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Old March 17th, 2008, 09:11 AM   #1
Lothos
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Default Manual Hoist-A-top

I finally got around to installing this thing over the weekend. I don't have pics yet, but overall I'm fairly disappointed.

Kit contents:
One 1 ton come-a-long
2 1/2" eye screws
The T cross assembly made of 1/8" wall 1 inch square tubing.
3 rubber cushions
3 rubber coated hooks for T assembly.

The installation instructions show the hoist being installed in a standard garage with typical 12 foot ceiling.

The first dilemma I saw from the install drawing was I didn't care for only having the 2 eye bolts. For one I didn't want the come-a-long angling out from the wall towards the ceiling because it would be in my way no matter what wall I chose.

The second dilemma was my garage studs. I have compound trusses above and thus I didn't feel comfortable with a single eye screw into a single 2x4. I replaced that with a 12 inch 1/2" eye bolt and put that thru a pair of 2x4's nailed together braced above straddling 2 trusses.

I then put the anchor point eye bolt into the wall and another on the wall near the ceiling where I'd run the cable thru to the ceiling eye. This is where dilemma 3 surfaced. The come-a-long only has like 6 feet of travel if that. So, I made an extension out of 3/16" cable to go from the hook at that point to the T-frame. Another 6-7 feet. The length had to be short enough so that the come-a-long could actually lift the top off the jeep using its full length of travel. The intent being to stow the top against the ceiling.

Dilemma 4. Stowing. Top removed I lifted it all the way to the ceiling as far as it could go. This being 8-10 inches down from the ceiling. The eye bolt int he ceiling, the pulley, the eye bolt in the T-frame, and then the distance between the T-frame and the top itself left the bottom edge of the top at roughly 5'8" off the ground. I'm 6'2". There was no way to rotate the top once off into any position to have the top sufficiently clear of the walkway or even high enough for the wife's Expedition to park underneath as pictured in the install sheet.

Dilemma 5. Upon realizing I couldn't leave it on the hoist I had to figure out how to remove it from the hoist. The problem though is fully lowed it was still 5'8" to inside top center of the top. Or about waist high to the bottom lip. You couldn't remove it from the hoist without removing the weight from the hoist and then removing the hooks. So, I rolled a tire underneath and stood on it bracing the top on my back while the wife removed the hooks. I then walked it out to my backyard.

Final thoughts, I will be constructing a nifty little "cart" to set the top down onto to remove it from the garage after its off the jeep. The hoist itself is fine and works great, but limitations of a standard garage make this a useless product for removal AND storage. The T-frame is excellent though if you have another location to mount some kind of hoist like a tree or a boom off a polebarn for instance. Or in a high ceiling barn/garage of at least 15+ feet.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 12:10 PM   #2
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I built one using a hand boat winch. It gives you plenty of lift & will go all the way to the floor. I have the same problem with storage though.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 01:22 PM   #3
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Interesting. Is the spindle of the winch attached to the wall? Trying to picture how it would crank. Replacing the come-a-long with something that can drop it to the floor would be nice. I could then at least set the top on my 2 wheeled wheelbarrow and move it to the backyard and then figure out what to set it on.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 01:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rargreen View Post
I built one using a hand boat winch. It gives you plenty of lift & will go all the way to the floor. I have the same problem with storage though.
I did the same and mounted it to a 2x4. Already had both lying around along with some eye-hooks so it was free

I just lock the crank when its all the way up, 15 foot ceiling helps
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Old March 17th, 2008, 01:53 PM   #5
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What did you guys do for the actual connection to the top. That's really the only reason I got the kit. I didn't have time/materials for the T-frame bit. The rest I had laying around as well.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 03:06 PM   #6
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What did you guys do for the actual connection to the top. That's really the only reason I got the kit. I didn't have time/materials for the T-frame bit. The rest I had laying around as well.
I mounted the winch on the wall. then I used small pullies to hold the cable at the top of the wall & the ceiling. I made the t-bar from 1" thin wall tubing, then I use 1 motorcycle strap under the top @ the back of the door opening & 1 coming down the back hooked to the lift gate latch. I also made one @ Silver Lake that slides into a Reese style hitch so a top can be taken off anywhere. Works good but not a good idea to try to move one hanging from it.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 07:29 PM   #7
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I mounted the crank to a 2x4x8 and made a "z" with the cable goin to hooks on the ceiling. The top is just connected with 3 ratchet straps, one up front one in rear and one to keep them taught together underneath. All in all takes about 15 mins to do, you dont need a t-bar
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Old March 17th, 2008, 08:19 PM   #8
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reason for a t-frame instead of straps is straps will squeeze the top under its own weight warping it. I know this much from experience.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 08:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lothos View Post
reason for a t-frame instead of straps is straps will squeeze the top under its own weight warping it. I know this much from experience.
Mine has hung w straps every summer for the last 4 years and it is still fine. In the rear the hooks on the strap go to the bottom edges of the top so they aren actually goin around it. If you search google you will find all sort of ways of doing it. there may be better ways than mine, but it was easy for me and has done its job.

I feel like I have spent more time posting in this thread than it actually did to build the hoist
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Old March 31st, 2008, 12:16 PM   #10
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Mine worked great for two years in my standard garage...only thing I wish I had (as you mentioned) was another eye bolt so the cable could go straight up from the come-along instead of angling to the center of the garage (and rubbing against my top).
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