Can A 9,000 LB. Lift Safely Lift 9,000 LBS.?

This question would appear to have a very simple answer: 9000 LB. However, that answer is not the COMPLETE answer. A two post lift has four arms (symmetric or asymmetric design) that are to be positioned under the correct lifting points of the vehicle.

These four arms have an effective weight capacity of 2,250 LB each. To safely lift an 9,000 LB vehicle, the operator must position the vehicle so that each arm is supporting 2,250 LB.

Will my 9000 LB. two post lift safely lift my forklift that weighs only 6,000 LBS.?

Answer: 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.