An Education in Two-Post Lifts


Is it to make more money or is it to make a difficult job easier?

Do people buy lifts to save time or to save money?

The answer is: People buy lifts for all these reasons.

Simply stated, a decision to purchase a lift is motivated by productivity and profit.
Where profit is not the goal, then cost cutting usually is. A city garage might not be interested in profit, but they are certainly interested in buying a lift which will save them the most amount of time. MOHAWK IS THAT LIFT.

Often a lift buyer purchases a price … in other words, the choice of lift is made without regard to profit or productivity. Instead, the buyer chooses the lift with the cheapest price. At Mohawk, we’ve known from the beginning that PRICE AND COST MEAN DIFFERENT THINGS.

A lift that is poorly designed will cost you valuable time every day you use it. Lost time isn’t part of a lifts price, but it has its cost. We know the extra cost of poor quality and design can exceed $2,000 per year! Mohawk lifts are faster and easier to use! We may not have the cheapest price, but no lift will ever cost you less than a Mohawk.

Every Mohawk lift built does more to save you time and make you more money than any lift made. We pick up vehicles other lifts can’t, fit where other lifts can’t fit, provide access that others don’tâand we provide warranties that other lift companies wouldn’t dare. We’ll show you that a cheap lift is short-term thinking yet your success is long-term.

Following is an abbreviated but in-depth analysis of two-post, above ground lifts and the many different designs available.

You may have noticed that most companies have knuckled under to pressure from competitors to lower their prices. (One company just lowered its prices by 27%.) To sell a lift with a lower price, even the biggest companies have to cut back on materials and quality. Not Mohawk! Mohawk has always used the highest quality materials and designs available because smart lift buyers demand it! We know you want the best because your success depends on it. And you can depend on Mohawk to keep building lifts where performance is more important than cutting materials and production costs.


All Mohawk lifts are made of 3/4″thick rolled steel [-shaped forklift channel columns. This is what makes a Mohawk lift a Mohawk lift! In comparison, most of our competitors use 3/16″ to 5/16″ sheet metal (yes, some only 1/4th as thick as Mohawk’s) that is put on a brake and bent to “form” their columns. Bent sheet metal is stressed sheet metal! Under load it continues to stress.

Ultimately it can (and often does) crack and spread (unbend itself). A manufacturer can’t build it better when the goal is to build it cheaper.

Mohawk’s steel column is inherently stronger than either bent sheet metal or extruded columns. Using a forklift as an example … Have you ever seen a forklift mast bend, break or even wear? Never! This is the kind of strength and solidity you surround yourself with when you choose a Mohawk lift. After nearly 100 years forklifts still don’t use sheet metal posts and plastic slide blocks!

Some of our competitors say our lifts are “over built.” We accept the compliment. Some ask, “Do I really need all that steel? Won’t less expensive lifts work too?” The answer is no! All the “extra” steel in a Mohawk lets you pick up vehicles the other lifts can’t. Some competitors may rate their lifts at the same capacities as Mohawk lifts, but the issue isn’t capacity, it’s ability. You may be able to lift an 80-lb. bag of cement, but can you hold it at arms length? Safely? For how long?

Mohawk footings are made of 3/4″-thick steel plate. No lift manufacturer uses thicker steel.

Furthermore, by making our footings as large as we do, pressure exerted on your shop floor is reduced. Competitive lifts with small footprints that exert a high pressure are bad because they don’t provide a stable footing. Large footprints like Mohawk’s exert a low pressure and are best for any lift’s stability.

Competitive lifts concentrating all that weight in a small footprint exert a lot of pressure on the floor, and don’t provide much stability for the lift, or its load.

Many of our competitors try to compensate for their small footprints by adding 90-degree angle iron to the foot of the lift. These angle irons are an annoying obstruction for a mechanic trying to roll equipment around the shop.

In providing for strength and stability, Mohawk’s design spreads the load. That’s why Mohawk lift columns range from 18″ to 22″ wide. By comparison, most other lifts only have a six inch to 10 inch column width. You never try to raise a 100lb. barbell in the middle. You space your hands shoulder-width for a stable grip. There’s no difference when raising a vehicle six feet in the air.

It’s time for a quick laugh. What if a customer accidentally drove his car into a Mohawk lift? He’d have to replace the car. What if a car were accidentally driven into a competitor’s sheet metal column? You’d replace the lift (and car). Case closed.

