Lotus Elan

Two-post lift or Four-post lift for S4 Elan?

PostPost by: TonyWalker » Sat Mar 27, 2021 4:39 pm

Hello everyone,

I have a 1971 Elan SE. I also have a small garage and am looking for a suitable lift. I can just about squeeze in a 4 post lift (with posts up against side walls) but am also thinking about 2 post lifts too as they would give me more access in general. The problem is that I want to store another car underneath - hopefully an Elise.

I am looking at the short versions of the four-post lifts made by either Automotech or Garage equipment online and a two-post lift similar to the Max Jack.

I have read lots of posts on this forum and others and I understand the pros and cons of both types of lift. However, I am interested in people's actual experiences of using 2-post lifts for storage of an Elan with another car underneath. Although this is no necessarily advised by many, of course car owners do do this. Do you have experience of long-term (i.e. a month at a time before using) storage of an Elan on a 2-post lift?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks
Tony
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PostPost by: Andy8421 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 5:44 pm

Tony,

I had been looking at the 'small' Automech 2 post lift. If I got my measurements correct, I should be able to stack 2 Elans using this. My weak garage floor is holding me back at the moment though.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NARROW-SHORT-2-POST-LIFT-CAR-VEHICLE-RAMP-LIFT-HOIST-3-0-T-TWO-POST-RAMP/284233401424?hash=item422da18450%3Ag%3AJjYAAOSwkJNciMeB&LH_ItemCondition=1000

Thanks,

Andy.

Edit: Having re read your post, I guess your question is whether there are consequences of supporting the car for long periods of time. My thoughts were it was OK if you have CVs not doughnuts, and if you slackened off the rubber suspension fittings so the metal 'inner' could swivel. I believe a 2 post lift can reach under the car to pick up the frame rather than the body at the front, but at the back the car would need to be supported on the corner of the sill.

Old thread here worth reading:

https://lotuselan.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=22634
Last edited by Andy8421 on Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPost by: TonyWalker » Sat Mar 27, 2021 5:52 pm

Hi Andy
Yes; I had looked at that one too. Its 100 mm too wide for my garage :(
But I think you are correct - it should fit 2 Elans, one up and one down.
Cheers
Tony
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:07 am

I spent months comparing and contrasting the pros/cons of a 4 post vs 2 post lift. Most of my friends have 4 post lifts. If what you want is primarily storage for an extra car with the ability to do some repair work, then 4 post is the only way to go. If you want a lift for primarily working on the car with occasional storage than 2 post fits the bill.

I bought a two post lift as I was doing a fair amount of restoration work. In order to use a 4 post for work on the car with the wheels off I would have had to buy another center lifting lift to fit inside the 4 post, it started getting expensive.

Personally, I would not recommend using a 2 post lift for long term storage, especially an Elan. The car is just not designed to be hung up in the air long term. The donuts will be stressed with the suspension hanging down and being able to put the lift points on the chassis will be difficult at best. You could use some large wood beams across the lift points to go under the entire car, that would work. But you still have the suspension drooping and that is not ideal.

I’m fortunate to have built a large garage last time I renovated my house. That being said, I did install my 2 post lift with one of the posts against a wall to gain as much space as possible and working on the car on that side is not an issue. I would think a four post lift against a wall limits the amount of work you can do on that side.

7821767E-60F9-4998-BD1C-D3BB5F3C3B3E.jpeg and
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PostPost by: 661 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:26 pm

Agree with the above.
I have a Model 1 from these guys, and it's been very good
http://www.sjrgarageequipment.co.uk/parking-lifts/
I can work on the car using a motor bike scissor lift which fits in the tray supplied with the lift
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 1:09 pm

I don't have a lift but I would look into getting a 2 post lift because of this option. Best (well maybe) of both
worlds.
https://mohawklifts.com/automotive-lift ... -adaptors/
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PostPost by: TonyWalker » Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:09 pm

Thanks All

Greg - Thanks; the Mohawk lifts look great - 2 post with wheel carriers - but are very expensive and also not available in the UK. I did look at other options like this over here, but can't find any; I suspect that they would also be cost prohibitive for me? I saw on a different Forum that the Mohawk is about $6000.

I have looked at the SJR model 1 4-post and it would fit snuggly giving me just about enough room to work on the sides when raised. I was thinking to get a jacking beam with it. But I am intrigued by Graeme's idea of combining with a motorcycle scissor lift between the ramps; which one is it Graeme? BTW I called SJR earlier this week but sadly the owner is not taking orders now as he is unwell. He referred me to Garage Equipment Online who sell the same lifts, but they seem slightly more price wise. Not a big issue; I hope that the gentleman at SJR is okay..

I am also looking at the Automotech compact 4-post for smaller classics. This is perhaps slightly more useful as the ramp width can be adjusted giving more access at the side. They seem to be well supported amongst classic car enthusiasts.

Because of access, I would have really liked a 2-post lift (maybe TwinBusch or CJ Autos), but it sounds from the above that this is probably not a good solution...

I wish I had a double garage but I don't and I don't have the space to build one unfortunately.

All thoughts welcome :D

Tony
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:20 pm

Tony, I could be wrong but those Mohawk wheel clingers *could* fit any 2 post lift. It's not clear in
their advert, and probably wouldn't be, but it looks possible.
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PostPost by: TonyWalker » Sun Mar 28, 2021 4:53 pm

Many thanks Greg - you might well be correct!
I wonder though if they would alter the lifting dynamics, loads and stresses if retrofitted to a different 2-post lift. Food for thought though.... :)
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PostPost by: gjz30075 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:32 pm

Hmmm good point. Looks like other options here
https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum ... 288/page1/
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PostPost by: HCA » Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:39 pm

The first most important factor in considering a two post lift is the floor structure - is it sound enough to support the lift if the car has been raised 'out of balance'. There have been many nasty accidents when a lot of force has been applied to a stubborn axle nut that is just enough to pull the posts away from its anchor. My floor was purpose made with a two poster in mind, but I still have stays welded at the top of the posts going back to a solid wall...

If after you are happy the floor is good, then the two poster will be more useful for work (the Mohawk wheel carriers are not unique to them - if you are good at welding, then it is dead esy to make up a set that will attach to the arms, especially if you are only talking of an Elan where the load on each corner is less than 250kgs.

The second most important factor is to ensure the two poster has mechanical anchor points on each post. I think all do have this feature, but I remember eading that some only have them on one post where the lift mechanism is electric. Either way, I would feel safer know that a solid steel lug has locked itself on both posts...
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PostPost by: TonyWalker » Sun Mar 28, 2021 8:04 pm

Thanks for the extra information about the wheel holders. I could get someone to weld some up for me, I guess. They do look really useful.

With regard to the floor, I guess it will depend on the actual 2 poster. I think I have 6 inches of concrete, but probably standard strength - it's been laid since the 80s, well before we bought the house. So I figured I could dig out and re-pour or get a two post lift with an H frame or similar. I am aware that I would have to discuss the needs with each lift manufacturer.

More food for thought here. Great discussion all; thanks for the input! :D
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:31 am

Regarding floor depth, Six inches of concrete is what I have with lots of rebar. I knew I was going to install a lift when I built the garage and talked to a professional lift installer who told me I needed six inches plus the rebar. I had them install my lift as I read too many stories of posts being ripped out of the floor. I’m glad they did the install as they clearly knew what they were doing. After drilling all the mounting holes in the concrete they applied a special epoxy glue inside the holes where the expansion bolts went. They also spent a fair amount of time leveling and shimming the posts. After 3 days to let cure, it’s been rock solid since.

If you look closely at my picture above you will notice I built special pads for lifting the Elan under the body. This distributes the load more and prevents any potential for cracking the body. I made them from 3/4 inch plywood and glued rubber floor matting on top. They fit right over the lift pods and are very stable.

B498CEC2-0414-4830-B3F9-28A3A4FEC5F9.jpeg and
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PostPost by: TonyWalker » Mon Mar 29, 2021 1:00 pm

Hi
Really useful pads to spread the load. I have 6 inches of concrete but would need to test strength it.
Can I ask - do you store your Elan raised on the lift for long periods or is the lift purely for maintenance?
Many thanks
Tony
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PostPost by: HCA » Mon Mar 29, 2021 1:59 pm

Even if your concrete is good, as mine is, it is imo worth spending a bit extra time bracing the top of the posts so that they are prevented from squeezing together and moving back or forward.

Also, as two post lifts for casual use are quite cheap, I suggest you over spec the capacity. I generally do not go beyond MGB/TVR weights and have a 4T. It was not much more expensive than a 2T one.

If you are interested:
https://www.ebay.fr/itm/2-Colonnes-Plat ... SwiONYNEyZ

Properly locked and with the car in wheel cups, I see no reason why you cannot store a car underneath - especially an Elan.

On the basis that one is ulikely to have a fire in your house if you take the time to invest and place extinguishers around the place, two things in operating the two post lift - check you have the car well balanced and raise the car to the first lock position and give it a vigorous shake...if it is still there, only then continue :D

IMG_3106.jpeg and
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