bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
7/15/20 10:34 p.m.

Anyone with 2 post asymmetric lifts have any thoughts or opinions?

I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the amount of room you have to work with.  I'm planning a nice sized "forever shop" and could use some advice.

I'm planning to have a pair of 2 post lifts. I'd like to finalize their placement in the plans.

I've looked at a lot of shops over the years. I've seen a lot of folks that put their lifts at an angle from the wall, but there seems to be just as many that mount them perpendicular to the wall.

I worked for a large Japanese car dealer in another life, all ~30 or so of their lifts were perpendicular to the walls on either side.

Is there any advantage to angling the lifts, other than maybe reducing how much a vehicle on the lift sticks out from the wall? Help ease lining a car up with the lift by pointing it at a door?

If you've got multiple lifts, how close do you have them to each other? I'm sure this varies a lot with the space you've got to work with, too.

Additionally, how about floor drains? I don't think I'd want a drain directly under the car, I don't want something to hang caster wheels up on, but somewhere nearby, to squeegee messes into.

Anything you would do different? Any thoughts from anyone that's put a lot of thought into this? Anything I'm missing that I should be thinking about too?

Patientzero HalfDork
7/15/20 11:09 p.m.

If you've got the room to drive onto it I'd prefer straight with the wall vs angled.   The lifts I've seen that are angled where just for ease of getting to it.   

For lifts next to each other I'd say the distance if two cars were parked next to each other with the doors open and you'd still be able to walk in between.  You're not usually working on the side of the car if it's on the lift other than changing wheels/brakes.  You spend more time under or in front of it.

I worked in a shop with floor drains behind the lift and that was pretty nice.  In front of or under the lift would cause problems with jacks, transmission jacks, cherry pickers, etc.  Behind is the way to go in my opinion or in between the two lifts.  Or, 10-15ft away from the lift so it's never an issue but not too far to clean up the mess.


codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
7/16/20 12:14 a.m.

My impression is that the angle depends on the geometry of the shop.  If it's relatively narrow, you want them angled so that the cars only have to turn 45 degrees to get onto the lift, this reduces the aisle width required especially for larger vehicles like long bed pickups.  OTOH, putting them at angles is a less efficient use of the side real estate, so you can get more of them in if they're perpendicular, so long as the aisle is wide enough to support it.

If it were me, I'd try to find a way to mock it up.  Measure the proposed space, set up some cones, boxes, tape, etc to mark where the various things will be, park some cars in the spots you think they'll be in, then try to drive your largest vehicle into a lift stall.  See how the turns work.


Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) Reader
7/16/20 8:35 a.m.

Just put one in for a customer.  His one man shop deals with restorations.  Most of the vehicles coming to his shop are DOA.  So he wanted the 2 post lined up with a large entry door so that it would be easier to push the car into place by himself.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/16/20 9:33 a.m.

I build dealerships and shops. I've put in over 100 lifts in the past couple years. 

Straight bays are usually considered better by the bean counters.  They think they get more lifts, which means more revenue.  That's incorrect.  They are just bad at planning.

Angled bays are usually done when the center aisle is too narrow for the approach.  But there are a lot of other good reasons to consider them. 

- They are easier to approach with a non- running car

- They work best when there are 2 doors in the shop- an entry and an exit

- They allow narrower bays (space of each bay center line to centerline), because the exit from the car is easier

- They create more space for tool boxes at the front

- They create more space for egress from the vehicle- the driver's door is usually behind the rear bumper of the next vehicle (or close enough to help)

- They create weird triangles in the layout of a shop- this is the part the bean counters think causes them problems. They think they lose a bay in each run.   The reality is there are lots of other things to put into n those triangles that fit really well- tire changers, balancers, tool storage cages, workbenches, etc etc. Its east to use those triangles well in a well-planned shop without losing any bays, but very few shops are well planned.


One more thing.:. Think hard about those floor drains.  They have to go somewhere, and they are an environmental mess when they go down the drain.  Modern shops generally don't have them (but have good floor cleaning machines).  If you are gonna install floor drains, you really need a grease trap (and these are expensive)


Good luck!

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/16/20 9:36 a.m.

A well planned shop with angled bays should be able to reduce construction costs, AND increase productivity efficiency by several cars per day.

If the bean counters ever did any production efficiency measuring, they'd never build straight bays again.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/16/20 9:45 a.m.

We have both angled and straight bays at work. I find it a lot easier to load/unload cars on the straight lifts - assuming you have a straight approach. If you're having to make a turn off an aisle, the only difference is how tight that turn is. I never considered anything but a straight shot on my home lift.

We have a lot of floor space at work so there's a lot of room between lifts. We can park cars between them. So I don't have any good experience there.

"You're not usually working on the side of the car if it's on the lift other than changing wheels/brakes.  You spend more time under or in front of it."

