Homemade Engine Hoist

by Wesley Tucker
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An engine hoist is a necessary piece of equipment for removing engines from all automobiles. Whether the vehicle is the family sedan, a sports car, truck, school bus, front, rear or mid engine, getting the engine out takes more than just muscle. Although in a pinch a child's playground swing set frame has been known to support an engine hoist, the materials used for these frames are too thin and light to support a heavy engine. Instead, build an engine hoist using 2-inch galvanized threaded pipe.


Your engine hoist will have a square shape, with a crossbar over the top supported by two legs. The crossbar will have a winch and chain attached for connecting to and lifting the engine. Each leg will have wide arms at the bottom to provide greater stability. The engine hoist will be mounted on heavy casters so that after the hoist lifts the engine you can roll the engine away from the car to a workbench.


Use 2-inch threaded pipe to construct the crossbar of the hoist. One length of pipe wide enough to pass over a car's front fenders (7 feet is ideal) with two 90-degree elbow joints attached at each end. Connect 6-foot lengths of pipe to each elbow and at the other end attach cross connector fittings.

Once the cross connector fitting are attached, add 3-foot pipe sections to the left and right. These will be "feet" for the engine hoist 6 feet across. Add 90-degree elbows at each end of the 3-foot pipes. Add one 3-inch pipe straight down from each cross connector fitting. Add a 3-inch pipe section to each elbow fitting on the feet. The engine hoist is now sitting on three 3-inch pipes on both sides.


Industrial supply houses stock large industrial casters with 2-inch threaded fittings. Buy six and and screw them on to each of the six 3-inch pipes. Now your engine hoist will roll straight and turn left and right. The total height to the crossbar is 6 feet plus 2 inches for each cross connector fitting and the 3 inches for the feet plus the casters. Total height of your engine hoist is between 7 and 7 1/2 feet.


Using chain, hang a ratchet winch from the crossbar and thread the ratchet with 2,500-pound-test link chain. Add a 1,000-pound-test hook on the chain. When the chain is lowered, the hook attached to the engine and the ratchet will lift the engine link by link.

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