My name is Mike Dawes, I'm a retired Cambridge UK Chartered Engineer and a classic car enthusiast. I've designed the totally new GB patented and EP, US and Hong Kong Patent Pending* DIY-friendly MR1®** car lift. This is the simplest known lift for raising a car on all of its wheels, and then suspending individual or more wheels at a comfortable sitting and working height.
To appreciate the many benefits of the MR1®, please start by considering the following limitations of conventional methods and lifts for raising a car:
- You may spend a long time using small jacks, stands and blocks to lift a car. You then squeeze underneath and work with your nose almost touching it in a cramped and potentially dangerous space. You may tire of this and look for a quicker, roomier and safer method;
- However, most professional lifts and post lifts are very expensive. They are also wider than our cars, and may be impractical for a low headroom and/or a narrow single-car garage;
- Common scissor lifts obstruct the space under a car. Each time they are used they need adjusting to lift at safe jacking points to avoid damage, and also to ensure a balanced and safe lift . This is difficult inside a narrow garage, especially for low ground clearance sports cars, which may be unable to drive over the height of lowered scissor lifts without additional ramps or excavations in the garage floor. Also, cars with narrow tracks may be unable to drive over the lowered width of a scissor lift. The stability of a scissor lift decreases as it rises. It needs electrical power to operate;
- The scary drive-on tilting (see-saw) lifts have structures that restricted access underneath and can make it difficult to safely exit and enter a car;
- Long shallow detachable ramps leading to horizontal platforms restrict sideways access, involve much handling, and may cause a storage problem;
- Standard car ramps raise only a pair of wheels - leaving a car inclined, which gives limited access underneath and may make it impossible to drain old oil from the sump or gearbox when servicing. These ramps are generally quite steep (20 to 30 degrees), which may interfere with a low ground clearance car. They are also out-of-view as you drive up the ramps (which may move), so you need another person to guide you.
- Safe and easily operated by one person in less than 2 minutes;
- Easy to drive up its shallow (6 degree) guided ramps (Scroll down to photo 1). With help, you may also push or pull a car up the ramps. Descending is even easier - if you wish, by gravity alone;
- At a convenient and safe height for entering and exiting a car;
- Raised to horizontal and lowered with the use of a single trolley or floor jack;
- Useable with anti-slip rubber wheel chocks, so a car may be moved safely along the raised ramps, which is an advantage for jobs such as slowly rotating the engine and setting valve clearances;
- Able to provide a clear floor space for working below a car (Photo 2);
- Used with standard axle or jack stands, car creepers and wheel jacks (Photo 3);
- Excellent for car servicing, repairs, cleaning, display, and also storing a car when the space inside a garage is limited, or where there is a risk of flooding;
- Adjustable to match the width of a car, so may be used inside a garage that is barely wide enough to enter and exit a car;
- Portable, so it may be easily moved inside or outside garage, and easily transported;
- Easy to manufacture using standard materials and section sizes;
- Of a design that can be varied for 3- and 4-wheeled cars, and a range of car sizes and weights.
MR1® lifts for 4-wheeled Cars
Two high quality Made in Britain versions are now available for sale:
1. The MR1 Classic lift - for small and medium size classic cars, and;
2. The MR1 Modern lift - for all the above, plus the generally wider modern cars and larger classics such as Aston Martin, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper, Ferrari, Ford Mustang, Jaguar, Mercedes, etc.
Both lifts raise a car's ground clearance by 350mm (14in). For example, a car with a ground clearance of 150mm (6in) has it raised to a total of 500mm (20in), which is a good compromise for work on the underside and topside. This is a comfortable height for using a mechanics creeper under a car, with your head and body supported and everything within arms reach. The extra height may also save a lot of backache when working on the topside, inside and even under the bonnet/hood.
As shown later, small wheel jacks may be used on the raised ramps to remove individual wheels. Alternatively, you may place stands under the raised car in contact with the axles or other safe jacking points, and then lower the ramps to leave both rear wheels free. That is, a bit like a scissor jack, but at a comfortable sitting height. A Similar procedure, after reversing the car onto the lift, enables both front wheels to be suspended. It follows that stands and bottle jacks on the ground may be used to support any other underparts of a car without the need for a bridging beam between the ramps. A wheeled transmission jack like the Sealey TJ150E would be ideal in this situation. See www.sealey.co.uk.
The maximum recommended weights and dimensions of the cars to be used with these lifts are:
MR1 Classic MR1 Modern
Weight 1500kg (3300lb) 1850kg (4070lb)
Wheelbase 2700mm (106in) 3000mm (118in)
Track 1500mm (59in) 1700mm (67in)
Tyre width 205mm (8.1in) 305mm (12in)
The lifts are adjustable up to the maximum track widths stated, and may be used with car manufacturer's stated ground clearances down to 67mm (2.6in). However, we have a simple solution if your car has an even lower suspension or air dam ahead of the front wheels. Concerning the recommended tyre/tire width, note that the Classic and Modern lifts have ramp widths of 310mm (12in) and 410mm (16in), respectively, which means that the minimum recommended clearance is 53mm (2.1in) each side of the tyre. Please compare the above MR1® data with that in your car Owner's Manual, or click on www.carfolio.com/specifications, and determine which of the above car lifts best meets your needs.
