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View Full Version : Garage Lifts...Opinions and advice



fastsc92
02-03-2014, 02:13 PM
Hey guys,

I'm in the market for a lift for my home garage. Lifts these days are so cheap, I figure there really isn't an excuse to not have one. I'm been working off of jackstands since I can remember, but I figure its time to get a lift for the build that I'm working on now. It's not necessary, but it will certainly make my life a little easier. I'd like to hear from you guys who might have lifts at home (not in a shop setting) and get your opinions on them.

About my garage:

Its a two stall, fully finished, fully insulated and fully heated setup that is located under my house. The bay that I would install the lift in is 24' long. The garage is used for everyday things as well, such as parking my wife's car, woodworking projects, home improvement projects, etc. Something that takes up limited space is what I'm looking for.

The killer part about this garage is that it's low clearance. From floor to finished height is exactly 8'. This limits my options and more importantly my lifting height considerably. Now one might argue that it's not worth installing a lift if you can't walk underneath it, but I'd argue against that. Sitting on a rolling stool is far easier than laying on your back, and add to the fact that I don't have (and not willing to purchase) tall transmission jacks, tall jackstands ect., a lower height will allow me to use standard jacks and jackstands if needed.

I've boiled it down to 3 different lifts, and 3 separate varieties.


Atlas 4-post lift 59672

The Atlas 4-post is a pretty standard set-up. It will install in my low ceiling garage, but I will be limited to the maximum height it can lift. When I'm not using it, a car will still be required to drive over it and park on the ramps. This is a pain for everyday use (for which I use my garage). The other downside is that it takes up a decent amount of space and will be one more thing that I'm walking around day to day. The plus is that if/when I move, I can take this lift with me and possibly use it at full height.


MaxJax 2-post lift 59674

The MaxJax is kind of unique in that it's a two post lift, but geared towards garages will low ceiling height. The smallest standard two post lift that I could find had a 9'3" post height, which wouldn't fit for me. It has a maximum lift of 45", but is fairly compact. It can be bolted down and removed from your floor and brought to another location for storage. This would be ideal for my multi-function garage. With the height of the SC and the max lifting height of this lift, it would put it just around my maximum ceiling height in the garage.


Atlas Kwik Bay Scissor Lift 59673


The scissor lift style is a compromise between the two previously mentioned lifts in that it's always going to remain on the floor, but at least I can drive over it. It's semi-portable, and has a lift height of 38". The undercarriage is mostly open, and I would have to do some maneuvering around the scissors in order to get at the trans, etc. The lift platforms also will end up covered some of the fuel tank on the SC, making dropping the tank much more difficult when using this lift.

I've more or less narrowed it down to the MaxJax set-up at this point. There are tons of reviews and install write-ups floating on the web that ensure its a good product, made by a reputable lift company. The price is right too without breaking the bank.

What is everyone opinions on this?

pro street rich
02-03-2014, 02:55 PM
When you are not useing it why could you not put it up to the top and drive under it.. that way the lift ramps are up in the air and out of the way>>>>Rich

fastsc92
02-03-2014, 03:12 PM
When you are not useing it why could you not put it up to the top and drive under it.. that way the lift ramps are up in the air and out of the way>>>>Rich

In the case of the 4-post lift...I could do that...but I still have the fixed posts to contend with.

OxmanWI
02-03-2014, 04:28 PM
Don't have a lift, but want one really bad. I really like the MaxJack at Northern Tool. It's portable and can be easily moved out of the way for a two post. But it's $2200 shipped, which isn't a bad deal. The only problem with me, I have a 8'6" ceiling in my 3.5 garage, I'd have to tray out the ceiling joists to make room at top for the full height. I also like the BenPak scissor lift which I could deal with. That guy is around $1900 shipped. I'll depends on your garage and how deep your pockets are. Check out garage journal .com, they have lots of threads on car lifts over there. Good luck! :)

fastsc92
02-03-2014, 04:44 PM
Don't have a lift, but want one really bad. I really like the MaxJack at Northern Tool. It's portable and can be easily moved out of the way for a two post. But it's $2200 shipped, which isn't a bad deal. The only problem with me, I have a 8'6" ceiling in my 3.5 garage, I'd have to tray out the ceiling joists to make room at top for the full height. I also like the BenPak scissor lift which I could deal with. That guy is around $1900 shipped. I'll depends on your garage and how deep your pockets are. Check out garage journal .com, they have lots of threads on car lifts over there. Good luck! :)

I only have an 8' ceiling too and with the SC on it...you should be able to get the max height.

