thedoc
thedoc HalfDork
12/21/20 2:47 p.m.

I was just speaking with an old retired mechanic,  a seen it all kind of guy.  I was telling him about the price of the Max Jack, and he asked why I didn't just put in a two post lift and either put it through the rafters or poke a hole in the ceiling.  He claimed to have seen it done.  He was more about the price of the max jack and the price of a two post not being that much more.

What are the drawbacks if anyone has done this?  I could easily do it in my garage and get more room underneath than the max jack.  I would also have to have park the car between the two posts.

Any input?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
12/21/20 2:50 p.m.

The two post in our shop sticks up just above the bottom of the rafters, but only a few inches and we have an open ceiling so there's no drywall or anything to deal with.  I have no complaints, the only downside was that it had to be assembled/installed pretty precisely to avoid hitting stuff.

WonkoTheSane (FS)
WonkoTheSane (FS) SuperDork
12/21/20 2:57 p.m.

I went the opposite way, I chopped down a 2 post to fit under the main beam supporting my 2nd story.  I just put a painted a line on the full-height one and wrote "max height" on it.     No reason the reverse wouldn't have worked...

 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/21/20 2:58 p.m.

The two posts need to be connected with either a top piece or a bottom piece, I prefer using the ones that are connected at the top because there's no 'bump' to drive over. 

But obviously that could get in the way of rafters and such. 

Other than finding a good way to avoid being able to crush your car against the ceiling, I don't see why this wouldn't work. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/21/20 3:22 p.m.
thedoc said:

I was just speaking with an old retired mechanic,  a seen it all kind of guy.  I was telling him about the price of the Max Jack, and he asked why I didn't just put in a two post lift and either put it through the rafters or poke a hole in the ceiling.  He claimed to have seen it done.  He was more about the price of the max jack and the price of a two post not being that much more.

What are the drawbacks if anyone has done this?  I could easily do it in my garage and get more room underneath than the max jack.  I would also have to have park the car between the two posts.

What's the ceiling of your garage?  Poking the posts up in between the exposed trusses should be fine, but if you're cutting holes in a ceiling through to the attic then it's going to make your garage a lot warmer in the summer unless you're going to reseal it afterwards.

Are the posts on 2-post lifts a single piece of steel, or are they assembled out of multiple?  If single, make sure there's a way to install/remove it (probably needs to tilt up from the side?)

Note that most commercial 2-post lifts are really too wide for a single bay in a standard 2-car garage.  The max jack is narrower and may fit in that dimension better.  It also allows you to fairly easily unbolt the post on the "outside" and move it when you're not using the lift, which helps with day-to-day garage parking too.

 

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) Reader
12/21/20 5:08 p.m.

One year ago one of my customers moving into a new (to him) shop.  His existing 12' lift was a problem in the 10' ceilings of one of the work areas.  I worked with an engineer and cut the trusses and rebuilt them so that he had a "tray ceiling" large enough for the lift and the roofs of cars. etc.   It was about a 4 day job in the attic.  Required a ton of wood, steel and bolts, etc.  Actually did all the reinforcing before cutting out the trusses.  Put in new sheet rock and insulation.  He is a happy camper.  

Before that I did one where each post went through the ceiling in between trusses, and then the cross-bar was installed in the attic.  That customer was dealing with car cars and didn't sweat the loss of height.  We installed the stop trigger under the ceiling.

His trusses spanned 50' so it was tricky to get enough support.  Picture taken during the process....

 

thedoc
thedoc HalfDork
12/21/20 5:33 p.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
thedoc said:

I was just speaking with an old retired mechanic,  a seen it all kind of guy.  I was telling him about the price of the Max Jack, and he asked why I didn't just put in a two post lift and either put it through the rafters or poke a hole in the ceiling.  He claimed to have seen it done.  He was more about the price of the max jack and the price of a two post not being that much more.

What are the drawbacks if anyone has done this?  I could easily do it in my garage and get more room underneath than the max jack.  I would also have to have park the car between the two posts.

What's the ceiling of your garage?  Poking the posts up in between the exposed trusses should be fine, but if you're cutting holes in a ceiling through to the attic then it's going to make your garage a lot warmer in the summer unless you're going to reseal it afterwards.

Are the posts on 2-post lifts a single piece of steel, or are they assembled out of multiple?  If single, make sure there's a way to install/remove it (probably needs to tilt up from the side?)

Note that most commercial 2-post lifts are really too wide for a single bay in a standard 2-car garage.  The max jack is narrower and may fit in that dimension better.  It also allows you to fairly easily unbolt the post on the "outside" and move it when you're not using the lift, which helps with day-to-day garage parking too.

