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Engine lifts are designed to lift, remove, and transport engines for repair and examination. They use a hoist with wire rope or chain to lift an engine from its mountings. Engine lifts can be hydraulic, electric, or manually chain-driven. They are portable and can be easily attached to an engine using chains and a hook. Read More…
Engine LiftsEngine lifts are hoists specifically designed to lift and transport large engines safely within a facility. Engine removal is very common in the agricultural, automotive, aerospace and marine industries while manufacturing, assembling, repairing or performing routine maintenance on powerful vehicles that are powered by a large, heavy engine.
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Although there are three varieties of engine lifts, hydraulic-driven lifts are the most popular since they are affordable and intuitive to operate.
How an Engine Lift Works
Auto repair shops depend on engine lifts to provide the force and power to remove an engine from a vehicle for repairs. Changing and repairing an engine is a slow process that has to be performed with the greatest care to ensure the safety of the mechanic and the engine.
Positioning – Engine lifts have a boom, frame, and two legs with four wheels. The legs and boom extend from the frame and can easily be maneuvered to cradle a car. The legs extend underneath while the hoist is positioned above the engine. The engine must be lifted vertically without twisting or swaying. Modern engines require a leveler with two or four hooks to wrap around an engine. The leveler has a hook at the top attached to a bar with chains and hooks attached at either end. The hook at the top of the leveler is attached to the boom.
Preparation – Before removing the engine, it is important to drain all fluids and remove engine parts that could block the engine from rising. Fuel lines have to be removed and depressurized. The engine is disconnected from the transmission by removing the bolts connecting it to the mount.
Weight Capacity – Car engines weigh between 150 pounds up to 800 pounds, while truck engines can weigh as much as 4500 pounds. Engine lifts have their capacity printed on them, along with clear operating instructions from manufacturers.
Connecting the Engine – Several methods are used to attach the engine lift to the engine. The most common practice is to bolt the engine lift chain or wire rope to the engine's head or block. Some engines have anchor points that make it easier to attach the engine lift. Some levelers have straps to wrap around an engine during lifting. The key factor is a secure, tight connection to prevent the engine from slipping, twisting, or shifting. Modern engines require levelers since they are removed on an angle. A tool that can make connecting to an engine easier is a lift plate that bolts to the intake manifold. Once the lifting plate is connected, the hook and chain from the boom of the engine lift attaches to the lift plate.
Raising the Engine – Once the engine is secured, it can be lifted using the engine lift. Hydraulic lifts have a hydraulic cylinder with a pump to lift an engine, while chain engine lifts have a manual chain drive. Electric engine lifts have an electric motor.
Types of Engine Lifts
The three types of engine lifts are chain, hydraulic, and electric. They differ in how force is applied to lift an engine and the type of power they use.
Hydraulic Engine Lifts – There are three main parts to a hydraulic engine lift: its hydraulic cylinder, boom, and legs. The hydraulic cylinder is attached to the frame of the engine lift and reaches out to the boom. The frame sits on the legs of the engine lift and has four or more wheels to support the lift. A hydraulic cylinder powers the lift and moves the boom down or upward. Hydraulic engine lifts are the most common type of engine lift.
Chain Engine Lift – A chain engine lift is attached to a gantry, jib, or wall bracket. They are powered by a chain that activates a set of gears with a gear ratio to multiply the lifting force. The manually moved chain rotates various-sized sprockets and has a brake or ratchet to prevent the chain from moving when it is released. Chain engine lifts are the least expensive, with the lowest lifting capacity.
Electric Engine Lifts have an electric-powered motor that turns a drum with the chain or wire rope attached. Electric engine lifts can lift the highest capacity. As the capacity increases, the price of the lift increases. Electric engine lifts must also be attached to a gantry, jib, or beam. The capacity of electric engine lifts makes it possible for them to lift several thousand pounds. Factories, warehouses, and industrial operations usually use them. Electric engine lifts are activated by a wired or wireless control switch to optimize the lifting process.
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