Monthly Archives: January 2013

Welcome!

Welcome to the Backyard Buddy car lift blog. Backyard Buddy lifts are a great tool for the car enthusiast to use in their home garage or for a professional shop. Our lifts are built in our own plant in Warren, Ohio. Please visit our showroom and compare a Backyard Buddy lift to the imported lifts on display. We’re very proud of the quality and safety of a Backyard Buddy lift.

If you enjoy working on your car or truck, you’ll love a Backyard Buddy lift. It’s great for routine service, replacing clutches, exhaust systems or working on anything under the car. Repairs and restoration is a lot less like work when you don’t have to squeeze under a car on jack stands.

Our Backyard Buddy Story: Dave and Denise Tucker

crowded garage

Crowded garage is hard move cars around in

1932 Chevy roadster, Backyard Buddy Lift

Lots of room now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

new camaro and oldsmobile on a Backyard Buddy liftLiving in Michigan, we aren’t able to enjoy our cars all year round and need a place to store them for the winter. We have a garage we use to store our three cars but it was difficult to do without having one of the cars turned sideways, and once full there was no room for anything else.

To help solve this problem, my wife and I decided several years ago to buy a drive-on hoist, so the search began for the perfect hoist. One of the benefits of being active members in a local car club is knowing lots of people with different hoists. In looking at the hoists others have and talking with them about what they likes and dislike about their hoists, we came to one conclusion: buy a good one.

Many of the hoists we looked at were not very robust and seemed weak and cheap. They needed to be bolted to the floor and still appeared flimsy. In looking at how they were assembled and constructed, many looked like they might actually fall. So not being happy with the hoists we saw, we started researching hoists on line. We looked at dozens of them. Even though we are amateur car collectors, we do still have a great deal of money invested in our hobby, and with that comes the fear of a damage if a hoist were to fall or fail. We knew a hoist would let us store additional cars in our garage, so we had an added fear of damaging someone else’s pride and joy if a failure of a cheap hoist were to occur. We were not willing to take these risks.

Backyard Buddy car lift shipping crateOur main interests were:

  • Made in USA
  • Solid/Robust
  • Safe
  • Never going to fall or fail
  • Built-in safety systems
  • Easy to use
  • Easy assembly and maintenance
  • Quality construction using high grade materials, welds, and hardware
  • Free standing (not needing to be bolted to the floor)

Cost was very important, but we were willing to pay a bit more for a high quality product that met our needs. Having wheels and portability was not on our original list of needs–until we ran across the Backyard Buddy and saw the features it had. A jack platform was also not on our original list of needs–but we are glad we got that option for our Backyard Buddy as well. We had not even thought about total lift height, until we saw the Backyard Buddy had a taller lift option.

We gathered information on all the hoists we were interested in, got quotes, and made phone calls. In the end, there was only one clear choice.

It was obvious the Backyard Buddy was a far superior product to anything on the market. It’s offered in cool color combinations too (we got the USA color scheme: red, white and blue). We ordered our Backyard Buddy, and when it showed up we were so excited. 6 hours later it was up and we had put the 1st car on it.

new camaro on a Backyard Buddy liftOur Buddy’s features:

  • Extra tall height
  • Rolling jack platform
  • Drip trays
  • Wheel chock
  • Extra long ramps
  • USA color scheme
  • Casters for portability

Having never owned a hoist and not being familiar with how to set one up, we were concerned, but we found assembling it much easier than expected. It was very well packaged and easy to figure out. The only warning we have for people is that some pieces are very heavy and you do need to make sure you have the proper equipment to move the very heavy parts around. Knowing the right people with the right tools and equipment helps a ton.

Attached are several installation and usage photos as well as one that shows the improved garage layout we now have. We went from difficulty fitting in 3 cars to being able to fit 5 easily.

We have told everyone we know looking to buy a hoist about the Backyard Buddy and we are 100% confident ours will provide years of safe, reliable service. We can sleep well knowing our investment in our cars is protected while our Backyard Buddy is on the job.

