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Fasttrack
12-15-2017, 04:32 PM
Suppose I wanted to buy a used forklift with enough oomph to move some of my machines... what do I need to watch out for? I've run diesel forklifts before but never electric or LP. The used ones I'm looking at range from electric to gas to LP to diesel. Are any of these better than the others when it comes to maintenance and longevity? I read 15,000 hours is a typical "service free" life (i.e. no major part failures/repairs) for electric forklifts and about 10,000 hours for IC forklifts.

Because it will be used other places, I'm looking for something with a three or four stage mast, ~8000 lbs. capacity, tilt and side shift. Need to be able to adjust the forks but manual is fine, don't need a fancy positioner. Free lift also not necessary. Anything else?

What do I need to check when looking at used machines?

Bob La Londe
12-15-2017, 04:35 PM
Unless its always going to be used on pavement you want pneumatic tires. Maybe even tractor tires depending on the uses.

I bought a used International diesel tractor frame with a 10K capacity at an auction over 30 years ago for 5500 and thought I got a good deal. My dad used it for 20 years for his stores. Its still in operation as far as I know. He sold it about ten years ago.

J Tiers
12-15-2017, 05:57 PM
Just be aware that:

1) Any full size forklift that is electric and available at a low price has a bad battery.

2) Batteries are crazy expensive for full sized units, AND they are the counterweight, you can't really leave them off.

3) A bad battery MIGHT be all you need if you do not rely on the forklift for much. But it may leave you out in the driveway in the rain with something that should not get wet up on the forks (or the like).

oxford
12-15-2017, 06:23 PM
I would look for a propane powered one because of mentioned above about batteries. Also mentioned above Pneumatic tires a must if you plan to go anywhere other than concrete. I would also look for one with side shift, you can manage without but it makes things much easier at times.

8000 pound cap is getting to a decent size, how are you planning to move it to other places?

bobw53
12-15-2017, 06:28 PM
Just be aware that:

1) Any full size forklift that is electric and available at a low price has a bad battery.

2) Batteries are crazy expensive for full sized units, AND they are the counterweight, you can't really leave them off.

3) A bad battery MIGHT be all you need if you do not rely on the forklift for much. But it may leave you out in the driveway in the rain with something that should not get wet up on the forks (or the like).

Those big batteries are CRAZY expensive, BUT!!! they're pretty much designed to run around a warehouse for an 8 hour shift... If
you need it for 15 minutes twice a month, run a few car batteries or RV batteries(qty depending on voltage or the forklift)... Leave the big
dead counterweight sitting right were it is.

oxford
12-15-2017, 07:50 PM
In my opinion and personal driving style on them, I have a lot more finesse with a propane powered forklift vs an electric one. You can usually program some different settings into the electric ones for speeds but they always seem to be more "jumpy" on the controls. It's mostly due to the electric ones having full power available right away vs the propane ones having to throttle up some to get full speed out of the hydros.

J Tiers
12-15-2017, 08:58 PM
Those big batteries are CRAZY expensive, BUT!!! they're pretty much designed to run around a warehouse for an 8 hour shift... If
you need it for 15 minutes twice a month, run a few car batteries or RV batteries(qty depending on voltage or the forklift)... Leave the big
dead counterweight sitting right were it is.

True, that.

CarlByrns
12-15-2017, 09:35 PM
Make sure the brakes work well- some lift trucks have the brakes buried in the front axle and will cost major bucks to replace. A 7000 pound fork truck with bad brakes has an accident in its immediate future.
Look for fluid leaks- lift cylinders and hydraulic pumps can be major bucks.
Make sure the steering is tight- loose tie rods and ball joints are major bucks.
The gas train should have zero leaks.
Side shift is overrated- one of our trucks has it and no one uses it.
Get pneumatic tires and then have them foam filled. Your checkbook will thank you.
We have a 1973 Clark that is our go-to truck- it will lift anything you can the forks under and it's as reliable as sin.
We also have a late model Toyota that is super maneuverable and has self-stabilizing, which is great for high lifts. It's also very reliable.
Service parts are surprisingly inexpensive, but the labor won't be (or if you DIY it, the downtime can be an issue). One of our techs is a former lift truck guy so we can handle service in-house.

