Engine stand

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Engine stand

Post by hoppercar » Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:59 am

Was thinking about building a new engine stand, to store my locomotive on in the shop. Would like to build something that is adjustable up and down to match up with different height trailers or trucks?..was thinking about doing something with screw jacks, that has an adjustable scissor lift. Any ideas?......was wondering if anyone else has done something like this ?

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Re: Engine stand

Post by FLSTEAM » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:08 pm

Best thing going is the Harbor freight motor cycle lift table. Cut the table off the top, beef up frame and replace wheels.

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Re: Engine stand

Post by PeterCraymer » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:49 pm

Watch until these go on sale (about every other month) and you can get it for $279. It works pretty well. Always store in the down position as I have had mine drift down.


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Re: Engine stand

Post by SPSteam2491 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:47 pm

A good upgrade to make to the Harbor Freight Lift is to make a new base for it to increase the base dimensions. That way the lift won't tip when a heavy load is applied to one end.

And ditto to what John B. said, replacing the wheels is a huge upgrade. I just finished my upgrade using some 2" square tubing. Although the same results could be done with wood if you don't have access to a welder.
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Re: Engine stand

Post by ccvstmr » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:28 pm


Whether you buy or build your own stand, here's a few ideas to keep in mind...

1) long and wide enough wheel base to prevent tipping when loading/unloading equipment (already mentioned).

2) larger wheels roll better than smaller wheels (mentioned as well). Might steer clear of polyurethane wheels. These can develop flat spots if sitting in the same position for long periods of time.

3) you'll have to decide if you want all (4) wheels to swivel, or (2) wheels fixed + (2) wheels swivel. There's pros and cons to both ways. Two wheels fixed may be easier to move with one person...but harder to steer and line up with something else. Four swivel wheels are very maneuverable...but difficult for one person to handle. Great for spinning equipment around if necessary.

4) other than cross braces...keep the area between the rails OPEN for underside equipment access.

5) side shelf next to the rail...wide enough for tools/parts...but not so wide you can't get close enough to see equipment and/or get tools in place.

6) height adjustment...various ways to do this. Hydraulic scissors lift...but the higher you got, stability might become an issue. Screw jack...good arm exercise. Might take a while to make large height adjustments. Telescoping tube with cross holes for pins (similar to table height adjustments on a hydraulic press). Can then use a hydraulic jack to raise/lower the metal table.

7) provisions on ends to lock or locate a loading/unloading transfer ramp if you can't get the table close enough to a vehicle.

'8) handles to grab clear of any pinch point or rolling equipment.

9) consider wheel chocks or locking wheels so the cart doesn't roll out from under the equipment when loading/unloading.

10) perhaps most important...track end wheel stops (or loose C clamps) to keep equipment from moving or running off the end of the cart.

Hope that helps. Carl B.
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Re: Engine stand

Post by Kimball McGinley » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:59 pm

Casters with brakes or a brake/swivel lock combo are also handy to keep it stable as needed. A couple screws that can be run down to hit the floor will also work in a pinch.

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Re: Engine stand

Post by Greg_Lewis » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:09 pm

Another endorsement for the HF cycle stand. I don't think you could buy the materials to make one for the price of the complete stand. If you can't wait until they go on sale, you can always get 20 percent off if you look around for a coupon (check your Sunday newspaper).
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Re: Engine stand

Post by BClemens » Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:33 am

Yep, Modified one of the HF lifts and it has no problem with the RGS 20. Widened the stance and replaced those little iron wheels with larger ones rated for >250 lbs. Used 3/4 inch angle (flange up) for 'rails'. And Greg is correct; you could not purchase steel to build one for the price at HF. The engine is stored with the lift down but the it will take it up to an excellent working height. Apprehensive at first but it appears perfectly adequate. Chose not to include the tender on the stand too so still need a full stand.

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Re: Engine stand

Post by Fred_V » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:06 am

I cut 2 lengths of pipe and put them in the run area of the scissor roller wheel as a stop. I let the table down against the pipes to store the lift at working height.
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Re: Engine stand

Post by JoeKahan » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:06 pm

I went with the HF motorcyle lift idea too. I welded up a frame of 1.5" x 1/8 angle and got 4 swivel casters on ebay for about $50 delivered. I put two pieces of c-channel face up across the inside of the frame and the lift wheels sit in that channel. To move my loco I put a 6' track panel on the lift. My lift came with a 1" bar and holes in the scissor arms to prop it up in two raised positions. I like it so much as a moveable work surface that I'm bulding a fab table top for it. I want to leave the lift unmodified so I can still use it for my motorcycle.
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Re: Engine stand

Post by PRR5406 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:29 pm

I'm going with the larger wheels on mine as well. I may do the tube extension as suggested earlier. I couldn't live steam without my HF table. I recently saw it on sale for $279. Can't beat it.
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Re: Engine stand

Post by NP317 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:47 am

I recommend installing the longer sub frame under the HF lift tables, as shown by SPSteam2491, above.
I unloaded/loaded one of my steamers at a Friend's private track using the same HF lift table, and found it wanting to tilt on the over-hange side when loaded and raised.
We had to be careful. Fortunately it tilted onto the tail gate of my P/U truck. A small matter that time. Only raised my heart rate...

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