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    1. Member firstorbit84's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 11:45 AM #1
      Guys, it's been a while since I posted here but I'm looking for some advice on putting a lift in my garage. I'm about to close on a house with a 3-car garage (my first!). I convinced the wife to agree to spend some on a professionally done epoxy floor but once I looked into pricing, I thought about doing a lift instead.

      My main purpose would be to work on the cars, but storage might be desirable down the road. Therefore I'm leaning towards a 2 post lift. Anyone here have experience getting one of these things installed? What advice do you have to offer or pitfalls to watch out for?

      Pic is the actual garage in question. I think the ceilings are about 10-11' but I haven't measured yet.
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      05-13-2020 12:34 PM #2
      Take a look into MaxJax portable 2 post. May be the best of both worlds with minimal compromise of usage vs. inconvenience. Once the anchors are in place in your floor each post is just 4 lags and the lift can get out of the way when not in use.

      https://www.maxjax.com/

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    4. Member Pnuu's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 01:08 PM #3
      If you're planning to install a 2-post, you will absolutely need to do one of two things:

      Obtain As-Built specifications for the concrete slab in the garage. Thickness and concrete PSI specs specifically. Some lifts also require rebar reinforcement which probably won't be in there.

      Hire an engineer to figure out what the existing slab can handle, then spec a lift to work within those limits.

      Source: I've designed, specified, and had many large heavy things installed on concrete slabs in my career. This isn't an area where you can wing it and hope for the best. Concrete either works very well, or fails catastrophically.

    5. Member Nealric's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 01:10 PM #4
      You may want to do a high lift garage conversion. Otherwise, you will be limited on your ability to utilize the ceiling space. It can be very difficult to find a good garage door guy to do one for you.

    6. Member GTijoejoe's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 01:47 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by Pnuu View Post
      If you're planning to install a 2-post, you will absolutely need to do one of two things:

      Obtain As-Built specifications for the concrete slab in the garage. Thickness and concrete PSI specs specifically. Some lifts also require rebar reinforcement which probably won't be in there.

      Hire an engineer to figure out what the existing slab can handle, then spec a lift to work within those limits.

      Source: I've designed, specified, and had many large heavy things installed on concrete slabs in my career. This isn't an area where you can wing it and hope for the best. Concrete either works very well, or fails catastrophically.
      This was literally my first thought, no way your standard garage floor is strong or thick enough for a lift.
      ... and what I mean by no way... i mean, I doubt it
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    7. Member firstorbit84's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 02:10 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by 7GIRLS3CUPS View Post
      Take a look into MaxJax portable 2 post. May be the best of both worlds with minimal compromise of usage vs. inconvenience. Once the anchors are in place in your floor each post is just 4 lags and the lift can get out of the way when not in use.

      https://www.maxjax.com/

      I saw these but the fact that they're not bolted to the floor worries me, and it looks like they only have a lifting height of 48" which is barely enough to work under comfortably and wouldn't be enough to store another vehicle under (except maybe a miata with the top down).
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      05-13-2020 02:10 PM #7
      Yes for safety sake make sure your concrete is good, I am not suggesting that anyone just assume it is fine. But this is not the big deal people think it is.

      My 7k lbs lift has oddly shaped feet, not squares but if I square it off, pretend I lose half of it from odd shape, but then double it again because 2 posts I have 374 square inches of foot print (it is actually more than that).

      Chances of me putting something 7k lbs on it are very slim but lets pretend I did and that the lift weights 1000lbs .

      That is (rounded up) 22 pounds per square inch of base plate..


      A quick google search of contact patch area brought up brought up crown vic police cars as the first hit and someone saying they have about 147sq inches total. google also says they weigh about 3780lbs.


      That is 25 pounds per square inch (rounding down..)


      So a crown vic parked in a garage is subjecting the floor to more pounds per square inch than an overloaded 7klbs lift.




      now leveling a lift means that not all of the base plate is actually touching the ground, but still a large portion of it is. A fat guy standing on his toes on one foot is likely putting down more pounds per inch than the avg lift.

    9. Member firstorbit84's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 02:15 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Pnuu View Post
      If you're planning to install a 2-post, you will absolutely need to do one of two things:

      Obtain As-Built specifications for the concrete slab in the garage. Thickness and concrete PSI specs specifically. Some lifts also require rebar reinforcement which probably won't be in there.

      Hire an engineer to figure out what the existing slab can handle, then spec a lift to work within those limits.