What a great product, and it’s even made in the USA. Can’t get any better than that!

Dave and Denise Tucker

Proud and happy owners of a Backyard Buddy–the best hoist for your home. Period.

What’s the best way to jack up a vehicle while it’s on your lift?

Rolling Jack

Backyard Buddy built in hydraulic jack

Built in hydraulic jack

The simplest is the rolling jack platform option.  Its rollers allow it to move along tracks built into the deck of all Backyard Buddy lifts.  This jack enables you to roll the platform to the wheel or axle needing raised with a bottle jack.

Even though a small floor jack is  pretty heavy, you could probably get it on the platform.

Need extra clearance for lowered cars?  The jack platform is available without rollers and will still slide easily along the tracks.

Air Jack

We do have an air jack that works like a car suspension air bag. It’s similar to but smaller than air jacks for heavy trucks and busses.

air jack for backyard buddy jack platform

Air jack for rolling jack platform

Features:

  • 4,000 pound capacity,
  • 5.75″ collapsed height and
  • Extends to 13.75″

Professional Grade

The most professional option is our built-in rolling hydraulic jack. This is a great accessory and if you see one at a show display or in our showroom, you’ll want it!

Features:

  • Powered by the lift pump and motor eliminating the need for another power source.
  • Gives about 9″ inches of lift.
  • Folds completely flush with the deck when not in use.
  • Different style pads and adapters are included that fit in sockets on the lifting arms.
  • Flat pad for frames and curved pads which are great for rear axle tubes or a hot rod’s tube front axle.
  • Pads are rubber coated so they won’t mark a nice paint job or chrome.
  • Sliding horizontal bar with a sliding pad that can be positioned where ever needed to jack something like a rear end center section.
  • Could be used to support the engine when removing the transmission

So whatever your budget, we have a car jack solution for you.

Backyard Buddy Easy-Access to The Rescue

Easy-access rolling jack stand system

Easy-Access

We’ve been working on getting our friend’s son’s 1979 Jeep CJ7 back on the road.  It has been off the road for about 15 years and consequently, by sitting that long it did not do the old CJ any favors.  Once we took a close look at it, what we thought would be a quick job of cleaning out the gas tank and changing the fluids has turned into a major project.

We’re currently working on replacing the body and patching the rear of the frame.  Jeep CJs are notorious for rusting in the rear frame kick up and shackle area, and this one is definitely not an exception. The main problem is that the frame’s design has manufacturing holes that allow dirt, moisture, and other crud inside the frame.  This thus provided free housing to many generations of mice.  Subsequently, we learned that mouse nests are excellent at holding in moisture and causing the frame rails to rust from the inside out.  Luckily, the sides and front of the frame are in good condition, therefore keeping this from being a total loss.

Since the garage is full of other projects, we’ve been working on the Jeep outside on the concrete driveway.  We have been using our Backyard Buddy Easy-Access system (http://www.backyardbuddy.com/automotive-lifts/backyard-buddy-easy-access/) to support the frame and to allow us to move it around so that we can easily work on it.

Easy-Access rolling jack stand system

Easy-Access

The Easy-Access jack stand system is a great tool for anyone who needs to support their vehicle but doesn’t have the space or the need for a full auto lift.  Easy-Access has many different attachments that make it conducive to set up for any frame, axle and body combination.  It has heavy-duty rubber casters which allow it to roll on uneven surfaces easily.  It is very rigid, safe and much better than having the frame sitting on jack stands.  (Jack stands often wobble, they are hard to get level, and they are almost always unsafe to leave on dollies so that the vehicle can be moved around.)

The Easy-Access system is the next best thing to having an auto lift because it allows flexibility in moving around the frames and chassis.  We know people who have both an auto lift and the Easy-Access system, and as you probably well know by now, there are advantages to owning both.

What’s Best for Me? A Two Post or Four Post Lift?

cobras on a backyard buddy liftWe’ve been writing about our buddy Gary, who does creative work for us, and his thoughts about buying a lift. He’s almost certain having a lift will help him get more work done in his garage in the winter, and in his garage and driveway in the summer.

