If you are going to be doing much work on a car or just need to store 2 vehicles in the spot of real estate, then (in my opinion) there is no better investment than the 4 Post Vehicle Lift. They are relatively inexpensive with good 5 ton lifts available in the low $4000 range. Of course, you’ll need the space to house it as it does require a high ceiling and the extra space of all of the posts and ramps are a consideration – as well.
As an aside, I would suggest that when you order your 4 post, try and secure access to a forklift to assist in both unloading and assembly. It’ll greatly simplify life.
The accompanying pictures explain a lot. In our shop, we frequently move the lift, so we ponied up for the extra wheel package. The wheels are easily installed with a pin, and you lower the lift ramps down onto the wheel’s “teeter totter” style – so that the unit uses its own weight to raise itself off of the ground. It then moves effortlessly – literally by just by leaning against it.
Our whole unit was extremely easy to assemble but being “Racers”, we couldn’t just let it alone. We had to “Racer Engineer” it.
Initially, it just looked unstable, and we were concerned about a heavy vehicle in the raised position squishing the legs apart at the bottom causing the unit to pancake – possibly onto a team member or worse yet – the beer cooler. It was a needless worry, but it bothered us, so Dylan welded 4 (red in the pictures) ¼” X 2” flat strips connecting the bottom of each of the posts, tying the bottom of the whole unit together. The flat strips only stick up a ¼”, but we painted them bright red for visibility thus hopping to keep the visiting village idiot from tripping on them. It must work because in 5 years nobody’s tripped on them and they do look kind of cool – helping maintain the illusion that we sort of know what we’re doing.
The next modification came as a result of an unrelated incident whereby a standard shop engine hoist did not have the pull height necessary to clear the front grill of a team member’s SUV. A trip to the local steel store saw us installing a “U” channel beam – flat side down -connecting the top of each of the posts (see picture). To that we put a cross “I” beam on some large solid rubber wheeled castors which rolls up and down the beam from front to back. Add a 7000# hoist and we now have a motor pulling work of art.
The final modification to date saw us fabricating 4 very tall and very strong (on retracting wheels) “aluminum jack stands” to raise vehicles off of the 4 post’s ramps for easy tire removal. Raise the 4 posts ramps with vehicle, place the jack stands under the vehicle, lower the 4 post’s ramps several inches and the vehicle remains suspended – with the added safety of having the lift’s “locked in position” ramps as a backup support should something unexpectedly go South. And a nice side benefit is that ramps become a parts and tool shelf, or (with a cross table) can be used for spring compressors, transmission jacks, etc.
All in all, the system has worked out quite well and if you’ve got the space, I would encourage you to look into one for your own shop.