Dan Dubeau
12-15-2017, 09:41 PM
Make sure the brakes work well- some lift trucks have the brakes buried in the front axle and will cost major bucks to replace. A 7000 pound fork truck with bad brakes has an accident in its immediate future.
Look for fluid leaks- lift cylinders and hydraulic pumps can be major bucks.
Make sure the steering is tight- loose tie rods and ball joints are major bucks.
The gas train should have zero leaks.
Side shift is overrated- one of our trucks has it and no one uses it.
Get pneumatic tires and then have them foam filled. Your checkbook will thank you.
We have a 1973 Clark that is our go-to truck- it will lift anything you can the forks under and it's as reliable as sin.
We also have a late model Toyota that is super maneuverable and has self-stabilizing, which is great for high lifts. It's also very reliable.
Service parts are surprisingly inexpensive, but the labor won't be (or if you DIY it, the downtime can be an issue). One of our techs is a former lift truck guy so we can handle service in-house.

Almost every shop I've worked in always seemed to have an old forklift with no brakes. I didn't think they even came with them. Can't wait to get an old forklift here. I made forks for the 3 point of my tractor, and alternatively lift stuff with the loader. It's just not the same, and gets pretty shady at times.

CarlByrns
12-15-2017, 09:57 PM
Almost every shop I've worked in always seemed to have an old forklift with no brakes. I didn't think they even came with them. Can't wait to get an old forklift here. I made forks for the 3 point of my tractor, and alternatively lift stuff with the loader. It's just not the same, and gets pretty shady at times.

You can get away with iffy brakes on a level floor, but outdoors is a whole nother smoke. I lost brakes on a big electric and hit a dumpster hard enough push it off the parking lot and into the weeds. Made a pretty big bang and stove in the dumpster.

flylo
12-15-2017, 10:19 PM
I have a nice Cat 5500# LP which is about perfect. Came from a papermill so it as well maintained & had the drivers name stencilled on it, Karen Sue. Buy one that was PMed on a regular basis. Has 2 extra hyd valves & hoses capped off. Paid $800 sold the steel tank for $100 bought 6 alum for $10. If you get a leaker or anytime you buy a used tank rebuild the valve $10-$20.
I have a good electric 6500# cap with a good 4000# 36v battery, 3 stage mast, was going to do solar but payback is too long. Paid $800+ $300 to get it home. Just sold a great '50 model 3000# Clark for $800 ran great no ROPS, no leaks ran on gas but I got where I couldn't use a clutch anymore. I bought it just to load the 32 machine buy as it had good air tires & I could haul it on my truck.
Had a 9000# cap Nisson from a boat yard 12' forks 25' lift, nice outside but the Cat beats them all. It's not that old style with the hose reel on the side of the mast & it has the twin cyl see thru mast & was well maintained. Selling the Electric for $1800 with new tires, 3 stage, great battery that been replaced not long ago & the charger, 6500# cap. As in lathes & mills don't buy one with a paint job overhaul. That should give you some ideas.

Don't buy one that needs work as they suck to work on. When I was young I was a lift truck mechanic & hated it. Find a closing business where a nice LP 5000# cap is a liability & buy fork extensions & 2 alum tanks.
I wouldn't own one without brakes but was taught just like in a taildragger if you use brakes you failed the landing LOL!

Stepside
12-15-2017, 10:22 PM
Have you explored renting a Forklift? If only needed occasionally it might be cheaper and not end up as "Lawn Art".

flylo
12-15-2017, 10:59 PM
If you ever own one you'll never be without one & I've always had good ones but at a price & could scrap & recover my cost. But I don't rent anything & only hire labor for things I can't do anymore.

nc5a
12-16-2017, 02:09 AM
I've been looking for a low budget 5000 lb LP pneumatic tire forklift for about a year now and these are the things I look for.

1. The first thing I do is look the thing over checking for leaks, cracked welds, broken handles, switches, missing lights, condition of tires, condition of hydraulic hoses etc
2. Then check the oil, hydraulic fluid and coolant.
3. Then I see how it runs. If it's duel fuel I check how it runs on both fuel sources and I also check the operating hours.
4. Then I check the hydraulics with a load if possible. I run through all the hydraulic functions paying attention to the mast guides and rollers and how smooth the hydraulics are.
5. Finally I check how it drives, how the steering feels (loose, tight etc). Is it smooth starting in the forward direction and reverse direction how fast does it go? How are the brakes, does the parking brake work? Do all the lights work and does the backup horn work?

These are some of the main things I have been looking at while shopping.

The last forklift I looked at was a 2001 JJCC China import duel fuel LP & gas 4800 lb lift capacity with 2300 hrs. that had the following problems.
Broken weld at the base of the cage, badly worn steering tires, shift lever broken, light switch lever broken so the lights didn't work, very hard starting, ran on gas but not on LP, seat was so tore up it needed to be replaced. Now the good..........smooth transmission, no leaks, very smooth hydraulics. Once the engine warmed up it ran quite well. Asking price $3000, didn't buy it.

