Motorcycle Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Aging & Worn
Joined
·
4,516 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Now that I've used the Harbor Frieght High Lift for a while, I'd like to point out a potential issue............

On a recent "lifting" of the bike for oiling the chain, I went to the maximum height (cause I'm old) and put the security pin in place, and then backed off the height just enough to let the lifting brackets rest on the pin (a recommended procedure).

When I was done working on the bike, I first jacked "up" the lift a couple of cranks to get it off the pin, so that I could pull the pin out.

The jack went "up" of course, but not enough. It had gone up enough initially, to set the pin, but didn't repeat the same height potential on the rebound.

There is a split washer around the pin, that has a recessed surface in lays in, and the jack would not bring the arm up high enough to get past the washer's edge.

I finally chose to take a ball peen hammer and hit the leading end of the pin to force the washer past the arm, and then after I got the bike down, I took the washer off the pin.

The washer is there (in my best guess) to keep the pin from dropping down inside the housing of the lift, when being stored. There is a large key ring on the tail end of the pin to stop that from happening, AND from stopping the pin to go too far in the vertical housing of the lift, when in use.

So, my recommendation to anyone who buys this lift, is to get rid of that split washer, before you find YOURSELF trying to raise up the lift to get past it, and find that you can't. Obviously you don't want to leave your bike suspended.

Just an observation. Otherwise this particular lift has been a wonderful addition to my stable of motorcycle tools, and I'd recommend it to anyone.

-Soupy
 

·
Nightfly
Joined
·
4,033 Posts
I generally only buy cheap hammers and screwdrivers from Harbor Freight. Anything else I buy with apprehension.

Case in point: I bought their motorcycle front wheel chock. My purchase was strictly price based as Harley wanted $250 and the Harbor Freight unit was about $70. Does it work? Yeah, as long as you strap it down securely and don't mind the sloppiness in how it holds the bike.

I never really quite trust it, so I really tie the bike down tight. You definitely get what you pay for with Harbor Freight.

Glad to know you got your lift working, as is should have in the beginning.
 

·
Aging & Worn
Joined
·
4,516 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
............Glad to know you got your lift working, as is should have in the beginning.
Don't know where you got the impression that it didn't work. In fact, it works GREAT! I have zero issues with the performance of the jack. The observation of the washer being a bit large and removing it, has no bearing on the function of the lift itself, in terms of ability.

I have lifted the bike several times on this Lift, (in spite of my concerns about "Harbor Freight" in general) and it works VERY well.

Other than the criticism of the washer being a tad too large in diameter, the only other thing that I would say is bothersome at best, is the maneuverability of it. It's sorta/kinda clumsy to move around. It has back wheels, but you have to pivot it back quite a bit, to make use of the wheels.

If I were the guy/gal who worked for the company who manufacturers this Lift, I would do an Iteration in which I gave the lift "four wheels," to make it easier to put into position. (Low wheels of course).

-Soupy
 

·
Nightfly
Joined
·
4,033 Posts
Working as it should have in the beginning means the problem with the security pin should not have happened. Using a hammer on the pin to enable you to get the bike down off the lift is not evidence of a well made product. Never said it "did not work," only that it doesn't work as a well made piece would.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,342 Posts
Some things that Harbor sells seems to be fairly good, others are real junk.
One of my apprentice bought a set of 1/2 inch drive impact sockets. Used a Snap On impact gun and his 15/16 socket exploded leaving a nasty cut and breaking his safety glasses. Needless to say their sockets are not allowed in my shop.
 

·
Nightfly
Joined
·
4,033 Posts
Indeed... And example of the kind of products they sell that should not be allowed in any serious working man's shop, any shop for that matter. Dangerous....
 

·
Aging & Worn
Joined
·
4,516 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Indeed... And example of the kind of products they sell that should not be allowed in any serious working man's shop, any shop for that matter. Dangerous....

I don't consider a slightly over-size washer to be a show stopper. I too looked at Harbor Freight with some caution.

the lift works very well, and I am very pleased with it. I'm glad I bought it.