The safety locks on all Mohawk lifts are ALL-POSITION safeties. These safeties engage every two inches all the way up. Many competitors’ safeties don’t engage until the lift is 18″ or even 36″ off the ground. Mohawk’s strongly held belief: If a car is only 3″ in the air the lift should operate in total safety! Under a Mohawk lift you feel completely confident and safe at any height. Why would you even think of buying a lift that doesn’t have mechanical safety locks that start engaging as soon as the lift starts going up? Would you get under a car that was held up by a floor jack? There’s no difference between this and working on a lift that hasn’t reached its safeties yet. Mohawk lifts offer additional safety, but not at additional cost.

Mohawk may be preoccupied with safety, but it’s for your protection, your shop’s reputation, your employees, your investment and your customers’ vehicles.

Mohawk carriages are made of 3/4″ welded steel plate. We emphasize welded because most of our competitors build their carriages in the same wimpy way they build their columns: sheet metal, put on a brake and bent. Mohawk’s carriages (see below diagram) grip the arm distributing the load throughout vs. competitive lifts with 100 percent shearing force on the arm pin.

Welding is the most expensive way to build a carriage, but Mohawk isn’t in the business of cutting corners. Welding results in the strongest possible carriage. By comparison, the more times you bend a piece of steel, the weaker it gets.

Mohawk carriages are designed so the swing arm fits securely into the carriage between two pieces of 3/4″ steel plate. The load on the arm is supported by a steel “shelf” underneath, and a snug-fit top. We then use a 1″ steel swing arm bolt to pin the arm into the carriage. The Mohawk design virtually eliminates shearing forces.

To save money, most competitive lift carriages are assembled just the opposite way – the arms fit over the carriage and are then pinned in. Mohawk’s method of securing the arms means less deflection, less chance of bending, and it grips the arm more firmly.

Again, on most competitive lifts, since the arm is holding the carriage (instead of Mohawk’s stronger method of the carriage holding the arm) the swing arm hole pin wears, the hole grows out of round, and the arms will sag permanently.

All Mohawk lifts use at least 16 double-sealed, self-lubricating, steel ball bearing rollers, housed in steel casings throughout the design of our carriages. There isn’t a better bearing for this type application. Years ago, all lifts used steel bearing rollers, but to continually reduce manufacturing costs, most of our competitors have chosen the plastic slider method. (Besides, would you rather be using a lift which depends on a bearing surface or a friction surface?)

If a competitive lift company tells you the heavy steel construction versus formed sheet metal, and steel ball bearing construction versus plastic slide blocks aren’t necessary for a lift, ASK THEM “WHY?” After 50 years forklift manufacturers haven’t changed their design to these lightweight materials! These bearings are maintenance-free. All this equates to your spending more time servicing vehicles and making money as opposed to checking your lift and servicing it.

Instead of steel bearings, most lift manufacturers use plastic/Teflon (R) sliders (aka slide blocks).

These plastic sliders make competitive lifts much cheaper to manufacture. Plastic sliders don’t have the life expectancy of steel bearings. All lifts using plastic sliders require heavy greasing between the column, slider and carriage. Grease is a “magnet” to any grit in a repair shop. As the carriages travel up and down, the grit acts as an abrasive between the lift column and plastic slider. This condition always results in wear.

When the owner needs to replace the plastic sliders, the new sliders will wear even quicker as they’re now rubbing against the scratched steel column. This is similar to a customer driving his brake pads down to the rivets. Once you replace the pads, it’s too late; the rotors are worn. The difference is you can put the rotors on your brake lathe, with the lift column … well, you’ll have to buy a new column.

All Mohawk lifts use two cylinders. Mohawk uses the biggest cylinders in the lift industry. Large cylinders serve three functions: 1) they make lifting the load easier on the structure; 2) they decrease the pressure needed from the pump; and 3) they let, the electric motor and pump work more easily and last longer.

A smaller cylinder has to work at higher pressures than a large cylinder to raise the same load. Higher operating pressures lead to premature wear of the hydraulic cylinders, seals, wipers and O-rings, causing the power unit (motor and pump) to work harder and wear faster.

