View Full Version : Just another test

11-16-2009, 03:14 PM
I would first like to thank our newest sponsor Quality Lifts - Auto Lift, Motorcycle Lift, Shop Equipment, and Car Lift Installation by Quality Lifts (http://www.qualitylifts.com) for their sponsorship and participation in this article and their discount program for our members. I spent months doing research into automotive lifts, talking to various companies, obtaining specifications, references and additional materials and by far the people at Quality Lifts were much more responsive to my calls and emails and requests for information than any other lift manufacturer. For those who watched our live streaming video of the installation at Ustream you had a chance to hear information about Quality Lifts directy from their COO Eric Howlett.

If you missed the live broadcast, replay videos are available here:
Planet9's Videos on USTREAM. Page 1 of 1 : Recorded videos, shows captured LIVE (http://www.ustream.tv/Planet9/videos)

As Eric mentioned in our videos, Quality Lifts is offering an additional 5% discount on their entire line of lifts and lift products over and above any existing sales or specials. The latest specials are always listed at the Quality Lifts website. If you have any questions please give [XXX a call at YYYY], or to place an order please [ZZZZZZZ]

If you aren't familiar with Quality Lifts, it may be because they are a recent outgrowth of a popular and well known commercial lift company - Challenger Lifts. A few years ago Challenger Lifts decided to branch out into the home enthusiast market and the Quality Lifts brand was born. What I found interesting throughout the installation of the lift as that in 95%+ of the components and design the Quality Lifts product was identical to the commercial grade Challenger Lift. I'll get into some details later in the article where this is important, but to think of a Porsche parallel, it is sort of the same thing as Porsche offering a GT3 RS for the street that shares many of the same components as the Porsche GT3 RSR from the racetrack. Quality Lifts gives the home enthusiast a chance to enjoy the same features, capability and construction found in a more expensive commercial setup in their own garage.

[B]2 Post or 4 Post?

After deciding upon the Qualify Lift my first big decision was whether or not to purchase a 2 post or 4 post lift. Two post lifts are the style typically found in your local automotive shop, they lift from arms that go underneath the frame and allow the wheels to hang down for easy removal. Four posts lifts are driven onto and the entire car raised up while resting on the platforms called "runways". Four post lifts are often used for vehical storage. In my case I would be needing the lift for some work on both our 1956 Jaguar as well as my Cayman, but when not working on the car(s) I would be storing the Jaguar so I decided upon a 4 post lift. There are also other considerations such as most 2 post lifts require more headroom and a line at the top that connects both posts which might have presented a problem with the beam across our garage ceiling. There are specifications you can get from Quality Lifts for both styles to measure which one would work best for your own needs. I measured my garage length, width and height to the ceiling beam to see if I had enough space for the Q4P09H lift and I did!

Ordering & Delivery

Once you decide upon the style/model of lift you want, there are a couple of ways you can order the lift. You can order directly from Quality Lifts by calling 1-877-771-5438, or you can order from a distributor in your area which Quality Lifts can refer you to. [Insert Order Specifics here]. You will also need to decide if you want the lift delivered to a freight dock in your city where you will pick it up, or if you want it delivered to your home. Since I don't own a pickup truck or tow vehicle, I chose the latter and had the lift delivered directly to my home. Here's a picture of the lift and accessories arriving:


If you have your local certified Quality Lifts installer perform your installation you receive an extra year of warranty coverage. I opted for this option so the lift also came with a couple of gentlemen to help set it up. If you decide to perform the installation yourself keep in mind that the whole unit weighs about 2,000 pounds and there are a couple of runway parts that weigh close to 500lbs each so you will need some help in loading and unloading and moving parts around, this isn't a one-person job.


The first step in the installation process was for the crew to measure my garage and mark the floor with chalk lines. The crew also checked the slope of the garage floor to make sure there were no problems with drastic changes in floor slope, etc. Everything checked out fine.