An unlowered SC sits about 53" from the deck, and this lift will raise to 45" from the deck. That's just about full height.

Also, I've been able to find the MaxJax for 2k shipped from a few suppliers.

aroot1
02-03-2014, 04:52 PM
I have a two post. I think if you r gonna have ONE lift, the two post Maxjack would be the one. It can be rolled into a corner out of the way when you aren't using it, a nice feature. The four post is really nice, and on my list of tools I'd love to get ( I built my pole barn tall enough to be sure I could walk/park under). I feel the 2 post allows more "options" when working, ie you can do tire/brake work without jack trays and the ramps in the way. I know people who have the sissor lifts, and would NEVER buy one. All the mechanics are in the way under the car, so you can't really do anything UNDER the car (trans work, exhaust), and they r VERY heavy. Most of them I know of NEVER move 'cause it is 2 much of a ~~~~.

If you go 2 post be sure to get a set of tall jack stands to support the front/rear of the car when it is raised, I've heard horror stories of someone cranking on a bolt and upsetting the balance and tipping the car without :eek: You must also be careful of lifting with the hood open, it can hit the ceiling, and one of 2 bad things happen, 1 see above, or 2 it'll fold like an accordion :p I would consider setting switches to limit max lift, or even a positive stop, I could just see a drunken buddy putting a car in your living room right thru the floor :eek:

Adam

no164ford
02-03-2014, 05:30 PM
I have worked under them all, I think the 2 post is the best for working. You have option to work at all 4 corners and under side with nothing in the way. That is what I was going to install but I went with a 23' long pit instead so I could keep lower roof on the shop for heating.

Mike8675309
02-03-2014, 07:36 PM
Here is a video of a guy who has no room in his garage. He made pads in his driveway and sets it up out there when weather permits and he needs to do some work. This is for a MaxJax portable two post system.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHzIkfy3I4w

Swanny
02-03-2014, 08:54 PM
That dude has a Prius and a Viper.... kind of opposites LOL.

Kurt K
02-04-2014, 01:04 AM
I have two 4-post lifts, both made by direct-lift. My first lift was the 9000# lift because it was the only lift I could find that my trailer could fit between the posts. The 2nd lift wasn't planned, but after accumulating 3 kids worth of toys and bikes, it had to be added; and it is a 8000# version. They are mainly used for storage, but I have done plenty of work on them (including turbo-back exhaust on my 7.3 Powerstroke. Obviously, a 2-post makes it much easier to work on cars and I did run into a problem with the 4-post lift and trying to remove the 1-piece exhaust system on my SC...it couldn't be done (well, not easily).

Anyway, for the way I use the lifts, these were the perfect choice.

http://www.sccoa.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=55197&d=1356994550

fastsc92
02-04-2014, 08:23 AM
I have two 4-post lifts, both made by direct-lift. My first lift was the 9000# lift because it was the only lift I could find that my trailer could fit between the posts. The 2nd lift wasn't planned, but after accumulating 3 kids worth of toys and bikes, it had to be added; and it is a 8000# version. They are mainly used for storage, but I have done plenty of work on them (including turbo-back exhaust on my 7.3 Powerstroke. Obviously, a 2-post makes it much easier to work on cars and I did run into a problem with the 4-post lift and trying to remove the 1-piece exhaust system on my SC...it couldn't be done (well, not easily).

Anyway, for the way I use the lifts, these were the perfect choice.



What are your thoughts on the posts taking up space in your garage? Do you feel that they get in the way, or do they just become everyday items in the garage at that point?

