Installation of a 4 Post Storage Lift
by: Greg Gervasio
Installment 1 – High Lift Door Conversion
Now that I exceeded the parking capacity of my garage, I decided to install a 4 post parking lift. As you can see from fig 1-5 the first problem encountered is that the garage door and opener will be in the way of lifting the car up. My current door uses extension springs (as seen in fig 3) which will not work with a high lift application. Another problem that will be encountered is that the standard door opener will also not function with a high lift door. As can be seen from fig 4 the standard opener will try to pull the door back immediately and a high lift door has to go straight up first. The installation of a high lift opener will be covered in the next installment.
The first thing you will need to do is measure the clearance from the highest point of travel of the door to the ceiling. Fig 6 shows that I had 33″ of clearance at the highest point. This point is generally as the door travels around the curved part of the track. I purchased my parts from DIYGarageRepairs. They can put together a kit with all the parts needed to extend the tracks and convert to the required torsion spring system. Calculating the size of the torsion spring requires a special program and is not straight forward. I highly recommend having some that knows what they are doing calculate the proper spring size. The tracks come in 1′ increments so I ordered a 3′ kit and shortened the tracks to 32″. This only leaves ~1″ between the door and the ceiling at the highest point of travel.
Once the parts arrived I removed the old opener, springs and upper track. Fig 11 shows the parts stripped off. One thing I did was move the upper roller to the very top of the door so that it would keep the door lower as it opened. This can be seen in fig 9 & 10. You will also have to adjust the top roller since the new tracks will be closer to the wall with the new tracks. I had to grind the edge of the adjustable bracket to get it close enough to the door. Next you will probably have to extend the 2X6 along the sides of the door to mount the new tracks to (fig 10). Install the new vertical track sections and then the old upper track (fig 13). Now install the new torsion spring assembly. This includes a torsion shaft, outer bearings, center bearing, torsion springs, high lift drums and new cables. The finished installation can be seen in fig 16.
Wow look at the difference in fig 14 between the height of the my old door next to the new one. Not only does the door lift higher but it will not extend into the garage as far as before. Fig 17 clearly shows the room above the car. This will be more then enough room providing I keep the roof back from the center beam.
Installment 2 – Installing the Lift March 1, 2008
Barry & I both purchased a Direct Lift Model 8S (8,000lb capacity) from Greg Smith Equipment in Newark Delaware. Nice place with a large showroom full of shop equipment. It is worth a visit to see all the different types of lifts and other shop equipment they have. They hooked us up with a towing company that was able to deliver our lifts a reasonable price. The lifts were delivered on Thursday and we decided to install mine first on Saturday.
First I prepared the area before everyone arrived. Cleared out the garage (fig 1) and stripped off the packing from the lift (fig 2-4). Around 9:30 AM help arrived, Frank & Ken with Barry arriving about a half hour later (fig 5). The first thing we did was remove the top ramp with the cylinder. This was the heaviest part and a real pain to get into the garage. We then unpacked the legs and cross bars and assembled them in the garage (fig 6-11). We finally got the last ramp in place and it was time for a break (fig 11-13). The heavy work was over and we strung the cables, hung the hydraulic unit and installed the lock release bars. Then came the fun testing the lift. First empty (fig 15-16) and we then loaded my Sunfire on for a test lift. Later I pulled in my C3 to check position (fig 17-19). Fits perfect I am able to get it more then high enough with several inches to spare. In this position have 62″ clearance, more then enough for the C6 and it is about the right height to stand under and work under the car. I thought I would need it higher but I can easily stand in the center and reach all the parts under the care comfortably. If needed I have enough clearance to go up another 6-8 inches. I even have enough room to park the tractor back in front of the lift (fig 19). Once I was satisfied with the alignment of everything I bolted the lift down and moved my 2006 into its new home (fig 20). Finally my daily driver gets its parking space back. No more having to scrape off the frost the car before I can go to work.
Total installation took about 6 hrs, but that included a run to the auto store and a lunch break. Barry’s should go quicker now that we know the procedure and can avoid some of the time consuming mistakes.
Installment 3 – Installing the Opener March 30, 2008
The finishing touch is the addition of a new opener. I used a Liftmaster 3800. This is the only residential opener that works with a high lift door. I included a link here for a copy of the installation manual.
I decided to mount it on the right side out of the way. I first test fit the opener (Fig 2) to see how it will be mounted and where I needed to place the new outlet. I next then taped into the old opener and pulled a new cable to the opener (Fig 3-5). After the drive is mounted the next step is to mount the door lock pin (Fig 6). This pin extends into the track when the door closes to prevent anyone from manually opening the door. Fig 7 shows placement of the slack cable stop. Make sure that you mount it high enough to clear the door as it opens. The manual said it could be mounted to the wall board but at that level the roller would hit the 2X6 side supports and never activate. I spaced it out level with the 2X6. I mounted the opener on the side of the door (Fig 8). Finally mount the safety reversing electric eyes (Fig 9 & 10) and run all the wires to the opener. Fig 11 shows the lock extended into the track. Finally mount the wall opener switch in fig 12.