      Source: I've designed, specified, and had many large heavy things installed on concrete slabs in my career. This isn't an area where you can wing it and hope for the best. Concrete either works very well, or fails catastrophically.
      Thanks. This is the answer I was fearing. As I researched this idea more, it started to look like this is necessary.

      The garage does have a large single slab instead of seams, and the third door is a taller height than the other double door, so maybe there were plans for a lift or something heavy to go in and they just never got to it. I can hope, but will likely need slab testing to make sure.
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    10. Member firstorbit84's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 02:17 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Nealric View Post
      You may want to do a high lift garage conversion. Otherwise, you will be limited on your ability to utilize the ceiling space. It can be very difficult to find a good garage door guy to do one for you.
      Yes, I do realize the door will need to be converted for high lift. I've got a recommendation for a guy already and have researched what's involved.

      Also this is in the Atlanta area if anyone is local or has local recommendations.
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    11. Member firstorbit84's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 02:25 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by chris86vw View Post
      Yes for safety sake make sure your concrete is good, I am not suggesting that anyone just assume it is fine. But this is not the big deal people think it is.

      My 7k lbs lift has oddly shaped feet, not squares but if I square it off, pretend I lose half of it from odd shape, but then double it again because 2 posts I have 374 square inches of foot print (it is actually more than that).

      Chances of me putting something 7k lbs on it are very slim but lets pretend I did and that the lift weights 1000lbs .

      That is (rounded up) 22 pounds per square inch of base plate..


      A quick google search of contact patch area brought up brought up crown vic police cars as the first hit and someone saying they have about 147sq inches total. google also says they weigh about 3780lbs.


      That is 25 pounds per square inch (rounding down..)


      So a crown vic parked in a garage is subjecting the floor to more pounds per square inch than an overloaded 7klbs lift.




      now leveling a lift means that not all of the base plate is actually touching the ground, but still a large portion of it is. A fat guy standing on his toes on one foot is likely putting down more pounds per inch than the avg lift.
      I want to believe this, but then why do the lift specs require 3500 psi concrete and rebar?

      I'm thinking that it may have something to do with the fact that you're lifting the vehicle up another 5+ feet and that could multiply the forces on the ground if there's any torsion on the lift posts, similar to how a torque wrench or breaker bar or any lever multiplies force over distance.
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      05-13-2020 02:29 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by firstorbit84 View Post
      looks like they only have a lifting height of 48" which is barely enough to work under comfortably and wouldn't be enough to store another vehicle under (except maybe a miata with the top down).
      48" is pretty much good for brake work/wheel area jobs and being in a very annoying position to try and do an oil change, you aren't working under that comfortably unless you sit in a chair. Maybe relieving some back tension (at a lower height) vs bending all the way over a car.


      Miata on my lift, arms are below 6ft (I'm 6'1.. so can hit my head on them) puts the roof at just about 10ft. So if you're ceilings are 10ft tall then juts like you can only fit a miata under a car on this lift.. anything taller than a miata would basically be hitting the ceiling if you tried to lift it up over 4ft, which is why these small home lifts are limited to about that range.

    13. Member GTI2Slow's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 02:38 PM #12
      I use a quickjack, its portable and is compatible with low ceiling garages and you don't need to pour a slab for it.
      https://www.quickjack.com/car-lifts/bl-5000slx/

      Fairly happy with it, plenty of clearance to do what I need.


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      05-13-2020 02:54 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by 7GIRLS3CUPS View Post
      Take a look into MaxJax portable 2 post. May be the best of both worlds with minimal compromise of usage vs. inconvenience. Once the anchors are in place in your floor each post is just 4 lags and the lift can get out of the way when not in use.

      https://www.maxjax.com/

      This is what we have and we really like it. We leave one post up all the time (its against the wall) and take down the other regularly since its in the middle of our 2-car garage. It lifts 4 ft in the air and we have done work of all kinds on it. Oil changes, timing belts, suspension, and we put together our whole 1982 VW Rabbit Pickup on it - it was a shell so we did everything - engine swap, suspension, exhaust, etc. We've had the light VWs on it, all the way up to an '80's Vanagon and my parents '13 CR-V. Other than the Vanagon, everything was able to be raised to full height in our garage with the door shut. I believe it only needs a 3 or 4" slab, and ours met that with no problem. But you will need to check before installing any lift.
      Quote Originally Posted by TM87 View Post
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    15. Member Pnuu's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 03:09 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by chris86vw View Post
      Yes for safety sake make sure your concrete is good, I am not suggesting that anyone just assume it is fine. But this is not the big deal people think it is.