Kurt K
02-04-2014, 09:19 AM
What are your thoughts on the posts taking up space in your garage? Do you feel that they get in the way, or do they just become everyday items in the garage at that point?

The only post I regularly notice is the right front post, just out of the view of the picture below. The left-hand lift is angled so the I can get my trailer through the rear garage door and therefore it didn't leave enough room to put the lifts side-by-side. So the door to my house hits that post and the door will not open more than about 80. The rest of the posts I don't really notice, but then again that is the back half of my double-deep garage. Looking back at my old 2-car garage and since I mainly use the lifts for storage, I'd still get a 4-post lift and just deal with the posts.

Depending on your layout, walking around the corner post of a 4-post lift may be easier than a single post of a 2-post lift that is directly between the middle of two cars. Also, keep in mind, the brand lift that I bought doesn't require the posts being bolted to the slab. They do recommend it if the lift is being used more frequently for working than storage. Mine is bolted because there is too much slope in my slab and I required 1"-1.5" of steel shims so I could level the lift.

mad1stgen
02-04-2014, 09:34 AM
I've been using the Maxjax for little over 3 years. It's absolutely awesome. Zero issues with it. I built several exhausts, headers, painted underbodies, removed and installed countless engines, transmissions, subframes, whatever you can dream. Yes, sitting under the car is very convenient. My garage is 24" deep as well, and although the ceilings are 10ft and a full size lift could be fitted, I opted for the Maxjax regardless. The portability is great, although the only thing I ever remove is the one column located in the center of the garage. I poured reinforced concrete pads, and put conduit in the floor to get rid of hydraulic lines in the way but if your concrete is thick enough, and not close to joints, then drill and go ! ;) I strongly suggest using epoxy anchors though. Any questions ... just ask !

59679 59680 59681

fastsc92
02-04-2014, 09:38 AM
...Depending on your layout, walking around the corner post of a 4-post lift may be easier than a single post of a 2-post lift that is directly between the middle of two cars. Also, keep in mind, the brand lift that I bought doesn't require the posts being bolted to the slab. They do recommend it if the lift is being used more frequently for working than storage. Mine is bolted because there is too much slope in my slab and I required 1"-1.5" of steel shims so I could level the lift.

Great input Kurt.

I should have mentioned that there is at least 6 feet between the two side-by-side bays, so the post of the 2-post lift would only interfere with the common walkway path. I may reevaluate getting a 4-post lift. Its kind of overkill right now because I would never be able to use it for storage, but it would allow me to plan for the future if I ever move to a higher bay. I'll have to lay out the measurements on the floor and see how it looks.

mad1stgen
02-04-2014, 09:42 AM
If you're gonna do any serious work, 2 post is a winner. Few more of the actual use ;)

596825968359684

Kurt K
02-04-2014, 10:01 AM
If you're gonna do any serious work, 2 post is a winner. Few more of the actual use ;)

Completely agree.

1994blkbirdsc
02-06-2014, 11:02 AM
I have two 4-post lifts, both made by direct-lift. My first lift was the 9000# lift because it was the only lift I could find that my trailer could fit between the posts. The 2nd lift wasn't planned, but after accumulating 3 kids worth of toys and bikes, it had to be added; and it is a 8000# version. They are mainly used for storage, but I have done plenty of work on them (including turbo-back exhaust on my 7.3 Powerstroke. Obviously, a 2-post makes it much easier to work on cars and I did run into a problem with the 4-post lift and trying to remove the 1-piece exhaust system on my SC...it couldn't be done (well, not easily).

Anyway, for the way I use the lifts, these were the perfect choice.

http://www.sccoa.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=55197&d=1356994550

:eek::eek: Kurt very nice garage you have there Sir !!!!

driller
02-06-2014, 09:51 PM
I have the four post Direct Lift from DLF's garage.

59706

59707

59708

I didn't really plan on using it for storage, but the '96 sits beneath the '93 right now since #1 son has half the garage for temporary storage. It's not bolted down but my floor is near perfect level.

It takes a different approach to do some work but it is heads and tails above creepers and jackstands. ;)

99GSXR750
02-06-2014, 10:13 PM
I have the four post Direct Lift from DLF's garage.