Higher pressures also cause competitors’ lifts to leak or burst their hydraulic hoses (Mohawk uses steel lines throughout), again leading to maintenance cost and downtime. We put our money where our mouth is and warranty our cylinders for as long as you own your Mohawk lift!

Our 9,000-lb.-capacity-and-below lifts use a leaf chain lifting over the yoke bearings (yes, we use two bearings) to raise the carriages. Compared with competitors cable lifting systems: chains don’t stretch, chains can’t fray and virtually no maintenance is required on a chain lifting system.

Some competitors use a single hydraulic cylinder to raise both carriages. The single cylinder lifting method requires lifting power to the off-side post. To do this, cables (sometimes chains) are run through a set of pulleys from the main to the off-side posts. For maintenance, these pulleys must be greased so they don’t “freeze up.”

Cables have a limited life span, they stretch, need regular replacing and have been known to snap. A cable-lifting system is not as long lasting, nor as easy to maintain as a chain-lifting system. When a cable needs replacing, figure at least $300/day lost income, plus $200-$300 for new cables plus $100-$200 for service for cable replacement. BUT WAIT! IT HAPPENS AGAIN! Looked at on either a short or a long-term basis, the first time the cable fails, that cheaper lift costs more than a Mohawk.

Mohawk’s totally automatic safeties protect operators with more safety systems, different safety systems, and better safety systems than any other lift manufacturer. Often we don’t even refer to many of our Mohawk systems as safeties, To us, they are just integral parts of the Mohawk lift – features that make a Mohawk lift the best piece of equipment in the lift industry. If you aren’t already a Mohawk believer, consider the following:

As shown, Mohawk lifts have all-position mechanical safety locks in both columns that engage the instant the lifting arms engage the frame. Many competitors have full-time safeties operating on the mainside only. The off-side safety comes into play only when a cable breaks.

Mohawk lifts have automatic engaging swing arm restraints. As soon as the arms return to the floor, the arms release to be removed from under the vehicle. Many lift companies’ arms don’t lock automatically. The arms must be manually locked each and every time the arms are positioned and manually released whenever the lift is lowered.

Mohawk’s external hydraulic safety systems consist of velocity fuses plus pressure-compensated flow control valving. These two types of safeties are always “open” and monitoring the pressure within the entire hydraulic system. If a hydraulic line were to burst, these hydraulic safeties would shut the lift down by stopping the flow of fluid. These hydraulic safeties can’t be reopened until hydraulic pressure is applied from the opposite direction.

These three different valves represent additional safety systems not found on competitive lifts. As an extreme example, take any competitive lift and stand it next to a Mohawk. Put a car on both lifts, release the mechanical safety locks, and cut a hydraulic line! What happens? The Mohawk lift won’t come down, while the other lift won’t stay up!

These internal safety systems are Mohawk’s patented system (U.S. patent #45700071) which has been operational for more than 14 years. It’s also a Mohawk safety exclusive not found anywhere else in the lift business.

Steel hydraulic lines are another Mohawk safety feature. Unlike rubber-coated hydraulic hoses, a steel line won’t melt when a hot exhaust clamp drops on it, and won’t wear at contact points where rubber hoses chafe. Steel lines do not swell under pressure as rubber hoses ultimately do, causing a rupture and requiring replacement.

Hydraulic synchronization through overhead steel hydraulic lines allow the lines to be set at any height, routed up to the shop ceiling, cut lower to fit in a low ceiling shop, or routed underground. The versatility of Mohawk’s steel hydraulic lines and absence of a fixed-position overhead cable or floor cover also allows you to install Mohawk lift posts wider or narrower.

What do competitors do? Most two-post lift manufacturers use either cables or chains to mechanically equalize the two carriages. If the lift has a floor brace, the cable/chain is routed through it. If the lift is a clear floor model, the cable/chain is routed overhead through a cable cover. There are two main disadvantages to a system like this: First, the overhead cable cover (light sheet metal) is fixed in position. This cover often will not allow a taller truck or cube van to be fully raised. The obvious reason is that the vehicle roof hits the overhead cable cover.

