KS (800-759-0703) when I got mine about 8 years ago.<P>These lifts are great, but the installation and use are not trouble-free. They are not as convenient and easy to use as the vendors will tell you. Having said that, I wouldn't be without one. It's the only reason I'm able to store my cars at home in a two car garage! <P>Here's some comments, based on my experiences.<P><BR>Many of these units are similar, but not identical. For instance, the posts on mine are 4-sided (closed construction), whereas I have seen many units with 3-sided posts ("C" section). This does not have the sectional strength of a closed post.<P>Make sure you get a lift that allows the power unit be mounted where it is convenient for your application. Either the pump is fixed (allows permanent wiring), with LONG hoses to reach the raised position, or the pump is mounted to the upper platform, which allows SHORT hydraulic hose, but a LONG extension cord. By the way, just because it operates on 110v current, don't assume a "standard" 15-amp circuit will be adequate--especially with a 20 foot extension cord!<P>Make sure you get one with positive locks on ALL FOUR posts. Make sure they are spring loaded, so if the cable breaks or the hydraulics suddenly leak, the car will automatically be stopped.<P>Check out how many intermediate locking positions are on the lift. More is better, since it allows more flexiblity for interim height positions, and allows you to raise the top car only as high as necessary to clear the bottom car (important if you have low ceiling clearance!!)<P>Don't count on the lift being a great help for working on cars. Because of the width of the side ramps (to accomodate a wide variety of car widths) the "open" space in the middle is fairly narrow. Works good only for servicing the center of the car, like oil change, trans service, U-joint. Depending on your car, it's not very helpful for exhaust replacement. Remember this is a storage lift, not a service hoist.<P>Make sure you have adequate ceiling space. If not, you may be able to rework just a few trusses in your garage attic to provide clearance for the roof area of the top car.<P>If you're using this in an attached garage, don't forget the garage door problems! Even if you have adequate ceiling clearance, check out your garage door. A standard door is only 7ft high, and the track is level with this. As your door opens, it is likely it will roll back into the grille of the car in the upper position!! Simply raising the garage door track is not the solution, since a conventional door opener needs to PULL the door (horizontally) and cannot LIFT it (vertically), as it would need to if you raised your garage door track. (There are solutions, and I'd be happy to discuss them in further detail if this is one of your installation concerns.)<P>If you're using the unit in a relatively small garage (like an attached 2-car), be aware that the width of the lift is substantial. (In order to accomodate most cars ON the lift platform, the posts are very much outboard.) This can cause problems with the car on the other side of the garage--especially if it is your spouse's daily ride. Mirrors can hit the posts, and the side doors may not have enough clearance.<P>And while the width of the posts seems wide, it is a pretty tight fit when driving a car onto, or under, the lift. <P>The car that is parked under the raised platform suffers from severely reduced access. You can't jack it up, and the hood/trunk may have limited access (watch for denting them!) Also, walking around the car on the ground can be tough---the posts can take up most of the space between the car and the wall, unless you have a very wide garage. <P>Lastly, a safety message. Don't let anyone else use it, especially kids! There are ways to pinch and/or crush yourself. If one of the post locks "hangs up", the car can start to get tilted and crooked (WHOA!). Treat this thing with the respect that is due a 5000lb car located 8ft in the air with a 1500 apparatus controlling it!<P>If you want to talk more about it, email me directly, and I'll give you my phone number. Good luck!

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If you are looking for a used lift try and get a chain driven lift as opposed to a cable lift. My buddy at the muffler shop won't buy a cable lift. ( a few insurance claims) Of couse he would use the lift more than the hobbyist.<P>Just a thought.<P>Peter de Jong

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Guest 70 Electra

John, <BR>Got your direct email, and have responded with my daytime phone number. Look forward to discussing lifts with you! smile.gif" border="0 <P>Greg

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What great info! I was considering a lift and even with a 9 foot garage ceiling would have to do some rafter modifications. I had not considered the problems with the garage door, nor had I really thought about how wide the lift must be. Now I can be a lot more informed about all the ramifications of trying to stack two cars in a relatively small space. Thanks!<P>Dguff

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Has anyone out there built a pit in their garage that they can drive a car over and work on it from underneath. What do you think it would cost to build a concrete lined pit 5-6 feet deep with access stairs or a ladder? I figure you would need a detached garage to make it work. Once it was installed it wouldn't need any maintenance.

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Tomsriv ~ Check your local zoning and building codes. Pits are illegal in many jurisdictions and for good reason. Gasoline drips in them and the fumes are contained. Then a spark, then BOOM, then FIRE! Virtually any pits in home garages were put there on the sly or are grandfathered.<P>I believe 70 Electra has said it all. I have had a Stinger lift in my garage for 3 years and it is great, but it has all of the limitations outlined by Electra. Stinger does not use a square post, but rather a formed section for the post which by virtue of its multiple sides has great strength. It offers all of the requirements for a good lift outlined by Electra. However, mine is in a 40x60 building and placed so that you can walk all around it. The height under the roof trusses is 10 1/2 feet and I am about to have my builder alter the trusses to get more lift. It's OK for tourings, roadsters and converts because you can lower the tops, but is very limiting on sedans.<P>I have used mine only for working under cars, but have never used it for double storage. Haven't needed to due to size of the building. Some of us have reached the stage where we can get under a car but can't get up after crawling out. wink.gif" border="0 ~ hvs

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I too have the Stinger Hoist. Have had it for 5 years and could lag bolt my creeper to the wall with a note painted on it "never again". Similar to taking a snow shovel when moving to southern AZ grin.gif" border="0 <P>As HVS said, the support columns are not square, "T" shaped. The cross members slide withing them and have teflon pads, no grease required. Decks are diamond plate and all pieces are powder coated. Yes, I have waxed the posts and wipe down the deck on occasion to keep it looking like new! <P>Use mine for 2nd vehicle (in that bay) as well as anything requiring getting under the vehicle. <P>There are a lot of tools I would throw out first before giving up the Stinger..<P>Chuck cool.gif" border="0

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Regarding a pit. I have a 1909 book called "Automobild Driving Self Taught" it has an article in it and suggests that the pit should be 3'6" wide, 4" deep and 6" or more long. Over the 43 years that I have driven I have had three pits. As I am 6'2" the one that I built myself I made 4'6' deep. If you want to work on anything you don't want it much deeper. Make sure there is an edge so that you can not drive your car into the pit. Make sure that you have a very large fan such as a squirrl cage type out of a furnace hooked up so that it runs at all times when the lights are on and ducted into the bottom of the pit. More danger than spilt gas is Carbon Monoxide. The only other problem of course is to get zoneing permission. I always liked a pit and would still like one if I was somewhere that I could have one. <BR>Reid

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