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View Full Version : How to Imnprove an Engine Crane



Too_Many_Tools
04-16-2010, 02:22 PM
Many of us own store purchased or homemade engine cranes.

I would like see a discussion as to how one can improve an engine crane.

TMT

Alistair Hosie
04-16-2010, 03:10 PM
Why not fit an electric winch to it .This is a Godsend belive me. I have tried it when lifting my hacksaw.Alistair

duckman
04-16-2010, 03:57 PM
After I got my hoist I realized just how sloppy all the pivots were, put the various pieces on the BRPT bored the holes out to the next common size, made new pins, the improvement was unbelieveable, the boom didn't shake any more and was a lot stabler when doing a lift. :D

Jim Stabe
04-16-2010, 06:29 PM
Mine is the folding version. I have had to remove engines from some rather narrow British cars and the legs wanted to be where the front tires of the vehicle are. I cut and rewelded the legs so they were narrower and would fit between the vehicle's tires. They can also be swapped side to side to clear some larger, wider objects you want to pick up. This was helpful when lifting some large stones into my pickup.

x39
04-16-2010, 06:33 PM
I'd like larger wheels on mine, of course this could be a drawback should the lift be used for its intended purpose rather than general lifting.

kcleere
04-16-2010, 07:24 PM
I have the HF 2 ton and I only lift machines in my shop. None over 1/2 ton. I'd like to add an air over hyd. ram and wondered if anyone had done that and how well it worked? Larger smoother rolling casters are also on my list.

Arcane
04-16-2010, 10:28 PM
I added a small hand winch to mine (mostly because I had it sitting on the shelf) and doubled up the cable to give a 2 to 1 ratio just to half the distance it lowers between stops without using the hydraulic cylinder. The winch is at the mast end of the boom and I installed a grooved roller in the boom end for the cable. It's more controllable when lowering something than the hydraulic cylinder is.

Robo
04-16-2010, 10:39 PM
Mine is the folding version. I have had to remove engines from some rather narrow British cars and the legs wanted to be where the front tires of the vehicle are. I cut and rewelded the legs so they were narrower and would fit between the vehicle's tires. They can also be swapped side to side to clear some larger, wider objects you want to pick up. This was helpful when lifting some large stones into my pickup.

Got a pic of that?

oldtiffie
04-17-2010, 12:01 AM
I added a small hand winch to mine (mostly because I had it sitting on the shelf) and doubled up the cable to give a 2 to 1 ratio just to half the distance it lowers between stops without using the hydraulic cylinder. The winch is at the mast end of the boom and I installed a grooved roller in the boom end for the cable. It's more controllable when lowering something than the hydraulic cylinder is.

I'd be very careful about using a hand - or any other - "winch" that is made for "pulling" as most or many are - boat and 4WD winches included. The package message on those will warn you to use it for pulling only any NOT to use it for lifting.

I had a very narrow "squeak" with a cable and ratchet "come-along" which over-ran when I reversed the pawl - it started to "run back" under load but thankfully "caught" - just in time. Just as in the pullzall video

Lesson learned - never again.

All of my lifting gear is "rated". I have chain blocks as well a 1/2 ton "pullzall" - great machine with excellent control:
www.pullzall.com.au

http://www.pullzall.com.au/default.asp?action=article&ID=106

http://www.pullzall.com.au/default.asp?action=article&ID=105

TriHonu
04-17-2010, 12:07 AM
I have the HF 2 ton and I only lift machines in my shop. None over 1/2 ton. I'd like to add an air over hyd. ram and wondered if anyone had done that and how well it worked?

I installed an air over hydraulic ram on one of mine. First lesson is remove the wire bail on the air valve. I was lifting the gear box off my lathe and had the bail lock the valve open. :o I almost broke a casting while trying to stop it. No damage to lathe, but the bail is not on the valve anymore.

I have it on a fold-up unit and it sure is nice not having to stand and pump the ram up from the storage position. I picked the ram up from HF during one of their sales. I have not used it a lot, but it works fine and I have nothing bad to say about it.

Forrest Addy
04-17-2010, 01:26 AM
Casters. The factory caster on ALL cherry picker engine hoists I've seen are barely adequate. I installed 5" fixed frame phenolic wheel casters in front and 4" swivel in back. It glides over not too rough concrete. My nephew has it now. I never get to use it.

