2 Post Lifts

2 Post Lift Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Q: What makes your lifts better than the competitors?

A: Our full line of Atlas® Lifts are manufactured to the same exacting standards as most of the "BIG NAME" lift companies. There are some small distributors that buy a container from a Chinese lift manufacturer and “hope” that the quality is OK. These small distributors do not order parts to support the product...just the product. There are other small distributors on the Internet that are only agents or sub-distributors for above ground lifts (and other automotive products). These smaller distributors do not stock the equipment. They simply take your order and have a warehouse ship your product. If they do not stock the product, then they probably don’t stock the parts. Does it not make sense to buy your equipment from a company that stocks both the products and the parts? There are similarities in the appearance of most above ground lifts, but the Atlas® Lifts are built to standards that far exceed those standards incorporated by most other Asian above ground lift manufacturers. We stock most of the lifts we advertise and have in-house service techs that can help with installation questions. We have a parts department that stocks all the parts needed for our current line of Atlas® lifts and we also have parts for lifts that we sold over 10 years ago. Most Internet automotive distributors are not a "brick and mortar facility".We have been in business for over 30 years. Greg Smith Equipment has eight brick and mortar locations (with a combined total over 220,000 square feet) that stock the majority of equipment we advertise on our web site.

Q: Do you have Atlas® Lifts displayed in your showrooms?

A: We display the Atlas® Lifts in our showroom and stock hundreds of Atlas® Lifts in our seven National warehouses. Please visit any of our eight locations to see your lift “in person” and pick up the lift to save freight costs.

Q: How Does A 2-Post Above Ground Lift Work?

A: Click here to find out.

Q: What is the voltage on the motors of your lifts?

A: All of our 2 post lifts are powered by a 220V motor.

Q: What kind of electrical wire should I use for my above ground lift?

A: Size (gauge) of wire is dependent on the motor horsepower of the power unit and the distance of the power unit from the power source. Consult a professional electrical contractor if you feel it necessary, but the rule of thumb electrical requirements are listed below: 2-post lift with a 220V single phase motor: 10-2 wire (with ground wire)...30 AMP service

Q: Does it matter whether the wiring is run from the ground or from above?

A: No, but if your goal is to make the electrical wiring connection to the power unit look "professional", then run the wire from the ceiling. When you try to "micro-manage" the exact position of the power unit column...and stub the wiring (in the concrete) next to the power unit column...the odds of getting it perfect are 50-50...at best. When you stub the wiring in the ceiling...you can position your lift properly and "drop the wire" directly to the power unit. You can enclose the wire in an attractive "wire cover" for a professional look.

Q: Does the power unit motor cord have a male plug?

A: 220V motors on the power units are only available with either blank "pigtails" or “no pigtail”. (the customer must furnish the pigtail) . Customers provide both the male and female ends.

Q: Can I mount the power unit on any column?

A: NO…but YES. Most lifts have only one column that can be used to mount the power unit. This column has the mounting bracket. Make sure that you install that specific column on the side where you want to locate the power unit.

Q: Can the power unit be moved to a remote location?

A: Yes, but the extra hydraulic hose will act like a reservoir which may require more hydraulic oil to be added to the system. Ask your salesperson about “remote mounting” your power unit.

Q: Does my lift come with anchor bolts and/or the hardware to mount it to the floor?

A: Most of our two post lifts and most of our commercial grade four post lifts come with the appropriate number of anchor bolts to mount the lift to the floor. The customer will always be responsible for providing the necessary hydraulic oil for the lift.

Q: What size concrete anchor bolts are needed?

A: Most 2-post lifts comes with enough ¾" x 5 ½" concrete anchor bolts for the initial installation of your lift. If you need to shim one column over one inch, then you need to purchase longer anchor bolts (3/4” x 7”) Additional anchor bolts are available for purchase through Greg Smith Equipment Sales or from your local hardware or home improvement stores.

Q: Can I get a footprint dimension so that I can pre-drill the holes for my lift?

A: It is not necessary to pre-mount anchor bolts for our two post lifts. When you receive the lift, the holes in the base of the lift will be the guide through which you will drill holes and set anchor bolts. We do not recommend pre-mounting anchor bolts into the concrete.

Q: What are the concrete floor requirements of my lift?

A: 2-post lifts (under 12,000 LB. capacity):
Four (4) inches of concrete at 3000 PSI
12,000 pound two-post lifts (and higher capacity):
Six (6) inches of concrete at 3000 PSI is required.

Q: Do I need more (thicker) concrete in the area of the posts?

A: NO! Our listed concrete requirements are sufficient. But, if it makes you feel better, you may pour the concrete as thick as your pocketbook will allow.

Q: How long should I let my new concrete floor cure?

A: You may install (anchor) your lift (four days) after the concrete has been poured. You must wait a total of seven days before using the lift to its rated capacity.