Will my garage be large enough? Internal lengths of 4700mm (15.5ft) and 5200mm (17ft) will easily accommodate most cars and the Classic and Modern lifts, respectively. Significantly shorter garages may still be OK, so please ask and we'll give you a diagram so you may check this with your car's dimensions. Having adjusted the lift to match the track of your car, the inside width of your garage will not be a problem provided you have room to enter and exit your car. The recommended minimum internal height of your garage is your car's height plus 500mm (20in). To save garage space you may store your car on the lift with the ramps raised or lowered. When lowered, your car will be parked on a gentle slope of 6 degrees (see photos below), which is much less steep than many public roads! Therefore no need to take your lift apart for storage!
What trolley/floor jack and axle/jack stands do I need? Each item should be specified for at least 1.5 tonne. The trolley jack needs to be less than 320mm (12.5in) wide across the front wheels, have a minimum lift height of less than 100mm (4in) and a maximum lift height of at least 440mm (17in). The axle stands need to be adjustable to include heights of approximately 300mm (12in) and 350mm (14in). An ideal combination would be a lightweight Al racing trolley jack such as the Sealey RJA1500 and a pair of Sealey VS2002 ratchet axle stands. See www.sealey.co.uk.
What are the current prices?
The MR1 Classic is £795.00 ex-works, and £954.00 including UK value added tax (VAT) of 20%.
The MR1 Modern is £1183.00 ex-works, and £1420.00 including UK VAT of 20%.
The Sealey RJA1500 trolley jack, VS2002 axle stands and other Sealey tools may be available via our manufacturer in Stansted, Essex, and at attractive bundled prices.
There may be discounts and/or free delivery for the lifts, depending on your address. To keep delivery costs down we have manufacturers in Southampton, Stansted in Essex, Worcester, Barnsley in Yorkshire, and Newcastle upon Tyne.
Make cleaning, servicing and repairing cars easier, and recover the cost of your lift in saved garage bills!
How do I buy an MR1® car lift?
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, post code and any questions. When you are happy, we'll send you an order form with a fixed price and an estimated delivery date. Payment may be made by cheque, bank transfer or credit card via PayPal.
Should you live outside the UK, please tell us, as we may have a solution for you too!
* GB 2485253; EP 12160457.3; HK 13102947.5; US 13/466096
** GB 2645369
Q1 - Do the MR1s come with detailed instructions?
A1 - Yes, each lift is supplied with an Owner's Manual, which includes detailed assembly and safe operating procedures.
Q2 - The lifts look lightweight and the ramps appear to deflect, so are they strong enough?
A2 - Yes, the MR1s are based on thorough stress analyses and testing. Therefore the production MR1s are stronger and include significant improvements compared to some of the prototypes shown in the accompanying photographs. Perhaps it is also worth mentioning that all loaded structures deflect, and safe elastic deflections vary from barely perceptible in buildings to several metres (feet) at the wing tips of jumbo-jets. Thus, stiffening the MR1s to the point where no deflections are visible would simply add weight and cost.
Q3 - Can the lifts be taken apart easily, and how heavy are they?
A3 - The lifts are easily separated into 5 components, plus 4 M12 nuts, bolts and washers, and 2 plastic guide posts. The heaviest components are the ramps, which presently weigh approximately 80kg (176lb) each for the Classic, and 100kg (220lb) each for the Modern. The total weights of all the components of the Classic and Modern lifts are approximately 210kg (462lb) and 260kg (572lb), respectively.
Q4 - When the lifts are assembled and adjusted to the required track, do the pivoted supports have to be fixed to the floor?
A4 - No.
Q5 - Can the lifts be easily moved out of and then back into a garage for some jobs?
A5 - Yes, with a trolley jack raising the lifting beam approximately 25mm (1in) above the floor it is generally easy to slide the lift. I have also slightly raised the supports above the ground with a piece of timber on a garden trolley, which combined with the trolley jack at lifting beam end made the whole lift very mobile.
Q6 - Can the lifts be used for both LHD and RHD cars?
A6 - Yes, they have guide post fixings for both.
Q7 - Can the lifting beam be removed from a raised MR1 lift in order to have maximum head room under its whole length?
A7 - Yes.
Q8 - Can the MR1 Modern be used for the same range of cars as the MR1 Classic?
A8 - Yes, but for small cars the lifting beam may protrude beyond the width of the ramps. You could tolerate this, or avoid it by substituting an extra lifting beam from an MR1 Classic for cars with tracks up to 1500mm (59in).
Q9 - Can the MR1 lifts be made for heavier vehicles, greater lift heights and/or in lighter alloy materials?
A9 - Yes, the Patents cover wide variations in design and materials, so we may be able to provide a custom design for you.
Q10 - How original is the MR1 car lift?
A10 - I arrived at my design independently, but later discovered similar Belgium (1952) and US (2002, Kwiklift) prior art. Fortunately, my design was more simple, more stable and therefore safer, and this helped to make it patentable.
Wanted - more manufacturers and licensees for MR1® lifts in the UK, Europe and North America. Contact email@example.com at Cambridge Car Lifts
Aim the offside just inside the guide posts and drive slowly up the ramps until the front tyres touch the end stops. With footbrake on, set handbrake and switch off engine in gear or park. Exit car, place chocks behind rear wheels, roll trolley jack under rear between ramps, dock saddle into centre of lifting beam box, raise lift and car, and place axle stands under each end of lifting beam. Lower jack to transfer weight of lift and car onto axle stands, remove jack, and your car is ready for working on the underside, topside, or for simply storing it to save space. When you want to off-load your car, you reverse the loading procedure, but may choose to let gravity run your car down the lowered ramps. Click on www.youtube.com and search with 'MR1 car lift' to see it all happen.