One “quick fix” some lift manufacturers resort to is extending their columns to set the overhead cable cover even higher. Again, you pay anywhere from $200 to $400 for a one- to two-foot extension. Yet even with these extensions, roof racks, emergency lights and other vehicle equipment can hit the overhead cable cover and not the shut-off switch (and not all lifts have a shutoff switch!). What if an open hood hits the cover? Problem! You will be in the market for a new hood.
Shipping weight: Some manufactures make a commotion claiming their lifts are heavier. Don’t be fooled. Shipping weight does not relate to safety – heavy packing materials that get discarded do not make a lift safer or better built. Installed weight is what affects safety. Likewise, heavy components that don’t contribute to structural integrity don’t contribute to safety. The point is the operational weight of a Mohawk lift doesn’t get wasted on heavy crating, equalizer cables, cable covers, overhead shut-off switches, column extensions and other needless materials.

Mohawk uses corrugated steel lifting pads to contact the vehicle frame. These are big, easy-to-position pads, not flip pads with little surface area. Steel lifting pads are safer and longer-lasting than any rubber and/or poly contact pad. A steel lifting pad contacting a vehicle has a much lower chance of slipping out from under a vehicle than a greasy rubber pad. Furthermore, the rubber/poly pads always wear and are expensive to replace. But if you insist on rubber lifting pads, we’ll happily provide them.

Adaptors are needed for arm clearance when lifting trucks, minivans, 4x4s or any of today’s popular sport utility vehicles. There are three different types of adaptors in the lift business: 1.) is the Mohawk quick connect” stack adaptor system; 2.) the screw-up (well named) adaptor systems; and 3.) the flip-up adaptor system typically associated with in-ground lifts.

Mohawk’s stacking pin system is the fastest, safest, easiest and best. It allows Mohawk to offer the lowest possible arm clearance (3-1/2″ minimum height), permitting easier access under the low-riding sports cars and imports (and it does all this in just about five seconds).

You say it’s not important as you don’t service imports. What about sagging springs or auto makers lowering the cars for increased aerodynamics? Ask yourself, what will you be servicing two or three years from now?

Full sets of Mohawk quick-connect stacking adaptors are standard equipment with our lifts. Most companies charge extra for lift adaptors, some as high as $475 for their full set of adaptors. If you don’t think you need adaptors because you don’t work on trucks, ask yourself if you work on today’s sport utility vehicles.

Mohawk offers the only limited lifetime cylinder warranty in the lift business. Our five-year parts and service warranty surpasses all others. While a handful of lift companies offer a five-year warranty, our Mohawk warranty includes all parts, labor and mileage to and from your shop, and freight paid both ways should a part be needed from the factory. Most competitors include the fully inclusive coverage for only 12 months. Mohawk offers five years’ peace of mind!

Questions to ask before you buy
Beware with some lifts where no salesman comes to your shop and/or no factory phone number is shown on the brochure. Naturally, these lifts are advertised at “come-on” prices. If there’s resistance to having a salesman visit your shop, ask what’s going to happen when you need service on this “bargain lift?”

Regardless of pricing, don’t be fooled. You deserve better – a lot better. You deserve a Mohawk!

Why are Mohawk prices higher than other lifts? Because Mohawk hasn’t cut corners on product quality like all the other lift companies. We haven’t changed from a 3/4″ forklift steel to bent sheet metal columns. We haven’t changed our sealed roller bearings for cheap plastic slide blocks, and we haven’t shrunk our cylinders until they’re as small as your thumb. We’ve simply remained a quality lift builder and the value we provide is greater than ever.

In summary, we’re sure you can see that a Mohawk lift is built like no other lift in the world.

Whether it’s a high-cube van or a low-riding sports car, Mohawk gets it all the way up without the need for floor jacks or wood blocks. With features like automatic arm restraints, quick connect height adaptors, extra lifting muscle, automatic all-position mechanical and hydraulic safeties and many more – a Mohawk lift is easier to use. It saves you time and makes you money that other lifts can’t. If a Mohawk saves you just five minutes a day, that’s more than $1,200 a year in additional income. Other lifts waste 10-15 minutes a day by trying to position the flip-up pads in the right place, or re-adjusting the screw-up lifting pads. And that doesn’t include monthly greasing and never-ending cable adjustments. Now you do the math and see how much less it costs to use a Mohawk lift.

If you’re concerned with the higher price of a Mohawk lift, think about the cost of not owning one, or owning a different brand. Because with these other lifts, the costs never end. We encourage your calls. 1-800-833-2006.

This section is an edited version of a 20-page booklet available from Mohawk. For the full, non-edited version call 1-800-833-2006.