This details the building of a drive on 4 post hoist, built almost entirely with materials obtained from a local scrap yard. This hoist is very appropriate for a home shop, or for use in project builds where raising and lowering frequently is not a requirement although the initial 16″ lift (drop leg) can be done in a couple minutes by use of a floor jack. It is EXTREMELY ACCURATE (leveling) and STABLE, of vital importance when building a car, especially in frame work.
While one initial concern is the limited lift height, I point this out,
1) I can touch the car roof to the shop ceiling.
2) You can change the drop legs to longer if desired to gain height.
3) I sit on a low wheeled stool when working underneath
4) Most work is done while standing beside car.
(how much better does it get, I’M SITTING DOWN!, hmm maybe I should get a recliner
This hoist took approximately 40 man hours to build, but that could easily be reduced as I’ve done most of the design and problem solving. I’d suggest 20 hours would build the basic hoist, and perhaps 30 hours to build with the dolly wheels and the rails for the front end dolly. Total cost in my case under $500, depending what you can find at the salvage.
Had I been willing to wait to find the angle material I needed for the tread surfaces, the project price could have been reduced to UNDER $250. I also waited until the jacks I wanted were on sale for ½ price.
The hoist features include:
-Operates under 8 foot ceiling
-Removable casters on drop legs allow movement WITH car
-Quick mount cat walks for mobility around the car in the air
-Rolling jacking platform for suspension work (optional – not complete yet)
-Frame jigging attachments (Optional – coming soon)
-Easy accurate leveling in .05 increments (one handle rotation)
WARNING: These days you have to say this
I have used this hoist for some time, with a 4000lb+ load with NO ISSUES or CONCERNS. While the hoist design is fundamental, proven and in many respects SAFER that those with a cable lift used commercially in shops I make NO GUARANTEES or accept any responsibility or liability if you choose to build this hoist for your self.
NOTE: These are the items I used for this hoist as it was what I had available.
Dimensions could easily be adjusted to better suit your needs or the materials available.
2 – Main Beams: 12’6″ – 4″ x 4″ x ¼” Square Tube
4 – Main Beam Top End Plates: 12″ – 3/8″ x 8″ Flat
4 – Main Beam Bottom End Brackets: 8″ – 5″ x 3″ x ¼” Angle
4 – Tread Surface: 12’6″ – 2 ½” x 2 ½” x ¼” Angle
2 – Cross Beams: 6’8″ – 4″ x 4″ x ¼” Square Tube
8 – Cross Beam Brackets:11″ – 1 ½” x 3/8″ Flat (4 x 11″ – 3/8″ x 6 ½” optional)
4 – Trailer Jacks – The items I used each have a 5000 lb capacity, a square 2 ½” body, and a drop leg
8 – Jack Brackets: 11″ – 2 ½” x 2 ½” x 3/8″ Angle (can use larger dimension)
24 – Jack Bracket Bolts: 2″ – ½” Bolts with hex nuts, flat & lock washers
8 – Main Beam Bolts: 6 ½” x ½” Bolts with Hex nuts, flat & lock washers
4 – Large dia. Casters with a MINIMUM capacity of 1000 lbs. (optional)
Dolly Rails : 2 - 12′ 6″ – 1″ x 1″ x ¼” Angle (optional)
(dolly not yet complete, will add to article when done)