-Soupy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
As a former A.W.S. certified welder and fabricator, I would never use a Chinese lift or table to raise my Gold Wing into the air. The functionality of the lift is a completely separate issue from the FACT that they use the cheapest P.O.S. junk steel components they can find, and they are using the CHINESE to weld the joints, which means that you have a 50-50 chance that there is ZERO penetration into both pieces of metal, and this translates into a dangerous device that can bend and collapse without warning. The "weld" may be nothing more than a strip of melted metal deposited along a joint, which is "stuck" to the other piece rather than having both pieces become ONE via a proper weld. They paint it over all red and pretty, and YOU are supposed to put your blind faith into their claim that the weld was done right.

That support strut may LOOK strong, but if it can only support 20% of the weight an American piece of steel in the exact same dimensions can support, then you are gambling with your life. There are many grades of steel, and the Chinese use the absolute lowest grade steel they can find.

For instance, HFT rates their jacks on how much weight they will SUPPORT, NOT how much they will lift. Their floor jacks may be "Rated 6,000 lb." but that only means they raised the UNLOADED jack to full height and placed a 6,000 lb. load on the lift plate without the jack collapsing. From the lowest position, their jacks can only lift about 30% of their rated capacity. A 2,000 lb. floor jack WILL NOT lift 2,000 lb. from the low position. You will be lucky to get it to lift 500 lb.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,145 Posts
As a former A.W.S. certified welder and fabricator, I would never use a Chinese lift or table to raise my Gold Wing into the air. The functionality of the lift is a completely separate issue from the FACT that they use the cheapest P.O.S. junk steel components they can find, and they are using the CHINESE to weld the joints...
That may be true Joe, but aren't there import laws that protect consumers from buying absolute dangerous junk? I'm talking about purchasing a new product. Also Harbor Freight, despite what you think, DOES have a reputation to protect. So they would-and-probably-do test every product they sell to confirm stuff isn't plain dangerous, and built to basic common sense tolerances.

It is absolutely true you "get what you pay for" and I certainly wouldn't pit the Harbor Freight lift against a locally made one that cost 5-10x more. However most home mechanics don't need and usually can't afford to buy commercial grade equipment for their occasional tasks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
NordicMan, not everyone has the same level of experience, and not everyone bought the tires that are on their bikes. People buy used bikes all the time, and it is IMPORTANT to inspect the tires on the bike as I mentioned, rather than just look at the pretty deep tread and assume all is well. Don't you agree?
 

·
Aging & Worn
Joined
·
4,516 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
As a former A.W.S. certified welder and fabricator, I would never use a Chinese lift or table ................
As a former "Certified" Welder myself for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, heavily Government Regulated, (in Spot, Tack, Tig, Seam and so forth) I can sympathize and agree on some level. I (as can you) can look at a product and see shoddy workmanship and questionable welds.

Spotting lousy metal though, is another matter, since most products are powdercoated or painted, and the type of steel could only be determined by a testing of a part of it, drilled or cut out, and put thru an X-Ray machine, (we have one in our QC that I use frequently) to determine the types of metal it's made up of.

My current employer (sad to say) does a LOT of work with China. We see the lack of Inspection most prevalently with the products they send us. We experience first hand, the limitations that "RoHs" puts on us, that China has a waiver to ignore. (a bizarre truth that blows my mind!).

(For those of you from Yorbalinda, "RoHs" is a Regulatory Restriction, imposed by China, on all other Countries, directly addressing the amount of "Lead" that can be in metals. "Lead" of course, or the percentage of it, determines the strength of the metal used. The downside is the danger of "Lead" and thus the Regulatory Restrictions).

The biggest issue with Chinese workmanship, outside of the need for stronger QC oversight, is the lack of initiative on the part of the workers. Here in the USA, we think nothing of jumping in and "Brainstorming" a problem out. In China, I've stood by and watched Engineers, afraid to offer suggestions, for fear of their jobs, and stand around for hours, trying to fix a problem that was simple (imho). They just didn't want to risk it.

All that said, the companies in China (I've been there) are given the materials to use, by the off shore companies who hire them. They are given the process charts, the training, and then they get oversight by QC and others, on site. I've had to do that. I've been sent there to train them, and to monitor them. We (our QC Group, and others within our organization) are constantly going over there.

As long as the product does what it says it will do, I expect that anything I buy may have flaws; American-made, Chinese, Japanese, you name it. Looking over the product before you buy it, it crucial! If you don't know what you are looking at, have someone with you who DOES know. Check the welding, check the contents, do your homework.

