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DrBoost
DrBoost PowerDork
1/20/13 10:33 p.m.

I've got some money (or monies if you read it on a kid's field trip permission slip, but I digress...) burning a whole in my pocket. I've always wanted a hoist in my garage, and I think now is the time. The issue is, I have regular-height ceilings in there. I want a twin-post that'll lift the car all the way up, but I lack the height, and it'll turn my two car garage into a large one-stall workshop. My wife is, for the first time in 16 years, parking in the garage and I'd like to let that continue.
So, anybody have a sizzor lift? Is it a PITA to drive over it every day? Anybody got a flush-mount sizzor lift? Is it even possible to get a cherry-picker under there with a sizzor lift?
I do want the center area to be clear so I could work on the d-shaft, or run brake-fuel lines and such so I was thinking about something like this http://www.hofmann-usa.com/aul-9k-variolift.asp
Not an alignment lift, since I need to do suspension work.
And if you don't mind me asking, how much did you pay and did that include installation?

N Sperlo
N Sperlo UltimaDork
1/20/13 11:35 p.m.

All I have to add: If it was my only option, I would have no problem driving over it every day even if it was a minor PITA.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/21/13 5:31 a.m.

I'm missing why a 2 post won't work.

Same height issues (which can probably be fixed, much easier than busting up concrete to install a flush scissor). In fact, might be worse with a scissor (more stuff in the way, you might have to lift it higher to work around).

Unless you are currently parking 2 cars nearly touching each other, shouldn't affect the width. The post should fit between the cars, although the arms are kind of an obstacle to step over when they are in the down position with no car. You have to position the 2 cars just right (forward and back) to open the doors.

No, I don't think you can fit a cherry picker under a car when it is on a scissor lift. You can with a 2 post. I do it all the time.

If your garage is a standard width 2 car garage, you may not have the space for any scissor lift. It's not the width of the unit, it's having enough walk-around space to work while a car is in the air (including not running into the wife's car).

I paid $700 for my Western 2 post (commercial unit). Bought it used when the local trade school upgraded. I've had it for 10 years- never had a single issue. Installed it myself.

How about a scissor on wheels? Do you have a slab outside that would work?

How about raising the ceiling in the garage?

DrBoost
DrBoost PowerDork
1/21/13 5:56 a.m.

As usual Paul, you're makin' me thunk.

SVreX wrote: I'm missing why a 2 post won't work. Same height issues (which can probably be fixed, much easier than busting up concrete to install a flush scissor). In fact, might be worse with a scissor (more stuff in the way, you might have to lift it higher to work around).

Yeah, busting up the concrete will add expense and a PITA factor for sure.

SVreX wrote: Unless you are currently parking 2 cars nearly touching each other, shouldn't affect the width. The post should fit between the cars, although the arms are kind of an obstacle to step over when they are in the down position with no car. You have to position the 2 cars just right (forward and back) to open the doors. No, I don't think you can fit a cherry picker under a car when it is on a scissor lift. You can with a 2 post. I do it all the time.

I don't think a hoist can fit between the two cars, unless each car is up against the walls. A twin-post is wider than a truck, so that'd mean my garage would have to be three-wide, right? And I know you can't get a cherry picker under a car when it's on the chassis lift, unless it's flush mounted. Where ever the hoist is, that'll be where my wife parks every day, as well as the only place I can work on cars, so I really gotta put some thought into this to make it really work.

SVreX wrote: If your garage is a standard width 2 car garage, you may not have the space for any scissor lift. It's not the width of the unit, it's having enough walk-around space to work while a car is in the air (including not running into the wife's car).

I hadn't thought about the walk-around area. Hmmm, that's a good point.

SVreX wrote: I paid $700 for my Western 2 post (commercial unit). Bought it used when the local trade school upgraded. I've had it for 10 years- never had a single issue. Installed it myself.

Score! That's a heckuva deal!

SVreX wrote: How about a scissor on wheels? Do you have a slab outside that would work? How about raising the ceiling in the garage?

Technically speaking I'm not supposed to work on my car outside of my garage unless all the work being done is on the interior of the car, and the doors are closed. So a slab is out of the question. I would like to know if it's possible, and how, to raise the ceiling of the garage. If I could get 12-24" more, that'd be great.

Ok, now that I'm answering your questions, I am thinking about changing things up in the garage that could allow room for a two post. If I give up a bench along the rear wall (benches just invite clutter, I already have enough) I can move my drill press, bench grinder, welder, etc. to the back wall. That'll give me a few more feet of width.......
Now I really want to know about raising the ceiling.

cutter67
cutter67 Reader
1/21/13 6:12 a.m.

i have a portable two post system. one post i leave anchored to the floor at all times the one thats in the center of garage i have drop-in anchors so when not in use i move it to the outside wall. the post are on wheels same as the power supply and works on 110volts. i bought it from Summit for $1900.00 on sale.

logdog
logdog HalfDork
1/21/13 6:14 a.m.

Raising a ceiling or reenginnering trusses are big giant PITAs. At leat they were when I looked into it. Since you live in the big city and have to deal with inspectors and permits more than I do I bet it would be worse. Why not put on the side your wife doesn't park in and get those dollys for your mini so its easy to roll out of the way when you need the lift?

