Sunday, February 27, 2011

Part 3 - Getting off the floor

The first trial assembly of the roller was done working on the garage floor. While it only took a couple of hours, crawling on the ground got old fast. A friend sent me a link for a used motorcycle lift on craigslist that I ended up buying. 

Item #2792

The yellow HF lift was perfect for lifting the bike leaving the wheels free. At full extension of the lift, the bike was still too low (about 16 inches off the ground).

After more browsing at Harbor Freight, I came across a full size lift. 
1000 Lb. Capacity Motorcycle Lift

Most reviews were positive and I found a coupon which reduced the price to $279. Removed the rear seats from the mini-van and headed down to Harbor Freight to pick up the lift. It was a real bear to load. It took a forklift and 3 guys to get it loaded into the van. The package weighs 350 pounds. Getting it out single handed was another bloody mission.

It fits.... but only just

Man-handled to the ground

Removed some packaging to try and reduce the weight. Eventually put one end on a skate board and eased it into the garage. I might have mentioned - this thing is heavy, very heavy.

There is no way a person working alone is going to lift the thing out of the crate. The alternative is to get a hammer and smash the crate out of the way.... which is what I did. 

After much cursing, I was able to liberate the lift from the crate and get it's wheels on. This simplifies moving it around. If you buy one of these, make sure you have a truck, a case of beer and a willing helper or 2. Handling it on your own is asking for trouble. Trying it without beer is just plain stupid.

After final assembly, rolled the bike up the ramp onto the lift and realized that the lift was too short for the bike by about 4 inches. Made the obligatory trip to Lowes to get steel to make extensions to support the front wheel off the edge of the main table. This was a pretty straight forward job.

Top view of Lift with front wheel extension

Bike on lift

The lift is very sturdy and it makes a huge difference being able to work at a decent height. I have the table up at 30 inches which is almost twice what I could get on the smaller lift. Everything functions the way it should. The hydraulic jack was empty so I had to go to Advance Auto Parts to buy Jack Oil. No big deal. Having a lift beats crawling around on the floor.

The little yellow HF lift will probably still see plenty of service down the road as it's really handy if you need to support the bike with the wheels free.

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