Q: How do I determine the concrete thickness of my garage floor?

A: Drill a test hole and measure the thickness. Most garages will have at least four (4) inches. If you mount the lift and the "anchors" begin to lift out of the concrete over a period of time, you will need to relocate your lift or pour "new concrete pads" under the columns. There is also many types of epoxy concrete adhesives that help anchor your lift in marginal concrete.

Q: If I need to cut out my existing concrete and pour a new pad....how thick?

A: The new pad should be at least 4' by 4' and 10" thick. These new concrete pads should have "rebar" installed into the new pour and into the sides of the existing concrete slab.

Q: I have an expansion joint very near a column or directly under the column or I must drill through an expansion joint. What should I do?

A: Use common sense. First, you probably do not have an expansion joint in your garage floor.

Please read article below about expansion joints:

You probably have a control joint either cut into your floor when the concrete was partially cured:

Or "grooved into your floor" when the concrete was wet:

A control joint should not affect the integrity (strength) of your four (4) inch concrete slab as it relates to your two post lift installation. A control joint is normal "cut or grooved" to a depth of about 25% of the total depth of your concrete slab. Control joints are used to prevent irregular cracks forming in your slab.

Normally, you can mount the columns right over the top of these control joint. You can even drill through the joints. After the hole is drilled and the anchor is placed into the hole and the nut is tightened, you will know if the anchor is going to "hold". If the nut tightens to the correct torque then the anchor is secure. HOWEVER, you will need to check (for the first 30 days) the anchor each time you use the lift to make sure it is still tight. After 30 days, you will need to check the anchor periodically. Once again, USE YOUR HEAD!

Q: How large "stand alone" concrete pad is needed for an outdoor lift?

A: The concrete should be twice the required thickness of a "normal" concrete floor for the lift's weight capacity. (10K lift should have 8 inches of concrete) The "slab" should extend at least 24 inches past the outside of each column (side to side). Ask your salesperson for other ideas about outdoor mounting. The customer is always responsible for providing an adequate mounting surface.

Q: I have a slope in my garage floor. Do I need to be concerned?

A: To allow for water drainage, many garages have a 1" to 2" slope from the back of the garage to the front. This minimal slope will not affect the safety or lift capacity of your lift. Two post lifts (with one column mounted slightly higher than the opposite column) can have the arms adjusted (equalization cables)...so that the arms (vehicle) are LEVEL when raised. Columns can be "shimmed" with plastic or metal shims. If the column is to be "mounted with anchors"...make sure you use extra length anchors to compensate for the "shimmed" area above the concrete.

Q: Can concrete anchors be used if my garage has in-floor heating?

A: Yes, but you need to determine the "hot water pipe configuration" in your floor. If you are pouring a new concrete floor with hot water heat, then allow plenty of room for the columns to be installed. If you have in-floor heating already installed and do not have an accurate installation diagram; spray a small amount of water on your floor and turn the heating system to the highest setting. You may be able to see the outline of the heat pipes as the floor water begins to evaporate. Drill where it is wet. Dry areas indicate a heat pipe underneath.

Q: What type of hydraulic oil do I need to operate the lift?

A: Hydraulic fluid is the only recommended fluid/oil for your lift. AW 32 or AW 46 is the proper type of oil recommended by the lift manufacturer. Synthetic oil, automatic transmission fluid, and other substitutes are not recommended.

Q: What's the best hydraulic oil for my lift?

A: Click here to find out.

Q: How much hydraulic oil will I need?

A: Most two post require an average of 3-3.5 gallons of hydraulic fluid.

Hydraulic fluids can typically be found at most local parts, home improvement, or tractor supply stores.

Shipping regulations will not allow Greg Smith Equipment Sales to ship hydraulic fluid via UPS, Fed-Ex or common freight carrier.

Q: How often do I need to change the hydraulic fluid?

A: Hydraulic fluid only needs to be added if there is a leak in the sealed system of the lift. Over time, extreme temperature fluctuations may create water particles to form inside the system over time. "MILKY" fluid should be evacuated and changed to ensure smooth operation.

Q: Can I mount and use my lift outside?

A: Yes with certain limitations, but be advised that when an above ground lift is mounted outside (and exposed to the elements), then the lift warranty is voided. Lifts must be mounted on a concrete surface of sufficient depth and integrity. Cold weather will affect the operation of any electric/hydraulic lift because the hydraulic oil will move slower in colder weather. Exposed metal cables need to be protected with a light weight marine-grade grease or WD-40. Cover the power unit to protect against moisture entering the motor.

Q: Can I mount my lift in an unheated garage?

A: Yes, but the hydraulic oil (in cold weather) will move slower because of its increased viscosity.

