When you are working on your car, I think we can all agree that there are not so many interesting, intimidating and exciting tasks as removing your engine. It is actually so much more common than one might expect, it does not matter who you are, removing your motor is a rather involved and in depth procedure. The most common repairs that you need to be making requires that you remove away your engine. Some of these are: repairing a blown head gasket, clutch replacements on some cars, replacing your rod bearings, or maybe you want to be rebuilding a tired engine. Either way, when you want to pull your engine out of your car, you will need some tools. These tools are necessary because you need to remove all of the subsidiary components (like cooling hoses and intake manifolds) in order to make a quite sufficient room for when you want to get the engine out. Thus, you will need the undisputed centerpiece of your engine removal tool. This is the one and only, your trusty engine hoist.
Now, you must think why is the engine hoist important. Well, let’s see!
First of all, it is important to understand that the most average engine has a weight around 400 and 600 pounds. If we are considering this, unless you a bodybuilder or a trainer and you could do your deadlift or you routinely enter strong man competitions, realistically speaking, you will not be able to pull up your engine out by hand. It is a hard and very tedious thing to do, even if you want to try, you might damage your engine. Which is no option am I right? So, in order to compensate for this deficit, you will need something that is specifically designed for this, lifting a very heavy engine. Second of all, the least safe part of any engine removal procedure is the moment when you are actually lifting the engine out of the car once everything is unbolted. If you were to consider the consequences, if your engine were to fall or it might happen it to tip, a sturdy engine hoist is a critical safety tool to use during any engine removal procedure.
What Is An Engine Hoist?
Now, before going further into this matter, I need to explain what exactly makes a good engine hoist versus a bad engine hoist. So, I want to start by explaining more about what exactly an engine hoist is. Technically, an engine hoist, sometimes called a cherry picker, an engine lift or an engine crane, is an amazing tool mostly used to remove and install the engines of your car or your truck. Thus, an engine hoist is all about a strong support structure and to offer the best results, this has to be made out of aluminum or welded steel. More technical features involve a cantilever beam extending from the frame that has chain attachments designed to connect the tool to the lifting eyes on your engine. This cantilever beam can be raised and lowered via a hydraulic cylinder. Changing the height of the tool is accomplished by pumping a hand actuated lever. As you can see, an engine hoist has casters mounted to it such that it will roll which will allow for the engine to be transported once it has been lifted high enough to clear your engine bay.
Why should you use an engine hoist?
We already covered this but let’s clarify it a bit. Of course, the obvious answer to why you should use an engine hoist is that it will help you to lift your engine up for any reason you see necessary. Often, this occurs when you need to remove your motor entirely for different kind of tasks such as engine swap or an engine repair. However, an engine hoist sometimes is also used when you need to raise your engine just for a slight amount in order to make a little space for certain repairs.
Engine Hoist Safety
It may seem simple, you know, using an engine hoist. Apparently, it is. However, there are some things you should be aware of so you could safely use this tool. Thus, I explained below some of the safety tips that I think you should review before you think using your engine hoist.
1. Make sure to always use proper lifting points when plan to attach the engine hoist
Engines come quite often already outfitted with a bolted bracket, containing a lifting eye. Sometimes it’s not always obvious, but you should try to study your engine before you want to try to remove it. This way, you can better try to find the bracket. Also, with some certain bolts, you can pick up any variety of engines with your engine hoist. Especially if these are structural in nature. Typically, these threads go into your engine block and most of them are usually 1/2″ in diameter or sometimes even more. You should never try to attach your engine hoist to anything else. I can see why it might be tempting but attaching it to various components, let’s say your hose o an exhaust manifold, it would be wrong. Mostly because these engine hoists are not designed for weight support of your engine. These being said, if you try to use them, you could do some serious damage to the component or even you might injure yourself.
