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I’m looking for a new house, planning to move sometime in the summer. This will be a long term residence and I want to put in a lift. Needs to be big enough to get the race car or a street car over my head... not looking for one of those 4’ scissor lifts (2 post?). So I’m wondering how high the ceilings need to be to make this happen, and do I need a special garage door (space depending)? It is very unlikely that we would buy a house without a garage where I could then build a dream garage, so I will be sorta stuck with whatever is already there. Basic math says around 10’ ceiling needed, wondering if you have advice or experience here. 

TIA

Edited by enginerd
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This information is all based on my research into installing a lift in my current garage, a project I have yet to complete:

 

An open-top 2 post lift you'd want at least 10 feet (unless you're short like me). Most basic 2-post lifts that have an overhead bar require 12 feet of ceiling clearance, though some are adjustable.

 

The other primary consideration is the thickness of the concrete pad. For a 7000lb lift, you need at least 4", though it is possible to put footings in if the floor isn't thick enough. 

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I have put 4-post lifts into garages at three of my houses. 

You are correct that you should aim for ~10'-0" ceilings assuming that you are looking to do a 4-post. A standard garage door opening is fine, but you'll need to rework the door track to hug the ceiling. Even tight, you'll lose at least 6" of ceiling height. 

If you're using a garage door opener, I recommend the Liftmaster "Jackshaft" openers such as the 8500. These mount on the front wall at either side of the garage door instead of the ceiling. 

Stay away from the junk lifts and stick with a larger manufacturer like Bend Pak or Rotary. The quality will be very evident in the construction of the posts, runways, etc.. 

 

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I have a two post lift and 12' ceilings, seems "just right" to me, but I had the lift already and built the garage with it in mind. 

10' might be OK for a racecar, but not a taller vehicle like an SUV. 

Like @Snorman said you will want a "wall mounted" garage door opener, I modified the tracks on my door so that the vertical section is taller to the "top" of the door doesn't come as far "into" the garage when open. 

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  • Technical Advisory Committee

10’ will generally require the cables run under the lift, which sucks because it’s right where your stuff needs to be to remove transmissions or whatever.  It’s a metal speed bump basically.

with a 10’ at my old shop I was able to stand up under a standard car (e30, focus, vette, etc) but not under anything midsize (minivans, crv, s10).  A rolling office chair works pretty well to still allow good working access.

 

10’ can work, but  12’ is way better and opens up the market for a used 2post which can almost always be found in my area for $1500-2k

 

placement and size is also important.  I’ll send you a drawing tomorrow.  Length Placement will depend on what vehicles you plan on putting on it.  One of my lifts is specifically for e30s or other short cars, while the other can lift my truck with the door closed.
For width, a standard 2 car garage (in NC anyway), to be able to put a lift it will basically become a 1 car garage, or the lift post will be slam up against the footing and you will have trouble working on that side of the car.

 

i was told that the concrete rules are different depending on the lift.  An asymmetrical lift will need stronger concrete than a symmetrical one.  A 4 post can go on pretty much anything.  For a 2 post symmetrical  I was told 3” was ok in some situations, but there’s like 8” plus in my shop so ymmv 


 

another issue we have in NC is steel beams across garages.  My home garage has 13’ ceilings but a 2’ beam supporting the bonus room above.   I still bought because with the length I could place the lift where the beam would be in front of the windshield on shorter cars, so I could still install a lift if I wired in an additional stop bar on the beam.

 

i have a buddy here down the street who had a lower ceiling in his shop but just an attic with rafters above.  He was able to carefully construct his used 2 post to have the cross bar run above the ceiling in the attic space, and just installed the stop bar to the drywall ceiling.  Wasn’t fun passing the stuff up into the attic access hole im sure, but that was a one time job.  When he moved he left it.

 

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I bought an old single ram 2 post for $700 that has the cables in the speed bump and a new but off-brand 2 post dual ram for $2500 that has the cables that go over the top. Both get used depending on the job and fit in my 2 car shop.

 

The single ram can go up as high as the dual ram but the ram protrudes upwards above the top of the sides as the hoist goes up, so that limits the travel unless a pocket is cut into the ceiling for the top of the ram. 

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1 hour ago, Chris Huggins said:

This is the kind that drives me nuts.  They work, but if you can avoid the speed bump its better.

TP9KAF-2.jpg?v-cache=1411931554

 

I have that style, I like not having anything above the car.

I built a pocket in the floor when I poured the concrete to keep the "speed bump" flush.

If you can build a racecar you can build a garage.

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I had a 2 post, asymmetric 10k# lift from Forward (Related to Rotary), that was installed (except electric) for around $3200 a couple years ago.  It had no speed bump, but had a 10' limit with the safety bar at the top.  I built the garage with that lift in mind and used 4" concrete for the pad everywhere except where the posts would go, I had 4'x4' pads that were 6" thick and no rebar to make sure the anchors didn't hit one during install.  I built my walls 10'6" so I had room to work above the lift, since I wasn't sure what it would take (ceiling went in after lift too).  Placement in the garage is super important, I put mine too close to the back wall and had almost no room in front of my 3/4 ton pickup when it was on the lift.  I used a standard garage door, but had the tracks run all the way up to the ceiling so I could open and close the door with something on the lift.  No big deal for that, only a minor added expense when installing the door.

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  • 3 months later...
Posted (edited)

A friend is moving to a new shop space (local auto service business) and selling some lifts. I’ll probably get one of these, only 8’ required ceiling height. I’m trying to close on a house now with 10’ ceilings in the garage so it should be just about high enough to work under without much compromise.

 

image.jpeg

Edited by enginerd
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  • Technical Advisory Committee
18 hours ago, enginerd said:

A friend is moving to a new shop space (local auto service business) and selling some lifts. I’ll probably get one of these, only 8’ required ceiling height. I’m trying to close on a house now with 10’ ceilings in the garage so it should be just about high enough to work under without much compromise.

 

image.jpeg


That is going to be epic. 

I better start being nicer to you. 

On 2nd thought........BMW sucks !

spacer.png

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