The Artful Bodger
12-16-2017, 02:19 AM
Our 8000lbs forklift without which it would be very difficult to operate our museum!

Ford I-6 (188 cid?) engine and hydro trans..

http://www.aviationmuseum.co.nz/cms/images/igallery/resized/1-100/25-51-750-600-80-rd-255-255-255.jpg

The age of the engine indicates it may have been made in the 1970's and the Lees company ceased manufacturing in 1987.

MrFluffy
12-16-2017, 07:40 AM
Id like a forklift one day, electric with a failing battery would be fine for me if it had enough for the occasional job and pneumatic tyres as the yard outside my shop is loose stone. For now I get by with bucket forks on my backhoe (jcb 3c3) which limits me to about 2t max and thats a scary lift without much visibility as the bucket gets in the way of seeing whats going on so you have to have a spotter out front to shout you, if your considering this, its a poor alternative. But it beats having nothing and you can't dig much with a forklift which is the other thing it gets used for quite a lot. If I can grab the thing in the bucket instead of on the forks I do that and thats a much easier lift.
On the no brakes, I learnt to drive a forklift on one with no brakes working for a semi garage, slam it in reverse for emergencies, it was always pretty sketchy to stop on anything but a smooth surface or in a hurry. I kept asking my boss to fix it, but he refused. Then one day I ran into him with it due to it, and the next day it was apart, and fixed although it was a pig to work on because it was so close the ground and we had no jack low enough for it. Night and day afterwards, I'd plan on fixing them day1 if I get one and it had bad brakes. And getting something capable of lifting it to work on it.

oxford
12-16-2017, 10:11 AM
because it was so close the ground and we had no jack low enough for it.............And getting something capable of lifting it to work on it.

They will self lift if you are working on the front wheels. Tilt the mast all the way back, find a block that fits tightly under the edges of the mast(can do one or both sides). Tilt mast all the way forward and the front wheels are off the ground.

Getting the rear wheels off the ground is even easier, just find something heavier to lift than the forklift is capable of and instant rear wheels off the ground.:D

MrFluffy
12-16-2017, 10:27 AM
To recount a scary memory, I recall seeing it being lifted to the height of the floor jack with a bottle jack wedged in at a angle to the towing pin cutout in the counterweight. I think it even started to roll. But not my workmanship, I was staying well out the way while this went on.
The backhoe is pretty much the same, if the engine can be started it will lift itself clear of the ground for wheel changing, jamming rocks/waffle boards under wheels etc, jacklegs at the back, roll it on the bucket craw at the front. Or if I time my purchase right and own both still, I can pick the forklift up one end with the backhoe.

Ive also never driven a offroad capable forklift, are they as stable when picking a load as a normal tyred one? Thats another downside to a backhoe with forks, theyre too bouncy on big fat agri tyres so sometimes things slip a little when lifted.

Bob La Londe
12-16-2017, 10:32 AM
I use the bucket forks on my light tractor front loader fairly often, and because it is a 4wd tractor I don't have issue with going where I need to go with it, but BUT the bucket rating is only 700lbs and it doesn't lift high enough to place things on top of the shelves in my shop. It will lift 2000lbs about 2 inches and then max out. Even 1000lbs is problematic if its not centered well over the forks. I've recently been using it for moving some larger pieces of steel flat bar into the shop to be broken down for machining. Its quite an adventure to move a 1x6x144 4140HT flat bar through a 10 foot door without dropping it or breaking anything.

metalfixer
12-16-2017, 01:39 PM
It's nice to have the rotator attachment if you do a lot of welding. We also have a 4 position hydraulic control
valve with quick disconnect hoses connected to the unused attachment. We use this to power a Hossfeld bender
when we bend long items outside.
Larry

wierdscience
12-16-2017, 01:46 PM
Propane lifts are usually a safe bet.Propane being a relativlely "weak" fuel the engines can pile on many,many hours and given reasonable maintinence still be fresh as a daisy.
Brand means a good bit when parts are needed.My top three for parts availiblity are Hyster,Nissan and Clark.The Hyster and Clark machines will usually have either GM or Ford inline 4&6 cyl engines while the Nissan will of course have Nissan engines most times,but I have seen a few with Komatsu engines in them??.We have a 68' model Datsun lift at work that still sees use daily.The little H20 4 cylinder engines are nearly indestructible.

