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Thread: Recommendations for home garage lift

                  
   
  1. #1
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    Recommendations for home garage lift

    Does anyone have a residential, home garage lift system they have used (or built) and would recommend?

    I am debating building a ramp/platform in my garage (seems like the least expensive way and least permanent, other than jack stands). I wonder if I can get comfortable that it would support the car to the degree that when I'm under it I won't be risking life and limb (I'm very conservative by nature, so for a 2,000 lb car I would want a platform that could hold at least 10,000lbs or more).

    I saw online some great looking hydraulic home garage lifts, but of course they ranged from 2-5k and up. Too much for me to spend.

    Or, should I just go with a good racing jack and 4 of the best, highest jack stands I can find (any recommendations for those)?

    All suggestions are much appreciated.

    I am thinking for routine work (brakes, suspension work, possible exhaust replacement, the car will eventually (hopefully after next season) need a clutch/rear main oil seal and other replacements. I love the DIY program, but for some things, like a clutch replacement, and the spring swap/sway bar project I recently did, my understanding is that those are too extensive jobs and the club doesn't let us do them at DIY events). Besides, for my Miata, I'm not driving it again until the spring most likely, so I don't mind if she's on a platform and can't be driven for a few months. I tend to do the work over a longer period of time.

    I replaced the springs and the front sway bar in my garage using the OEM jack and jack stands, and I don't think my back can take much more of that. I need more height to get under the car!

  2. #2
    Member MPWR's Avatar
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    First off, don't use the little OEM jack for working on the car. It's just too much effort, get a hydraulic floor jack. You'll want one even if you do get a lift.

    For a real lift, the first question is how much overhead space do you have? 12 feet is probably a minimum for this kind of installation. But if you have the space and can afford it, having a lift in your own garage is fantastic. It's a real investment in your car/hobby/back- but it is absolutely on my must have in next house list (fortunately the wife is completely on board with it).
    Andy Miller
    1995 Avusblau M3
    1997 Alaskablau 318ti M Sport

  3. #3
    Senior Member Highflyr777's Avatar
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    Try looking for a used lift. A lot of shops upgrade their lifts from time to time and sometimes you can get a great deal on a used one.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mcoupemindy's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like you need a good jack and a set of jackstands for that work.

  5. #5
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    I do have plenty of ceiling height available to work with, other than the garage door track. I don't know exact measurements, but it's not like the ceiling is anywhere near the garage track. The garage does go back a ways (I have about 5 feet or so behind the BMW when I pull it in, so I could possibly locate a lift further back and get more height that way, getting away from the garage track).

    My going in assumption is that the lowest cost option will be a good jack and stands. Does anyone know if there are options that go higher, or is it pretty much an industry standard height?

    My back and I thank you all for your thoughts and input!

  6. #6
    Senior Member 1996 328ti's Avatar
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    I don't know if this might interest you?
    http://www.ezcarlift.com/
    ...steven
    BMW CCA #146825

    318ti.org | bmwcca.org/forum

  7. #7
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    That ezcarlift is very interesting!

    Probably too costly, but it is exactly what I need.

    Getting 14 inches up on jack stands is OK, but that extra foot to 26 would really help.

    I'll keep my eyes out for something like the ezacarlift (a used one might fit the bill, if there were such a thing!)

  8. #8
    Member MPWR's Avatar
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    Because a floorlift cannot lift a car straight up, there is a practical limit how high a car can be lifted with one. This also very much limits how high stands can safely be made- and limits safe use of most stands to two instead of four.

    Stands are useful and practical for some jobs (like brakes)- but trying to replace a clutch using stands sounds fun like a migraine.
    Andy Miller
    1995 Avusblau M3
    1997 Alaskablau 318ti M Sport

  9. #9
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    I did an immense amount of research on jacks earlier in the year as I was looking to get a high quality unit. I'll save you the detailed criteria, but this is the absolute best low-profile jack I could find (that can be bought... ahem AC Hydraulics): http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...Product%20Page

    I've had it for maybe 2 months now and used it at least 10 times. Its the only jack that gets under my lowered M3 and Z4M, and can easily jack from the center jacking point on both those cars. It can even reach from the side of the cars easily and grab a center jacking point, like the frame in front of the rear differential. With this, getting my car up on 4 jackstands, with 18" of working room, takes only 10 minutes. IMO, the best option short of a 2 post lift.

