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Ever tried to dump your car or truck off the Jack stand? Well I have, and it only takes one near miss to realize that a lift is a relatively cheap investment.
About a year ago I was removing the AOD in my 62 Galaxie so that I could install a T5. In order to get under the car to get the transmission out I had the car up on 4 jack stands and for extra safety a jack under the rear end center section and one under the K-member engaged with just enough pressure to make contact. For most of the swap all went well, but when I got the AOD on the ground I realized the front of the car was not high enough to slide the transmission out.



To get the height I needed, I began to slowly jack up the front end. As the car went up I watched the rear jack stand with every pump of the jack to insure nothing was moving out of position. The car went up no problem; I adjusted the front jack stands to match the new front height and slid the AOD out. The real issues started when I went to lower the front of the car back down to the height it had been when I first pulled the AOD. As I began to lower the front of the car, the front legs of the back jack stands began to rise off of the ground. I immediately stopped lowering the front end of the car and readjusted the front jack stands to support the front end. I then went to the back of the car and jacked up the rear end to reset the rear jack stands.

If I had not been going slowly and continuously checking the jack stands as the car went up and down, I am sure the rear jack stands would have tipped and the car would have come down, injuring me, messing up my tools, and worst of all damaging the car. Safety First!!!! That is a motto that has served me well

Almost dumping the car on the ground made me realize that I needed to do something different. I was leaning toward an air powered one-end frame lift, but had not yet gotten one. One day, completely by accident, I discovered that Costco was selling a Dannmar D7 lift for $1700.00 FREE SHIPPING. At the time the 1700.00 price was the result of a $200 instant rebate and even though I new it would take 3 or 4 months to pay the lift off, I couldn't pass it up!!!

Delivery
Costco’s web site had said, “expect 4-6 weeks for delivery”, but actual shipping only took about 6 business days. Due to the size of the package 14’ long and 1500 pounds, I had to drive to the trucking dock with a flat bed trailer to pick up my lift.


The freight company was happy to load the crate on to the trailer with no extra charges. Once I got it home we backed the trailer in to the garage to get it unloaded.


It took three of us about 30 minutes to open the package and remove the contents, one piece at a time. The heaviest parts were the decks, which weighed about 400 pounds each, but 3 of us were able to get them off the trailer fairly easily.


Assembly
Putting it together was fairly easy. It took my brother and I the better part of a day to get it all set up. During assembly one thing that really helped was a heavy-duty cart on wheels. It allowed us to lift one end of the heavier items, slip the cart under said item, and then role the parts in to position. The over all assembly was not a hard job but I can easily see where it would have been much easier with three people rather than just the two of us.

Putting the main structure together involved positioning the four posts, installing a cross bar between each pair of end posts and then setting the decks on the cross bars so they could be bolted in to place. Once we had the main structure together the four actuating cables had to be run through the pulley system and attached to the hydraulic cylinder and the top of the posts. From there it was simply a matter of running a few hydraulic lines and installing the safety release linkage. All those parts went together with only a few issues that were fairly easy to overcome.

Things I do not like about this lift
It is rare for me to purchase a tool and not find one or two things that could have been done differently to make the tool better, and this lift is no exception. One such disappointment, was the instruction manual. It was a little vague and left room for interpretation. An example of this was, the manual clearly stated "before you begin assembly make sure there is 120" clearance from the front of the lift so a long rod can be installed". Upon reading this, my question was what end of the lift is the front, is it the side with the ramps or the side where the front of the car goes when a car is on the lift?

After a quick phone call to the company that shipped me the lift, I thought I new which end was the front and built the lift accordingly. When the time came to install 120" rod I found out that it needed to be installed in the end of the lift that was facing the back wall so I did not have the clearance I needed. This little set back required me to weight until I could borrow some casters to rotate the lift. Turns out that the official "front" of the lift has nothing to do with the ramps or which end the front of the car will be on. The front of the lift is the end that the hydraulic pump is NOT on.

Another disappointment was the obvious “cost saving” strategies of the manufacturer. There were many examples of this. The washers used with all the connecting hardware including the 1/2” main bolts that connect the decks to the crossbars were all made of about 20-gage steel. I felt that was insufficient especially since some of the holes that the 1/2” bolts went through were quite a bit bigger than 1/2". I easily remedied that situation by digging through my washer can and replacing the provided washers with some that had a reasonable thickness.


