Hydraulic Repair Iowa - Social Proof
410 Freel Dr Ste 102, Ames, IA 50010 515-292-2599

Adjusting the Level of a Two-Post Lift: A Guide by Hydraulic Repair Near Me

When setting up a Hydraulic Repair Near Me two-post lift, the key is ensuring that the frame contact pads are level. BendPak advises focusing on this aspect over column plumbness. If your floor is completely level, then column alignment is a priority. However, always verify that the pads are at the same height.

What if your garage floor has a slight incline? Most do. Aligning the columns to an inclined floor will result in uneven pads, a significant safety hazard. It’s crucial that the columns are parallel and the pads are as level as possible.

For instance, consider a floor with a one-inch difference from right to left. For a two-post lift with a 145-inch width at the base plates, this translates to less than 1/8 inch per foot, appearing nearly level.

Options for Leveling on a Sloped Surface:

  • Install the lift directly on the sloped floor, using shims to align the columns. This could lead to a one-inch difference in pad height, potentially causing unsafe loading conditions.
  • Place the higher-side column directly on the floor, and elevate the lower-side column with steel shims to compensate for the slope. This method ensures plumb columns and equal pad heights. However, it may reduce the anchor bolt embedment by 25%, potentially causing issues with low-riding vehicles and uneven lifting.

Always aim to level the Hydraulic Repair Near Me pads first, even if it means the columns aren’t perfectly plumb. To ensure they are parallel, lower the lift to the floor and extend the front arms fully. Measure the distance between the front pads at both the bottom and top positions. If the columns are parallel, this measurement won’t change.

Addressing a Misaligned Installation:

If a lift is installed level, but later you find a one-inch height difference between the left and right pads, adjust as follows:

  • Loosen the anchors on both columns.
  • Slightly adjust the left column inward and the right column outward to balance the pad heights.
  • Shim as necessary to level the pads and ensure parallel columns.

Impact of Out-of-Plumb Installation:

Engineering considerations for a lift installed out of plumb, such as a 12,000-lb capacity lift with a 1/2″ shim on one side, include a minimal 1.35-degree tilt in the column. This tilt, while slight, can shift the lift arms horizontally and increase the load on the anchor bolts by 4%. However, since the structural components are designed with high safety factors, they can typically withstand this additional stress.

What are the key distinctions, and when do they matter most?

There are two main methods lift manufacturers use for synchronizing two-post car lifts and maintaining vehicle balance: (1) mechanical cable/wire rope equalization, and (2) hydraulic synchronization. Hydraulic lifts, especially all-hydraulic, direct-drive types, are more suitable and reliable for lifting heavy trucks with uneven weight distribution, such as those equipped with cranes or welding units.

Hydraulic lifts employ a fully hydraulic mechanism to keep the left and right carriages moving at the same rate, a crucial feature when lifting work trucks with uneven weight on either side. Cable-driven lifts, on the other hand, rely on cable tension for balance. These are less safe and reliable due to the inherent risk of cable stretching and fraying, leading to potential uneven lifting if not regularly maintained.

Manufacturers of cable-equalized Hydraulic Repair Near Me lifts acknowledge in their manuals that cables are prone to stretching and fraying, necessitating daily checks and periodic tension adjustments to maintain carriage synchronization. The risk is that a stretched or improperly installed cable can cause uneven carriage movement and misalignment of safety locks.

This leads to a critical question for prospective buyers: Why invest in a lift that requires constant monitoring and adjustments for safe operation? Hydraulic, direct-drive lifts eliminate these safety concerns.

It’s also emphasized in manufacturer literature that the weight on each axle should not surpass half of the lift’s total capacity. This applies to both the rear and front axles and extends to the side-to-side weight distribution: neither side of the truck should exceed the capacity of the lift’s arms on either column.

In the context of heavy-duty work trucks with additional equipment like welding units or cranes, front-to-rear and side-to-side weight variances can significantly strain the lift. For instance, a F450 with a heavy rear-mounted welding unit can quickly overstress a cable-equalized system, causing synchronization issues and wear on components like plastic slide blocks and cable sheaves.

Given these drawbacks and safety risks, many conclude that cable-driven lifts are not suitable for heavy-duty trucks with substantial weight differences across various axes. A fully hydraulic system, in contrast to a cable system prone to stretching and wear, offers a safer, more dependable, and longer-lasting lifting solution.

Guide to Safely Positioning Your Truck on a Hydraulic Repair Near Me Two-Post Lift

Verify Safety and Load Capacity

Prior to using the lift, confirm the truck’s weight is within the lift’s capacity. Ensure your lift complies with ANSI/ALI ALCTV-2011 or ANSI/UL 201 certifications for safety standards.

Prepare the Area

Clear any obstructions around the lift. The required space should be ample and accessible, with a level surface devoid of bumps or inclines to prevent accidents.

Align the Truck

Center your truck between the lift’s columns, using the guide to correctly align with the spotting dish. Ensure the vehicle is centered on the lift platform, with even spacing on both sides.

For automatic transmission trucks, engage the parking brake for added security. For manual transmissions, set the gear to first and place wheel chocks behind the rear wheels.

Select Suitable Adapters

Check that your adapters are adequately high to contact the truck’s lift points simultaneously. Trucks may need special adapters for sufficient clearance between the Hydraulic Repair Near Me lift arm and the rocker panel. Some adapters come with stacking pegs for added height and stability.