He also shared a bit of his thought process while deciding what type of lift he wants to purchase. Gary has done a lot of reading, and looked at several systems at car shows. He has been trying to decide if he wants a two post or a four post system. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

A two post system lifts the car by the chassis and lets the suspension hang free, making brake and suspension work easier. There can be disadvantages to this system, however. The two post has to be fastened to the floor securely as all the weight is cantilevered off the two uprights. Depending on the manufacturer, the floor may have to be thicker under the two posts. One of the main problems is if storing a car on a two posts, the suspension is in full droop all the time. Also, if you just want to pull a car in to park, the posts are usually lined up with the car doors, making it hard to get in and out. Adding to all this, there are lots of scary pictures on the web of imported two posts failing and cars falling off if they’re not lined up correctly.

The four post, on the other hand, doesn’t have to be bolted to the floor. Gary figures he can just roll it outside if he wants to raise it to standing height. As far as storage, his cars are smaller, so he can store one over the other, even with a relatively low nine foot ceiling. He spent many years working at his dad’s transmission shop that had pits for under car work and likes the convenience of the ramps close at hand to lay tools and parts on while working under the car. If you have to raise the chassis or wheels off the ramp for brake work, it’s easy to just use a rolling jack platform with a bottle jack. He also feels supporting an older collector car by its wheels and suspension places less “stress” on older body and frames that maybe aren’t as structurally ridged as new cars. And it sure feels safer than having your car supported over your head by two arms.

Another advantage to the four post is that when it’s down, you can just drive the car on it like it isn’t there and not worry about banging your doors into the posts!

If you were going to buy a lift, which would you get? Would a two post or a four post do the job better for you?

A Backyard Buddy car lift will help get my projects going again

Classic Chevy pickup hot rod on a 4-post car liftWe were shooting the bull with one of the guys who does creative work for Backyard Buddy a little while back. He’s a real car guy that’s been involved with restoring his own cars for over 30 years now, and he shared some of his thoughts about our lifts with us.

Gary mentioned how as he’s gotten older (like all of us), and that it’s been getting harder to get up the ambition to work on his projects. He lives in the northeast and always plans to accomplish a lot during the winter months when the cars are off the road. But even with a heated garage, once the floor freezes it’s not much fun to lay on the floor and try do nice, detailed work. He blames age, but it might just be all those years of laying on his back and working in a cramped space catching up to him. All the old joints are starting to ache more and the cold doesn’t help. He thinks having a Backyard Buddy lift will help get his projects going again!

He built a new garage three years ago with nine-foot ceilings anticipating getting a lift to at least get his cars up high enough to work on comfortably, if not completely overhead. Like a lot of us, he’s always got one or two more project cars lined up and is running out of storage, so a Backyard Buddy Lift would help in that area too, as far as letting him store one car under another.

It would be great to be able to get the cars off the ground, even if it’s not at standing height. He’s thinking it would great to be able to fabricate an exhaust system like he’s doing now, or just to do simple maintenance like oil changes or cleaning up the chassis after a road trip.

What do you think? Do you have a Backyard Buddy lift and think having one would get Gary motivated again? Would making your projects easier get you motivated again?

Economic Reasons to Buy American (1 of 2)

USA-PRIDE-LOGO[Note: This is article 1 of 2]. If you turn on your television, you will be bombarded with political jargon, mostly about the economy and how politicians plan to create more jobs.  It is interesting banter, at best, and a great way to start pondering what will in fact turn the national and local economies around.  With everyone weighing in, many economists agree that the creation of jobs itself is not the answer.  But the creation of jobs surrounded by communities of people committed to buying American products and supporting American businesses can slowly and steadily turn our economic state around.

Why Buy American?

