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Rob Siegel


I wrote a Hack Mechanic column for Roundel about buying and using a mid-rise lift, and received quite a number of e-mails asking if one could be used to pull a trani. Yes, but itís a total pain in the ass. Long story short, if you want a lift, and you have the ceiling space to install a two-post lift, buy one. The mid-rise lift is a compromise that you donít have to make if you have ceiling height and are able to drive straight onto the lift. In my case, my garage has a flat roof, and a single door that makes me have to move around several cars if I want to drive the one deepest in, so a post-lift fails in terms of both height and blocking access inside the space. The mid-rise design lies fairly flat when its not in use, allowing you to drive over it. Low cars do, however, catch it, and by ďlowĒ I donít mean only my 911SC Ė part of the lift just catches the catalytic converter on my 318ti.The wooden ramps shown on either side of the lift are there to give the car a little extra clearance when you drive up and onto the lift. They are a must if you have a low car.


I bought a BendPak MD6XP, which is of the same basic design as every other mid-rise lift Iíve seen. Every damned one of these has a nice big cutout (below, left) intended to allow access to the transmission, but the cutout is at the same end of the lift as the two big hydraulic cylinders (below, right). If you had the upper body strength of Barry Bonds, perhaps you could just reach in there, but it makes it damned near impossible to do what us 98 lb weaklings need to do Ė position the trani on a floor jack.


But if you turn the the car around on the lift Ė position it with the engine over the end without the cutout Ė those big hydraulic cylinders are no longer in the way. Thereís a cross-brace thatís in the way, but you can take two steel wheels and put a big aluminum plate or wooden board over them, allowing a floor jack to be placed there and to reach up and lower (or install) the transmission.


This shows the Bendpak MD6XP midrise scissors lift, and how the cutout thatís meant to give youclearance to access the train is right over the two big hydraulic cylinders, making it damned near impossible to put a floor jack there to lower the trani. Note that I have the car turned around the other way on the lift.


In the first attempt, I took two steel wheels, put them fore and aft of the cross-piece on the legs, and laid an aluminum plate over them. This served as a base to put the floor jack on.