Another “cost saving” issue was the length of the power cord or lack there of. The cord is so short that you must use an extension cord and the connection is right there on the pump.


I am going to wire in a longer cord and am thinking of putting a foot switch in line. I only have 9.6” clearance to my ceiling and would hate to shove my car up into the ceiling if the main switch were to stick. A foot switch will require me to put my foot on it to get power to the pump. If the main switch were to stick all I would need to do is take my foot off of the foot switch.

The last disappointment was in two 7’ rods that are part of the safety release linkage. These rods are only 1/4" thick and they flex when you are actuating the linkage.


The biggest problem I have with this is that if the linkage on one end of the lift were to not properly disengage then you run the risk of the lift decks becoming cocked in the posts, which could damage the lift. I fixed this by fabricating up new linkage made from some steel tubing and some grade 8 bolts. It is much stronger and has much less flex.


Things I like about this lift
I don’t know how I ever lived with out this tool. Being able to get under a car and have easy access to everything is amazing.


Even better yet is the safety factor. I love the over all structure of the lift, it is rated at a capacity of 7000 pounds and I have no doubt that it would easily hold that much weight. The actuation cables are nice and thick, the hydraulic cylinder is quite large and moves smoothly and I was also very impressed by the quality of the heavy duty UHMW bushings that are used for the end cross pieces to slide up and down in the posts. Over all this is a quality tool and money well spent.






Accessories
After I purchased my lift I realized that there was an accessory that I should have purchased with the lift and that was the caster kit. The D7 lift has the option to use heavy-duty caster so that you can move the lift around. You can even use these casters with a car on the lift.


After building the lift facing the wrong way and being forced to improvise in order to move it, I quickly realized the casters are a must have. When the casters were shipped to me I also received a jack plate, which spans the distance between the lift decks and allows you to jack up the car to raise the car’s wheels off of the lift decks.


I recommend getting both of these parts with the lift so you can save the freight costs over having them shipped separately.

Final thoughts and opinions
Over all I am extremely pleased with the lift. Its structure and function or top quality and I would feel perfectly safe working under this lift. The few issues I did have with the connecting hardware, cord length and the safety release linkage, were minor and easily fixable for less than $50.00. This lift is an excellent tool especially for the price and I would recommend it for any one who spends a lot of time under their cars.
 

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good interesting writeup,
are you able to get the car higher in your garage when the garage door is shut-
have you got clearance in the centre of the garage where the pitch of the roof is highest?
 

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A lot of us have wanted these. There you go stirring the pot. Good info. Does it come with the pail? Here is a tip for you...The next sturdy office chair you see discarded with a pneumatic height adjustment, grab it. Take off the back and you will have a nice little stool on wheels with some height adjustment. I use mine even for waxing the car. Now I just need the lift.
 

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SWEET! Nice timely writeup. ;) :)

Daze, have you done the pro's/con's research comparing a 4 poster lift like you have to a 2 poster type lift? Curious as to what is not obvious (like ceiling clearance, un-level floors, etc.)

Oh, I think I just found many of my answers at: Which Lift Should I Buy: 2-Post or 4-Post?

It looks like a Greg Smith 2 poster might find its way to my garage . . . . .
 

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Very nice write up, and my wife will appreciate you spending our money, kidding.

Sorry, I may have missed a couple of things, your overhead/cieling is 9'6" got that. What foot print post to post is it?

Also, what size is your door and how deep is your shop from the door back? Looking at the pics, it seems the posts our outside of your door tracks? I have a 9 foot door and my depth is 22', just trying to figure if this will all clear in there and the door will go up and down.