The assembly of the lift begins with the ladder locks being inserted into the 4 posts. The ladder locks are where the deck of the lift rests when the deck is raised into position. As you can see from the photos the ladder locks have engagement points every 4 inches so there are plenty of places the deck can be stopped and stored from top to bottom. The lift installation and operation manual linked to at the end of this article contains measurement details for each stopping point if you are interested.

Internal locks are safe and do not present a pinch hazard to someone’s hand. The internal lock system also holds the lock pawl at a fixed distance from the lock ladder for proper engagement. Also, with the internal locks and full size column, the full weight of the vehicle is always centered inside the columns for even compression loading of the columns. Combined with the internal lock system, the adjustable lock ladder is the proven design for commercial grade 4-posts and ensures that the runways are level when they are on the locks in a garage with normal slope.

The next step was to install the front cross member piece between the two front posts. It is important to note some differences about the Quality Lifts system from other lifts you might find out in the market that don't use commercial grade components. Most of the competitors (if not all of the ones I checked) have reduced the width of the column so that you can see the cable hanging. The larger Qulaity Lifts column ensures that all load from the weight of the vehicle is either on the locks or during raising or lowering provides a compression force inside the column. Other competitor’s smaller width columns with the cable exposed or the locks welded on the outside of the columns will cause a bending moment on the column.


Notice too that the bases of the columns are both thick and a full 12" x 12" for additional stability. Insider of the cross member piece is the lock release bar, not a cable, but an actual bar, in fact all 4 posts will eventually be linked together via this bar that will engage or disengage the locking mechanism at the same time. Inside of the cross members and columns are also the slider blocks. I was amazed at the size and composition of these blocks as compared to other lifts I had seen, again, another sign of the commercial roots of this system. The slider blocks are Ultra High Weight Molecular composite material used to guide the cross beam inside the 4 columns. They provide slide and wear resistant at the same time. The full size units (both length and width) combined with the formed columns will provide a stable and smooth operation. For those wanting measurements, the blocks are 1½” x 7 7/8” x 4 ¾”

[B]Project Runway

The next step is the installation of the runways that the car is driven onto when the lift is in use. These runways are heavy, one more than the other because one runway is called the power runway and contains the hydraulics for lifting the runway. The other runway is the idler runway, but also still several hundred pounds. Here is a picture of the workers bringing the runway in on a cart.


The runway is then attached to the cross member via bolts. If you saw the live streaming video we mentioned the fact that there is no hardware bag with this lift so it bears repeating in this article that the hardware is pre-installed from the factory. There is no guessing what bolts are needed to attach the runway to the cross member as those bolts are already pre-fitted, simply line the runway up and tighten down the bolts.


The runways contain a rail system that is used to support the rolling jack and other accessories. On the inside of the runway, there is one last upward bend on the runway to make the runway rail system. It is used for the rolling jack to roll on smoothly and the drip tray to grip for secure location. It also provides and extra level of flex resistance on the runway itself. The runways are formed meaning not welded together but formed from a single piece of steel which makes them stronger, lighter and in my opinion better looking than some of the other units I inspected.

Inside of the runways are the hydraulics, cables and pulleys that make the lift operate. I took some additional pictures to show these in more detail.


Those pulleys are 4 5/8” in diameter and the cables themselves are full 1/2" thick! Yes 1/2" thick cables. Many other systems I saw used 1/4" cables or at best 3/8" cables, but again the commercial underpinnings of the Quality Lifts system provide a full 1/2" which allows this lift to attain certifications that other lifts cannot.


More examples of the heavy duty construction where the cables meet the hydraulic chamber:

[B]Cable Routing

The next installation step is the cable routing. The cables from the runways must be routed into and through the cross members, around the pulleys and up into the columns to be attached at the adjustment point at the top of each column. This was the only step of the installation that required some disassembly of the factory hardware that had already been installed in order to feed the cables through properly. Here are some images of that process:


It may not show up well in the photos but each cable is routed through a tensioner that locks against the cable and keeps it in a locked position. This is the secondary cable lock system and not found on low end products. This is a requirement for ALI certification to the ANSI standards. If there is a failure of the primary load suspension mechanism (the cable), the locks will automatically engage. Here is a picture of that mechanism: