Engine Hoist Recommendations

One essential item for just about any home mechanic and certainly for any professional mechanic is an engine hoist, commonly known as a cherry picker.  There are a lot of choices to consider when looking at an engine hoist, including construction, lift, extension and storage.

Engine Hoist Design

Most engine hoists are rated at 4,000 LBS, have folding capability, multiple boom extension positions, and 6 wheels.  It is important to understand that when the boom is extended, the capacity drops very quickly, typically the extensions are rated at 2 ton at the shortest extension.  As the boom is extended you will see the capacity go from 2 ton, to 1.5 ton, 1 ton and ½ ton.

What Capacity Do You Need?

Considering the drop in capacity as the boom is extended, it becomes clear that the 4,000 LB engine hoist is intended for car and light truck use and is questionable for use on a diesel engine.  For example, a 7.3 liter Power Stroke weighs approximately 920 lbs dry.  The boom would definitely have to be extended to work on a diesel truck, which lowers the capacity to 1000 lbs, so clearly you are pushing that engine hoist to the limit.

If you are going to be working on smaller engines such as 4 cylinder engines, you can meet your needs with a 1 ton engine hoist.  A Subaru 2.5 engine weighs in at under 400 lbs for example.

When looking for an engine hoist it makes sense to go with the 4,000 lb hoist as the cost and size between the 1 ton and the 2 ton hoists are very close.

Lift

The other consideration is lifting height.  Trucks present an issue when using a cherry picker style engine hoist due to the grille and fender height.  On multiple occasion, I have had to remove the front wheels and drop the front of the truck down to allow use of a cherry picker style engine hoist to remove the engines.  As you can see, if you are pulling a diesel engine at maximum reach with a 4,000 lb cherry picker, you will need to be extremely cautious.

Pricing

A search for an engine hoist can come back with prices ranging from a couple of hundred dollars to well over a thousand dollars.  The scope of this article is directed to the home mechanic, or DIY mechanic and the small shops.  The 4,000 LB engine hoists fit the need in that capacity very well.

Three Recommendations

The three engine hoists I suggest are the same capacity with the biggest differences is in the weight and reach.

#1

The Draqway engine hoist comes in at #1 primarily because it has 3″ steel caster wheels which will allow it to get under lower clearance than a 3 1/2″ wheel will.  That is a surprisingly  big consideration in many cases.  In addition it has a 102 inch lifting range for getting over those truck grilles and fenders.

  • 6  – 3″ Steel Caster Wheels that are fully rotating
  • Storage  Dimensions:  58” x 37” x 22”
  • Assembled Dimensions: 65” x 41” x 37”
  • Boom Extension Range:  Floor – 102”
  • 3” x 3” Square Tube Legs (1/8” Thick Steel)
  • 4 Position Boom
  • Foldable design
  • 8 Ton Hydraulic Ram
  • Weight: 149 lbs
#2

The Torin comes in with  a close 2nd position.  The 3 1/2 inch wheel size and the 78 3/4 inch lift are the limiting factors on this cherry picker style engine lift.  However at 186 lbs, it is clearly more robust.  A consideration here might be use, how heavy is the engine you are going to be lifting?

  • Lifting range: 1inch-78.75inch
  • 6 wheels for added mobility
  • 4 hole position boom
  • Heavy duty 8 ton long ram
  • Foldable design
  • 8 Ton Hydraulic Ram
  • Weight: 186 lbs
#3

The Torin is in #3 position due to reviews.  While it is more affordable there are some issues with consistency in quality.  There is also some discrepancy  as to the reported maximum lift of 105″ actually being in the 90″ range.  At the lower price point, this would still be a very good option for the home mechanic or DIY mechanic.

  • 6  3 1/2″ Steel Caster Wheels that are fully rotating
  • Heavy gauge structural steel
  • Assembled Dimensions: 65″ x 38 1/2″ x 60″”
  • Boom Extension Range:  Floor – 105”
  • 4 Position Boom
  • Foldable design
  • 8 Ton Hydraulic Ram
  • Weight: 149 lbs

Recommended Accessory

A leveler is a very handy item to use with an engine hoist provided you have enough lift to use it.  You can buy a good functional leveler from Torin, and as always, OTC makes a very good product.

Summary

To summarize, when purchasing an engine hoist, consider what you are using it for, how much room do you have, and what is your budget?  Is it something you are going to use occasionally, or are you using it regularly?  Most importantly, do not exceed the capacity of the engine hoist you choose, it is not worth risking your personal safety.

 

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