I didnt put a lift in when I built this, covenants wont let me go higher than single story structure, although I did add one course of block that they overlooked on inspection? I didnt think it would fit on other research, but you make it look easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My door is only a 7' door. the garage is 26' deep and the lift is about 5' from the inside end wall. the lift dimensions/Specifications are:

Lifting Capacity: 7,000 lbs.
Overall Width: 105”
Outside Length: 170-1/2”
Overall Length: 203-1/2”
Height Columns: 82”
Minimum Runway Height: 4-1/2”
Maximum Rise: 70-1/2”
Maximum Lifting Height: 75”
Width Between Columns: 92-1/2”
Runway Width: 18-5/8”
Width Between Runways: 37-1/2”
Length of Runways: 160-1/2”
Locking Positions: 10
Lock Spacing: Every 4-1/2”
Lifting Time: 45 Seconds
Standard Motor: 110 VAC 60Hz. 1Ph

My galaxie is only about .5" narrower than the decks of the lift and if the old gal were much longer it would not fit. My Mustang will fit no problem. I am thinking of adding a side extension and bumper rail to the drivers side deck, as well as a guard over the hydraulic lines on the p-side deck. Let me know if I can give you any other measurements.
 

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Thanks much, this will be enough to lay out a footprint and see what I got. Great info though. thanks.
My door is only a 7' door. the garage is 26' deep and the lift is about 5' from the inside end wall. the lift dimensions/Specifications are:

Lifting Capacity: 7,000 lbs.
Overall Width: 105”
Outside Length: 170-1/2”
Overall Length: 203-1/2”
Height Columns: 82”
Minimum Runway Height: 4-1/2”
Maximum Rise: 70-1/2”
Maximum Lifting Height: 75”
Width Between Columns: 92-1/2”
Runway Width: 18-5/8”
Width Between Runways: 37-1/2”
Length of Runways: 160-1/2”
Locking Positions: 10
Lock Spacing: Every 4-1/2”
Lifting Time: 45 Seconds
Standard Motor: 110 VAC 60Hz. 1Ph

My galaxie is only about .5" narrower than the decks of the lift and if the old gal were much longer it would not fit. My Mustang will fit no problem. I am thinking of adding a side extension and bumper rail to the drivers side deck, as well as a guard over the hydraulic lines on the p-side deck. Let me know if I can give you any other measurements.
 

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I'd planned on a lift 'someday', kept a eye out for the type I wanted- and lucked out- we picked up a old commercial bear/johnbean alignment drive-on scissorlift at auction for 1K, came with (2) sliding 5000 pound jacks, just needed cleaned up and a coat of paint...9000 pound rating, watch for local auto dealer/repair auctions, some pretty good deals out there. the scissor types are heavy as all heck, and the legs can kinda get in the way- but wide open down the center, and no posts...

one thing I would recommend to anyone- put a switch on the ceiling...I aint hit it yet, but did take out a lightbulb when I went to lower our minivan- gotta raise a tad to disengage safety latches, luggage rack touched lightbulb- that will get your attention real quick!
On my list of things to do is adding a reflector/photoswitch or two just below the rafters, and maybe a solenoid latch on the door track so door cant be opened at the upper height, and a switch on the door to stop the lift lower if the doors up...
our garage is only 11' high and the lifts at the back wall of a double deep bay- the rear wall is 3' into a hill, so the lift acts like a car elevator too, the door behind it is 3' off the floor with a concrete pad outside- only thing is, if the lifts up high, the door can hit the roof of the car if fully opened... at grade everythings clear, but at 4-5 feet up, gotta watch the door. I even marked the door latch warning not to open at upper 2 positions, in case someone else ever messes with it, and put a lockout switch on the wall right by the pump so I can not need to worry about the kids 'riding' on it...could just picture the roof collapsed on a car- yikes!

funny thing is, just before getting the garage inspected, happened to think- wonder if the inspector will say anything about the door 3' off the floor...coulda been a big issue, but he didnt even notice. the rear door was really only wanted for ventilation purposes, and possibly for unloading stuff from the pickup bed(can back the truck in and dolly stuff right out the rear door), but soon I want to just put a big screen over the outside door, so if opened for light/ventilation the bugs and critters cant come in :)

almost broke the antenna on one of the cars too one day, antenna was directly under a truss...dont forget to watch for that:)

Anyone else thinking about driving off a elevated lift to a different ground elevation, or driving off the 'wrong end' of a lift at all- caution- on our scissor type the ramp end just sits on rollers- could flip up if excessive weight put on other end...I tried it with ramp end restrained(just in case), pulled the galaxie nose-in just onto the dead end of the lift from the rear door, nothing moved- but if I put all I had under the ramps, I could lift that end lowering the car- 18 feet of leverage and the weight of the runways all that hold it down...on a lighter lift wouldnt want to try it. eventually going to bolt a rail under the rollers so it would not be possible to kickup if 'misused' by driving onto from the wrong end. for now the rolling jacks are always on it, thats a few hundred extra pounds holding it down too...but thats the only time Ive had a car on the lift 'backwards'...on a 4 post drive-on lift, if the posts are setback at all, same possibility exists if its off the floor...probably best just to 'use as designed' huh :)

