Seeking wisdom from those who have installed a lift

Righty Tighty

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Hey FABO, I’ve gotten the green light from the landlord at my shop to install a two post lift, and now I’m in the planning stage of where to put it.

It’s a 2 bay shop which I share with a buddy — one bay is mine and the other is his. He’s willing to swap bays if it makes sense to install the lift in his bay. Obviously, I would like to only do this once, so I thought I would reach out to those who have done this before to hear your advice/successes/failures.

The entrances to both bays are identical. The main difference that I can see is that my bay has the gantry, and I think that might be an advantage when combined with the lift. On the other hand, we use the gantry for loading/unloading from trailers, so I wouldn’t want the lift to get in the way.

What are your opinions?

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Righty Tighty

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Good point.

At least from what I can tell on the outside, the slab is at least 12”. But that’s probably just the footer. I have no clue as to the PSI concrete they used. The landlord is a friend and the shop was built by his dad in the 80s, I’ll see if he can dig up some numbers.
 

Projectile Dart

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I have never installed one myself but I have plenty of neighbors around work that have them. Some have gotten lucky with concrete being thick enough to just drill some holes and drop studs in the ground and call it a day. Others have found their concrete to be only about 3 inches thick so they end up cutting squares out where the posts will mount, digging down, and filling back up with rebar and concrete.
In the end, just to state the obvious, the main thing is to make sure you have a good foundation for the posts. As far as the gantry, I would say it would almost seem advantageous to just install a 2nd one on the other side of the shop so that both bays can have their own and you and your neighbor can share them depending on the jobs you are both running.
 

DC 340

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I'd take the right bay with gantry, but that's just me. I doubt my 2 post lift is on separate footers but I don't have the history. Works for me though...
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inertia

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You might want to check the height under the gantry. I need 13 ft. to get a van up.
Drill a hole to find concrete thickness.
Where I didn't have sufficient footprint thickness, instructions recommended a 4 ft. piece of sufficient size angle iron welded alongside footpad, to spread load, - 20+ yrs, lotsa different vehicles, no drama .

Pic later
 

jonn6464

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A few tips from my own experience...

- make sure the lift is inline with the bay door, so you can drive straight in and straight out
- it's hard to tell from the pics, but you may have an issue with those overhead lights being in the path of a vehicle that is going up on the lift
- where is your compressor? You'll want the lift to be close-ish to it
- what's the average length of vehicle you'll be working on? 18' or so? measure out the distance on the floor and make sure you have 3' from the end wall. That way you'll have room around all sides of the car.
- depending on your pant size, leave enough room on either side of the posts to get around the lift when the arms are in the air
-imagine you have a vehicle on the lift and it's not moveable (like your in the middle of a brake job) and you need to unload your trailer. But you can't move the car. I would keep the bay with the gantry clear for that reason.

Good luck. You'll love it and won't regret it.
 

lenky1

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Im literally in the process of installing a 2 post lift right now. Besides slab thickness etc. You need to avoid cuts or seams in the slab by a certain distance. This may play a factor. My slab is 6 inches fiber reinforced and rebar. We pull tractors inside so we needed strength.
 

408 swinger

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Have a 9000 lbs. two poster in my shop. Minimum thickness for that is 4 inches. And, as mentioned, stay away from relief cuts in the floor. Other than making sure the "foundation" is good, it will be the best tool you've ever owned!!!!
 

JDMopar

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The pics may be deceiving, but it looks like a pretty good sized shop. I would do some measuring to see if the lift will fit kitty cornered just a little bit back by the bathroom. That will keep a lot of floor space open on that side if it will work. You may have to move 1 light, but that shouldn't be too big of a deal. Wherever you put it, see if you can figure out where the water and sewer pipes are before you go to drilling holes for the bolts that hold the lift in place. If they run under the slab, that may limit your choices of where to put the lift. If you haven't already done it, I think I would see if you could reach an agreement with the landlord that if you guys ever move out of the building, he will give you X number of months free of rent just prior to moving if you leave the lift in place when you go. That may be a win-win for both of you.
 

Just Send It

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Buddy almost died under his lift at his personal shop. Anchor pulled the 4" concrete up when his girl's truck was on it. Ended up having to repour the slab with rebar.

Test drill first and make 100% sure you have adequate depth with every anchor. 4'-6" depth without rebar is okay as long as you're not lifting a tank. Keep an eye out for stress cracks and retorque the anchor bolts every once in a while.

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RustyRatRod

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Thicker than necessary is always best. Most professional lift installers like to see at least 8" high strength where the posts will be sitting. So, decide where you want the posts, drill to inspect and dig up, reinforce and re-pour deeper if necessary. I've seen it done a lot and it's really not that big a headache.
 

txstang84

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It's not only the thickness, but the composition and where the rebar or reinforcement is. Seek out the requirements as set forth in your lift. Most of the ones I've seen require minimum 4" 3K psi concrete...that's what mine is, and I've had no issues. Overtorquing the anchors, poor reinforcement, and porosity in addition to overloading is what makes the floor spall crack and fail.

