Car Hoists: Get Off Your Back And Do It The Right Way

Love working on your car, but hate crawling around in the sludge or getting brake fluid all through your hair and oil in your mouth? With today’s pricing and range of options, there’s really no reason not to have a car hoist if you’re even half serious about your rig. You can fit ‘em into an existing shed, or just go the full mile and have a brand new shed designed around your ideal hoist. 

If you’re someone with a passion for vintage cars, a mad obsession with motorsports, a drifter with a serious problem, a garage mechanic or just someone that likes to look after their daily driver, a hoist is an investment worth every cent. They’ll give you space, options and keep your beer fridge full (or empty) from your mates coming over way too often. Did we mention they’re also actually affordable?

In this article, we’re going to be breaking down exactly what you need to know; the various hoist types and what they’re best for and  how to get them to fit into your shed. We’re even going to get into what your options are when it comes to pulling it all together.

To do all that, we’ve partnered with Garage Equipment, who have a vision of supplying quality workshop equipment at a competitive price. They’re based all around Australia, but in particular just down the road in Canning Vale, Perth. Having supplied hundreds of workshops with quality equipment over more than twenty years, they’re your go to expert for everything from hoists to pipe-benders, to oil-drains and tyre changers.

In A Rush? Just Want The Quick Gist? Here’s The Breakdown Of What We’re Going To Cover.

The Low-Down

  • Garage Equipment offer quality workshop equipment, specific to us that’s hoists and we know how to make those fit in your shed, and convince the council to let you build it. 
  • There’s a hoist for every specific requirement, but in particular there’s 2 post, 4 post, clear floor and baseplate.
  • The most common hoists for the home shed are the 4-tonne baseplate, the 4-tonne clear floor and the 4.5-tonne clear floor. They’re all 2 post hoists.

Hoist Options

  • If you’ve got a standard, residential shed with a regular roof height, you want the 4-tonne baseplate 4000BX, because you can fit it in your shed. It’s got a height of 2850mm and a width of 3460mm. Minimum concrete depth of 100mm, preferably 120mm. Don’t overcomplicate with masses of REO. 
  • If your shed’s a bit smaller, and you can’t quite fit that one, there’s the ASF42S. It can lift big, and fit well at only 2324mm height. However, it’s specifically designed for low roofs, meaning you’ll probably have to sit and work from a stool or swivel chair. 
  • Ideally, you’ll want the 4-tonne clear floor 4000CF. This is the most wanted option, but unless you’ve got a particularly high roof or build your shed specifically to fit, you’ll run into clearance issues at 3821mm high.
  • If you need a little more capacity, or just want your hoist a little beefier, there’s the 4.5-tonne 4500CF and up from there. 3854mm high, 3516mm wide, you’ll get 1915mm of lift.

Alternatively, 4-post.

  • 4 post hoists have their own uses and benefits, specifically they’re great for storage and quick access. Drive on and lift, drop and drive off. 
  • You can still use them for mechanical work and access inside the wheel-wells with the use of a jacking beam, but the access is seriously reduced compared to a 2 post hoist.
  • Best for fitting two cars in a one car garage. Also great for security and keeping your pride and joy safe from bumps, scrapes and spills. And dirty fingerprints.

General Answer to ‘What Hoist Do I Need?’

For the general enthusiast or home mechanic without a shed, looking to get one built, your best bet is the 4000BX. With that hoist, you’re not going to run into dramas with the council getting it approved. It’ll do everything you want it to, but you may have to use a wheelie stool to slide around under a 4X4 in certain situations.

With that said, there are things that can be done and ways to get around the council being sticklers for a good time. So here we go.

Breaking It Down And Gettin’ Dirty.

Hoists, or vehicle lifts as they’re sometimes called, were created because people grew tired of getting on their knees to work on cars. We’ve all been there, you spend hours crawling around under the car because a 5 minute job takes a whole lot longer when you can’t see, reach or get your hands in. Then the damn manifold won’t come out anyway, so you lie on your back in a weird mix of rust, WD40 and tears, crying for a bit.

