Garage lifts, 2 or 4 post?

Technical advice Q&A
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rfs1957
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#21

Post by rfs1957 » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:06 am

I gave a great deal of thought to 2 or 4 when I designed a whole house (yes) around the E-Type and the workshop, plumped for a new 2-post 380v Italian Werther 301AD, and I have now worked on/with it for over 5 years. I think it cost about 1.800? plus TVA, which seemed ridiculously cheap. It?s really well made and I would buy another one tomorrow without hesitation.

http://www.wertherint.com/wp-content/up ... 2lifts.pdf

It?s fitted in purpose-built foundations set below the surface, so you don?t trip over the chain-drive ; this kind of detail makes a lot of difference in use.

I enjoy remembering the bloody effort it all took every time I don't trip up over anything .............

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The weedy studs are just to hold the woodern pattern at the right height, note the laser levelling and the angle on the pattern sides to help removal ........ did I really go to those lengths ?! And was I relieved that Werther hadn't changed the design between me relying on their plans for the foundations and taking delivery of the lift 6 months later ?

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I?ve worked with both 2 and 4 in the past and really don?t like the hassle of ducking under the ramps of a 4-post for all side-accessing, when the very reason I want a lift is for comfort and access. I?m tall and my head is already spattered with dints.

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I find the floor-space occupied by the extra legs quite a constraint when there are other cars/motorcycles/push-bikes to move around, unless you really have acres of space.

In practice, since installation, I have never used the lift in a configuration where the 4-post would have been an advantage. Funnily enough, 2-post lifts are designed to lift cars and the arms are capable of reaching suitable points on everything I?ve ever lifted ; the local Intermarch? uses six of these same Werther lifts, and they appear to have come to the same conclusion. The grovelling is a drag, but it probably takes me 20 seconds per side.

As regards imbalance horror-stories, stupid people will always manage to hurt themselves with tools and lifts are no different. I wouldn?t use one if I didn?t have a decent floor to screw it into, but no lift relies on the floor for inter-post rigidity, and the side-beams give an inherent stability which takes most of the work off the 150mm-long M16 chemically-sealed studs that are in my reinforced concrete.

Apart from undoing wheels (just lower the 2-post until they touch the floor) I really can?t see where the 4-post wins ? Jacking platform ? Buy a ?cric-de-fosse? (translation anyone ?) for 120?, probably be even cheaper in the UK

http://www.leboncoin.fr/sports_hobbies/ ... tm?ca=13_s

and you can probably make any easy adaptation that will carry your IRS and let you roll it across the workshop once it?s dropped ? try doing that with a jacking beam. Fast removal of the front wheels gives brilliant under-bonnet access ? how do you do that easily on a 4-post?

The height is adequate to get the Mini-van in and out - the bazooka is disguised here as a rotisserie but it?s actually ready for the Civil War that is brewing.


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My OTS has lived up in the air for 98% of the last 5 years and stories of bent/twisted bodies (heard elsewhere) don't stack up - my shutlines are unchanged, nothing has buckled ; I just have 4 T-marks ground into the floor with a disc (and filled with paint, please) that I have to get aligned correctly when I drive in, I centre the back arms on the rubber-bush floor-mountings for the IRS links, and the front arms on hardwood blocks that sit immediately under the front diaphragm.

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I have a friend (50+ years motor trade) who does the same thing with his OTS and is completely comfortable with it. He actually has a pair of ramps that he fits to the arms of the 2-post when he's just using it as a car-parking device, so it becomes a 2-post that thinks it's a 4-post.

Sure, the rear IRS rubbers are under tension with a 2, but then they are every time we work on the IRS and how many people genuinely take precautions in that context ? No doubt the health-and-safety brigade will now have a field day on this one.

The fact that you can move the arms around makes it great for other lifting tasks, and restoration of our 18th Century convent gates was greatly facilitated when I just had the posts in.

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In short, I believe it is easier to work around the occasional short-comings of a 2-post than the constant short-comings of a 4-post, and there?s probably a reason why the motor-trade buys five times as many of the former than the latter.
Rory
3.8 OTS Cream 877393 Built May 28th 1962
1978 Mini Van
(plus bevel and belt single-cylinder Ducatis)

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Tony
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#22

Post by Tony » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:27 am

Two post or four post, they are better than crawling under a car at my age. I have not had to use my 4 post for any major jobs so far and I am happy to keep it that way. One advantage I can see over a two post lift is that I could strap two sets of gates to it, if I had two set of gates. If I think of any other advantages, I will let you know.
Tony (E typed)

Tony

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PeterCrespin
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#23

Post by PeterCrespin » Wed Dec 04, 2013 3:09 am

Heuer wrote:What a bunch of wimps! This is the way to create the ultimate lift for your E-Type - several height positions, movable and safe:
One for Rory - a magnesium crankcase single cylinder, with megaphone exhaust, magnesium wheels and chrome-moly tubular frame barely clad in a few bits if paper-thin fibreglass or alloy.

A Manx Norton with two extra wheels = a Cooper. Most of them were JAP engined but that one looks like a big cambox, high pipe Manx Norton.