    The ezcarlift is nice, but its $1600+, and when a 2 post lift can be had for only a few hundred more, I don't see the point. The ezcarlift also has mandatory cross-members, so you can't drop an exhaust from it, and it may interfere with a clutch job.
    Mike R.
    2002 M3 - ultimate driving excuse
    formerly: 2005 Z4 3.0i

  10. #10
    Senior Member Highflyr777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPWR View Post
    Because a floorlift cannot lift a car straight up, there is a practical limit how high a car can be lifted with one. This also very much limits how high stands can safely be made- and limits safe use of most stands to two instead of four.

    Stands are useful and practical for some jobs (like brakes)- but trying to replace a clutch using stands sounds fun like a migraine.
    I did the clutch on my E36 like this in just under 3 hours. No migraine

  11. #11
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    I've changed engines, pulled transmissions and done many other things on jack stands. Is it easier on a lift? Yes. But if you can't use a lift, stands are not bad at all. IMHO, there is no point in anything other than a real lift.

    My next jack purchase will be an AC DK13HLQ (which you can get from one guy in Canada...) The Omega that Reach has is a decent alternative, though.
    2006 GMC Sierra 2500HD 4WD Duramax LBZ/Allison 6-speed
    2002 BMW M3 - Alpinweiss III/Black
    1999 323i KP/GTS2 - Alpinweiss III (Black Hood, other stuff)
    1990 325is - Brilliantrot/Tan
    1989 325is - Alpinweiss II/Black (S50B32)
    1989 M3 - Alpinweiss II/Black (S62B50 in progress)



  12. #12
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    Back home in Michigan I have a 4-post BendPak HD-7 with a rolling bridge jack. I hired a garage door tech to move the door tracks up high next to the ceiling to ensure clearance. It is the single best investment in the home shop I've ever made. My daily driver is a well worn, but not worn out, 735iA. My toy is a '85 M639 (yes, "9", not "5" -- motor isn't stock...). Any older car, and especially BMWs, require regular suspension work. Changing the oil is a breeze, too. I've used it to store my dad's '65 Falcon up top with the 6er underneath, too, when necessary. I can't speak highly enough of this set up. I chose the BendPak primarily because (1) it's very solid, (2) a well known brand and (2) the ramps lift up nearly 6' from the floor so I can easily walk under the cars I work on (I'm 6'4"). The work goes faster and it's more comfortable.

    When I move here I'll keep the rolling bridge and hope that we can swing a house with a tall enough garage to one day again obtain this lift.

    -Greg

    1989 E32-M30B35 735iA white whale
    1985 E24-M88/3 M639 Arctic Blue euro shark

  13. #13
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    Ok, I'll chime in here. I installed a short version of a 9Klb 2 post floor plate lift. You need about 145" ceiling height for a clear floor lift, mine was only 11.5 Ft. Just figure that you also need to figure into the cost preping the floor. Most garage floors are only about 2-3in thick, and to properly anchor a lift, you need at least 5". I excavated a pair of 3'x3'x1' holes, installed rebar, and then poured 4K# concrete. A month later I had the lift installed. All in, (lift, delivery, concrete work, and installation) the lift cost me a bit over $3K. It is the best $3K I've spent.

    That said, a 4 post lift is also very handy. Just remember that you have to factor in the cost of at least 1 rolling bridge jack, (two are better). It won't require installation, is semi portable
    No matter where you go, there you are!

  14. #14
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    Thinking again about jacks.

    I looked at the jack Reach recommended, but (a) it's a little pricey and (b) it's about 122 lbs!

    Thinking more about a lightweight (racing) jack, but the low clearance is a good thing too.

    Found this one, Ranger's Model RFJ-3000AL Aluminum Racing
    Jack http://www.asedeals.com/aluminum_jack.html


    Anyone have any thoughts/recommendations? The RFJ-3000AL is $199 delivered, that's pretty good (and 39 lbs!)

    I will be using the jack not only in the garage for work at home, but also at the track and potentially AutoX too.

  15. #15
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    If that's all you are going to do, I'd get a US General AL jack from Harbor Freight Tools. Mine's worked slawlessly for the last 5 years. I use it to jack up cars that are too low to get on my lift. I think it's on sale for somthing like $70 now.
    No matter where you go, there you are!

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