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Vehicle lifts / inspection pits

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ranald
Posts: 276
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:21 am
Location: North Wales

Vehicle lifts / inspection pits

Post by ranald » Wed May 15, 2019 11:44 am

I'm about to extend my garage and thinking about a pit or a vehicle lift. Has anyone recent experience who can offer their feedback? Thanks, Ranald

Sydsmith
Posts: 746
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:15 pm
Location: Aberystwyth Wales

Re: Vehicle lifts / inspection pits

Post by Sydsmith » Wed May 15, 2019 5:09 pm

Without doubt, if you have the option, a vehicle lift every time Ranald.

When I built my big double garage I opted for a pit to be able to use the roof space for storage, which has worked very well, but, the pit has been a menace, apart from the fact it slowly fills with water despite my every effort to waterproof it. It takes months to fill but there is always some water in it,even a small amount is a pain in the neck everything you drop gets wet. It is also not easy to position the car in the perfect position to work on, it is always too far forward or too far back.

My neighbour on the other hand opted to fit a car lift and kindly allows me to use it when he is home and has not got a car on it, he has an E type a 1928 Morris Oxford and a Morris 1000 estate, the lift is perfect for all three.

Sadly I opted for a truss roof so I am stuck with what I have got apart from major carpentry on the roof. Syd

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Vortex O'Plinth
Posts: 785
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:15 pm
Location: Gloucestershire

Re: Vehicle lifts / inspection pits

Post by Vortex O'Plinth » Wed May 15, 2019 5:20 pm

Many years ago I excavated a 'mini-pit' in my garage that over the years has been very useful, although its practicality is certainly limited by its stunted dimensions (65" long by 36" wide by 24" deep). The depth was dictated primarily by the prevailing water table, the width is about right and the length is too short.
P1320126.JPG


After digging out the soil the hole was concrete lined and tanked with bitumen. Its perimeter was defined by 2" x 2" steel channel set so that the flange was level with the plastic tiled floor and when not in use it's covered with lengths of 6" x 2" timber.
P1320127.JPG
The limited depth made steps unnecessary. The bottom is covered with horsebox foam matting which is durable and comfortable to sit or kneel on.

A practical pit needs to be longer than the vehicle being worked on (not the case with mine) to allow easy access, and ideally deep enough to stand in comfortably (also not the case with mine).

Despite its limited size mine has proved indispensable for spending many happy hours fitting and adjusting the Dart exhaust, and it was fine for removing the (very heavy) Ford Zodiac Mk4 gearbox and overdrive from under my Gilbern.

Vehicle lifts are nowadays priced within the reach of the serious home mechanic, and provided you have the headroom, are a much more flexible solution than a pit.
Nick

Pas d'elle yeux Rhône que nous.

Big Col
Posts: 385
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 12:45 pm
Location: Leeds

Re: Vehicle lifts / inspection pits

Post by Big Col » Wed May 15, 2019 9:43 pm

I have had a pit, a scissor lift and a four poster. The pit was in my last garage and the reason one is not in my new garage is due to its limitations. The one I’ve not had is a two poster. Luckily I now have both scissor an four poster.
The scissor was an excellent starting point but limited in a lot of ways. The four poster is by far the most versatile.
You can Drive on for inspections and things like fitting exhausts etc. You have Double decker storage. You can jack up (get one with a jack) and prop up as needed when the wheels need to come off. You can sling from the runners to lift the chassis or sub frames. You can make a tent around the frame for a make shift spray booth.

The one thing I would advise is to decide weather to sink it in for straight run on (that could limit double decking or to utilise run on ramps (need shallow ramps for low cars).

The dart is over the scissor, hence the running boards needed to clear the underside.
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Colin,
I may be slow but I’m rough as well !

bop
Posts: 96
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:26 am
Location: Alberta Canada

Re: Vehicle lifts / inspection pits

Post by bop » Wed May 15, 2019 10:50 pm

Hi Ranald
I have a scissor lift similar to one below
s-l500.jpg
My ceiling height forced me to this type of lift.

Positives
1. being portable it is easy to move about.
2. I found it excellent for body work and painting. You don't have to bend down to get botttom area of car and no posts to interfer with flow of paint gun pattern.
Negatives
1. found had to build ramps (because lift sits too high off ground) to drive car over lift. If you sink it into floor you loose portability
2. the lift design is not good for working under car to do things like dropping sump of engine or transmission. One of the rams or lift beams always seems to be in the way!

Do I like my lift, yes. Do I wish it could do more, of course. If I had more ceiling height I would probably keep it and buy a 2 post.

Bob

ranald
Posts: 276
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:21 am
Location: North Wales

Re: Vehicle lifts / inspection pits

Post by ranald » Thu May 16, 2019 8:25 am

Thanks for all these replies. Keep them coming! My garage is currently 6m x 4m and has a ceiling giving 92” of height. I’m extending to make it 3.5m longer. i’m going to have as much height as i can in the extended part, so could have a 2 post lift although i would have to reverse the car into the space so that the saloon body lifts up into the highest part of the garage. I had also thought about a 3.5m long pit as the build hasn’t started and now would be the time to make that decision. Yours, In a Quandary Ranald

migray
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:31 pm
Location: Bakewell

Re: Vehicle lifts / inspection pits

Post by migray » Thu May 16, 2019 8:58 am

I installed a mech-mate pit when I built my garage 14 years ago https://www.mech-mate.co.uk/
It has the advantage of being sealed against water as it is a GRP moulding you set in the ground so stays dry, it also has installed lighting and power. I have found it very useful though the version I have means you need to turn the car round if you want to work on the other end of the car.

Mike

ranald
Posts: 276
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:21 am
Location: North Wales

Re: Vehicle lifts / inspection pits

Post by ranald » Thu May 16, 2019 3:21 pm

Thanks Mike. Which model of Mech-mate pit do you have?

migray
Posts: 112
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:31 pm
Location: Bakewell

Re: Vehicle lifts / inspection pits

Post by migray » Thu May 16, 2019 11:30 pm

I have the SP241 - 2.4m long. The depth is quite convenient, it has a sliding seat and a sliding tool tray.

Mike

ranald
Posts: 276
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:21 am
Location: North Wales

Re: Vehicle lifts / inspection pits

Post by ranald » Fri May 17, 2019 8:40 am

Thanks Mike. Useful information.

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