Lift alternative for my small garage

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Lift alternative for my small garage

Post by svwilbur »

I have wanted a 2 or 4 post lift, forever. But my garage is too small and my driveway is too sloped to put one outdoors without spending tens of thousands to get county permits, easements from neighbors, diverting significant water flows, pouring a significant slap with anchors, running more power etc. etc. etc.....

So then I was left with what can I do. I have been using small hydraulic floor jacks and jack stands. They kind of work but I can not get them high enough to comfortably get under the roadster. You can buy 6 ton 26 inch jack stands which would help a lot but I live in earthquake country (California) where you can be under the car and a earthquake hit at any second and find yourself wishing you were not under there. The jack stands can just topple over and your only saving item might be the hydraulic jacks. That assumes you can find a hydrolic jack that will go up 26 inches or so. I have never felt real comfortable with either one of those.

So I started looking at alternatives like scissor lifts, but they don't have access from the side or underneath as the scissors get in the way. They only give access to the front or back and I am not sure I would want to be under one. And they use hydraulics which I don't care to mess with as many are made in China and can have issues with pumps, hoses, cylinders etc. And the hoses and pump/drive systems are separate and lay on the floors and get in the way for me.

I looked at QuickJack which was not bad but is limited in lift height and uses hydraulics and requires a separate pump to get in your way and is a bit on the not too very stout side. The way it is designed I could only get under the car from the front as the rear is not very accessible in the garage for me and the sides are blocked by the QuickJack design. There is a fairly good comparison of it with another more expensive lift called an ezcarlift here ... kjack.html

Reading that comparison from Quickjack convinced me to seriously consider the ezcarlift, which I am sure was not what they had planed. I read a lot of reviews on various forums and everyone that purchased a ezcarlift really liked it. I spoke with the designer/seller of the ezcarlift and he was very interesting and easy to talk with.

Some benefits to ezcarlift that I found:

ezcarlift raises up to 26 inches where the Quickjack only goes to 16.5 inches 18.2 inches in there biggest model
ezcarlift is 120-145 lbs assembled, each side is about 50-60 lbs where Quickjack weighs between 180-242 lbs.
ezcarlift is only 60 inches long (60 inches just fits nicely from the side to slide the lift in between the tires) the Quickjack is 62 to 72 inches long depending on model
ezcarlift is more portable to use it at home, at the track, on your driveway, or on your compacted yard with optional metal foot plates.
ezcarlift goes up vertical but QuickJack pivots 8-12 inches backwards as it is raised the car up requiring more room and planning.
ezcarlift uses you 8.5 amp drill to raise and lower the lift, Quickjact uses hydraulics (pumps, cylinders, hoses, remote buttons, which may at some point fail
ezcarlift has cross bar connectors between the two lifts giving it stability and one is the drive mechanism, QuickJack is independent which gives unobstructed view but is less stable
ezcarlift says not to remove the rear cross bar when elevated. Some people that use it do remove the rear one occasionally so it does not block access to differential of exhaust. If you do this it would appear that it is still safer than the Quickjack which has no cross support. no horizontal stability. But Ezcarlift says not to do it in their literature and a warning on the lift's cross bar.

The ezcarlift uses your 8.5 amp 1/2 drill to raise and lower the lift. It takes longer to lift than the Quickjack. But then the ezcarlift can go higher too. And you do not have any hydraulics to mess with or hoses or pumps to go out. ezcarlift uses a screw mechanism to raise it with built in safety device. I did not have that powerfull of a drill so I bought a Rigid R50111.

So I went with the excarlift as I wanted the extra height. I thought it would be good to provide extra space for me as I am a bit on the large size. Also the higher it can go up the less I have to bend over when working on the engine or other areas outside and around the roadster.

With it up at the 26" lift level that places the top of the front fender at about chest height. I am 6 feet tall. See the attached picture.
Also with the gearing mechanism you have infinite height adjustments between 6" and 26". basically any height you want in there. Nice and slow movements so you can easily adjust it as needed.

I purchased a Williams 42301 creeper off amazon, it is a company owned by Snap-On and is warranted though Snap-on. It is made in Georgia, USA at the Williams site. It was one of the few that is actually suppose to be able to hold someone that is 250-350 lbs or more. I am 255.