2. Be sure to use a hoist that has high enough capacity so you can safely lift your engine.
More exactly, the crane of your engine have to be rated in order to lift the weight of your engine. However, it is unfortunately that the weight of your engine is not always shown. But, you can always check this weight searching on different internet forums, other people might have been in the same situation and they figured it out. Moreover, if you do not have a large motor, any engine hoist should do the trick. It will be sufficient because most of them are usually rated higher than is needed. So, you are quite settled. Thus, this weight issue could only be a bigger problem if you want it to work in case of a large truck or other special circumstance that would make your motor particularly heavy. Another thing to consider is the chains or the engine lever, those should also have a high enough rating to support your motor.
Three main designs for engine hoists:
1. Hydraulic Engine Hoists
The most commo types of engine hoists are the hydraulic engine hoists. These consist of a set of legs, an upright frame, and an adjustable boom with a chain and hook. As the name suggests, hydraulic hoists incorporate a hydraulic bottle jack to lift and lower the load. You typically insert a jack handle at the bottom of the unit and manually pump the jack to increase hydraulic fluid pressure. This raises the hoist’s boom, which holds a grab hook to attach to the engine itself.
Hydraulic lifts roll around on casters, so they’re more mobile and versatile than other jack designs. However, depending on the type of hydraulic hoist you choose (more on that later), they can take up more garage floor space than other hoist styles. They also require flat, stable ground in order to be used safely and effectively. Still, hydraulic hoists are the most popular styles for good reason:
– Lifting pace is quicker than most chain hoists, although it can still take a bit of time to complete the process
– Usually less expensive than electric hoists with comparable lifting capacities
– Easy to operate
– Typically have higher lifting capacities than other styles
– Can be used indoors and outdoors as long as there is a flat, hard surface
– Minimal maintenance
2. Chain Engine Hoists
The chain hoist uses a gear system and a set of chains to multiply lifting force. By manually pulling on one chain, it activates the gear system and begins the hoisting process. This gear system includes various-sized sprockets and uses its gear ratio to multiply the lifting force as its applied to the hand chain by the user. A chain hoist has a ratchet or braking system to prevent the attached parts from lowering when the hand chain is not being pulled.
Like the hydraulic hoist, a chain hoist has advantages and disadvantages. It is generally the least expensive option when buying a hoist and the design requires limited maintenance. However, the design is also the biggest disadvantage of a chain hoist. That’s because chain hoists must be mounted to a fixed point above the lifting area. This may require you to make a special ceiling mount or some sort of scaffolding if you’re using it outside. Installation can be tricky.
3. Electric Hoists
Electric hoists are the least popular type of hoist for lifting engines. Although you’ll find electric hoists in some automotive shops, you’re more likely to find them in factories and warehouses than you are in a small shop or home garage. Still, they are an option and worth a look. Like chain hoists, electric hoists use a set of chains to lift the engine. The big difference is electric chain hoists don’t require manual operation. They have an internal motor, which is activated by remote control and provides the lifting power. That makes the electric hoist the easiest and fastest engine hoist to use, and it’s ideal for shops where frequent lifting is required.
Sounds great, right? So what’s the downside? Electric hoists cost significantly more than the other styles of engine hoists, especially as the weight capacity requirements go up. An “entry-level” electric hoist will have a small weight capacity and cannot be used for larger engines. As the weight ratings go up, so does the price — quite significantly! Like the chain hoist, an electric hoist also requires a mounting point. Plus, you need a nearby power source to operate it, making it the least versatile and mobile of the engine hoist designs.
No matter which style of engine hoist you choose, weight capacity should be the number-one consideration. Typical weight capacities for hydraulic hoists are 1- and 2-ton, although there are bulkier hoists for larger engines. Chain hoists usually have lower weight capacity options. When selecting an engine hoist, we recommend going with a higher weight capacity than the actual weight of the engine. For example, many people opt for a 2-ton hoist even though most car engines don’t weight that much. This is because physics tells us the actual weight capability of the engine hoist can drop as you extend out the engine hoist’s boom. Some manufacturers provide weight ratings with the boom extended to different lengths.
