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lift - 4-post/2-post/scissor?


twodoorgaz
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Firstly - let me apologise. Some months ago the forum was incredibly helpful in helping me choose a lift for a house I was buying with a 7.5x7.5m garage with a low roof. Sadly that house purchase fell through - that was the fourth time a vendor had changed their mind at the last second and decided to stay. So there is a big overlap between this question and the last, but it is a different application - so I do appreciate your patience.

 

The silver lining of the sale's collapse is that we quickly found an alternative and we’re now just a couple of weeks away from completing on a new place, with a massive rural plot and I get to build my dream garage from scratch. Just finalised the simplistic 3D concept drawing and it's going off to the steel building manufacturers next week for their design team to work on it and get the whole thing to work around the lift (proper industrial, insulated building - not just a tin garage kit). The quote will be lined up and ready to go so that I can have the groundworks done immediately after moving in (the temporary storage bill is too high to take my time.

 

The internal (steel) truss height is set so that I can lift a 110 (sans roofrack) up to full height (1900mm below the chassis rails) and still have clearance below the trusses and insulation.

 

I am planning on using a 2 post lift. I understand the horror stories surrounding 2-post lifts - sometimes user error, sometimes an inadequate slab and recognise that a 4-post is safer and easier to use for regular servicing jobs. However, the majority of the work I do is in restorations - primarily Land Rovers of course, but also some classic British (and soon American) vehicles too including saloons and hatchbacks. The ability to lift bodies off chassis is enormously appealing, as is full sill access.

 

I have looked at 4-post lifts, but I would need a jacking beam (which puts me into quite an expensive bracket) and the ones of that scale (as opposed to 'parking lifts' would take up a lot of space. There is a tight spot in the workshop between the corner of the lift and the home-office.

 

I've recently reconsidered scissor lifts. As I am having the slab laid from scratch (I'm currently planning a 6.6" reinforced slab with concrete of >3000PSI strength), it does dawn on me that an in-floor lift could be suitable - this would significantly increase my working area in the workshop. In floor 2 and 4-post lifts are incredibly expensive (>£20k) but in floor scissor lifts are much more reasonable (£3k). I recognise that while these are great for vehicles with jackal sills, that on a LR they'd need some hefty rubber blocks to support the chassis rails - but that's fairly doable: a pair of 4"x4" posts with a thick rubber side could slide in easily.

 

Scissor lifts do solve a number of the issues I had with 4-posts (free wheels and suspension without a jacking beam and no space restrictions if in-floor) but still couldn't let me lift a body off a chassis - I don't think. This is an area where if there is a trick to it, I'd be interested to hear - for example a set of blocks on the lift or a welded steel frame uprights slid under the vehicle that could lift the body high enough to clear the wheels and then locked off on tresels or something like that.

 

As the entire structure is being designed around my hobby, it does open up some seriously interesting concepts. For example, having a pair of recessed sections in the slab and even a buried pipework tube to take the hydraulics means that I could have a seriously swish in-floor lift for little additional outlay - something like this: https://twinbusch.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=15. I could, I suppose, have the steel building manufacturer overspecify the I-beam roof trusses to support a simple lightweight crane rail system above the lift too - enough so that if I could lift it even only a few inches with blocks on a scissor lift that I could insert lifting beams and lift the body further with the crane system. There are a number of vehicles from which it would be good to remove bodies and cabs - of these, a 110 would likely be the heaviest and I'd guess the body would be just a few hundred KG so eminently liftable from the roof with a set of four electric hoists wired off the same switch.

 

I've never had a dream garage before and want to make sure I make the right decision so would really welcome any advice. I really am torn. The most important thing to me is space - after that it is the practicality of it supporting restorations - I am highly unlikely ever to need to quickly swap vehicles around and I'm not a commercial business so if it takes a few mins to set up the lift that's no problem either.

 

 

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Edited by twodoorgaz
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I have absolutely no experience of working with lifts other than visiting mechanic friends at work or watching MoTs, but it seems to me that two post lifts really get in the way when the vehicle is on the ground and have the so,e advantage of lifting the body, which as you said, you can replicate with a winch and pulleys on your substantial roof structure.  That pulley system, if made to a decent spec, would also be capable of lifting roof tents, engines, transmissions and cargo loads, which the two post lift can’t do.  The scissor system would also be completely out of the way when the car is down.  Add the price differential, even with the likely cost of the winch and pulley system, and it seems a clear choice to me.