I didn't really plan on using it for storage, but the '96 sits beneath the '93 right now since #1 son has half the garage for temporary storage. It's not bolted down but my floor is near perfect level.

It takes a different approach to do some work but it is heads and tails above creepers and jackstands. ;)

What is the height of the garage ceiling?

Kurt K
02-06-2014, 10:17 PM
I have the four post Direct Lift from DLF's garage.

I didn't really plan on using it for storage, but the '96 sits beneath the '93 right now since #1 son has half the garage for temporary storage. It's not bolted down but my floor is near perfect level.

It takes a different approach to do some work but it is heads and tails above creepers and jackstands. ;)

Two rolling jacks!:eek: I've just got the one, but I have used the jack tray with bottle jack for times when I need to lift both ends. I think DLF actually recommended Direct Lift to me.

Plat0ribs
02-07-2014, 12:09 PM
I didn't really plan on using it for storage, but the '96 sits beneath the '93 right now since #1 son has half the garage for temporary storage. It's not bolted down but my floor is near perfect level.

It takes a different approach to do some work but it is heads and tails above creepers and jackstands. ;)

Sure wish I had thought to lay down a perimeter of cinderblocks to elevate my 8' ceiling to 9 or 10', would have made everything soooo much easier.

Nice looking garage driller!

driller
02-07-2014, 08:41 PM
Thanks, the ceiling height is just short of 11' - room enough for full extension of the lift with the car lifted off the ramps with both rolling jacks. I specifically requested the additional height knowing there would someday be a lift in there. :)

My biggest challenge to date was dropping the exhaust and gas tank out from under the car while it was on the lift. The rolling jacks obviously were very helpful. With the exhaust, I used the jacks as temporary supports, lowered the exhaust onto a section of pipe spanning the runways, then lowered the lift and used the pipe and furniture dollies to roll the exhaust out the rear of the lift. The rolling jacks were a godsend lowering/raising the gas tank. I placed jackstands on the jack tray under the front and then raised the rear with one rolling jack while the other was free to use on the gas tank. That gave me enough room to slide the tank out the side once the lift was on the floor.

You have to think outside of the box and plan two steps ahead, but there are very few jobs you cannot accomplish with the four-post lift versus a two-post lift. Being able to park two cars in one space is a huge bonus, even if you have a two car garage. ;)

fastsc92
02-12-2014, 01:56 PM
I ended up purchasing the 2-post MaxJax. It fit the bill in terms of storage and accessibility in my multi-function garage. I also think it will provide the best access with the plans I have for my current build and my fleet of vehicles. I was able to get it new for cheaper than what was listed by online vendors by doing a little haggling. :) Free shipping to my business made it an all around decent deal.

I'll post some pictures when it comes in and once it's installed.

OxmanWI
02-21-2014, 09:28 AM
Nice what did you get it for? Let me know what you think of it when you get it and use it.

fastsc92
02-21-2014, 04:43 PM
Nice what did you get it for? Let me know what you think of it when you get it and use it.

$2k delivered. About $500 more than a floor plate two post lift, but you pay more for the "portable" aspect. It just arrived on a 900lb pallet a few minutes ago. I'll have to break it down and install it soon. I'll take pictures and document it once I start the install.

OxmanWI
02-22-2014, 10:20 PM
$2k delivered. About $500 more than a floor plate two post lift, but you pay more for the "portable" aspect. It just arrived on a 900lb pallet a few minutes ago. I'll have to break it down and install it soon. I'll take pictures and document it once I start the install.

Nice, can't wait to have mine some day, super jelly.

Here is a guy on that garage forum who just installed his with pictures. A good tip that I read on another thread about these lifts is to bleed the air out, make sure you raise the lift until its at its highest point then open the bleeder on top and bleed the air out of both sides. repeat this until no air comes out on either side and it should level itself out. Can't find that thread right now, but I'll post it here when I find it.

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=237093

SHEPP
04-10-2014, 07:39 PM
What column spacing (distance) are you guys with MaxJax users using for the tbirds.

Any SC + MaxJax pics out there?