We are about to move house to a place with one tiny garage but lots of space to build. Do I go for a shop with pit or a lift?
UK building code lets us build garages up 2.5 metres at eaves, max height for pitched roof 4 metres without getting permission. To get the height for a lift I need to submit plans and get permission - haven't yet checked how tricky that would be in this area.
So, do I go for the height to have a lift or will a pit do the job? There are companies that supply ready-made pit liners already wired with lights etc. If a lift is better, 2 or 4 post? All input welcomed!
Your problems with building codes sound significant, but the only way you will know how difficult it would be to get permission to build higher would be to ask. Maybe a sketch with dimensions, which you could do yourself, would suffice. Maybe not.
My mechanic friend has a 2-post lift, which serves him well. Since he is in New Orleans, where digging a pit equals digging a well, a pit is not an option.
I would think the primary difference between a 2-post and a 4-post would be the cost. The difference between a lift that raises the frame of the vehicle, as a 2-post tends to do, and one that raises the platforms that the wheels sit on, as 4-posts tend to do, might be significant in terms of the ease of working on the running gear of the car.
The only thing that immediately comes to mind about the advantage of a lift over a pit is that with a lift you can raise the vehicle only part way, for instance to work on wheels, bearings, brakes, etc. at a convenient height. With a pit, the car is always sitting on its running gear, and to work on those parts you have to jack up what you want to work on, and then work at ground level (Oh, my aching back!).
If neither money nor building codes were a problem, I would think a 2-post lift, which raises the vehicle off its running gear and could be stopped at any convenient height, would be the most desirable.
I don't know the first thing about the building permit process in the UK, but my instincts tell me that if a pit will do the job for you and you can build your garage without government interference, then that's what you should do.
Of course on the other hand, a lift is much more versatile. If you're building a garage for just 1 or 2 of your own T's, then the pit could be OK. If you're going to be out there working on cars all the time, then a lift is a much better choice.
You didn't say what anything about your budget. If it's limited then of course the lower building with a pit may be the best route. If you can afford a bigger taller building then you'd probably be happier with a lift.
As to 2 post or 4 post, I think the things to consider are rated capacity, cost and power requirements.
You said, "All input welcome Dear!" That's mine and it's worth every penny you paid me for it.
I have no clue how the word "Dear" appeared in the last line of my post above. Please ignore it!
If you decide to build a pit be sure to install vented exhaust system in the pit. Solvents create fumes that are heavier then air will collect at the bottom of a pit and become a death trap. Sometimes drainage is an issue when the pit is deeper then sewer drains.
The 4 post lifts are pretty nice, easy to use. The 2 post take fitting of the balance bar to the frame points, on modern not much trouble, on T's a bit of work.
Didn't use the 4 post often on the T's as with sedan or top up, you need a real tall garage! My old garage in the photos, used the 4 post. Nice to store a low car like a 'vette, and could raise the lift and fit another low car under it.
The garage was built 13' walls, and with no attic storage, just open expanse above. Best part was learned from a buddy, that was to add a rear door to the garage, poured a deck out back and that rear area was great for open work, sandblasting, painting, etc. (we did have great neighbors that didn't object to my noise and scents of car oils!)
View from rear garage door.
Have now moved from the city, so don't have that big garage anymore. Really don't find missing the 4 post lift a problem. Can still use the creeper and slide under the T's, lots of clearance under those T's
Was good for placing parts at comfortable work height, did use it for that, when the cars normally parked there were elsewhere.
Take a look at the extensive discussion in early January 2015 on 2 vs. 4 post lifts. I ended up purchasing a 4-post since it gave me one additional space for car storage, plus, you don't have to anchor a 4-post to the floor. It will roll in and out of you garage very easily. The 2-post requires extension risers to lift the car because the running boards are about 10 - 12" lower than the car's frame. I recommend the 4-post lift for more flexibility of use.
Forum 2015: 4 post lift
• 10,000 lbs twin post lift ,300. go get
• 'm sure brand post lift, positive " ... /latches" click lift. friend lift
• get extra high post lift fit older cars
• fortunate buy post retiring mechanic. ... Canadian Hydra Lift 8000 lb capacity.