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Two post lifts are great for some things, but a lot of the time they are a nuisance. Sometimes in the way of what you are trying to do on the vehicle, and when not being used they are just in the way. Plus sometimes downright dangerous. Four posters are much safer, but are of limited use if you are doing suspension work, or body off stuff.

I like the idea of a scissor lift, as it leaves a completely free workspace when not in use, and lets face it, no matter how big your workshop, you NEVER have enough space. For example, my Brother in Law has a barn that you could fit a Boeing 747 into (almost), if it were empty, but its unusable for a workshop as it is choc full of carp and projects that will never happen.

With the scissor lift, you can lift vehicles up, using placed wooden blocks to suit if necessary, and hold bodies up with tall axle stands, or a pulley system off the steel building frame, OR, more usefully IMO, a large wheeled gantry, which can be moved around to suit. It could have a few crossmembers to suit, using either chain hoists, or the electric versions. This I think would be far more versatile, as although it is still taking up space, at least you can move it around.

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Go taller with the workshop, consider an awning over the door, put a canopy outside, and put the 4 post under it.

Also, thicker slab, double layer steel reinforcement. Insulate underneath.

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I say it every time, but stick a pit in, you can have almost the best of both worlds then. scissors are not much use at all when you want to be under anywhere but the front or back.

I would also see about speccing for a simple girder trolley under the ridge to take a block and tackle circa 1000kg max, this however would nearly always be in the wrong spot but going to an overhead crane type setup complicates things considerably.

Also think about drains for fluids, heating and extraction/ventilation.

I also think you want to be able to lift higher if planning could allow?

 

Just my 2p from working in garages on cars, trucks, plant and machinery, pits, 2 post, 4 post, scissors, forklifts, barns, fields, drives, muck heaps etc etc etc...

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Raise the roof a bit, two poster in the centre, simple four poster to the side. Still cheaper than an overhead crane.

The four-poster is also extremely versatile. You can easily store two vehicles in the same spot (especially lower ones). Lay a board over the top and you have an adjustable workbench.

Also consider some mezzanine storage. @Escape's workshop has that, and it's very nice to throw larger items like engine blocks and axles up and out of the way.

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4 post all the way . The price of a couple of wheel free jacks should not be a factor in the overall cost of a build of this scale.

Plenty of free standing mobile scissor lifts about that don't need any additional civil engineering .A good size concrete apron in front of the doors would allow it's use inside or outside. 

Recessing the 4 post lift to level the platform to finished floor height will be the single most useful feature you incorporate.

Allowing for a overhead lifting rail with it's carriage  centred over the lift is worthwhile with it being a new build, but as mentioned above a good wheeled gantry like Stellaghost built for his workshop may be more flexible in use?

Steve

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Some great advice there - thanks all.

 

there’s one point I hadn’t mentioned - I can’t lift the roof. For a number of reasons, the ridge height can’t really go above 4.2m (visibility, blocking views etc.)

 

In the model above this building the ridge is actually only 3.9m which means that even though it’s massive it still falls under permitted development, so no planning permission needed - though is subject to building regs. I could increase the height by 300mm all round but that’s not a lot of gain compared to the hassle (and delay) of going through planning.

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33 minutes ago, twodoorgaz said:

In the model above this building the ridge is actually only 3.9m which means that even though it’s massive it still falls under permitted development, so no planning permission needed - though is subject to building regs. I could increase the height by 300mm all round but that’s not a lot of gain compared to the hassle (and delay) of going through planning.

Can you go for a flat roof instead?

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Flat isn’t an option unfortunately. If positioned >2m from the boundary (which this is) then or permitted development lets you go to 4m height with a dual pitched roof and only 3m with any other design (flat, pent, etc). In any case, the eave height is set at 2.5m max.

 

Going through planning really isn’t a problem - it’d cost me about £650 extra and would certainly be approved. But I’d be doing it for the sake of 300mm of extra height (due to any higher blocking my partner’s views from another aspect) - which isn’t needed as I can comfortably fit any of the lift options at full height in the middle bay of the existing design. Plus it would certainly add 8-weeks to the process - which means keeping my vehicles and tools in storage for another 2 months (+£500).

 

mezanines, etc are all out - so it’s just the lift decision to make.

Edited by twodoorgaz
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Nothing to do with lifts, but on the general design it would be most useful to install water, both cold and hot, if possible, for hand washing.  And while you're at it, a toilet, or at least a urinal, it takes up less room.  It's a b****r having to take your hoes off to go into the house for a pee.

