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Removing water, oil and sludge from inground lift pits.

Corrosion and water damage are a big concern when it comes to inground lifts. Over winter months, snow and slush dripping from vehicles makes it past the covers on your inground lifts and into the underground pit. That pit houses some pretty important parts like the hydraulic cylinders, hoses, safety locking mechanisms and so on. These systems are likely made of steel with a minimal amount of paint, or if you’re lucky some powder coating. If ignored, this water / salt mixture starts to corrode these parts causing expensive and possibly irreparable damage.

So what can you do about this? Well it’s simple, keep up with regular drainage of these pits.

But how? Most shops start off with a quick and dirty shop-vac. They push the hose down into the pit as far as it can go (which is typically not all the way) remove whatever comes out until the vacuum fills up, drain and repeat. If you have more than one or two pits, this is hands down one of the dirtiest, time consuming jobs in the shop. (No one is going to volunteer to do this one)

So, to make things a little simpler, we’ve put together two options that are cleaner and faster making it more likely that you will keep up with this critical maintenance. So let’s get started.

OPTION 1: The Flow-Jet Pump Kit

If you’re interested in this pump, you can but it here

The flow-jet kit consists of a mini air pump, bracket and integral air regulator that can be permanently installed on each of your inground lifts. The pump can either be hard connected to shop air or plugged in when needed. Once activated, the flow-jet effortlessly drains water from the pit when needed.

CONS: The flow-jet is a small pump and can be a little slow for most people. It is also not designed to drain multiple pits. If you do decide to install it permanently, you will need to consider routing of the air/drain lines to avoid trip hazards.

OPTION 2: Heavy duty air operated double diaphragm pump

If you’re interested in this pump, you can but it here

This double diaphragm water/oil and gasoline pump is fast, heavy duty and an excellent upgrade from the shop-vac. It is powered by your shop-air supply and does a super job of draining water/oil from the pit. It’s a good solution for dealerships or large shops with multiple inground lifts. It can be taken out when needed, and put away after, leaving no unsightly air lines or drain hoses hanging around.

CONS: This pump is a little pricey. Since it is not permanently installed most people forget to use it leaving you with an awesome tool and a bunch of water in your pits.

TIP: If you do decide to go this route, make sure you use a high quality reinforced vacuum hose along with a coarse filter on the intake to keep it from collapsing or clogging when started.

Well, we hope we have shed some light on the options available to you when it comes to removing water from your inground pits. No matter which route you take to get there, make sure you’re on top of it.

If you have questions, feel free to call us at 1-888-255-2372 or email us at [email protected]

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Steel cables and your automotive lifts

What are cables? Steel cables, a.k.a. wire ropes for cables over 3/8″ diameter, are a flexible connection mechanism used on a variety of lifting equipment.  They are an evolution from chain links which were notorious for catastrophic failure. Unlike chain, steel cables are made from many strands of wires twisted into specific patterns for improved strength and flexibility. Failure of a single strand in the cable is less critical as the other strands can take up the load.

In the automotive repair industry steel cables are most commonly seen on 2 post and 4 post style automotive lifts.

A typical 2 post lift, consists of a high pressure hydraulic cylinder assembled into each tower. When powered up, these cylinders support the weight of the vehicle while the cables are used to balance out any uneven lifting conditions. Even though they don’t support load, they are still performing an important role in keeping the vehicle level on the lift.

Two post lifts typically have small diameter sheaves due to space constraints in their design. Smaller sheaves mean tighter bending radius and higher bending stresses on the wires. So, inspect your wire ropes and sheaves frequently as detailed in your owners manual.

On 4 post lifts, the wire ropes are responsible for supporting the weight of the vehicle and sections of the lift. Hydraulic cylinders pull on the ropes, which in turn pull on the structure of the lift allowing the load to raise. As you can imagine, if a wire rope on your 4 post hoist fails, the load will free-fall “until and if” the mechanical locks catch it. The “if” in that statement depends on the condition of you locking system. Clean, inspect and replace damaged or broken parts of your locking system immediately. Never use a lift with a malfunctioning locking system.

You may think this will never happen to you, but cable failure is actually more common than you think so please inspect your cables frequently and take them out of service when they don’t meet the standards.

Want to know more about wire ropes and inspection, watch this video and purchase the ANSI/ALI ALOIM standard.