Your car’s engine is one of its most worked components. It is the heart of your car, that has to work if your car is to keep going. Engine failures are quite common. Maybe your car’s overworked engine has run out of gas or maybe you just want to upgrade it, car engines are taken out more often than you think. Not just the engine itself, repairing some other components below the engine may also need you to remove the engine from the car.Now you need the right tool for the right job and the best tool for removing the engine from your car is the engine hoist or the cherry picker.Why can't you lift it out with your own hands? Well, the engine of your car may weigh more than 500 pounds! That’s more weight than 4 well-bodied persons can lift together with effort. Now you see why we need something much more powerful?
But choosing an engine crane is an intimidating task as they are so many different types of hoists, each with several alternatives. Below we provide you with everything you need to make an informed decision about the hoist you need for your engine. What is important to understand is that the hoist is a tool and like all tools you need to be able to use it and for that you must first understand…
A hoist is basically a device that makes lifting out your car engine easy. It is also known as a motor hoist, engine crane or an engine lift. It also functions as a safety device, preventing the engine from falling. Before we take a look at the different buying options, let’s first understand what are the…
When it comes to hoists or engine lifts, there are mainly three different categories you can choose from - the hydraulic, the pulley chain and the electric hoists.
The most simple cherry pickers that you can get. Hydraulic hoists consist of an upright frame supported by a strong base. There is a cantilever beam at the top connected to a chain and hook system. A pump jack at the bottom is used to increase the hydraulic pressure and thus lift the heavy engine.
Its simple design makes it quite easy to use, and a low maintenance product. These engine lifts are quite cheap. The only drawback is that they can not be operated on uneven surfaces. It becomes difficult to maintain the balance unless on flat ground.
The second category uses a pulley, chains and a few gears. You pull the hand chain, the jack then multiplies the force with the help of the pulley and gear system, and it lifts the engine. To stop at any point, there is a ratchet available which also prevents the engine from falling down.
It is the cheapest motor hoist you will get and with quite low maintenance. However, the operation needs some skill and more force than the hydraulic ones. That is what makes them less popular. The chain is not meant for too heavy engines and can break due to tension.
And finally we have a category where the machine does most of the work. All you need to do, is to press a button on your remote control and electricity will provide the required power. Clearly, these hoists are best of the lot if you consider only the working. There are other factors however, that you have want to consider. For example: The price.
Electric hoists are quite expensive, and so are rarely seen outside of big workshops. They also need power supply, so operating them in the open is difficult. So what you gain on power and speed, you compensate it with money and flexibility.
One feature that may be available in all the three categories is the foldable type hoist. As the name suggests, a foldable hoist can be folded to save space during storage. Each of the three categories offer both the foldable and unfoldable type engine cranes.
Picking the best engine hoist for your needs can be as tiring as lifting your car engine without one. It takes time, patience and information to cut through all the available options to find the product that just fits your requirements perfectly.
The good news is, we have done the research for you. Once you go through our top picks for the best engine jack, and our buying guide, you will know everything from features to costs and advantages to disadvantages of every top product out there. Let’s get started then, shall we?
Our top pick. This sturdy, durable engine jack is made from heavy duty 8 ton long ram, and can lift upto 78.75”. The foldable design allows for easy storage and you can assemble this product for first use quite fast. The 6 caster wheels provide a lot of mobility and the price is a bargain!
The four hole position boom is great for any adjustments you need to make before lifting the engine.Though some customers complain about missing parts, they rave about the amazing customer service that Torin provides regarding any complaints.
Making it to #2 on our list is the 2-ton Cherry Picker from Best Choice Products. This jack is easy to use, durable and cheap. You can fold it after use. We found that this cherry picker was hard to assemble the first time, but once ready to use, it performs better than any other motor hoist.
It features high quality steel body, and 360 rotating caster wheels. The maximum closed boom height is 48” and the maximum open boom height is 102”. This is high enough for most needs. The customer service is top-notch and it will pay off its price by your third usage.
Priced slightly above our top 2 products, the shop crane from Dragway tools is another hoist worth checking out. Made from heavy steel this jack has a boom range of 102’’ from the floor and comes with a 12” steel forged chain and a strong steel hook.
Although quite bulky due to its complete steel construction, the steel caster wheels increase the mobility quite a bit. You can only lift 4000 lbs to a maximum of 48” however. You get a full one year warranty with this product.
The unique feature of this hydraulic lift is its load leveler. In place of one hook it comes with two, that avoids rotation of the object during lifting. You get stable operation from a solid hoist made from high quality steel. This product is most suited for heavy engines, transmissions and transport engines. This is one of the heaviest product on our list and may require you to put in extra effort during the first assembly. But once done, there’s nothing that this jack can’t lift for you and that too with much ease.
This foldable engine crane is expensive, I will tell you that up front. But whether it’s a small car engine that you want to lift or a truck engine, it can do the job for you with the same ease. It is a heavy duty lift with 4000lb retracted boom capacity. The low front wheels allow the support to slide easily even under small cars, and it comes fully assembled, so you don’t have to do it yourself.
If you want to check out what’s more on offer in this category, here are a few products worth your attention.
It comes with dual pump pistons that give a 25% performance boost as compared to the single pump hydraulic cranes. Whether that performance gain is worth the extra money is for you to decide. Its low profile legs allow it to be used for a wide range of vehicles, including sports cars. The foldable design makes it easy to store. Good solid product.
This hoist can lift upto a maximum height of 88”. It is highly mobile due to its 6 caster wheels and can be operated both inside and outside. The lifting power is provided by an air pump that is quite durable.
This is an electric hoist. It can lift up to 880 pounds at 16.5 ft/minute. That’s quite fast, and the five feet long cable is more than what you will need. Not suited for heavy engines, it can also be used for lifting other items in your workshop.
If you like to work on your own car(s), an engine jack is a necessary piece of equipment in your garage. So what are the factors you should consider when buying an engine lift? Here are some of the questions that you should answer
Do you really want to do it yourself or do you prefer going to a car shop? While the challenge seems exciting, it only makes sense if you want to do it yourself and like to get your hands dirty.
How heavy is your car’s engine? Each hoist has a weight capacity. It is recommended to keep the weight capacity at least 50-100 pounds higher than your engine’s weight.
How much space do you have for such an equipment?
How much automation do you need?
And finally, what is your budget? With any safety equipment, price must be the least of your concerns, but it still is a factor.
Each engine crane has its own advantages and disadvantages. While electric hoists are fast, hydraulic ones are flexible and cheap. Spend some time thinking what features you really need and what you can let go off.
If you want more information before you make your decision, I invite you to check out this video which compares two top models and tells you what features to look for.
And if you are wondering how a hoist actually works, this video tells you all about how to use an engine lift:
Try removing a screw with your fingernails. Most likely you will fail. And even if you do succeed, you will do so after putting more effort than it deserves. And at the risk of damaging your fingernails. The right tools not only make an impossible looking job quite easy, they also reduce the risk factor to a great extent. If you try to lift an engine without a proper engine crane, many potential disasters are just waiting to happen.
If you have read our reviews and buying guide carefully, you are equipped with as much information as an expert when it comes to buying the best engine hoist. So, bring a new member to your garage, and make your life easier anytime you have to work on your car engine. The products mentioned above have been carefully reviewed by us, and you will be happy with any hoist you choose from the list.