Tim
 

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I just install a Dannmar D7 that I purchased from gesusa.com. Thank you for the excellent write up. I have a couple things to add to make it easier for others. The first was when I picked up the lift at the terminal (using a car trailer), I didn’t know which end of the lift was the end with the pump. I knew I wanted the pump to be near the shop door. Sure enough I got it backwards and I had to rotate the lift after I un-wrapped it. It would have been easier if I had loaded the lift onto the trailer the correct way as it would be installed in the shop (pump at the front of the trailer. In order to know which end was the pump end, at each end of the lift is a square end cap made with angle iron. One end will have a brace that extends about 45 degrees to the mounting hole of the pump, this end is the end that I would of liked it to be at the front of the trailer. Through the cardboard and wrap, you can determine which end has the extra brace.

Before I had gotten the D7, I had gesusa send me a copy of the instruction sheet to prepare for the installation. This helped a lot. I was able to mark the shop floor for the placement of the lift, and get to know how to build it. It save me a lot of time so I didn’t need to have my friends wait while I was figuring out the instructions. The instructions they emailed me was not the current instructions so there was a couple things different. One major difference, the emailed instruction said that I needed 60” of clearance, the instructions that came with the lift said 120”, which I needed 120” (not a big deal since I knew I needed 120” from the online write ups). Another nice thing about the older emailed instructions was that the pictures were much clearer, especially connecting the cables. So I would recommend getting the emailed instructions, even if you do not plan on reading up before the lift arrives.

I found that assembling the lift was not bad at all. I was expecting it to be a lot harder. I had an engine hoist, two 1000# moving dollies ($10 Harbor Freight), and a heavy chain to wrap around the lift. I had lifted the end of the lift that was closest to the truck with the engine hoist and put a dolly under it, I then lifted the end at the back of the trailer and pulled on the hoist so that the lift would roll out until the end of the lift with the dolly was at the edge of the trailer. I lowered the engine hoist so that end was on the dolly on the ground. I then raised the end that was still on the trailer and drove the truck so the lift cleared the trailer and lower it back onto a dolly. It wasn’t bad at all to remove it from the trailer using this method and I did it by myself, with no scares.

By myself, I unwrapped, had the four posts up, the end rails near the posts, and the ramps in the middle of the posts on the dollies ready so when I had two friends over, it took less than 3 hours to set it up and run. I could have done it with only two of us, but 3 people made it a lot easier.

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I am not a strong guy with a bad knee, so I was a little worried that it was going to be too heavy to set up, but it was not.
 

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I "improved" my D7 by building a hinge mount for the pump assembly that allows me to swing the pump closer to the car (so I can use my table saw) or around to the front side of the pillar to get under the hood for bleeding brakes easier. I also drilled my ramps and put longer bolts in the pillar caps so I don't have to have the ramps taking up valuable floor space - once the car's on I just pull the ramps and hang them from the pillars.

I wired the RH ramp with 3 outlets, fabbed lights to go down the center and ran an air line with 3 drops down the RH side as well. All in all it makes it much easier to work under there.

If I get a chance I'll try and post some pics.
 

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First thing I noticed with my lift was the pump assembly made working on my radial arm saw a tight fit (cramped garage, I'm sure none of you understand... ;) ) Anyhow, I decided the pump needed to be moved, the problem was that if I moved it in front of the post it would be in the way bleeding brakes, if I put it on the back of the post it would get in the way of pulling the wheel.

My solution? I built a double swinging hinge (2 hinges welded together with a heavy plate separating them - the heavy plate reinforced the flimsy 1/8" hinge material when I bolted the pump back on and it began to twist).

I unbolted the pump assembly & cut the mount off the column. After welding the hinge in place I bolted the pump back up and put a coat of POR15 on everything and it looks great!

I did have to swivel one of the hoses to clear the full swing from front to back. Now I can have the pump in any position I need and still have room to work.

In this picture you can see it swiveled behind the post - if you look close you might see the grind marks from cutting the old bracket off.
 