There are obvious reasons to purchase American made and manufactured products.  But the average American needs to be aware of the widespread impact locally and nationally of citizens committed to supporting American owned and operated companies.  Here are some reasons that we should all strive to do our research and do our part to buy American:

1.    To keep and create American jobs.  Here is an obvious point: when a business is doing well and demand increases, so does the need for a workforce.  It is essential that any type of job creation these days arises from companies who are American owned and operated so that our workers can go back to work, but also so that tax dollars are generated.  Job creation can be contagious.  As American owned and operated companies become more successful, they have the opportunity to create more competition among existing businesses within their industry.  This used to mean outsourcing, but because of current world economic conditions and new tax plans that are being discussed, this could mean bringing a lot of the outsourced work back home.  Supporting an American owned and operated business not only supports our local labor force, but it challenges others within similar competing industries to re-employ American workers.

2.    To promote American independence.  Existing American businesses have lost the ability to satisfy all of their manufacturing, consulting, and other business needs domestically.  Because many businesses chose to outsource various operations in pursuit of cheaper labor, less restrictive working standards, and tax shelters, these businesses slowly became reliable on foreign business components to complete their tasks.  For example, an American car manufacturer may have plants here in the U.S. and be committed to be “American-made,” but the reality is that there are parts to its operation that are satisfied by foreign businesses.  This can all be changed.  Slowly and steadily we can stimulate the domestic economy by encouraging businesses to buy from each other here in the United States.  The American people can support American owned and operated businesses that are committed to finding different ways to operate domestically, rather than relying on foreign counterparts.

3.    To ensure our goods are produced at a high standard.  Morally, economically, and scientifically, it is crucial to buy American as our foreign counterparts do not hold manufacturing and production to the same standards as the American government requires.  Foreign entities do not enforce labor safety standards or child labor laws as we do in the United States.  Many countries lack environmental standards that ensure safety for the workers and the surrounding community.  Further, product safety standards differ among countries, allowing products to be shipped into our country and sold on our shelves containing toxins and ingredients that are unacceptable and unlawful.  Buying American made products ensures that higher standards would be met by adhering to the laws and safety standards of the United States.  By following these environmental standards, our end product may cost more than foreign products, but the end product will have a higher quality than others.  It puts pressure on the global market to come to terms with the safety standards and practices that we have in our newly competitive market.  But whether the global market chooses to make improvements or not is still in question.

4.    To ensure a living wage.  Buying American products reduces the trade deficit. As we are able to bring more jobs home, not only will our job opportunities increase but the U.S.’s economic growth will gain momentum.  As we rely more on domestic products and manufacturing, our businesses will be able to function more effectively, meeting our domestic needs, reducing our reliance on imports, and spurring more economic growth.  It will encourage other businesses to follow suit, creating new opportunities to meet this new demand.  We will begin to see both our domestic demand and domestic employment grow.   We will also begin to see not only the creation of jobs, but employers will once again be afforded the opportunities to provide living wages, benefits, and opportunities for advancement to its employees.

Where do profits go when we buy American?  To Benefit All American People.

It is easy to see the face value of supporting American businesses.  But the effects of our support are so much more far reaching than we can initially see.  As easy as it is to see the face value of our support, it is equally as easy to become cynical non-supporters of the buy American effort.  The reason for the cynicism comes from not knowing where the profits are going.  Becoming a more educated consumer and patronizing businesses committed to be owned and operated in America keeps the profits here in the U.S. to stimulate the economy and contribute to our government.

In addition to the above stated reasons for buying American, our support is so important because of the tax dollars that these business pay.  The profits earned by domestically owned and operated companies benefit Americans nationally and locally.  American owned business profits are taxed and go into the funds for Social Security, military/national defense, education, and health care and welfare programs.  Basically, any government run program relies on such taxes for its very existence these days.  The profits also get funneled into our local economies through taxes as well.  Money is allocated to support our local governments, funding fire fighters, police, and other government funded jobs.  Not only do these companies generate tax dollars, but American owned and operated business three times as much tax to operate in America as do their foreign counterparts.  Therefore, the amount of profit-generated tax money is substantial.