You and I do very different things to cars :) I'm usually in a wheel well tearing suspension parts out.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/16/20 9:53 a.m.

If Toyota was doing the analysis considering lean manufacturing techniques, there would only be angled bays. 

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/16/20 9:55 a.m.

Note that my responses are about work efficiency. 

If you are installing lifts so you can park a project in the air for several months collecting dust, then my comments are irrelevant. 

...except for the floor drains.  Please don't do this if there is any way to avoid it.

bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
7/16/20 10:39 a.m.

I didn't specify in the OP, but this is my personal shop, I'm not making a living on it.  One lift, so I "can park a project in the air for several months collecting dust," and the other for regular maintenance on the fleet, or shorter term repairs.

I'm planning a nice sized building, 60x125' with 60x100' of it enclosed, and a 25x40' apartment in a corner.

My focus has been on the apartment plans, I've got that more or less how I want it, but I need to figure out the lift placement and any other drains or anchor points I want, so the contractor can work up the concrete plan and cost.

It's a rural area, I've got access to county municipal water supply, but I'll have to have a septic system.  My plan is for any shop drains, are for them to be on their own smaller septic and field lines, with grease trap.

I'm rural, so other than a perk test, as long as I can pay for it or someone will finance it, and it's not a felony, basically I can build whatever I want.

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/16/20 11:57 a.m.

For a personal shop, angled almost never makes sense. 

I realize you are rural. Be aware that if ANY inspections are required, you probably can't put an apartment in a shop without firewalls separating them. A garage should be separated from sleeping areas for fire protection and carbon monoxide. 

Im really happy to not have floor drains in my shop. Floor drains mean a sloped floor, and that means it's harder to set furniture level, align a car, etc.  It's easy to squeegee stuff out the doors, and to do a better job of containment and cleanup when I have spilled something bad. 

Floor drains just create bad habits. 

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/16/20 11:59 a.m.

Also, if I could have a personal shop with 2 lifts, I would consider having both a 2 post lift and a 4 post lift. 

My $0.02

cyow5 New Reader
7/16/20 12:03 p.m.
SVreX (Forum Supporter) said:

Also, if I could have a personal shop with 2 lifts, I would consider having both a 2 post lift and a 4 post lift. 

My $0.02

Especially since the expressed purpose of the second one is longer-term storage. 

bigdaddylee82 UltraDork
7/16/20 12:30 p.m.

I've pretty well made up my mind on a pair of 2 post, I waffle a little on asymmetric or not, pretty sure I'm going asymmetric.

I could see myself adding a couple 4 posts, or a system like Hoovies Garage has, down the road, they'll be fine with a 4" concrete floor, and I can stick them wherever I want them in the future, but right now I don't have anything nice enough to be too worried about parking outside if I run out of room.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/16/20 12:38 p.m.

We used to have a 2 post and a 4 post at Flyin' Miata. When we moved to our new, bigger shop, we put in five 2 posts and zero 4 posts.

iansane Dork
3/9/23 1:45 p.m.

To piggyback on this thread;

Just started renting a new shop space and need a lift. Thinking about a pair of 2 posts. For a 20x50 with a mezzanine planned down the road, is it reasonable to think I might be able to get both lifts on one side at an angle one after the other? Only front access. Big roll up offset with a small man door next to it.

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
3/9/23 3:15 p.m.

You will want to sketch it out, really depends on how wide your lifts are and how small your cars are. 20w seems really tight to have a decent capacity lift even at a 45deg angle and still get a car past it

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
3/9/23 3:48 p.m.

Is 20 the width, or is 50?

Im gonna say unlikely if 20 is the width, unless you only work on compacts. A normal professional shop bay is 13' wide, so at 20', you are already tight for 2 lifts even if it is a direct straight-on approach. 

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
3/9/23 3:51 p.m.

My truck is 19' 3" long. It would be really hard for me to park it at a 45* angle in a 20' wide space. 

dclafleur Reader
3/9/23 3:56 p.m.

I have a lift in my workshop, angled was the only way I could really make it work to simplify approach from the overhead door and store as much as possible.  That being said I'd rather have a lift that is a straight shot off an overhead door. I'll add that I also have a set of the harbor freight lift jacks and they help a lot when trying to position a car for the lift (and for getting low cars up a bit higher to fit an arm underneath).

iansane Dork
3/9/23 4:14 p.m.

In reply to SV reX :

20 is the width.

I figured that was going to be the case but I was also grabbing at straws trying to think differently and package two lifts in the space.

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
3/9/23 4:27 p.m.

You can still put them inline and if they're tall enough you can drive through the first to the second. There is a local indy garage with their lifts setup this way. The lift in the back is for long jobs and the one near the door is for easy ones so you can just pull the other one through when that one is loaded all the way up or unloaded.

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