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Next, I realized it was awful dark under the truck and while the hanging retractable fluorescent trouble lights on either side helped - I hated their tendency to fall or snag just when I didn't have a hand free to grab them. So I looked for a narrow light to mount between the runways - they don't exist it turns out. So I headed to the local electrical contractor supply and purchased a low temp 3 bulb ballast (suitable for starting 4' bulbs in the heart of an ohio winter) and set to work.

I had some aluminum lying around so I made up 4 mount blocks for the bulb contacts. Simply drilling 1/4" holes through the ramp side rails allowed me to bolt these to the ramp below the U-lip where the jacking brace slides. The Heavy Duty bulb protector sleeves (clear plastic tubes that fit over the bulb) keep the bulb safe and make a clean looking lens.

After bumping my head on a bulb and knocking the pins into the aluminum block thereby tripping the breaker on the circuit, I decided to cut some plastic (ala an empty oil bottle) to act as an insulator between the mount and the bulb's pins.

Since I wanted power readily available for the odd sawzall, grinder, charger etc, I ran 3 outlets under the Righthand Ramp as well. The power is tapped off the main plug/junction box at the pump (I replaced the 5' cord with a 10 footer and put a knockout in and ran the rest of the extension cord along the hydraulic lines and over to the far ramp. Since I'd already sacrificed the cord, I just used it for the wiring between the boxes (really, do you need a 100' 10-3 extension cord working in a 2 car garage?).

I split the bulbs up, mounting 2 on one side and one on the other, offsetting them so I've got light the full length of the lift.
 

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I'm a space freak - I hate seeing space wasted.

Those monstrous ramps dangling off the ends of the lift are ungainly, sharp and hit my garage door! So the question was "where to store them?"

I replaced the post/cap bolts (crappy metric things) with 2" long 1/2" stainless grade 5 bolts. Then, I drilled a hole through the top of the ramp - Voila! when I've got the vehicle driven up - I pickup the ramp and hang it on the protruding 1/2" bolt - I've got 4 kids under 11...... they run around in my garage.... if that ramp slipped off and hit one of them.... the ramp might get dented and I don't even want to know what it would cost to have a replacement shipped out! So, I put a washer and a 1/2" stainless nut finger tight over it to keep my ramps safe. (The super magnets out of hard-drives are great for holding the nuts & washers when you take the ramps down.... unless you use stainless like me - 316 stainless is non magnetic).

The retainer plates you drop in the end of the runway to keep your vehicle from rolling off got the same treatment - 1/2" hole and the post @ the pump got another 2" bolt and those plates hang there (also secured with a nut when not in use).
 

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Another 4 post lift supplier boasts a "flush jacking platform". I didn't realize how important this would be until I tried jacking up a vehicle to remove a tire on the lift.

Last week I make my own flush sliding platform and I intend to modify the one that came with the lift one of these days.

I used a chunk of 4" channel I got from the scrap yard along with a 16"x16" x 1/4" piece of diamond plate and some scraps of 5/16" thick angle iron to make a single sided jacking platform flush with the runway.

For the next one I think I'll keep the top flat rather than the textured diamond plate surface - it works well keeping the jackstand in place but the floor jacks don't roll on it too smoothly.

Oh yeah, where to keep the floorjacks? The big ones have homes under my toolbox, but the little ones just kept getting in the way when not in use - those of you who've read my other projects may realize I have one whole post with nothing hanging off it. A 28" piece of 3/8" bar stock, a torch, my welder, a 3x2 plate with a hole in it yeilds a double jack hanger that can be bolted to the top plate of the remaining post.
 

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Finally, since I don't like cords, cables & hoses underfoot while working, I ran an airline with 3 drops under the righthand runway opposite the 3 electrical boxes.

I used 1/2" blackpipe and a handful of elbows & nipples along with a 5' coiled hose so that I plug an airline in at the top of the right front post - this comes off an overhead coil unit so it stays out of my way when I'm working.


I hope this gives you guys (& gals) some ideas to make your new lift even more useful in the garage.
 

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Anyone know if this will roll out a 7 foot garage door opening with the casters engaged ? That only allows for another 2 inches beyond the post height. I'm really trying to find something I can move outside on occasion without rebuilding my door opening.
 
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