To put things into perspective, we must consider the reality of the current trade market.  “In just the last 10 years the United States has lost out on approximately $2 trillion in cumulative trade deficits with China alone.  Had that $2 trillion of forfeited production taken place in America, it would have generated — based on a conservative 30 percent tax rate — $600 billion of national revenue and created millions of jobs in the United States.”- Peters, Eric, “Building by Buying American” July 25, 2011, NYtimes.com.

What does the American consumer need to know in order to support this kind of business?  We need to be aware of who owns the business to make sure we know that these profits are being dispersed here in the United States.  And by patronizing these businesses, not only would we be supporting our government through tax dollars, but at three times the rate than if we patronized their foreign owned/operated competition.  We must do our homework and support businesses with a commitment to keep operations here in the U.S. so that we can assure that those profits are redistributed through tax dollars.  This means supporting businesses that not only make products in America, but are based here so that not only their business, but their profits benefit our country.

We must be aware that every citizen will benefit from the buy American movement.  If you have ever needed the assistance of a federally funded school loan, rely on social security, or have dialed 9-1-1, you rely on the tax dollars from American businesses.  We are living in a time of depleted funds, stricter requirements, and longer response times.  This can change.  Our economic, social, and safety security can all be restored.  We the people have always had the power to generate change.

The answer to our current economic crisis is simple, but it requires an educated, committed consumer: buy American.  By doing so, we can decrease the trade deficit, create jobs, reduce our foreign reliance, and ensure that our national and local governments are supported by these profitable companies.

How to Maintain Your Backyard Buddy Car Lift

We often get asked the questions regarding how to maintain your Backyard Buddy auto lift once it is up and running within your garage.  Proper auto lift maintenance is essential to making sure that the lift operates at peak performance year in and year out.   Keep your auto lifts operating smoothly and safely with our simple maintenance suggestions!

Things to Check Once Every 6 Months:

  • Put a small amount of lightweight oil on a cotton rag and under the lift wipe the length of all the cables from start to finish.   What this will accomplish is if you encounter a snag while wiping down the cable it will be an alert that there is a broken strand on the cable and that this will need to be fixed in order to ensure top safety measures.

Things to Check Once Per Year or More, Depending on Usage:

  • You will need to grease the pulleys once a year in order to maintain smooth movement of the fittings on your lift.
  • On new models, you will need to grease the zerk fittings once a year.  If you ever hear a “squeak” when operating your car lift, then one of the pulleys is dry.  It is important to grease pulleys at this time in order to maintain peak performance of your auto lift.

Things to Check on Once Every Other Year:

  • Carefully inspect all of the nuts and bolts on your entire auto lift in order to make sure that they are securely fastened.

Things to Check on As-Needed:

  • It is our recommendation to clean all upright columns using Pledge furniture polish once every 4-6 weeks.   Make sure you do NOT use a petroleum based product because it will deteriorate the UHMW sliders and lead to potential problems in the future.

Now that you have these fundamental steps for maintaining your Backyard Buddy lift, be sure to mark your calendar accordingly in order to keep up with this ongoing and necessary maintenance.   These vital, but simple steps, do not take a lot of time, but they will greatly preserve the life and longevity of your auto lift.

Types of Car Lifts Manufactured at Backyard Buddy

The perfect lift for your garage comes in four versions.  From standard dimensions to models with extended height and length, Backyard Buddy is sure to offer a lift that will accommodate your needs!

7000 lb. Standard Four Post Lift – 63 Inches Under the Platform

This top of the line 7,000 pound capacity car lift is powered by a 110V (or 220V) power supply and is perfect for the residential garage workshop.  The optional rolling jack platform accommodates a bottle jack so you can remove wheels and brakes for service.  Add even more versatility with the built-in rolling hydraulic platform jack that runs on the same power supply as the lift.  With 63′ of platform clearance, the standard version offers plenty of room underneath to work on your favorite cars.  As a rule of thumb, it also has enough clearance under the platform to accommodate 1960’s and newer cars.  The quality, design, and construction are unparalleled in the automotive industry.