Trick: Place a "trouble light" with a 25 watt incandescent bulb near the plastic reservoir prior to use. (Be careful the bulb in protected and does NOT contact the plastic reservoir...reservoir will MELT) The heat generated from the light bulb will "warm" the hydraulic oil and increase the performance of your lift.

Q: Can I get a lift with a key lock out for the power unit?

A: Yes, but they are sold as an option and we believe that the key lock is just a gimmick that has proved to be unreliable. We sold them a few years ago...and the solenoids gave us headaches after 6 months!

Q: Can the overhead beam of a (2-post) lift be used to pull an engine?

A: No...use a cherry picker. The overhead cross beam (although made of heavy steel) is designed to be only a conduit for the hoses and cables!

Q: Will my 9,000 LB. two post lift safely lift my forklift that weighs only 6,000 LBS.?

A: Probably not! A forklift has the majority of its weight located in the rear of the body. This rear weight acts as a counterweight to the front of the forklift where the load is lifted. A forklift has weight dispersion much like a pickup truck with a load of sand or gravel in the bed. Both vehicles have a disproportionate amount of weight in the "rear end".

A forklift that weighs 6,000 LB. may have 5,000 LB. of its weight concentrated in the back 35% of the forklift's wheelbase. A loaded ONE TON pick truck, much like a fork lift, may have a disproportionate weight located in the back 30% of the truck's wheel base. Also the lifting points on a fork lift are much more narrow and further away from the lift’s columns than car or truck. The two post lift is the “strongest” when the arms are spread out at close to a 45 degree angle from the column, not when the arms are full extended straight out from the column. If the lift arms are fully extended (nearly straight out from the column) and placed under the lifting points of a 6,000 forklift, there may be NO damage (permanent deflection) to the arms or carriage as the forklift is being raised. (HOWEVER, DO NOT DO THIS)!!!! Even if NO damage or deflection occurs as the forklift is being raised (smoothly)…there will definitely be an enormous strain put on the carriages or arms if the forklift is lowered quickly and then “stopped” on the locks. If this happens, damage or permanent deflection is likely to occur to the carriage or arms because of “abnormal heavy weight” supported too far away from the columns.

If you need to lift a forklift into the air, please consider the mobile column lift system or a four post (dedicated forklift) lift. Lifts designed specifically to raise forklifts cost several times more than automotive lifts. There is a reason. These dedicated forklift lifts are overbuilt to accommodate and compensate for the disproportionate weight distributions of forklifts.

The lift operator must position a vehicle so that the weight on any of the four arms does not exceed 25% of the total lifting capacity of the above ground lift. The lift operator must understand that the "loaded" pickup truck will be positioned differently than that same truck without a load. Common sense is a must when using an above ground lift!

You may own a ONE TON pickup truck that has a “dry weight” of only 6,000 LB., but if loaded with beans or pea gravel may weigh close to 8,000 LB. With a fully loaded bed, the rear end of the vehicle may weigh 5,000 LB. and the lifting points have changed in this loaded truck versus the lifting points of the unloaded truck.

A 9,000 LB. lift may or may not be the correct choice to lift this loaded vehicle. You would be better served to use a 10,000 LB. lift. The 10,000 LB. above ground lift has individual lift arm weight capacities of 2,500 LB. each.

Please consider the above situations when purchasing your new two post above ground lift.

Get straight answers from the Lift Professionals at Greg Smith Equipment Sales.

Q: Do the carriage wear blocks need lubrication?

A: Yes...but very minimal! Please refer to your owner's manual.

Q: Where can I get parts for older lifts that are no longer produced?

A: Products are constantly changing, but Greg Smith Equipment should be able to locate most of the popular lift parts for lifts manufactured in the last ten years.

Most USA lift manufacturers are out of business...but even though the lifts were "made in the USA"...many of the parts have been coming from China for over 15 years. Many parts are generic...and although the quality of some of the parts may vary from the original manufacturer, the end result should be satisfactory.

Q: My lift "jumps" as it is raised or lowered. How do I prevent the "jumping"?

A: The hydraulic system may have "air" in the system and the system needs to be purged. If your lift has a "direct drive" cylinder, raise the carriage about one foot. Do not set the lift on its locks. Locate the allen screw on the top of each column. Open (just a little) ONE allen screw until you feel a small amount of air AND fluid flowing; tighten the screw. Lower the lift and then repeat the procedure for the other cylinder. Repeat if necessary.

For other lifts (with different cylinder configurations); raise and lower the lift a few times (with no weight) and hold the dump valve for a few seconds when in lowered position. You can feel the air flowing through the vent hole in the reservoir cap. The hydraulic system is being "bled".

Q: My lift makes a squeaky noise when it goes up and down. Can I eliminate it?