Don’t you love the old get on your knees, crawl under and give it a wriggle, then slide back out and come in from the top, repeat. Repeat until you either get it, give up or something else gives. 

Here at Spinifex we’re pretty big fans of not getting oil up to the elbow trying to fish the sump plug from the drain pan. The last bit of oil that comes dripping out of the filter straight down your arm? Sure, you could love it, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s never happening to us again! With a hoist, coilovers are now an hour job (just kidding, but definitely quicker!). Timing belts aren’t impossible (except maybe on a 2005 V6 Camry…), and changing the diff fluid might actually get done.

By now there are two types of people reading this article, those that are keen to transform their work process and workshop to be easier and more efficient, and those that still think a trolley jack is just ‘good enough’. Let’s be honest, dropping a gearbox would be a whole lot easier if you could just lift the car straight off the ground once the box is free and properly supported. Or invest in a gearbox jack while you’re at it and make it seriously easy. 

One of the most frequently underlooked things about a hoist though, is how easy it makes looking under your car and working on simple issues. There’s an incredible amount that gets missed when lying on your back or looking in. A terrible oil leak might turn out to be nothing more serious than a distributor seal, or you might catch a clapped out ball-joint just in time, before it becomes a major issue. 

Convinced yet? Good, let’s take a deeper look at the options you’ve got to transform the way you work on your car, your partner’s car, your whole neighbourhood’s cars. Because once word gets out you’ve got one, you’re going to find yourself with a whole lot more friends. Your hoist might even pay for itself before too long.

2 Post or 4 Post? Baseplate or Clearfloor?

Just like there are all sorts of different makes and models of our favourite skid pigs and daily drivers, there are many different makes and models of car hoists, suitable for all different budgets and requirements. You got a quick overview at the start of the article, but there’s a little bit more to it.

Think about exactly what you want a hoist for, and where you want to put it. If you’re frequently dropping motors and gearboxes, you might want to think more seriously about a clearfloor. While baseplates are the most economical, flexible option that fits in most places, you might find the baseplate becomes a headache if you’re dragging a tool trolley or lifts over it all the time.

The flip side, is that if you realise the baseplate really won’t be that big of a deal, if at all, you open your options up considerably regarding sheds and clearance. We’ve found that clear floors can get a little dicey with the council when building a shed that will house one effectively. That’s not to say it’s impossible by any means, just that it will take a little more finagling, and needs a little more consideration around which way you point it, the pitch of your roof and whether the two bay shed just became a big single. 

So which hoist is actually going to work best?

4000BX 2-Post, Base Plate Hoist

Like we mentioned back at the start, this is the hoist that’s going to be most appropriate for the majority of new shed builds. It might not be exactly your first choice, but in most cases it’s going to give you exactly what you need and get past council restrictions with minimal fuss. Here at Spinifex Sheds, this is the hoist we recommend in the majority of situations.

4000BX 2-Post Base Plate Hoist

While there’s no size that fits all, we’ll run through a quick example of when you’re going to want to think about this hoist as your best option. 

Let’s say you’ve got a regular sized block, in a pretty standard area. You want a shed that’s going to be able to fit the 4000CF 2 Post Clearfloor Hoist (not the baseplate). 

For that you’ll need;

  • About a 6m span- a common size we recommend pretty regularly. 
  • With a 6m span, and 20 degrees of roof pitch,
  • And the hoist needing 3821mm (or3854mm for the 4.5 Tonne) of height,
  • The walls need to be 3500mm tall. 

Not all councils in the metro area are going to approve a shed with 3500mm tall walls, unless you’re on an acreage. Having said that, it is possible, but will require much more back and forth negotiation with the council, the good will and approval of your neighbours and a little bit of luck. 