      My 7k lbs lift has oddly shaped feet, not squares but if I square it off, pretend I lose half of it from odd shape, but then double it again because 2 posts I have 374 square inches of foot print (it is actually more than that).

      Chances of me putting something 7k lbs on it are very slim but lets pretend I did and that the lift weights 1000lbs .

      That is (rounded up) 22 pounds per square inch of base plate..


      A quick google search of contact patch area brought up brought up crown vic police cars as the first hit and someone saying they have about 147sq inches total. google also says they weigh about 3780lbs.


      That is 25 pounds per square inch (rounding down..)


      So a crown vic parked in a garage is subjecting the floor to more pounds per square inch than an overloaded 7klbs lift.




      now leveling a lift means that not all of the base plate is actually touching the ground, but still a large portion of it is. A fat guy standing on his toes on one foot is likely putting down more pounds per inch than the avg lift.
      Quote Originally Posted by firstorbit84 View Post
      I want to believe this, but then why do the lift specs require 3500 psi concrete and rebar?

      I'm thinking that it may have something to do with the fact that you're lifting the vehicle up another 5+ feet and that could multiply the forces on the ground if there's any torsion on the lift posts, similar to how a torque wrench or breaker bar or any lever multiplies force over distance.
      The compressive load is not an issue here, as long as you have a well packed gravel subbase the concrete will support a distributed load within it's PSI rating. If you were installing a 4-post lift with wide mounting pads on the legs, this would be easy.

      But a 2-post lift is a whole different story. We're dealing with large moments at the base of each leg - rotation forces that will rip out the anchors or pull apart the concrete around the anchors. Concrete is great in compression, bad in shear, and terrible in tension. Rebar helps with the shear forces, and can support some tension, but overall this becomes a much more complex design than just "setting something heavy on top of some concrete".

    16. Member TheDeckMan's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 03:10 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by firstorbit84 View Post
      Guys, it's been a while since I posted here but I'm looking for some advice on putting a lift in my garage. I'm about to close on a house with a 3-car garage (my first!). I convinced the wife to agree to spend some on a professionally done epoxy floor but once I looked into pricing, I thought about doing a lift instead.

      My main purpose would be to work on the cars, but storage might be desirable down the road. Therefore I'm leaning towards a 2 post lift. Anyone here have experience getting one of these things installed? What advice do you have to offer or pitfalls to watch out for?

      Pic is the actual garage in question. I think the ceilings are about 10-11' but I haven't measured yet.
      What are your plans to be doing with the lift? Storage mostly? Engine drops and lots of building of projects? Basic maintenance?


      If the concrete checks out then it is fairly straight forward to install. Most lifts will need a 220 single phase 20amp breaker to run. Took me about half a day to setup mine. Luckily for me I already knew the floors had lifts on them when the building operated as a Ford dealership.

      I use mine during snow storms/when doing other projects to store cars under without issue, however if constantly in and out of the space banging car doors off the arms can be an issue depending on space from the other spots. A mid rise works well for just about all maintenance for most cars, pulled plenty of motors on my Bendpak mid rise and actually prefer to use it when doing maintenance work as it is easy to ride up on the ramps and go. To protect the floor if you epoxy and want to use a mid rise you can get a 4x8 sheet of steel to allow the wheels to run back and forth on. However this does not allow you to store say a 4th car in a 3 car garage.

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      05-13-2020 03:12 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Pnuu View Post
      But a 2-post lift is a whole different story. We're dealing with large moments at the base of each leg - rotation forces that will rip out the anchors or pull apart the concrete around the anchors. Concrete is great in compression, bad in shear, and terrible in tension.
      There are 2 post lifts that work without even being bolted down.

      I could pull out the bolts on mine and likely operate it.

      Nearly all of the force is compressive.

    18. Member Pnuu's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 03:19 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by chris86vw View Post
      There are 2 post lifts that work without even being bolted down.

      I could pull out the bolts on mine and likely operate it.

      Nearly all of the force is compressive.
      What model lift do you have? I would be curious to see the specs.

      In a past role I designed and drafted installation prints for industrial equipment that was anchored to engineered concrete slabs and footings, and ironically the equipment itself was designed to manufacture concrete products. I get a bit nerdy about concrete.