Raze
Raze SuperDork
1/21/13 6:21 a.m.

At first I thought you were talking about an engine hoist, now I realize you're talking about a car lift, some of the guys on the GarageJournal boards use the MaxJax...

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/21/13 6:35 a.m.
logdog wrote: Raising a ceiling or reenginnering trusses are big giant PITAs.

No it's not. It's a pretty straight forward construction project.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/21/13 6:37 a.m.

Your wife is gonna hate parking on a lift.

If it is a 2 post, she'll always be banging the doors into the posts.

If it is a scissor, she'll be falling off the platform as she gets out of the car, or tripping while trying to unload groceries.

Better re-think this idea.

DrBoost
DrBoost PowerDork
1/21/13 6:37 a.m.
SVreX wrote:
logdog wrote: Raising a ceiling or reenginnering trusses are big giant PITAs.
No it's not. It's a pretty straight forward construction project.

Then learn me oh great one. I figure I can put in on the side my wife won't be using, like logdog said, but raising the ceiling would be GREAT!

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/21/13 6:38 a.m.
cutter67 wrote: i have a portable two post system. one post i leave anchored to the floor at all times the one thats in the center of garage i have drop-in anchors so when not in use i move it to the outside wall. the post are on wheels same as the power supply and works on 110volts. i bought it from Summit for $1900.00 on sale.

I have never heard of a portable 2 post lift.

Sounds scary.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/21/13 6:41 a.m.

In reply to DrBoost:

OK, we can discuss later. I've got to get to work.

Do you have engineered trusses or stick built? How old is the garage? Rural or city (describe the neighborhood)?

If you look in your attic, are the rafters (trusses) held together with stamped metal plates at each joint?

How big is the area? Is it a standard 2-car garage?

DrBoost
DrBoost PowerDork
1/21/13 6:51 a.m.

Portable two posts are like typical base plate lifts, but the posts have casters that allow you to lean it back and wheel it away. While in place, they bolt to the floor.
Stick built, about 1952.
We live "in town". It's not a small town, but not a big city. I life in a subdivision, with a house every 80 feet or so? Standard 1950's suburbia. No metal holding rafters together. I don't have the measurements, but I think it's standard 2.5 garage width, and a bit deeper than standard, but not sure on that last bit.

cutter67
cutter67 Reader
1/21/13 6:56 a.m.
SVreX wrote:
cutter67 wrote: i have a portable two post system. one post i leave anchored to the floor at all times the one thats in the center of garage i have drop-in anchors so when not in use i move it to the outside wall. the post are on wheels same as the power supply and works on 110volts. i bought it from Summit for $1900.00 on sale.
I have never heard of a portable 2 post lift. Sounds scary.

here is a link to to it....i love it

http://www.summitracing.com/parts/dmr-1375659

dculberson
dculberson SuperDork
1/21/13 7:01 a.m.

Well, they call it portable but it's bolt-in. The main difference between it and a regular 2-post is that there's no overhead bar. It's just two separate posts. The lift height is only around four feet, but most garages don't have the ceiling height to lift higher than that. If you do, you could fit a full height lift with overhead in.

http://www.maxjaxusa.com/

Around $2000. I will probably end up buying one of these soon.

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
1/21/13 7:30 a.m.

I have a BendPak scissor lift. This one:

http://www.asedeals.com/mid_rise_lift.html

(wow... price has gone up quite a bit since I bought mine... )

It's great for changing oil, brake and suspension work as well as FWD drivetrain work. A bit of a pain for center access, although not as bad as I had expected it to be. You can do exhaust and driveline work short of dropping a transmission, but it's obviously not as easy as a 2-post.

The lift is 5" tall and about 44" wide. Whether or not your wife will be able to part over it easily will depend on her car and how accurate of a parker she is. All of my cars are low, so I have a stacked pair of 2x12's and drive up onto those to clear the lift. My GT6 is parked over it right now. In the next year or so, I hope to raise the entire floor of my garage and effectively "recess" the lift as well as getting me off the cold concrete when working. You can recess the lift into the floor, but it requires chopping up the floor and repouring concrete. Your HOA may frown on a concrete truck showing up at your house... When I calculated how much concrete I'd need, it was more than I'd comfortably be able to mix by hand, although I suppose renting a mixer might work... I'm just not sure I could get anough batches mixed and poured fast enough so it would all set as one.

We decided against a 2-post for a few reasons, but mainly because the posts would be a royal PITA for the 99% of the time the garage is used for parking. Plus, we often put cars on dollies and roll them around in the garage to fit more in (had up to 4 cars in her garage). In my own garage, a 2-post won't work because I have a 1-bay garage and the posts would be against the walls and make getting between the car and the lift annoying at best and impossible if the lift is in use, nevermind I don't have the ceiling height to lift the car above 4' anyway.