When I am on the creeper there is still plenty of room to get under the roadster without feeling cramped. I probably do not need it all the way up.
The whole front suspension to the back of the oil pan is accessible. By going in from the side pretty much everything else is accessible or from the rear. With my creeper it would be hard to squeeze between the legs from the front as the spacing is dictated by the size of the cross brace spacers. You would have to scoot side to side to get the wheels to clear with the 37 inch spacers.

I bought the ezcarlift with a 37 inch spacer bars, that is the cross bar support between the two lift sides. One end, the driving spacer, has a connecter rod and gears that drive both sides of the lift so it raises equally on both sides. The other spacer is a slave and does not do anything but provide extra stability and spaces the two lifts so that they are equal with the other end with the driving spacer.

The 37 inch space gives the correct spacing to rest under the narrower front frame and the wider rear frame of the Roadster. Each lift side is 10 inches wide but they recommend that you only use the center 6 inches of each lift side, leaving 2 inches of spacing on either side.

If I had gone with the 40 inch spacers the creeper could fit through the arms better but the support for the front frame would be too wide to support it the way I wanted to.

Having to use spacers (to drive the raising and lowering mechanism) means that for different cars, frame (narrower) versus unibody (wider) you have to have different spacers, each set is sold separately about $110 to $170 each. Most are $110, odd sizes are $170 a set.

The 37 inch spacer set is correct for the roadster frame. Ezcarlift also has a 40 inch one but that would be a little too wide to cover the front frame area safely in my opinion. Also if it were wider it would probably not fit through the front tires like it does now as an alternate way to get the lift in or out.

My 57 Chevy truck needed a 45 inch set of cross spacers and my 97 Camaro, 2003 ford focus, 90 240sx and 94 300zx all can use the 59 inch set of spacers for use on or next to the lip edge of their unibody where you would use a car jack.

But anyways I got the ezcarlift. as it fits in my garage where a normal 2 or 4 post lift would never fit with a car in the other stall. I can just slide it under the side of the truck parted next to it when I want it out of the way. I hardly ever use the truck. You can also slide it out and set it up against a wall or take of 8 bolts or nuts and separate it from the spacer/cross bars and store it between studs on your wall or put it in a larger vehicle for transport.

The ezcarlift is pricy $2095, on sale occasionally for 1825 or so plus 90-150 for shipping and whatever your sales tax is and any other accessories or additional spacer bars for different sized frames or wider unibody cars.

For that kind of money if you have lots of garage space you can possibly buy a cheap 2 or 4 post lift. But throw in the extra shipping for several hundred more pounds and paying someone to move it around for you to your home or moving a 300+ pound lift tower around might be an issue for some. And throw in the extra 110-220 electric lines for the power for a 2 post lift and fixing your garage for the correct anchor pads and you start running up the total budget for doing a 2 or 4 post lift. But those are so nice.

But anyways I did not have the room for those. As much as I wanted one it is not in the cards. So I had to settle for something less. The ezcarlift appears to fit the bill for me for the time being. It is a big upgrade from jack stands and a normal hydraulic floor jack.

I just got it yesterday and have not given it much of a test yet but so far it is looking good for what I need.

**** One issue is that it fits under the roadster no problem right now but after I put some comp front springs on it to lower it I will have to jack it up about an inch or so to be able to get the ezcarlift under it or I will have to drive up on a 2x12 or something. ****

Attached are a few pictures for those that might be interested in the fit for a roadster.

I have it up at almost to 26 inches which is it's limit. The front sway bar supports are up at 29 inches high. Some people would normally put jack stands under those. I guess if I dropped it 3 inches I could put some 6000 lb 26 inch jack stands under there for added safety? Not sure that would really help in case of earthquakes as mentioned before. Maybe it would give some people more piece of mind. But the ezcarlift is pretty stout. It seems to be a quality USA build product.

I guess I do not have a reason to not keep it cleaner under there now!!!!
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Stacey Wilbur
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Re: Lift alternative for my small garage

Post by FergO2k »

I had seen one of these demo'd at a car show, but nothing like seeing them in the actual application, and all the things you point out (portability, no need for re-wiring the chosen spot) is worth a lot in decreased hassle.
They look to be built real sturdy like you said. In our old "shop", we had some end cuts of railroad ties (14" square, from memory) that we would put under cars at nite in case of earthquake, or if we were really cranking on stuff while on jackstands.
Great set of pics, thanks.
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Re: Lift alternative for my small garage

Post by S Allen »

That does look like a great solution and appears to be well built. Portable is always good. I use my four post a lot but I have plenty of room. Nice to have a lift of any kind. Agreed-great pics of your lift in action.

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