 

My garage is set with a mudroom sticking in, I may have some wiggle room for a two post.  I'm  going to lay out where it would go and see if I can live with the loss of space.  Right now most of my work is oil changes and tire rotation.  I auto cross fairly  often in the summer, so moving the tires around is getting really tedious with floor jacks. I have to check this out, thanks.

thedoc
thedoc HalfDork
12/21/20 5:34 p.m.

In reply to Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) : thanks for the picture. My rafters are open, but I could also do something like this.

 

DWNSHFT
DWNSHFT Dork
12/21/20 5:47 p.m.

OK, I came here expecting a >fail< sort of thread, with a car poked into the ceiling.  :-)

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
12/21/20 6:25 p.m.

We had to do this at the old building where I work.  New lift was about 4" too tall for the ceiling.

 

Bear in mind that if you have to go so far that the safety stop is higher than the rest of the roof, you will need more than just a slot for the lift.  Or just pay attention to how high you put the car.  Either way you'd have to make sure the hood is closed before taking the car up.

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
12/21/20 8:01 p.m.

Yes you can have it poking into the attic, measure carefully and you put the crossbeam through your existing truss openings. You will lose some max lift.  Shop around for different lifts, some are made more narrow for tight garages.

If you have an open ceiling, reworking the rafters/trusses can be done (with the guidance of a proper engineer. Consult a local truss manufacturer).  I had these "inserts" made for $100 each with delivery. Worth it vs giving up max lift height.  In reflection I should have made a longer 'hole'. I can lift a standard car all the way up, but not a wagon or SUV. Bottom of the truss is 9 1/2 ft from the floor, lift is 12' tall.

mdshaw
mdshaw Reader
12/21/20 8:39 p.m.

I think it's quite common to do rafter mods in order to have the lift. I had to do extensive rafter cuts & added 2-2x6 posts next to the lift posts to support the modified rafters. 

thedoc
thedoc HalfDork
12/22/20 9:47 a.m.
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) said:

Yes you can have it poking into the attic, measure carefully and you put the crossbeam through your existing truss openings. You will lose some max lift.  Shop around for different lifts, some are made more narrow for tight garages.

If you have an open ceiling, reworking the rafters/trusses can be done (with the guidance of a proper engineer. Consult a local truss manufacturer).  I had these "inserts" made for $100 each with delivery. Worth it vs giving up max lift height.  In reflection I should have made a longer 'hole'. I can lift a standard car all the way up, but not a wagon or SUV. Bottom of the truss is 9 1/2 ft from the floor, lift is 12' tall.

Thanks for this picture. I would have to have a post up against the side of the garage like you did.  I can change the rafters easily and have a friend who is a structural engineer.  I am going to drill into my concrete next.  The contractor who built my house was not known for quality builds.  If the slab isn't thick enough, it's on to a scissor lift.

I did some measurements last night and I could def fit the posts in, but it would creep into the space for my wife's car.  I also thought of mocking up some cardboard posts so we could see what it would be like living with the posts.

Shoot, there was a one post lift on cl that was reasonable.  I could have easily shoved that through the rafters.

As always, thanks for all of your help!

 

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 SuperDork
12/22/20 9:58 a.m.

For similar reasons I'm looking at an in ground scissor lift. Totally disappears when not in use. Down side is the amount of concrete work to get it in. But if you are already unsure about your concrete as it sits, you probably have to do a bunch of work any way.  
 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/22/20 11:56 a.m.
thedoc said:

I did some measurements last night and I could def fit the posts in, but it would creep into the space for my wife's car.  I also thought of mocking up some cardboard posts so we could see what it would be like living with the posts.

This is the best way to get a sense of what it's like having the various lift options in the garage day-to-day.

 

akylekoz
akylekoz SuperDork
12/22/20 12:29 p.m.

My dad just added extra trusses on either side of the hoist bay then hung 2 x 8s across from side to side.  The inspector ok'd it, then asked why.  He sheepishly told him there was a hoist under the car, he was trying to avoid extra permits.

I built my pole barn with a cathedral ceiling in the center of a hip roof, that and 2' overhangs matched the house. 

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
12/22/20 4:44 p.m.

In reply to Teh E36 M3 :

That looks fantastic. Looks really expensive, but that would work for me really well. 

thepope540
thepope540 Reader
12/22/20 7:43 p.m.

I have an 11ft ceiling and my lift posts are 12ft so they go right up through the ceiling and connect across over the top of my joists. I lose some lift travel, but it was simple and I'm too tall to walk under a car on a standard lift anyway so I roll around on my cart and have all the room in the world. 

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