Backyard Buddy car and truck lift extended

Extended 7,000 lb lift

7000 lb. Extended Four Post Lift – 71-1/2 Inches Under the Platform

Backyard Buddy’s extended 7,000 pound four post lift has 8-1/2 inches of additional clearance under the deck (71-5″) over our standard model and is 12 inches longer.  Similar to the standard model, this lift is powered by a 110V power supply (also available in the 220V) and accepts all of the same accessories.  This unit offers a full six feet of clearance under the platform and will accommodate most trucks and SUV’s.  The construction and design are the same as the standard version with extra clearance for those taller vehicles.  This lift is great for anyone with an extra tall ceiling.

7000 lb. Over Height Four Post Lift – 84 Inches Under the Platform

Backyard Buddy also offers a special 7,000 pound over height and extra length lift with 84″ underneath the deck.  It’s over a foot wider for extra stability, almost four feet longer, and will handle most trucks and large SUVs.  This special application lift is powered by a 110 or 220 Volt power unit mounted on the left front leg and accepts all of the standard accessories.  With a full 7 ft. of platform clearance, this lift is perfect for shelving storage applications.  You must have extra ceiling clearance for this lift.

9000 lb. Four Post Auto and Truck Lift

The extended height and length 9000 pound capacity 4 Post Lift has a deck that is almost a foot wider than Backyard Buddy’s standard model to accommodate trucks with dual rear wheels.  At almost 4 feet longer and with an inch thicker deck, it’s plenty rugged enough for dually crew cabs and the biggest SUVs.  Similar to standard model in operation, this lift is powered by 110V power supply or optional 220V for faster lifting.  The construction and design are almost the same as the standard model with the exception of heavier steel and the thicker decks.  This demonstrates the basic engineering and safety of the standard Backyard Buddy free standing lift.

Compare the dimensions of all four Backyard Buddy models by clicking here.

 

Ordering Your Car Lift? What’s the Process?

assembling a car liftSo…you have done your research, and you are ready to purchase your car lift from one of the largest and oldest freestanding lift manufacturers in the country.  Now what?  Let’s take a look at what the Backyard Buddy process is from order placement to assembly and utilization.

When you call to place your order…

A knowledgeable Backyard Buddy representative will walk you through the following steps:

  • The first thing we will do is discuss your individual needs with you to determine what size car lift will serve you the best.
  • Next, we will figure out the cost of shipping the car lift to you.   We show your freight charges upfront, along with the maximum savings available by shipping from point to point.  Or, if you live near our factory and want to forgo freight charges altogether, you are welcome to pull up your car trailer and pick up the lift yourself!
  • Now we are ready to place your order!  We require 50% down, and we accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, business checks, personal checks, and money orders.
  • When your car lift is finished…
    Backyard Buddy will call you to make sure that you are ready to receive your new car lift:
  • The balance of your bill is due upon the readiness to ship the auto lift to you.  If you are not ready to receive the lift, we will hold your auto lift until you are ready.
  • Upon payment, your car lift will be set on a truck and shipped to you.  We package our lifts in steel end crates for easy off-loading, and they arrive as ready-to-bolt together factory assembled sub-assemblies.
  • If you are not ready to receive it, our representative will dialogue with you to determine the reason for the delay.
  • When you receive your Backyard Buddy car lift…There are two options for assembly:
  1. Self assembly:  Most of the major components are pre-assembled at our factory and ready to set up.  It typically takes two men approximately 2-3 hours using common hand tools.
  2. Professional assembly:  Our professional installers are available in most areas.  Not only will they will put the car lift together for you, but they will also demonstrate how to operate the lift.

As you can see, Backyard Buddy is committed to making your purchasing experience as smooth as possible from start to finish.  If you are ready to place an order or simply have further questions, please feel free to contact us by calling 800-837-9353.  Our normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM EST.  You may also fill out our online contact form, and someone will contact you by your preferred method within one business day.