Foldable vs. Non-Foldable
There is one more thing you should know before making your decision. If you opt to go with the popular hydraulic design, you’ll be faced with one last choice: foldable or non-foldable. The fold up engine hoist has become popular as they can be folded up and stored out of the way, saving valuable garage space in the process. For most people who make DIYs, this is a definite plus.
After all the information, let’s check out the best engine hoist that is highly recommended:
1. Orion Motor Tech 2 Ton Foldable Hydraulic Engine Hoist Cherry Picker Jack Lift Shop Crane
This is the best engine hoist for me, personally. I believe this to be amazing due to its solid premium steel construction and oil, grease dirt resistant paint, durable and easy to clean. More over, the lead-free paint will ensure you a long-lasting finish and it will prevent the corrosion to happen. This engine hoist also have a six heavy duty fully rotating 3″ caster wheels which will allow you to execute an easy transport and maneuver. Also, the premium larger hydraulic cylinder unit needs lower oil pressure to move the load. Thus, this will reduce the wear and it will extend its lifespan. Of course, it also has a rated capacity of 4400lbs/2 tons, which has benefits, making it an excellent 2 tons engine hoist. All in all, I think you should really consider this.
2. Dragway Tools 2 Ton Folding Hydraulic Engine Hoist Cherry Picker Shop Crane Hoist Lift
This is one of the cherry picker engine hoist I also preffer and let’s see why. First of all, this is a cheap engine hoist, which means you will not get a better deal out there. Not to mention, it is a folding engine hoist. It has a fully rotating 3″ steel caster wheels so you could easily move this engine hoist in any direction you see fit and you can have total increased maneuvering. You can also feel confident about it because it is a premium tool that will last for many years to come. Make no mistake, this is a large, sturdy hoist made from heavy steel tubing so you need to operate it very careful. Even if the hoist seem to be very stable in front and in the back, the ends of the legs are about 40 inches apart, when they are fully extended. Thus, you need to also pay attention to the load centered between the legs on a line with the upright. However, overall, it is a very good and thought design with an incredible value.
3. Torin T32001 Engine Hoist – 2 Ton
Excellent engine hoist! This hoist appears to be well constructed, all the welds were good and everything fit as it should have. I must admit that I was a little concerned that there may have been missing bolts and nuts but all of the hardware was in its place. Seems that the larger bolts are placed in there respective components with the nuts very loosely installed on the bolts. During shipping many of the nuts had worked themselves off and were loose in the box. This is a very heavy item (186 lbs) so the box can be damaged during shipping leading to lost hardware. That said I highly recommend this engine hoist leveler.
4. Goplus® 2 TON Red Color 4000 lb Engine Motor Hoist Cherry Picker Shop Crane Lift New
This 2 ton engine hoist is capable of lifting almost any gas engine and even smaller diesel engines. Thus, it can be useful for moving heavy parts such as axles, transmissions and transfer cases around the shop. This engine hoist has the following features: a heavy gauge structural steel, low 4 clearance which will get under more cars without requiring jacking up of the vehicle, boom height and boom extensions. The customers approved it to be a good quality and quick assembly engine hoist, well made and with good functions, overall, a great purchase. So, you can consider this as the best engine hoist for the money.
5. Powerbuilt 940194 2-Ton Storable Shop Crane
The last but not least, this Powerbuilt engine hoist is made to be the most reliable tools in the market today. This is mostly because it has proved to be a tool offering solutions for most all situations. It was actually built to exceed tool standards. It can also be kept in a compact storage even if it has a five-ton capacity ram with overload protection. its lifting will range between 6-5/16 inch to 22 inch, so you will find it to be perfect for you. I believe this is also a nice purchase!
So, this is it. Now you can say you are an expert on engine hoists after making it through this article. I hope that you have found this guide to be helpful. It is always important to note that while the above engine hoists all come highly recommended, there are many other great options out there as well. If none of the above captured your attention in a meaningful way, feel free leave some more options in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and happy wrenching!