Mike

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8 hours ago, Troll Hunter said:

Nothing to do with lifts, but on the general design it would be most useful to install water, both cold and hot, if possible, for hand washing.  And while you're at it, a toilet, or at least a urinal, it takes up less room.  It's a b****r having to take your hoes off to go into the house for a pee.

Mike

He’s a Manc - he’ll go in a can and call it Bodingtons…😜

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Make it bigger!!!!

Planning is not that big an expense (£650 + £500 for your 2 moths extra storage) in the the grand scheme of things. You will never regret it being bigger, but will always curse it being too small for the want of £1150.

After that I'd look at insulation, good lighting and security. Depends on what your area is like, but it will look like a nice big target to agricultural thieves. Steel door 6mm thick with reinforced hinges, make sure that the walls don't end at head height so the gits can peal back the metal skin and just climb in, secure storage for your tools (especially the ones the f**kers can use to cut the 6mm door open from the inside). The finish off with an alarm/camera system.

Adrian 

 

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Thanks all.

 

As mentioned the size restriction is more driven by the visibility of the thing in the garden rather than trying to avoid planning. Its just so happens that with a clever roof design I wouldn't need planning at all.

 

...or so I thought. I had read everything I could find on permitted development and it wasn't until I read Steve B's comment above that I used different search terms on Google which brought up a previously unseen page - it looks like a recent change has come in that would restrict the floor area down to 30m2 before planning is needed. So joy - off to planning, in which case I'll eek out every dimension I can.

 

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I use a two poster a lot - it's useful but far from ideal. May favourite set up, simply for versatility is a four poster with parallel locking beams and a cross jack. They aren't expensive second hand. if you shop around the bankrupt stock auctions. Do't go hydraulic, go electric screw, simpler, easier to maintain. I would suggest that you make the roof higher and try and get a 3.5 tonne four post. Height is always useful and four tonnes allows you to work on modern LR stuff, if you want to

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As you are going planning permission, can you raise the roof in one part of the workshop? Site the lift there. Compromise on the view a little bit?

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It seems I may be the only one with this opinion but to me a 2 poster is far more versatile than a 4 poster. Gives a lot more access to the vehicle especially suspension and brakes as leaning into the wheel wells over the bed of a 4 poster always did my back in.
 

I think you really need to consider what work you are realistically going to be doing the most on what vehicles and plan around that. A 4 poster would be lovely for transmission jobs on defenders day in day out but if what you actually end up doing more than anything is lifting bodies off Discovery 3s/4s or brakes on your friends hatchbacks (who are going to come out of the woodwork when you have a nice workspace with lift 😂) then a 4 poster is going to be as welcome as a fart in a space suit.

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1 hour ago, Hollywood500 said:

It seems I may be the only one with this opinion but to me a 2 poster is far more versatile than a 4 poster. Gives a lot more access to the vehicle especially suspension and brakes as leaning into the wheel wells over the bed of a 4 poster always did my back in.
 

I think you really need to consider what work you are realistically going to be doing the most on what vehicles and plan around that. A 4 poster would be lovely for transmission jobs on defenders day in day out but if what you actually end up doing more than anything is lifting bodies off Discovery 3s/4s or brakes on your friends hatchbacks (who are going to come out of the woodwork when you have a nice workspace with lift 😂) then a 4 poster is going to be as welcome as a fart in a space suit.

Hence the locking beam suggestion - does away with working on suspension at full droop all the time

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I haven't read through everything but why do you appear to be discounting used lifts?

I picked up a wheel alignment / MOT test bay spec 4 poster (wheels free bars, two jacking beams and those tiddly things for the front wheels) for £400.

They come up fairly often that cheap but you do have to collect. Easy enough though with a trailer.

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6 minutes ago, Ed Poore said:

I haven't read through everything but why do you appear to be discounting used lifts?

I picked up a wheel alignment / MOT test bay spec 4 poster (wheels free bars, two jacking beams and those tiddly things for the front wheels) for £400.

They come up fairly often that cheap but you do have to collect. Easy enough though with a trailer.

It's a steal

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On 1/3/2023 at 1:05 PM, twodoorgaz said:

t looks like a recent change has come in that would restrict the floor area down to 30m2 before planning is needed. So joy - off to planning, in which case I'll eek out every dimension I can.

How recently? I looked a few years ago and it was based on curtilage. I.e. No more than 50%, given I have a 4.5 acre garden means with half an acre for the house I could have a 2 acre garage :D. Falls into building regs but not planning.

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