I will say that had MaxJax been available when I bought my lift, I probably would have gone that route. They would have worked perfectly in my g/f's garage (2+ cars wide), although the width restrictions would still be an issue in mine. If I can build my back yard shop, I'll likely get a set of MaxJax for there. I still don't want a permanent 2-post for the space reasons. I don't see me using it frequently enough to justify how much space it would occupy.

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 HalfDork
1/21/13 7:50 a.m.

weve been using a backyard buddy 4 post for YEARS as a slightly commercial lift. no troubles, and its easy to park on.

i do plenty of suspension work on it as well. just have to put the car on stands on the loift. you get used to it pretty quick,in all honesty. occasionally the lift gets in the way, but not often enough for me to wish to have a 2 post. bonus is if you have a short car, you can park one underneath as well, making it a 3 car garage at that point. i can park my neon under th elift with the lift only 3/4 of the way up.

also, you can get the backyard buddy with a caster system that makes it portable-ish. ive wheeld it outside a few times to pressure wash the under side of something. also to make room in the shop for doing things.

lastly, when buying a lift, consider the power source. mines 110. most 2 post if seen are 220.

Raze
Raze SuperDork
1/21/13 8:04 a.m.

if you do get a 2 post you should get your concrete checked, I contemplated it at one point, but after having my anchor installed (for dragging cars up my driveway) I found my slab to be on the thin side 3.5-4.5" thick with several voids...

fanfoy
fanfoy Reader
1/21/13 8:38 a.m.
Raze wrote: if you do get a 2 post you should get your concrete checked, I contemplated it at one point, but after having my anchor installed (for dragging cars up my driveway) I found my slab to be on the thin side 3.5-4.5" thick with several voids...

Quoted for truth. A lot of 2 posts ask for a minimum thickness of 6" for the slab (the Max Jax is one of them), with 3000lb grade concrete. Most residential garage slab are somewhere between 3"-4" and the concrete is of the "whatever we had at the time" quality.

purplepeopleeater
purplepeopleeater Reader
1/21/13 10:17 a.m.

Whatever you get make surer it's ALI & EDU certified. there's a lot of crap sold on the net that's chinese, cheap & (s)cary.

cutter67
cutter67 Reader
1/21/13 10:34 a.m.

i installed one in a friends garage with a 4" slab all we did was cut two 2' x 2' squares out dug down 3'. drilled holes into existing slab and placed some rebar and filled the holes up with concrete. that was 5 years ago and never had a problem took us one saturday. i have mine in a 5" slab and i used Hilti epoxy anchors no problem

logdog
logdog HalfDork
1/21/13 11:30 a.m.

Here ya go!

http://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/tls/3555958581.html

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/21/13 12:00 p.m.
fanfoy wrote:
Raze wrote: if you do get a 2 post you should get your concrete checked, I contemplated it at one point, but after having my anchor installed (for dragging cars up my driveway) I found my slab to be on the thin side 3.5-4.5" thick with several voids...
Quoted for truth. A lot of 2 posts ask for a minimum thickness of 6" for the slab (the Max Jax is one of them), with 3000lb grade concrete. Most residential garage slab are somewhere between 3"-4" and the concrete is of the "whatever we had at the time" quality.

That is true.

However, lifts don't require the ENTIRE slab be 6". They require the area the posts attach to be so. It's not hard to cut out 24" x 24" areas and pour thicker concrete where the posts bear.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/21/13 12:02 p.m.

FWIW, my 2 post is a full height lift, with no overhead bar.

There is a plate on the floor that covers the cables, but nothing overhead.

It is attached to a 4" slab in good condition.

I have put a Suburban on it without flex or concern.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/21/13 12:26 p.m.

OK, so I said I would give a little more info about raising the ceiling...

This is what you are trying to accomplish:

At the framing stage, it will look a little more like this:

Except, that one is built with trusses from scratch (yours is stick built).

This one is stick built:

OK, so the perimeter soffits are built DOWN from the ceiling, you will actually be doing the opposite (leaving an existing perimeter soffit, and cutting out the middle).

The method on a house of the vintage of yours is basically, cut hole through sheetrock ceiling, preferably leaving SOME of the existing ceiling framing on ALL 4 sides of the hole. The existing ceiling joists tie the front wall of the building to the rear, so you don't want to cut them all. You CAN, however, cut trough 8' worth of them without harm.

Then you will relocate any wiring, piping, ductwork, etc. that is in the way.

Before cutting the ceiling joists, you will then add collar ties above the existing ceiling framing at the height of the new ceiling (so you have 2 ceilings, one above the other). The difference between a ceiling joist and a collar tie is that a ceiling joist sits ON the walls. A collar tie is nailed to the sides of the rafters ABOVE the walls, and does not span the full distance from the front wall to the rear wall.

After the collar ties (new ceiling framing) are added, the roof will be stable, and the old ceiling framing can be cut out. Brace the part that will remain, then cut out what you don't want leaving a soffit front and rear (maybe 2' or so). This is important because the rafter tails are secured to the old ceiling joists. If you leave short pieces of these in place, you will not compromise the roof.

Box in the cut ceiling joists with a 2x header, creating the face of the soffit.

Sheetrock.

2 people with a reasonable amount of sense can probably do this in a weekend.

Did that make sense?

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