Davo J
04-17-2010, 01:56 AM
I have to modify mine so the boom goes in against the ram when folded up. I see some designs that have a bend in the boom to allow this.
One question on the air/hydraulic cylinders is, can you lift the load with the air or is it just to lift the arm up into position then you have to manually pump it to lift the load.
I did see somewhere that a bloke ground out and rewelded all the crappy welds, I need to do that as well. Some of the welds have under cut and others just not enough weld on them.
I also noticed the main pivot bolt has 2 grooves worn in it from the boom so I will be changing that and putting a piece of tube in the boom.
They need a bit of refining, but for the price you cant even buy the steel.
Dave

hardtail
04-17-2010, 02:16 AM
Air will lift the load..........

We've got a couple of these at work, when you see how beefy they are comapred to the usual Asia offerings hard to believe anybody's actually testing their ratings...........

http://www.otctools.com/products/2,200_lb._cap._heavy-duty_crane

TMT in anticipation of a future thread about engine stands.........LOL I would also follow this design.......This is the axis of rotation your really want for engine work and yes the 6K rating is correct..........LOL

http://www.otctools.com/products/6000_lb._revolver_diesel_engine_stand

dian
04-17-2010, 02:21 AM
i bought one last week and am afraid to use it. im going to wait till i have my lath set up and do some improvements to it. but first of all, im going to replace all bolts, they are 4.8 grade (bolt for wood). i am also looking for some polyurethane wheels that fit, as the cast iron ones would scratch up my floor. i also want to add an extention, so i can work up to the ceiling, the legs are long enough, much to long in fact. anyway, the thing cost me considabely less on a per kilo basis than the rusty concrete reinforcement steel i bought the other day.

Too_Many_Tools
04-17-2010, 02:38 AM
TMT in anticipation of a future thread about engine stands.........LOL I would also follow this design.......This is the axis of rotation your really want for engine work and yes the 6K rating is correct..........LOL

http://www.otctools.com/products/6000_lb._revolver_diesel_engine_stand

Darn...beat me to it. ;<)

TMT

Davo J
04-17-2010, 02:43 AM
If it's new I wouldn't be to worried about lifting with it.
Mine being a folding model has 6 wheels, 3 sets of 2. I have had the steel flexing so much when I was lifting the mill that the back 2 sets were off the ground. When I started to lift it, it took a few pumps after the sling was tight to lift the mill off the ground while all the steel flexed and bent.

Over here they most places don't sell the 2 ton model anymore. They have derated them but claim they will still lift 2 ton. Must be something in the legalities of it.
Where I bought mine it was the last and I had a choice of either the 2 ton manual pump or the 1 ton air pump model for the same price. I bought the 2 ton because the steel was thinner on the 1 ton and I can always change the pump over latter.
One thing about these ceap cranes compaired to the one you linked, is the weight, try lifting one of those into a trailer on your own.
Dave

hardtail
04-17-2010, 02:53 AM
Why do you think we have two?............LOL

I can show you a pic of a buddy that lifted an engine and I don't think at the time was fully aware of what the ram was doing........yikes!!!!!!

Davo J
04-17-2010, 02:56 AM
TMT in anticipation of a future thread about engine stands.........LOL I would also follow this design.......This is the axis of rotation your really want for engine work and yes the 6K rating is correct..........LOL
http://www.otctools.com/products/6000_lb._revolver_diesel_engine_stand

This one is a good design. Full details can be found here
http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=58434
http://www.glacern.net/free_photo_upload/2005_1127engbuild0002 (Medium).jpg
Dave

Too_Many_Tools
04-17-2010, 01:53 PM
Got a pic of that?

I too would like to see some pictures of the mods.

