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Forklifts - What do I need to know?

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  • #16
    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.


    • #17
      Originally posted by MrFluffy View Post
      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.


      • #18
        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.
        Last edited by MrFluffy; 12-16-2017, 10:29 AM.


        • #19
          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.
          *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.


          • #20
            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.


            • #21
              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.
              Last edited by wierdscience; 12-16-2017, 01:48 PM.
              I just need one more tool,just one!


              • #22
                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.
                Larry - west coast of Canada


                • #23
                  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.


                  • #24
                    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.


                    • #25
                      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.


                      • #26
                        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.

                        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.


                        • #27
                          [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.