The 4000BX, however, is much easier to get approved;

  • 6m span
  • 2840mm height required for the hoist
  • 20 degree pitch
  • Now your walls only need to be 3000mm.

And that’s something we can get approved, no problems. So if you only need to lift a sedan, or don’t mind working from a stool on something a bit taller, this hoist and shed combo will be perfect. 

But that solution isn’t something that’s going to work for everyone, and keep in mind that both of the above examples are going to require you to stick the hoist right in the middle of the shed. If you’re planning on having the shed parallel to the pitch of the roof or across it is going to complicate things a little further. 

ASF42S 2-Post, Base Plate Hoist

While it’s a great little hoist, the ASF42S is pretty specific. It’s for low clearance sheds and limits you to almost exclusively sedans and working from a stool. In many cases, where these things aren’t a problem or the space required for a bigger hoist is simply impossible, it’s still a brilliant solution that will save you time and skin.

ASF42S image1024x855

4000CF 2-Post, Clear Floor Hoist

This is the one you want. You know it, we know it. It’s ideal- clear floor, high lift and relatively compact. With nearly 300mm of height adjustment you can tweak it a little to get it to fit, and it’ll fit just about any reasonable rig with full headroom beneath for all except the NBA stars among us.

4000CF 2-Post Clear Floor Hoist

4000CF 2-Post

But maybe you can’t have it. If you’ve got a shed already built, you’ve either measured it already or should go and do that real quick. From there, it’s obvious whether it’s going to fit or not. Either the roof is tall enough or it isn’t. 

If you can fit it in- what are you waiting for? Get on the phone! Chances are though you don’t have a shed or that one’s not quite going to fit. So what are the options? 

If you’ve got a shed that won’t fit, consider alterations, replacement, or a smaller hoist.

If you haven’t got a shed, the first thing to do should be jump on the phone with us. Why? So we can design you a shed around the hoist, and then tackle the hurdle of getting it council-approved. This step can be pretty lengthy, and can be a little tricky to navigate. We’ve got years of experience, and won’t let a pesky little rejection stop us trying an appeal, or considering other avenues. 

If this is the hoist you really want, give us a call today, and we’ll organise everything. From design and approval, through shed construction all the way to hoist supply and installation, we’re a one stop shop.

One last thing to think about however, is the concrete slab. 

Swap You A Slab.

With a pre existing shed, Garage Equipment recommend a minimum of 100mm of concrete depth for hoists ranging up to 4.5-tonne. You don’t need to overcomplicate it with extensive rebar reinforcement or sunken stirrups. However, mounting points sunk directly into the fresh concrete certainly help, and if there’s one thing you get right make sure it’s the strength of the slab.

A weak slab can result in your pride and joy taking an ugly nosedive, probably writing it off, ruining your new hoist and if you’re really unlucky- taking you with it.

For a new build, ensure the slab is 120mm deep and of good quality, and you’ll be pretty well sorted. For some of the more intense hoists ranging up to 6.8-tonne, you’ll need a little more- 185mm.

For more information on the perfect slab, and our take on the ongoing discussion of slabs before or after building a shed, check out our other article on ‘Should you build the shed before, or after laying the slab?’

Package Deals and Everything Sorted.

Want a comprehensive quote and a single price on exactly what it’s going to cost you for a brand new hoist and a shed to put it in? Call us today. We know exactly how to get you what you want, and even give you a price you might actually get past the missus (or mister!). This package price includes all planning, council approval, laying of the slab, building the shed and supplying & installing the hoist itself. It’s everything you need. 

Here at Spinifex, we’re proudly Australian. That means that all of our products meet the strictest Australian standards and come with warranties and guarantees we’re more than happy to put our name to, and that includes Garage Equipement’s hoists and quality workshop machinery. 

So when you’re ready to stop thinking about it and get it done, give us a call. We’re always up for a chat to help you figure out exactly what’s going to be the perfect solution for you, not just what product we think we can sell you on.