Cuttings
12-16-2017, 01:46 PM
There are different styles of mast. If you are a little limited for overhead clearance in a building etc. look for one where the forks go to the top of the first section of mast before the mast starts up.
Then you don't have the mast sticking up above the forks to limit where you can lift things.
If you are looking at propane powered machines. Some of the older ones used to be a real pig when the engine was cold.
You had to start them at an idle and leave the engine idling until it warmed up otherwise it would stall. After that it was fine.

LARRYR
12-16-2017, 02:31 PM
i am a retired service manager for material handling equipment. mainly forklifts. 8000 lb cap is a fairly large forklift for a small shop if you need that much capacity you will need to watch out for the overall lowered height. this can be a problem for a lot of doorways. stick with propane if possible unless you plan to run it indoors with limited ventilation. diesels are noisy and they smell and are very expensive to repair. as are electric forklifts. if you opt for a trip mast (QUADS ARE RARE) will get a freelift mast and thats a good thing to have. the type of tires will have a big impact on price. if you need a machine that you can use outdoors on dirt or gravel you will need pneumatic tires and they drive the price up substantially. most machines made in the last 20 yrs or so use computer control for engine management and some other functions. a lot of manufacturers use proprietary software and you need codes to access the on board diagnostics. if you do your own work look for an older machine. unfortunately most forklists get no respect (regular service) they are rode hard and put away wet. if you find one thats been well maintained it will probably last you the rest of your life. on older machines hr meters can be easily changed so don't put your faith in it.if you are spending a lot of money ,hire a forklift mechanic to inspect it for you. visit your local forklift dealers.they will sometimes give you a good deal if you buy an as is trade in. they can save a lot of money if they don't have to run the machine thru the shop. if you stick with well know brands parts availability won't be a problem. i have 1954 towmotor lt35 that i purchased from a customer over 30 yrs ago and other than converting it to 12 volts and changing oil i haven't had to do a single repair. i don't use it very often but when i do its great to have around. good luch with your search.

CCWKen
12-16-2017, 03:24 PM
I've been wanting one for years and I keep seeing them go by in actions. Even the smaller ones are more than I want to pay so I loose out and wait for another. In the meantime, I keep using the little JD420C dozer with the boom to lift things. It's how I got the BP mill off the trailer and into the barn.

3 Phase Lightbulb
12-16-2017, 03:47 PM
I wish I had space for a fork lift. My dream when the kids are out of the nest is to buy a large 100k+ sq/ft industrial park/building with garage doors and loading docks and go completely hobby crazy with it.

Norman Bain
12-16-2017, 04:38 PM
Gotta agree ... once you have one you wonder how you ever survived without it.

Size matters in two ways.

First the forklift needs to be SMALL to navigate round your shop; hence a 1.8T or 2T model with solid tyres works best.

Second the forklift needs to have CAPACITY to pickup the load; hence that 8000lb (3.6T) starts to come into its own especially if there is need to put extenders on the forks or use a boom to pickup that full size lathe or mill that is a "bit beyond" being able to be navigated real close to.

The Manitou in the image is my goto machine for the yard. Being 4WD provides a go anywhere experience, but it does have it limitations. The big downside (for inside use) is the Manitou is longer and does not turn as sharp as my 1986 Toyota 3FG25. The Toyota can pretty much turn on itself.

When I need a bit of extra capacity I add the required quantum of these 70kg steel chunks. Got 5 of them way back for $9 total; they are couplings for a motor. I figure that, where positioned in the image below, I get a 1.4:1 leverage ... that being due to 1.7m axel to counterweight, and 1.2m axel to load center.

The 3 here increases the lift capacity by (70 x 3 x 1.4=) 300kgs (650lb); making my 2.1T (4600lb) toy into 2.4T (5300lb).

Of course with all 5 on board ... well you do the math but 2.6T (5700lb). Of course the hydraulics need to be up to the task, but that does not seem to be an issue for me.

http://downloads.purposebuilt.com.au/NJB/Sundry/ForkliftCounterweight.jpg

If I had to choose just one which would it be. Too hard; please please do not make me choose, but (for now with the yard all scratched up) the Manitou would be the choice. Once the yard and driveway gets reworked (am thinking concrete) and the Toyota can come out to play; then the Toyota will become the go.

flylo
12-16-2017, 11:30 PM
[QUOTE=LARRYR;1149717]i am a retired service manager for material handling equipment.

Just curious if that's the name of the company Material Handling Corp? Was a Clark dealer when I worked at the St Joe Michigan branch many long years ago.