My footers are (i think) 18", so if yours are 12", you might wanna find a way to verify what you have for a pad...if it's anything less than 4" consistently, you'll need to remedy that first...

I have a 10K overhead beam Atlas lift in my 30x40x12 shop. There is always a car in the air and one parked under it. I had to use the lower of the two beam settings because it was about 5" too short to accommodate the higher setting for the crossover cables...YMMV, but if you have less than 10' walls, choose your lift wisely as most of them require a minimum of 11' walls, unless you go with the non-joined versions specified for low ceilings

I also check the anchors periodically to make sure they haven't shifted or loosened.

Make damn sure your posts are perfectly flat (shimmed) before drilling/setting anchors

Measure twice, drill once-can't say this one enough...if you're not positive, remeasure. Everything needs to be square, parallel, and plumb

The lift will always be a little in the way because of it's footprint, but give yourself at least 24-30" in every direction...enough room to push a toolbox through or carry something somewhat awkward.

Depending on the model, you'll need at least a 30-40A 230V dedicated breaker...make sure your box can handle that.

Probably the best thing I ever did for my shop...
 

RustyRatRod

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....and 4" minimum MEANS 4" minimum. NOT 3.5" used with 2 x 4s for framing up. You have to watch it, because a lot of contractors will call a 3.5" pout a 4" pour when that extra 1/2" matters.
 

missing linc

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Any thoughts on a 4 post lift? I know that it's not as convenient but it would simplify things if your floor is not up to the standard. I have a 2 post in my garage and I am really happy with it, but my brother has a couple of 4 post lifts that he has been doing restoration work on for years now. There are some things that are much easier on the 2 post, but certainly still doable on a 4 post. Just my .02.
 

txstang84

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....and 4" minimum MEANS 4" minimum. NOT 3.5" used with 2 x 4s for framing up. You have to watch it, because a lot of contractors will call a 3.5" pout a 4" pour when that extra 1/2" matters.


No argument from me...

EDIT: FWIW, I've never personally witnessed any business pouring concrete using 2x4s unless they were stacked up...and if I did, they wouldn't pour for me
 

Ironracer

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....and 4" minimum MEANS 4" minimum. NOT 3.5" used with 2 x 4s for framing up. You have to watch it, because a lot of contractors will call a 3.5" pout a 4" pour when that extra 1/2" matters.
Yep, then tossing loose dirt in to fill the low spots. Compaction is a Nice thing also
 

RustyRatRod

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No argument from me...

EDIT: FWIW, I've never personally witnessed any business pouring concrete using 2x4s unless they were stacked up...and if I did, they wouldn't pour for me
I agree, but a LOT of them do.
 

mbaird

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I install lifts for a living now ... got tired of selling things.

4" minimum for the concrete on a 10k or smaller lift . Just use a small bit to test depth somewhere nearby. You will feel the bit break through. Drill your anchor holes all the way thru in case you need move or mess with lift later. This allows you to pound the existing anchor bolts down and use new ones in same hole if needed . Stay 4-6" away from seems or cracks . If you hit rebar just be patient ... a good bit will bust through it . Sometimes we use epoxy if concrete depth is marginal or we are too close the a crack or seam.

Get your measurement dead on or your bridge will be hard to install and will tweek the columns when torqued and could make the yokes bind while raising .

4 posters are great for storing cars and work fine for maintenance if you have a rolling jack . Some are free floating and have little trolleys that allow you to move the lift around the shop .
 

Righty Tighty

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Any thoughts on a 4 post lift? I know that it's not as convenient but it would simplify things if your floor is not up to the standard. I have a 2 post in my garage and I am really happy with it, but my brother has a couple of 4 post lifts that he has been doing restoration work on for years now. There are some things that are much easier on the 2 post, but certainly still doable on a 4 post. Just my .02.
I have thought about 4 post lifts in the past, but for this application I think I'm sticking with a 2 post. I do appreciate the input, though.

Buddy almost died under his lift at his personal shop. Anchor pulled the 4" concrete up when his girl's truck was on it. Ended up having to repour the slab with rebar.

Test drill first and make 100% sure you have adequate depth with every anchor. 4'-6" depth without rebar is okay as long as you're not lifting a tank. Keep an eye out for stress cracks and retorque the anchor bolts every once in a while.

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This scares the crap outta me and exactly why I'm here. This isn't something to take lightly for obvious reasons, so I want to make damn sure I do this right.

From talking with my landlord, he's making me feel pretty confident about the slab (although we will still absolutely confirm beforehand). He's a friend, and his dad built the shop in the 80s. He said his dad always poured "monolithic" slabs and that he never even poured a sidewalk at 4".

One thing I'm open to opinions about is how big a lift is too small? I'm looking at one that's a 7K, which is enough for what I'll be doing, but I'm the type of guy who doesn't like to go smaller and end up limiting myself.
 
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