TMT

Jim Stabe
04-17-2010, 04:25 PM
Got a pic of that?
I do but I haven't figured out how to post on this forum, it's different that all the others I use. Send me a pm with your email and I'll send it to you.

kcleere
04-17-2010, 06:33 PM
I have what may be an obvious question but if you're using an air/hyd ram and the air line blows or if the air cylindar suffers a catastrophic failure, will the load just drop or do the hydrolics take over. I guess what I'm asking is if anyone knows what the failure risks are when swapping to the air operated ram.

metalmagpie
04-17-2010, 08:05 PM
I have what may be an obvious question but if you're using an air/hyd ram and the air line blows or if the air cylindar suffers a catastrophic failure, will the load just drop or do the hydrolics take over. I guess what I'm asking is if anyone knows what the failure risks are when swapping to the air operated ram.

The air/hydraulic rams work like this: there is an air motor that does your hand pumping for you. If something craps out in the air things simply stop moving.

The 8 ton long throw air/hyd rams work great on engine hoists.

MM

Davo J
04-18-2010, 12:10 AM
I do but I haven't figured out how to post on this forum, it's different that all the others I use. Send me a pm with your email and I'll send it to you.

Hi Jim,
I wrote this up for another membber a while back.

You will need somewhere to host you photos. I use Glacern as they are advertising on here. The instructions are on there as well. Just make sure the photo's are 700 wide or less, you will need to resize them before up loading to Glacern.
http://www.glacern.net/
You can also use photo bucket.

After you have uploaded your photos on Glacern keep the link in a folder for latter use.
When you click on the (Post Reply) you are taken to the (Reply to thread) screen. On the second row down from the top of the message box you will see a square yellow and black icon which looks to be a picture of mountains. Click on this, another small window will pop up, then insert your address you got from Glacern and push OK and it's done.

Hope that helps.
Dave

NBbrad
04-18-2010, 03:27 AM
Lower profile casters. Wider base.

hardtail
04-18-2010, 04:10 AM
The nice thing about the OTC one is it doesn't derate much......2200 retracted 1650 fully extended, I have a ShurLift engine hoist made in Manitoba and it's probably about 1/3 heavier on a scale than the Chicom to OTC comparison, mine still has a lil slop that could be tightened up but doesn't foldown so storage could be an issue for some.........anyway heres the pix.......grin.......there was another one floating around the net that had folded w a BBC hanging on the hook, can't recall if it slammed into the floor though.......

Anyway even with parts stripped off this engine would be waaaaaaay over probably the hoists retracted rating.......I wouldn't want to be the one opening the valve to lower.......LOL I think he may have grabbed it from this position w a loader and then realized the ram wouldn't retract.......

http://i509.photobucket.com/albums/s337/corn56/th_IMG_1825sized.jpg (http://s509.photobucket.com/albums/s337/corn56/?action=view&current=IMG_1825sized.jpg)

Too_Many_Tools
04-18-2010, 01:53 PM
So with your present engine crane, could you pick up a Bridgeport, a 12" engine lathe or a 20" vertical bandsaw?

Each machine presents a different challenge to the engine crane...

The Bridgeport in terms of weight and base width.

The 12" lathe for weight and lateral stability.

The 20" vertical bandsaw for its extreme height and base width.

So what improvements have others made to meet these challenges?

TMT

Willy
04-18-2010, 02:47 PM
Hardtail, looking at your photo of the Cat engine. I think if it was my engine I'd be hurrying to get a bucket full of loose sod under it before the hoist collapsed! Good thing the head is off.
I've seen loads just like that on engine hoists...right down to the bend in the hydraulic cylinder rod like in your photo.
I usually just tell them to not crawl under it, pray, and walk away.:rolleyes:

By the way I remember seeing the one of the BBC folding a new engine hoist and I managed to find it.
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/showthread.php?t=194915

Apparently the transmission was hooked up as well, but considering the weight of a stripped down BBC and transmission, it would be a stretch to say he had anymore than 1100 lbs on it...and he had the hoist in the 1 1/2 ton position.
Good topic TMT, I think we all have had to move iron with the help of an engine hoist, some good info here.

Too_Many_Tools
04-18-2010, 05:31 PM
Thanks...I thought it would prove interesting.

I figured this year if I have any spare time I am going to remake several of my engine hoists so they are customized for machine moving...and I always like to discuss the subject before cutting and welding.

