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Getting a used forklift for the shop?

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python50

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#1
I often find myself wanting to move heavy things (including machines). Soon I will be moving to a new shop with a lot of space.

I considered two options: installing a bridge-crane, and a getting a forklift. The forklift option seemed a lot cheaper and more versatile. One with pneumatic tires can go outside whereas a crane cannot. LPG is the only fuel I am considering right now.

My question is what should I look for in a used forklift? What should I avoid?

I often see used lifts with "small" hydraulic leaks - is this an indicator of more serious issues?
 
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#2
I purchased my Hyster 50 (5K lbs) back in 2004. I purchased it from a Arnold Machinery mainly because it was preowned certified. What this means is the machine was serviced and inspected and any issues resolved prior to selling. It also came with a 1 year warranty. Buying from them also meant I had a little leverage in requesting 48" forks (new) and a second LPG cylinder for the asking price of the machine. Buying from a dealer does come with a price, but if you can write off the expense on your taxes, then worth it in my opinion. The machine had 2K hours at the time but appeared in excellent condition and has been faithful since then. As far as a bridge crane vs fork lift, it depends on you type of work, but the fork lift will do much of the same and more. Good call on LPG, I use my for lift indoors most of the time and sometimes inside a shipping container with no threat of CO poisoning. The engine oil will remain very clean as well. My shop is at home and the fork lift has been used for house maintenance, vehicle maintanace and landscaping to boot. Buy a machine that will do the work with ease, that said, if your considering a 3K go a little bigger. The second piece of advise is to make some fork extensions, My extensions are are seldom used but when needed they are invaluable. Use common sense when using said extensions as they add considerable leverage that could result in tipping. I also fabricated up a hitch for moving trailers into the shop. A forklift can put a trailer in tight quarters with the rear steering and short wheelbase. My wife tell me over and over that purchase was one of my wisest. My back confirms. When you find a machiine, buy the manuals so you can service/repair yourself and above all else, make sure the machine is still supported by the manufacture. Cheap old and leaking machines will cost you time in the long run.
Example of using a forklift to access a fuel pump. This machine has a three stage mast and goes up19'. The tires are solid and performs well off cement/pavement fine so long as you feather the monotrol and don't spin. I paid $15K when it was two years old.

The fork extensions are in use for this task. I always use 4"x4" to secure the mast when working under the load. Truly a wonderful addition to any shop that has room for one. I my back loves my forklift. Happy forklift hunting!
IMG_0771.JPG
 

MikeInOr

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#3
I would love forklift but can't justify one for the little use it would get in my hobby shop. I have been considering a tractor with a front end loaded as an alternative with more uses for my property but it would of course be bigger and less flexible.
 

Chipper5783

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#4
For in shop moving, a pallet jack is fantastic (cheap, very maneuverable, lifts 5000#, simple to maintain, easy to store). Get a pallet jack anyway, if you get a forklift as well, great. The pallet jack will still be used frequently.
 
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I agee on the versatility of a pallet jack. I use one often and my wife considers that my second best purchase. Two PJ's slightly modified can move most any machine safely and efficiently. I use a Harbor Freight PJ that was on sale for $200 over ten years ago and still no leaks.
 

kd4gij

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#6
Talk to Jim Dawson, those thing follow him home all the time. :beer mugs:
 

FOMOGO

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#7
I think the forklift will be more versitale for you. I've always used my backhoe for heavy lifting, but it can be a little unwieldy in tight places. I picked up a 4500 lb capacity Clark for cheap, and am in the process of redoing the brakes and replacing a few seals. Should come in handy when I move into the new shop. Solid tires should be fine if you stay on fairly flat, solid, terrain. 99% of use for me will be inside, or the concrete aprons outside. For everything else I can use the hoe. Paco, I like the extensions idea, the ones on mine are fairly short. Mike

Up on the lift getting a little TLC.
P1000864.jpg
 

Eddyde

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#8
They frequently come up on government surplus auctions and seem to go fairly cheap.
 

JimDawson

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#9
I couldn't function without forklifts. Lifting heavy stuff, adjustable height workbench/welding table. My driveway is hard packed gravel and my hard rubber warehouse tires work fine if I'm careful.

As far as hydraulic leaks, don't worry about that too much as long as the oil is not pouring out. If the cylinder seals are leaking it will be obvious, and normally just need new packing. Other leaks could be worn hoses or as simple as loose fittings. Normally not a big deal to fix. The good news is that leaks drop the price, the price being inversely proportional to the amount of fluids on the floor :grin:. Hydraulic system leak stop works wonders.

My 5000 lb Yale, paid $500 for it. 14 foot triple stage mast and side shift. Makes a nice work stand for panel building too :)

1516660227701.png

And the big one. Free was a very good price. Rated at 8500 lb, but here it is lifting a 10,200 lb lathe, didn't even grunt. 40 foot reach.

1516660451710.png
 

dtsh

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#10
If you can find a reasonably priced skidsteer, a set of pallet forks mounted on a quick attach plate are relatively inexpensive.

That said, unless you have other uses for a skidsteer, chances are it will cost more than a comparable forklift.
 

Karl_T

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#11
skid steers have a pretty limited forklift weight limit, wrong tool for the job.

I have two lifts. One is an electric Big Joe walk behind. TERRIFIC for tight spaces.
https://bigjoeforklifts.com/products/cb

The other is a Hyster 5000 lb. lift gas with pneumatic tires. Both purchased at auction for nearly nothing. Industry will not buy an old lift and not much demand from hobbyists either.
 

rock_breaker

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#12
I made a quick change fork lift attachment for my Branson 3510 tractor front lift. It is good up to 1000 pounds. I was given a set of factory forks and have some extensions. It is used to save my back and set stuff in my shop walk-in doors. Am currently thinking of a hitch to move a 5th wheel camper with it.
Have a good day
Ray
 

KBeitz

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#13
When I first started out I did not have the money to buy one. I found an electric walk behind
at the junkyard and put the mast on my garden tractor. It worked great for many years untill
I bought the real thing...

Omm.JPG Getting it down.jpg Omm.JPG
 

8mpg

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#14
I wish I had one to move this mill with when I got it. Id love to have one now to move it outside for its paint stripping. Heck just an easy way to remove the head. I have seen some cheaper ones on craiglist but ultimately its a space issue.

Definitely keep your eye on craigslist. Every once in a while they pop up for under $1k. Leaky lines can be replaced. Leaky hydraulic cylinders can be some work.
 

Downwindtracker2

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#15
The 4000# to 5000# size is pretty handy, we had a couple in our maintenance shop , They were Cats, first ones made by Daewoo , the later Cats were made by Mitsubishi .They were occasionally called Towmotors by the oldtimers. Even when in poor condition they did all work we required of them. Kitty litter ( floor dry) is you friend. One day in production, they would be dead. They are a ***** to work on.
 
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