Every one of us has that life-long dream, having our own lift in our garage. Well when it comes down to the time in your life that you can afford it or finally have the room to put it, Which one? There are many different styles and a ton of companies selling them. The decision is not exactly easy. Through the next few articles I hope to finally clear some of the questions up for you.
The first of my topics will be the free standing four-post lift. Anyone with a few magazines laying around has seen about thirty different companies selling them, and they all say that they are the best for some reason. Truth be told, there are two different designs when it comes to these lifts. What is called the inside-plastic slider design and the outside- steel slider design.
When it comes to putting your car above your head or another car this matters and ill explain why in this article. The inside-plastic slider design is the most common and misunderstood design on the market. A lot of people think that because the big commercial lift they see in the local garage is similar to this design its okay to use as a hobby lift. The lift in your local garage is a commercial grade lift that has to be anchored to the ground, and is a lot thicker grade steel. These two factors combined makes those lifts safe, the lift itself being much heavier construction and being anchored to not allow the legs and kind of movement.
Now all of the lifts with this design sold for the home garage are the exact opposite! Most of them are made in China for a reason. Access to cheap materials and cheap unskilled labor. The legs, locking system,runways,and cross members on these lifts are made of a cheap low tensile steel, exact opposite of that impressive looking unit at your local shop. The only thing that hold the runway cross members to the legs are two plastic blocks, that’s right plastic! The leg is a formed channel which allows the cross member to go inside of it with a plastic block on either side for stability. the locking systems are junk, either a block of steel with a tack weld hold it on or a “lock and ladder” with one bolt holding it in. Both are flimsy and unreliable. Now with the combination of the channel leg and cheap locks, what do you trust to hold your car up? If there is any kind of malfunction with this design and the legs are not anchored down what happens? Those infamous pictures everyone has seen in the ads and on the net.
Face it how many of you want to anchor your lift down? If your buying a four post lift its either for storage or minimal maintenance. Your not going to be using it to rebuild cars everyday. Therefore why would you want this permanently placed in your garage. Also with all of these lifts coming from pretty much the same supplier, they all use the same hydraulics systems. Junk throw-away hydraulic cylinders and garbage electric pumps. When they only offer a 90 day warranty on the hydraulic system it shows you that they don’t even have faith in it. The end caps on the cylinder are welded on, which mean if you ever have a seal go bad or need to service the cylinder its impossible. Most of these companies also use a 3/4 in ram which because of the length needed, when put put under pressure doesn’t pull straight which will cause the seals to wear on one side and leak. With the end cap welded on its impossible to change so you now have to replace the whole cylinder instead of a $0.50 seal.
All in all do they work? Most of the time. Will it fail and collapse on you? Probably not, but this design has and will fail again. Do you want to be having these questions running through your head while operating or standing under your lift? No you don’t! Don’t take your chances on being the next victim of this misfortune.
The Outside Steel-slider design is, has been, and will continue to be the best design on the market when it comes to hobbyist and personal mechanics. Its track record proves itself. While having no major failures on record yet, being around 25 years I would say that’s pretty good!
What makes it so safe is the leg/slider design. The leg is a full square tube, not a formed channel. Here at Extreme its American made Structural steel tubing at that. Which is then wrapped with another piece of structural steel tubing forming the slider for the cross members. It has UHMW sliders on all corners to prevent metal on metal friction and hold the leg tightly in place. This also keeps the lift from having any lateral movement like swaying , rocking or any kind of movement to make you not feel comfortable . Unlike our Chinese competitors we do not even offer bolt holes in our feet pads. Face it, when your putting a car up in the air nobody wants it to move and shake! This design also features a unique fail-proof locking system that combines notches actually cut into one side of the leg with the cross member slider to physically pinch the lock so that it can not become disengaged without you physically doing it.
Now say their was some sort of failure like discussed above on this design is it going to fall on me or the car below like the other design? No! with this design it is physically impossible for this lift to fall. If one slider starts to slide without the others moving it literally binds on itself and will not go any further, you simply just pick the lift back up and your good to go. That’s why there are not 15 companies offering this design like the others, it takes skill to make it. A manufacturer can not just simply hire anyone and make these lifts, they have to used quality skilled labor to make them. if the slider is out of square 5 degrees it will bind on itself and not move. They do not have this kind of skill in china, for $0.38 day they’re not going to find it either. they can pop of the channel legs by the thousands though because “they allow wiggle room”.
When it comes to the hydraulics we use a cylinder the has a screwed on end cap to allow if any service is ever needed you don’t have to replace the whole cylinder over a seal. We also use a larger diameter cylinder so that when under a load it pulls straight. Our pumps and cylinders are both American made which is why we can offer a full five year warranty on them, not only the hydraulics though the whole lift. That’s right anything on it in it or part of it is covered for five years. High quality American made air craft grade 3/8 cables not junk Chinese “whatever” grade cables.
When it comes to making a purchase like this, you only want to have to make it once. Just like any other tool in your garage, you get what you pay for. We offer a good quality American made lift at a fraction of our American made competitors. You get the quality, durability and warranty of our over-priced American made competitors at an EXTREMEly good price. Finally someone out there to fill the gap, before you either bought cheap junk or overpriced quality. Extreme Equipment is AFFORDABLE QUALITY!