Is it fair to say that the Chinese, or ___________ (you fill in the Country) are not "up to par" (if you will), regarding the products we buy from them? In some cases yes, but not all. "Garbage in, garbage out" is not only applicable to software; it is also applicable to physical product. If a company, investing in another country, doesn't provide the kinds of materials that are needed, then the product will be crap. Case in point, those painted toys a few years ago, (remember?) that came from China, and the EPA said the paint was toxic. Guess what?! The paint was provided by the Stateside company that asked the Chinese company to build the product!

"Buyer beware," yes. But do your homework, and make an educated decision, based on what you see. That's the problem with "online buying" by the way. You don't have the tactile evidence you would have, if you could walk into the store and handle the item you want to buy.

Yesterday, in the market for an air-compressor, I went to three of our local box stores. You can imagine the ones..........Lowes, Home Depot, and Sears.
I found an 8 gallon version in one of them that is a gem of a tool. Nobody matched their price (even Amazon.com, surprisingly enough). I was able to turn the knobs (feeling for play, integrity, etc) and spin the wheels, and so forth and so on. I'll be buying it, on Wednesday. Nothing "online" ........no video on YouTube (and Lord knows I've got enough of them, on there) can replace the going, seeing, touching, of the buying experience.

It's all about the good -vs- the bad, when buying something. You weigh it out and make an educated decision, regardless of the source of the item, and take your best shot.

For now, this Lift (no matter where it's from) has shown me integrity, no cracking of the welds, no issues. I'm happy. If it turns out, years from now, that it develops an issue here or there, (like the minor issue of the washer around the Safety Pin that I removed, because its diameter was about .100 too much, and it got caught up once), I can live with that.

-Soupy
 

·
Veteran Member
Joined
·
3,201 Posts
Bought a HF lift table sometime around 2007. I bought it because I had just left the military and was going back to school. I had little money but needed to work on my bike for commuting to school. My intention was to use it for a few years before buying a better table. 7 years and 3 bikes later it has never failed me, hasn't needed to be modified, and hasn't even killed me! So I haven't bothered to replace it. I'm smart enough to know when something isn't safe. I'm a steamfitter by trade, and all welds look good. If they weren't I would correct them myself and still be money ahead. It's already paid for itself several times over.

The thing with HF is you need to be a smart consumer. You need to know what stuff they sell that works well, what doesn't work well, and what might work as a temporary throw away tool for a one time job. I'm very happy with my HF lift table, also with my HF tube notcher. The later is used on my industrial 1974 Buffalo Forge drill press. Oh the irony. But when it came to my personal garage welder I didn't even look at HF. I went with American made Hobart. Same for my power tools, I skip HF and buy Milwaukee or Makita. Again there is some irony because even these premier brands make a lot of stuff in China.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,145 Posts
NordicMan, not everyone has the same level of experience, and not everyone bought the tires that are on their bikes. People buy used bikes all the time, and it is IMPORTANT to inspect the tires on the bike as I mentioned, rather than just look at the pretty deep tread and assume all is well. Don't you agree?
Umm,, huh?

Anyway, back to topic.. Last year I bought a "Torin Big Red" motorcycle lift, not a full table lift but one that goes under the bike to lift both wheels off the ground. I wanted one primarily for winter storage, but thought it would be also handy for maintenance tasks, etc. I believe Torin is a Chinese based company.

Anyway, that thing was so twisted it wouldn't even lower all the way down without sticking a prybar into it & bending it into submission ;) Needless to say it went back to the store (Tractor Supply Co in that case).

Still though I'm not going to throw out a blanket statement like "everything from China is junk" any more than I would never say "everything from USA is awesome"
 

·
Aging & Worn
Joined
·
4,516 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
................. Last year I bought a "Torin Big Red" motorcycle lift, not a full table lift but one that goes under the bike to lift both wheels off the ground................

I presume you are talking about THIS guy?



I looked at a TON of different lifts, and the biggest issue I had with most of them, EXCEPT for the one I mention in this Thread, that I ended up buying, was the short length of the legs. My "span" (if you will) between the frame tubes, is wider than most of the legs on these typical Lifts. I needed 13 inches MINIMUM, to ensure that I got all the way across the two tubes without the risk of "being on the edge."

I'll have the bike up on the Lift I bought, even today. I had a really nice ride yesterday and I'm due to clean the chain and re-oil it.

Now if I could just find the dang oil filter...........I'd do an oil change too!! (lol)

-Soupy
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top