TMT

Davo J
04-19-2010, 12:30 AM
Hardtail, looking at your photo of the Cat engine. I think if it was my engine I'd be hurrying to get a bucket full of loose sod under it before the hoist collapsed! Good thing the head is off.
I've seen loads just like that on engine hoists...right down to the bend in the hydraulic cylinder rod like in your photo.
I usually just tell them to not crawl under it, pray, and walk away.:rolleyes:

By the way I remember seeing the one of the BBC folding a new engine hoist and I managed to find it.
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/showthread.php?t=194915

Apparently the transmission was hooked up as well, but considering the weight of a stripped down BBC and transmission, it would be a stretch to say he had anymore than 1100 lbs on it...and he had the hoist in the 1 1/2 ton position.
Good topic TMT, I think we all have had to move iron with the help of an engine hoist, some good info here.

Is that what I have to do to get my main arm to fold down properly.:D
I have noticed some engine cranes have a thinner wall thickness than mine, thats why I bought this one.
Dave

ZRX61
04-19-2010, 01:17 AM
I have the Horrible Fright version, it didn't have any problems lifting my SB 10L off a trailer 3 weeks ago....

Hadn't even thought of modifying it...

Your Old Dog
04-19-2010, 08:29 AM
. I never get to use it.

Forrest, what's your nephew's name? We'll take care of business for you :D




...............................
I did see somewhere that a bloke ground out and rewelded all the crappy welds, I need to do that as well. Some of the welds have under cut and others just not enough weld on them..................................
.

That would have been my suggestion! My welds on my HF 2ton foldup look like chunky peanut butter but they've held so far.

You guys talk about larger casters. I took the easy way out. I had a $12,000 concrete driveway put in and I can run from the shop out the door, across the barn, up the drive to the front door sidewalk with no interruptions in the concrete!! Means I can push my tool box to the back of the kitchen door if I'm on an long and involved project. Best tool I ever got for myself was this flawless concrete driveway and barn floor. :D (I understand it's a long way around to solve the problem :D )


Tiffie, If I don't get a PM about any garage sales you got planned I'm going to be PO'd !! I expect at some point you'll be selling off to make room for more! Or, if you have found a way of taking it all with you let me know, I'd like to take mine too.

Too_Many_Tools
04-19-2010, 12:05 PM
Is that what I have to do to get my main arm to fold down properly.:D
I have noticed some engine cranes have a thinner wall thickness than mine, thats why I bought this one.
Dave

You bring up an important issue.

I have seen many engine cranes over the years...and some are so poorly built that they do not deserve being called an engine crane.

Any suggestions as to how to improve the poorly constructed ones?

TMT

peyton
04-19-2010, 12:24 PM
The problem I've run into with engine hoists for machinery is that the legs are too close together to allow the machine (think Bridgeport) to be lowered directly to the floor. My mod would be to increase the distance between the legs somehow.

Peyton

oldtiffie
04-19-2010, 12:33 PM
Candy
Is dandy
But liquor
Is quicker.

(Ogden Nash)

So?

The best "leg opener" is booze aka liquor.

Mark K
04-19-2010, 02:03 PM
If that don't work....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEhKZNQlJrY

or, search for 'Ernest Borgnine secret of life' :D

Some Guy

Davo J
04-19-2010, 11:24 PM
That would have been my suggestion! My welds on my HF 2ton foldup look like chunky peanut butter but they've held so far.


No not you, this fellow showed pictures of the before and after shots of the base, that he ground out and rewelded. If I find them I will put them up.

Dave

H8Allegheny
04-20-2010, 07:50 AM
Years ago I had a hoist that I modified for outdoor/rough terrain usage.

I replaced the tiny wheels with 12" diameter by 4" wide, filled pneumatic tires. On the back side, I welded on three point hitch attachment points for one of my tractors. In use, you'd back up to whatever you needed to lift, hook up, lift, balance and drive off with it. The best thing about the arrangement is that the weight of the tractor and the three point hitch stabilized the lift - I never once lost a load to tipping, etc.

The addition of the tractor makes use inside a garage or shop problematic due to clearance issues, but it's great for picking stuff off a trailer and getting it through a doorway and at least onto the shop floor.

Sorry, I don't have any pics, but you get the idea.

Brian

indyducati
04-21-2010, 03:18 PM
I believe there is an article in Machinist Workshop on this topic. It was a couple of years ago. I'll try and check my back issues later tonight.

Steve