Mid-engined, a few hundred kilos - niiice :-)
1E75339 UberLynx D-Type; 1R27190 70 FHC; 1E78478; 97 XJ6L

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christopher storey
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#24

Post by christopher storey » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:51 pm

rfs1957 wrote: As regards imbalance horror-stories, stupid people will always manage to hurt themselves with tools and lifts are no different. I wouldn?t use one if I didn?t have a decent floor to screw it into, but no lift relies on the floor for inter-post rigidity, and the side-beams give an inherent stability which takes most of the work off the 150mm-long M16 chemically-sealed studs that are in my reinforced concrete.
A touch of arrogance don't you think ? . I must be one of those stupid people . The imbalance problem with an E is nothing to do with the lift, but is to do with the rather strange CG position of a bare shell, which is far more to the rear than one would expect ( particularly with a FHC). Thus if you do major work on an E with a 2 post lift ( and I suspect you have not done this ) you may get a very nasty surprise when you remove one or other of the major components, particularly the engine and gearbox

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kingzetts
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#25

Post by kingzetts » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:59 pm

Christopher,
I have done major work on an e-type up to and including having both engine and IRS out both individually and at the same time, using a pair of wheeled high-lift axle stand dollys which supported the car over a metre in the air and lifted the tub at exactly the same points I now use with my 2-post lift. You are right to say that the shell is unstable in certain situations, however this is not a reason to decry a 2-post lift as exactly the same issues are faced by anyone supporting the entire tub off the floor whatever tools they are using.

Rory's point (which he perhaps could have made more diplomatically) is that it is the workman, not the tool, who deserves the blame if an injury occurs. It may be that as items like 2-post lifts come within reach of enthusiasts then the number of unskilled workmen using that tool is increasing but that's not the fault of the tool.

Air compressors, electric power tools, welding gear, chainsaws (which I don't often use on cars, by the way), ladders, and 4-post lifts as well, can all injure or kill the untrained or unwary.

For me, I believe I am sufficiently competent and wary to use a 2-post lift safely (hopefully time will not prove me wrong). I would not willingly give mine up to go back to axle stands and jacks, and I could not house a 4-post in my garage due to space constraints even if I wanted one in preference to a 2-post which I do not (although having one as well would be nice, Santa).

I'll stick to my view that a 2-post, properly installed and properly used, is more useful for actually working on cars than a 4-post, while a 4-post is better for stack parking and also for some jobs best done with the car on its wheels. Others views obviously differ and each to their own, but lets please agree that neither type of lift is inherently unsafe nor unsuitable.
John '62 S1 OTS

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ALAN COCHRANE
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#26

Post by ALAN COCHRANE » Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:02 pm

I agree with Kingzetts. It's a case of horses for courses. I chose a four post lift for a number of reasons.
1. I had no experience of 2 or 4 post lifts and so concluded that a 4-post would be safer for someone like myself. The change in CG of any car is hard to calculate when you remove major items from it. I think on balance(no pun intended) the 4-post lift is safer to use for the average enthusiast
2. I required the lift for stacking purposes and the 4-post lift seemed the better choice especially with the under-slung oil resistant tarpaulin that came with it.
3. No grovelling under the car to find the right mounting points-I'm also tired of being under a car being supported by axle stands and have become a bit claustrophic as a result.
I also have a pit which I built to a depth where you could sit in a swivel seat comfortably and work. I still use it depending on what car is where in the garage.
I agree certain "wheels off" jobs are more problematic with a 4-post lift, but I have a cunning plan involving two L shaped galvanised steel channels I purloined from work many moons ago. These were originally steel channels on 11,000V electricity poles and so are exceptionally robust (and heavy). If I bolt them together into one U shaped section and lay them across the lift runners, they may allow axle stands to be fitted. I haven't tried this yet but it may remove this disadvantage. I intend trying this on my TR250 project, so I'll let you know how I get on.

Alan
1962 S1 OTS-850389,1968 Triumph TR250, 1971 Triumph GT6 Mk3, 2008 Porsche Boxster RS60 Spyder

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garagestorageworld
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#27 flooring garage

Post by garagestorageworld » Fri Jul 25, 2014 9:40 am

Thanks for sharing



flooring garage

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rfs1957
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#28

Post by rfs1957 » Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:32 am

FWIIW I can confirm that the 2-post can cope with the following configurations with no out-of-balance issues whatsoever :

- bonnet off, engine out, diff in

- bonnet off, engine in, diff out

I lift up on the rear-radius arm locations at the back, and below the front foot-well diaphragms at the front, both of which would tend to make imbalance conditions worse than genuine front and back chassis-rail end positions for the arms.

I can only assume that people who suggest otherwise have never tried it.

Furthermore, 2-post lift arms have strength in both directions - up and down. So if you're not sure about balance, in any particular configuration, it's a piece of cake to stick a lorry-type ratchet-strap across the car and hook up to the arms as extra security.

If I didn't think I was safe enough to work all this out for myself, I wouldn't be working on my own brakes, steering, chassis, suspension etc and would just confide all my car maintenance to a specialist garage.
Rory
3.8 OTS Cream 877393 Built May 28th 1962
1978 Mini Van
(plus bevel and belt single-cylinder Ducatis)

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ALAN COCHRANE
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#29

Post by ALAN COCHRANE » Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:32 pm

Rory

Have you tried swapping the wheel spinners over? That might cause to much of an imbalance even for your lift.

Cheers

Alan
1962 S1 OTS-850389,1968 Triumph TR250, 1971 Triumph GT6 Mk3, 2008 Porsche Boxster RS60 Spyder

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rfs1957
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#30

Post by rfs1957 » Sat Jul 26, 2014 5:23 pm

And could LED lights in the dash cause eddy-current imbalance, a well-known cause of aircraft disasters ?

Maybe they would actually help the car levitate ?

Must go and check.
Rory
3.8 OTS Cream 877393 Built May 28th 1962
1978 Mini Van
(plus bevel and belt single-cylinder Ducatis)

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Makeveli
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#31

Post by Makeveli » Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:39 pm

PeterCrespin wrote:
kingzetts wrote:....1800$.
You can found a cheaper option that is brand new, I bought my 2 post lift just recently from here and I'm happy with it.

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