    19. Member Nealric's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 03:20 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by chris86vw View Post
      There are 2 post lifts that work without even being bolted down.

      I could pull out the bolts on mine and likely operate it.

      Nearly all of the force is compressive.

      That seems to be true for the overhead lifts, but I have a hard time believing that there is no lever action with baseplate lifts .

    20. Member audicoupej's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 03:23 PM #19
      The concrete strength and thickness requirements will vary depending on the type of lift. Determining concrete thickness can be done a few different ways (check plans, drill a hole, dig down at outside edge of slab) Determining concrete strength can be done with nondestructive testing if you cannot find out from the seller (if they didn't build the house, etc) Most concrete should have a minimum compressive strength of 3000psi, at least in my region it is. Rebar is almost never used in slabs for patios/garages etc. They usually will use welded wire mesh/mats and/or use fibers mixed into the concrete.

      That being said, a 4 post lift is better suited for storage (there is another lift thread made recently here). The 4 post should also not need as high specifications for concrete because generally they are not required to be bolted down and you have two extra columns to distribute the load.

      I would find out what you can from the seller and county records. Worse case you can cut out the areas where you plan to install the lift and have it poured with the correct thickness/strength concrete.
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    21. Member firstorbit84's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 03:24 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by TheDeckMan View Post
      What are your plans to be doing with the lift? Storage mostly? Engine drops and lots of building of projects? Basic maintenance?


      If the concrete checks out then it is fairly straight forward to install. Most lifts will need a 220 single phase 20amp breaker to run. Took me about half a day to setup mine. Luckily for me I already knew the floors had lifts on them when the building operated as a Ford dealership.

      I use mine during snow storms/when doing other projects to store cars under without issue, however if constantly in and out of the space banging car doors off the arms can be an issue depending on space from the other spots. A mid rise works well for just about all maintenance for most cars, pulled plenty of motors on my Bendpak mid rise and actually prefer to use it when doing maintenance work as it is easy to ride up on the ramps and go. To protect the floor if you epoxy and want to use a mid rise you can get a 4x8 sheet of steel to allow the wheels to run back and forth on. However this does not allow you to store say a 4th car in a 3 car garage.
      I'm looking to do basic maintenance mostly but eventually would like to store a vehicle on it.
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      05-13-2020 03:27 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by audicoupej View Post
      Worse case you can cut out the areas where you plan to install the lift and have it poured with the correct thickness/strength concrete.
      Exactly. A new footing/thickened slab in each of these post locations would be ideal anyways.

    23. Member audicoupej's Avatar
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      05-13-2020 03:30 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by TheDeckMan View Post
      Most lifts will need a 220 single phase 20amp breaker to run. Took me about half a day to setup mine. .


      Same for my lift. Install is not difficult at all provided you have basic electrical skills. If not then definitely hire an electrician since you would be adding a breaker in your box and that is very dangerous if you are not familiar with it.
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      05-13-2020 03:39 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by GTI2Slow View Post
      I use a quickjack
      they're currently on sale at Costco too for anyone interested.
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      05-13-2020 03:41 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Pnuu View Post
      What model lift do you have? I would be curious to see the specs.
      It is an ALM 7002A

      If you do happen to find any documentation on it please shoot me a link, I forget if I ever found any.


      Quote Originally Posted by Nealric View Post
      That seems to be true for the overhead lifts, but I have a hard time believing that there is no lever action with baseplate lifts .
      Yes in this case I am referring to an overhead lift (one with a cross bar if someone reading doesn't understand.

      There are single post portable non bolt down lifts that would be similar to a baseplate lift though.



      And for the record I don't plan to unbolt mine .

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      05-13-2020 03:49 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by chris86vw View Post
      It is an ALM 7002A

      If you do happen to find any documentation on it please shoot me a link, I forget if I ever found any.




      Yes in this case I am referring to an overhead lift (one with a cross bar if someone reading doesn't understand.

      There are single post portable non bolt down lifts that would be similar to a baseplate lift though.



      And for the record I don't plan to unbolt mine .
      Just for the benefit of the OP, you can't get an full height overhead lift into a 10' ceiling garage. Bendpak sells one that clears 10 foot, but max lift is about 5'7, so you won't be able to walk under unless you are really short. With a baseplate lift, you should be able to get a low sports car high enough to walk under if you are 6 foot or under.

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