Full Version: Vintage cars on 2 post lifts
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I am about to move house to a new place with what is basically my ideal garage. Large (100 sqm) with a high roof. My brother in law happens to work for a company that sells garage equipment. You might see where this is going....

It turns out 2 post hoists are reasonably affordable (especially when you get a staff discount) but talking to someone knowledgeable about such things they said vintage cars don't do well on 2 post type hoists. 

One thing was they can be tricky to lift and balance as they have a chassis not a uni-body and you have to lift that. I don't imagine that's too bad if you're careful?

Also that older cars aren't designed to be lifted by their chassis and have the suspension and wheels hanging unsupported. I don't think that's much issue at home. I am pretty sure on my Riley 9 with an under slung rear if you lift the chassis up the rear axle ends up resting on the chassis rail.

But he also mentioned that can cause issues with WOFs (NZ version of the UK MOT we have to have done every 6 months) where they lift an older car on a 2 post and then complain there is wear in suspension components when they are looking and testing them in a position they are never supposed to operate in. Apparently that's not an issue on modern cars. I know some testing stations are clueless about older cars anyway and think ANY end float in anything is bad since all they know is modern cars.

Has anyone come across this or know anything about it?

A 4 post hoist is an option too of course (but more expensive). As long as they are narrow enough for an Austin 7 and Riley 9 to fit on! 

I think the other thing with a 4 post is you could safely store a car on one and park another underneath. In shaky old NZ (especially near Wellington) I wouldn't think it safe to have a car supported by a 2 post only in case of earthquakes.

Maybe any sort of hoist is just an extravagance and the money better spent on other things?

I always regret not having a pit dug when my garage was built. Sadly, it's on solid rock.
Problem is if its just for a seven modern ramps are too big and take up too much floor space in a normal garage.
I compromised with a scissor lift.It does have its limitations,only lifts to 1.2mtrs and you can only work under one end .
This was off Ebay less than £1200.I added the channels instead of using the arms that came with it and cross beams to jack the axles off the ramp when then car is lifted.
I think most of the "advice" in the first post was just cobblers as long as the car is properly balanced there is no problem lifting an A7 on a two post lift. However... a 2 poster does have to have a sound base to mount the pillars. An 8" concrete slab is recommended. They are pretty cheap these days particularly if you can collect and fit yourself. I keep thinking about one, but someone else says no. If my bonds come up I would buy a moveable single pillar lift as it can be moved out of the way when not in use. A four post lift with runners is normally adjustable for the track of a small car such as an Austin. Not much use if you have a Reliant though!
If you are concerned about lifting on the chassis , you could use channel section across the two post lift arms. You would obviously have to anchor the channels to the lifting pads, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem.
I use a 2 post one and lift from between the wheels under the chassis cross rails, it's a neat fit. You can also dump an 8 x 4 sheet of ply on it for an adjustable height bench when you're short of clear space. I once lifted the austin onto the back of my then Ford F100 to take it to a distant rally (1500miles),
Mine has the lifting cables running across the floor between the posts and the resulting bump is a pain to sweep around, There are some models that the cables go across a gantry overhead leaving the floor clear. They tend to be quite tall and would not have fitted my shed. An indispensable addition to your workshop.
I should say it wouldn't be used just for an A7. There is a Riley 9 and an MGB as well as my Gfs modern car. And whatever else I get in the future having a shed big enough for another car now. Plus whatever people who find out you have a hoist end up asking to put on it!

Using channel across or making some kind of cradle that fits under the 7 and onto the lift is a good idea. I am thinking if you made something that fits across the arms you could also use that to lift out engines maybe? For the A7 I just used a portable painting scaffold with a chain block and that worked fine. With a hoist I think as long as the load is balanced across the posts it is fine.

I have heard the ones with the hump or plate that goes across the floor between posts can be annoying if you want to use gearbox lifting type jacks which need to roll across the floor. I think now most of them come with everything strung across the top. The ones with cables across the top often have a roof bump switch mechanism on them too.

The pad thickness is important. At least 100mm seems to be the recommended on the modern lifts (the smaller 4000kg/10000lbs) ones. One bit of advice I saw from someone installing them was drill right though the slab. That way if the dynabolts ever fail or need replacing you can hammer them down out of the way as you can never get them to pull back up and out. I think they use 20mm or 3/4" diameter bolts.

I am still not sure about old cars not liking their suspension hanging. I think on the Riley the real axle will just end up resting on the chassis rail as it's underslung but that's not going to cause any issues. MG front suspension has no problem either. At the rear there are rubber axle straps to support it.

There are several brands my brother in laws company sells. Summit and Rotary. I think the Summit brand is Australian and Rotary, which seem to be well known and have a good reputation, are US. For something I want to install once and that needs to be well made and safe I want to go with something good quality. I don't think I would trust some of the cheaper brands and definitely don't want to buy one off Aliexpress!

Thanks for the comments. most helpful.

I have always lifted my car under the chassis crossrails and have left it on axle stands like that so I see no reason for not using a two post lift on a Seven.

I have something similar to this and find it to be one of the most useful tools - ever.

It is very adaptable and suits all of my cars. It can moved about and driven over with ease.

Mine has it's own electric hydraulic pump so has no need to be connected to an air line. I went for this over a two poster because I was concerned about the balance when taking off back axle and engines out etc.
I do find it hard to get my arms to reach in far enough for some of my narrow cars. When you use most of your reach just getting far enough inboard to reach the frame rail, you don't have much fore-aft left. My Herald comes to mind. The frame is like 2 "Y's" tucked in at the tunnel. It's hard to reach the frame where it's near the wheels because you used so much reach getting in to a 5' wide car. No way you are reaching the inboard rails along the tunnel. I have yet to try the Ruby. It's a foot narrower and the frame is pretty narrow at the front. The posts are around 10' apart. Getting out of a modern's doors is tricky. You may have to use the window to exit a full size pickup. If I move the posts in, it becomes a little-car only proposition. It is an Atlas 9000 "asymmetrical". It was the same size as their 7000. I've used channels across the arms to lift tractors and straps to pick a riding mower. Once you get it you'll think of ways to do all sorts of stuff. Put QD's on the hydraulic line and you have a power pack for your hydraulic goodies Smile Mike
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