• James, get lift ? 'm glad ' ... investment. 2000 lb lift may be ok T's,
I know nothing of building codes in the rest of the world but in this country they are usually for fire/safety/storm protection/eyesore protection/commercial and on and property line set backs.I would ask permission and build to use a twin post hoist.Some people would build anything anywhere and often building codes are for your protection?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Thanks gents, very interesting & helpful. To clarify a few points:
Budget is not a problem, we are downsizing in financial terms i.e. moving from expensive suburbs to farming country, so have cash in hand.
I have a T, Model A, V8 Coupe and VW Camper to maintain, so height above the lift is an issue.
The idea of a 4 post on wheels appeals - could roll it out to work on the camper.
I'll vote 4 post on rollers AND a pit
Personally I have a 2 post 8,000 lb rated and I like it fine
But consider I BUILD cars and I find the hoist handy for that
I have considered a pair of "tracks " for drive on work
Obviously you need to balance the load better with a two post
I had a 40' X 20' metallic building garage built in the seventies. Not wanting to go too high, not to mention the expense of a lift, I had a 5' concrete lined pit, dug into the floor of one bay with steps on one end. It served me well while I had it.
I find with my pit it is ok on modern iron, but much of the work on my Ts requires that I stand on a box to reach things because of the height of the chassis above the workshop floor. Have gone a cropper once or twice. I would love a four post hoist, but do not have the clearance above.
Allan from down under.
Jem, you definitely want a 4 post lift. That way you can put just about anything on it provided you don't exceed the weight capacity. I've had one now for going on 3 years and absolutely love it. In the winter I "rack 'em and stack 'em" too!
On a 2 post lift you run the chance of possibly having a car fall off the thing if it isn't perfectly lined up on the supports....recently read where a guy was killed by his car falling off the 2 post lift.
In the olden days I worked on my cars in an old barn with the ability to remove part of the floor - like a pit. I seldom used it because it was in the wrong place and I still needed a jack to do work on the tires.
Today I prefer a two post lift because it allows me to get the car to a working height with lots of room under the ends where I do most of the work.
The problem is that i don't have one and I hate crawling under a car or bending over.
It is hell to get old!!!!
Of course, the easy answer is that you need one of each!
If you can only have one, though, check your local codes with respect to pits. Around these parts pits are now illegal. They banned the digging of new ones on account of potential accidents due to fuel vapor build-up below grade.
I believe insurance companies cringe over the thought of pits, more so than lifts.
I have a 4-post 12,000 pound lift and would have nothing else! The old single post that went into the ground wouldn't accommodate the transfer case on my 4-wheel drive truck. The 2-post crushed the running boards on old cars (or you had to precariously stack things on the ends of the arms and hope the car was balanced.) I have extra width runners, so, without having to move them in or out I can raise things from my Dodge dually down to my 6 wheel Gator. I used to move them in for my golf cart, but, found I can use 3/4 inch plywood to run it across the ramps, then move the wood to work under it. I also got a "rolling jack tray" that rolls front to back between the ramps and holds tools, parts, drip pan, or bottle jack to raise part of the car up to do wheel work at eye level (or any level you want it). There are tall heavy duty jack stands available to allow you to lift the vehicle on the lift, put the stand under the axle near the wheel, for example, and lower the lift a bit "raising" a wheel for brake/wheel work. The older I get, the more I love my lift!
Jem, Mikes comment above is right on. I have a four post lift installed in an open covered attachment to my steel building. I looked into the several alternatives and because we have antiques with running boards, the thought of lifting on a two post lift with significant extensions to the arms didn't sit well with me. I bought a Bendpak four post 9,000 pound lift and love it. There are less expensive ones out there but look them over carefully before you buy.
"you don't have to anchor a 4-post to the floor. It will roll in and out of you garage very easily"
Ifn it rolls so easily, will it not try to roll away when you go to drive a vehicle onto it?
Or is there some sort of mechanism to prevent that?
Ken, these lifts are heavier than crap, and with the special "dolly-lift" mechanism detached, it sits firmly on the cement floor and never moves. At least mine never has in the 3 years I've had it there. There are holes in the base plates to permanently mount them to the floor if one would want to.