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Not so Janky Car lift

This is kind of out of character for this site, but I somewhat recently bought a 2 post mid-rise car lift for my home garage and I love it so much I want to make you own one. I managed to pick mine up used for $1500, but it was in good condition and came with new anchor bolts so it was pretty much good to go.

20160417_171127I have 100 inch tall ceilings in my garage with the door closed which is way too short for a full size 2 post lift which require usually 14 feet, so I had been kind of passively looking around for a lift that would work for my application.  I have plenty of experience with 2 and 4 post lifts from working at a ford dealer in my early 20’s, and certainly wanted the wheel and suspension access provided by a 2 post. I also prefer symmetrical 2 posts so I can put a car on forward or backwards and they seem a little more forgiving on vehicle placement although you sacrifice the ability to fully open car doors.

The specific model I have is the Kernel Longhorn 6000 lb portable 2 post lift. It has 2 separate posts each with a direct attached hydraulic ram setup, 2 swinging arms and a hydraulic hose quick attachment. It also has a ‘power unit’, which will sit in front of the car, with the motor and fluid reservoir and attachment points for a hydraulic hose to go to each post. I really like that the motor uses a 110v plug, although the cord is very short (maybe 2 feet), and starting the motor multiple times in a short period will trip my 15 amp breaker in my house.

20160715_094121Unfortunately it doesn’t have automatic locks, you have to lift the car and then insert metal bars into each post which is kind of inconvenient. However, when you are sitting on a rolling chair underneath your car changing an a/c compressor or chasing down an exhaust leak, I promise you the slight inconveniences will quickly fade. With my garage door closed I can lift my 99 Camaro all the way up and roll around on a short stool, or with the door open I can lift it 1 position lower and still be able to comfortably sit on the floor and work. Either way, it is exponentially better than working with a floor jack.

The original install of the lift was actually kind of involved and required drilling 10 1 inch diameter holes in the concrete floor so you definitely want to make sure you measure plenty of times before you drill. Be sure to pull your vehicles in and make sure to test if the arms will reach the lifting points before you drill. I almost followed some internet advice on post spacing without testing and found out I would have been 10 to 20 inches too wide for any of my vehicles. I guess most of the people who buy these lifts own corvettes which have some crazy lifting points and require like 130 inches of post spacing, I placed mine to 110 inches apart and I have had lifted a Camaro, BRZ, Sonoma, and Scion TC with plenty of room to open car doors.

20160525_191231After you get your correct placement I took a sharpie and traced the outline of the post and holes which made drilling easier.  Drilling was by far the hardest part since I used a regular hammer drill and not an SDS. I found the cheapest 1″ bit was an SDS bit but I managed to cut off the end with a cut off wheel so I could use it in the regular drill without it wobbling.

This was certainly a pricey tool, but the convenience cannot be paralleled in any “cookie cutter” style house garage. I noticed my friends coming over more often with car parts, and a few neighbors were interested in paying me to fix their cars since if you have a lift you apparently look like you know how to fix a car.

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Matt Martin
The only person insane enough to make a stupid website like this.

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