A: A noise coming from the lift while it is traveling up or down may be caused by a variety of reasons. A certain amount of sound is normal. However, certain sounds are indications that some adjustments may be necessary. The columns need to be perfectly aligned (and level side to side) to ensure that the carriages are not contacting the inside of the column at some irregular angle that may create a vibrating sound. This can be caused by improper installation. The seals inside our cylinders are made to "fit" as tight as possible. On some lifts, there is a "break in period" that is needed to "soften" the seals inside the cylinder. The "stiffer" seals may vibrate or rub against the inside of the cylinder wall until the seal becomes more pliable after using the lift several times. We recommend the addition of four ounces of Caterpillar Hydraulic Oil additive #1U-9891 into the power unit hydraulic oil reservoir to help "speed up" the break in period. This Caterpillar hydraulic oil additive will soften the seals just enough to eliminate the noise, but will allow the seals to maintain their integrity to operate effectively. There may be other factors that would produce some slight noise when operating the lift. The lift experts at Greg Smith Equipment can provide you with many solutions to eliminate much of the noise. Of course, we cannot come to your location to perform these simple procedures, but we figure that if you were competent enough to install the lift, then performing some small noise reduction tasks should be very easy.

Q: How tight should the equalization cables be on my lift?

A: Raise the lift and DO NOT set it on the locks. Try to pull the cables together with the fingers of one hand. The cables should move toward each other about 1/3 of the way. If the cables do NOT move...they are too tight. If the cables can touch each other...they are too loose.

Q: Can I "adjust" an overhead lift to be a "little shorter"?

A: Certain models of our "overhead lifts" can be shortened "in the field", to accommodate some customers who are vertically challenged. Please call the lift technicians at Greg Smith Equipment to find out if the model of lift you are considering may be modified. If you are NOT mechanically inclined (or willing to pay someone that is mechanically inclined) then an "in field" modification will not be possible.

Q: I didn't get a manual or any instructions with my lift?

A: Yes...you probably did (and lost it). However, most installation manuals are available on our web site. We can also mail, fax, or email a copy to you.

Q: What is the warranty on your lifts?

A: Please check the web page of the lift that best suits your needs. Each lift’s web page has a detailed explanation of the warranty relative to that model.


Atlas® 9KOH

2 Year Structural, 1 Year Power Unit and Cylinders Warranty
Atlas® PV-10P

5 Year Structural, 2 Year Power Unit and Cylinders Warranty

Q: Does Greg Smith Equipment offer installation of its lifts?

A: Greg Smith Equipment Sales works with dozens of lift installers throughout the USA and will be glad to provide names of these professional lift installers upon request. However, most lifts are installed by the customer with the help of some friends. Your local "handyman" can easily install these lifts with the help of our on-line easy to understand lift assembly guides.

Q: Do you furnish a template of the bolt hole pattern so that I can install bolts into the concrete when I pour the floor, before I receive the lift?

A: NO… we will not. We have been selling above ground lifts for over 30 years and the ‘factory-recommended’ procedure is to use the bolt hole pattern of the column’s base plate as the template. Drill into the concrete and hammer the bolts into the concrete… screw on the nut… and the bolt head expands against the sides of the hole. Simple as that.

We furnish the anchor bolts with your Atlas® two post lift, so there is no need for you to go to the extra expense of buying extra mounting hardware. We understand that many of you “frustrated engineers” always have a better way to do things than the way the factory recommends. We cannot prevent you from “over-engineering” or “over thinking” any proven installation procedure. It’s in your genes.

Here are a few of many reasons why we do not furnish a template for you to install the anchor bolts in the concrete BEFORE you receive your lift:

You may decide that you want to position your lift in a different location.

You believe you can weld the bolts on a sheet of metal… BUT if you are “off” a fraction of an inch… nothing fits.

Even if the bolts are welded properly on the metal sheet, when you pour the concrete, the metal sheet may “tilt” a little with the weight of the new concrete and the welded bolts will not be aligned with holes in base plate.

Holes in base plate are drilled (at the factory) when the column is in a “jig fixture”… but what if the operator has not done his job 100% correct and the base plate holes are “off’ just a fraction of an inch? This situation would not affect the stability of the lift if lift was mounted to floor with supplied anchor bolts… but would present quite a challenge during installation over pre-mounted bolts.

It is easier to slide columns on floor into position and then drill rather than to “bear hug” the column and lift straight up and then sit the lift down so bolts go through the base plate bolt holes. (Remember, if you bend a bolt protruding from the concrete…you will have a hard time to get it straight. And… you probably messed up the thread on the bolt. NOT a good thing when you need to torque the nut.

What if your wife finds out that you ordered a lift and she won’t allow it? Now you have a bunch of bolts sticking out of your floor for you to trip over.

And on… and on… and on. Quit trying to reinvent the wheel… just follow our proven installation methods and concentrate on enjoying your lift.

Your wife