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Pit or Ramps ?


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As y'all are a wise and experienced bunch, I'd like to ask you for your experiences / opinion on a pit in the workshop or a (4 poster) ramp.

We're hoping to build the workshop (8 x 8,5 x 3.75 mtrs.) this Summer / Fall and both options are possible.

May I please learn from you ?

Thanks.

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Ramp every time, you just have to walk under the car and do your work, in a pit you are continually having to get in and out to get tools, parts etc, a lot of water effort and time in there, and as you get older, a lot of wear and tear too.

 

I've done both, and know what I would prefer, though currently I have neither, and I still prefer that to working in a pit.

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4 post lift all the way , so much more flexibility . If you want it flush with finished floor height cast in a shallow recess to fit it into . 2 beam jacks are good to have as well - and all the above that Bowie has pointed out . 

A good long bedway and over spec'd tonnage is no bad thing either . They make great fabricating benches too being nice and flat/level and height adjustable 

A nice thing to be planning 

Steve

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I provide this opinion on the condition that you post a workshop build thread :D

I agree with the gentlemen above, a ramp is the way to go. I’ve used both and the adjustability of the ramp alone wins it, let alone not having to climb in and out of a pit.

One day I will have a workshop big enough to have one!

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Only wrinkle with a ramp is if you've got the headroom, and a solid enough floor, but if you're building the workshop to suit it's less of an issue.

TBH if I was starting from scratch I'd be tempted to dig a pit anyway, you can always leave it covered and not use it if you prefer the ramp.

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I'm with @FridgeFreezer on this. Currently have a pit in the workshop but when I get the new workshop up I'll have a 4 post at the back and a pit just through at the door. Flexibility is always good to have, if you have the space to do it.

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If your building the workshop a pit is a no money option and can be built with proper stairs/ramp to get in and out. Ramps are more versatile especially 2 post but 4 post is definitely safer with 2ton+ of land rover.

Mike

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Lift every time. Everything goes up with a lift so stuff like brakes etc is far easier on a ramp and a pit doesn't help in any way. 

Not sure what its like in France, but if you've got 3ph electric over here lifts are cheap, and cheaper than the additional work in the concrete slab for putting in a pit. Depending on your water level the fibreglass pits can also float.

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Another vote for a lift. I've worked in a pit a couple of times and it felt like a dungeon. Granted, it was a small one, but some of the problems were more fundamental: with a low car you're always stooping, for a Land Rover you might need a step to be able to reach stuff. Little or no room to the sides, so no where easy to put your tools/parts and move around (exception to this is the workshop basements for maintenance of trains, where the rails are supported in the middle of a deepened floor section with room all around, pretty much like a 4-poster but without the need the actually lift the heavy weight of the train). Also not that cheap to build, if you want a proper job. Covering is often a problem and time consuming, creating a potentially dangerous situation when there is no vehicle over the pit. There was a time all I had available was a small pit, I hated it so much I didn't even consider one when we were rebuilding the Workshop.

As for lifts, they can be had quite cheaply either from a budget brand (decent quality, ours was still going strong after 6 years regular use) or second hand from a garage or tyre fitter or such. A 4-poster is by far the easiest solution for maintenance and most work, just drive on and lift. A 2-poster needs more care positioning the vehicle and setting up, as well as a stronger foundation. But it does give better access for brakes and suspension work or on FWD cars. 

Filip

 

 

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We have a pit and I’d definitely prefer a ramp , might invest in one in the future. Pit is only useful for getting under a motor , where as a ramp can be moved up and down to a comfortable height for any job , you still have to crawl around on the floor to do wheel bearings and swivel balls with a pit and my knees aren’t up to it anymore :hysterical: .

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Both, pit is very handy even outside for washing and also maintenance of large vehicles/ farm equipment.

 

If you do put a pit in put standard size angle iron on the edges that will take a jacking beam.

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Just to add - one benefit of a pit is you can work on stuff that won't go on the ramp, I don't know your full fleet but as you're a bit rural if someone finds themselves with a tractor or truck or something heavy / tall that you can't get on the lift you can still roll it in and work on it at ground level.

 

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I'd second what @FridgeFreezer says - a pit is very handy for the stuff that won't go onto a ramp. Although having said that if you're agile enough (i.e. just not decripid) then the bigger stuff doesn't tend to have the clearance issues underneath / around it.

For example between my parents and I the JCB has the smallest set of tyres on it and even that I've got loads of space underneath to scoot around on the floor underneath even without using it's built in jacks. It's really only the Land Rovers and smaller that are more difficult because they don't have the clearance.

A chap down the road from my parents who specialises in repairs for agricultural and plant machinery (been going for 40+ years) has never found the need for a pit or a ramp because everything's usually so big and access is usually much easier because of less bodywork.

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When you've had neither, either or would do, alternatively if anyone wants to donate a pair of 20 year old knees so I can wear them out again I would be reasonably happy lol on a more serious note I would settle for Binky's lift and turn contraption regards Stephen

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There are actually four options which I have used in every commercial workshop in which I have been employed. Nothing, just the floor as at home. Ramp a fourposter with a free wheel ramp, very nice, a pit, had that on night shife, I didn't mind it though you could drop a Transit or car into the pit.

The last job I had had four electric lifts, one for each wheel and four huge, rear five foot high axle stands. One the vehicle was on syands the lifts could be used on another vehicle, needed a smoth floor though

 

Off topic. The P2 locomotive being built at Darlington u\ses the four seperate lifts and that is some weight

 

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My ramp revolutionised jobs for me. Everything is so much quicker now. Mines a four post with wheels free beams. BUT.... having bought a D3 since getting the four post, I find myself on the lookout for a two post lift as well now for those body off jobs! But its complete luxury going from a driveway crawling around on the floor in fair weather only and having to clear anything stealable up at the end of every day to a shed with a ramp that I can lock up at the end of the day leaving tools, car bits etc where they are!

 

We rebuilt a Ford tractor in the space next to the ramp - ramp or pit would have been unnecessary for that an probably hindered the work.

Edited by reb78
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As above really. A ramp is the way to go. I have wheels free on my 4 poster but rarely use it that way. I have a couple of jacking beams which make it easy to get the wheels off the lift. Doing brakes or wheel bearings etc at a nice height is amazing compared to sitting on the floor!!

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3 hours ago, reb78 said:

How do you mount your jacking beam Sam? Your ramp is a very similar Bradbury to mine but I wasnt sure how a jacking beam would mount to it. 

They normally roll along using the inside edges of the runways as rails. Only trouble is a lot of the wheels-free ramps have rubbed runways so are no good for jacking beams. That said, I’ve seen one with an RSJ on larger wheels which will roll over the bumps with a bit of effort and then a couple of air jacks on it. 

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11 hours ago, miketomcat said:

You can also roll stuff backwards and forwards with a pit which can be useful.

Mike

That's possible on a 4-poster as well, handy when working on propshafts etc. And on a 2-poster you can turn everything without moving the vehicle, so shouldn't be an issue either.

I agree a pit is easy for large/heavy vehicles, but then you'd also like a wider opening and that may be an issue for vehicles with a narrow track. We have to move the runways closer to safely get a classic Mini or Fiat 500 on. For a modern Range Rover or similar you'd want them spread as wide as possible for best access. A pit can only be a fixed size, so would have to be narrow to allow for small cars. Or for things like a forklift.

Filip

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1 hour ago, landroversforever said:

Other things to think about... 4 post can get in the way more and 2 post is a lot less space when not in use. 

This is a good reason not to put a 4 poster in a recessed floor, or you can't put another car under it with it in the air. 

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