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come-along as engine hoist?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by The Bomber, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. The Bomber
    Joined: Dec 10, 2005
    Posts: 548

    The Bomber
    from mass.

    I want to move my engine from the wooden dolly on to a metal one
    which has provisions to bolt the motor down so I can start it. the
    dollies are only about a foot or a little more off the ground so
    the engine wouldn't have to come up high.I have a come-along and
    was wondering if it could handle it. It would be attached to a tripod.
    I think it would work, but, would like some input. The engine weighs
    between 500- 600 lbs. Thanks for any help.
  2. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,422

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    What is the weight capacity of the come along ? If it has enough capacity and is rigged properly and safely then it will do the job.

    A quick way to damage something or to get hurt is to start jury rigging something.
  3. Rent an engine hoist. Around here it's $30. Cheaper than an engine or a foot. I don't trust come-alongs.
  4. Years ago, at my parents house I only had access to their single car garage. I removed and installed MANY engines over the years using a comealong. I made a beam that ran the width of the garage (just below the rafters ... the beam rested on the tops of the cement block walls) and I hung the comealong from that. Keep in mind though, you will be standing in the engine compartment or on the fenders when you are doing the ratcheting. The heaviest unit I ever removed was probably a complete 440 with 727 trans still attached, from a '69 Chrysler Imperial.

    Just thought I should add ... by "made a beam" I mean that I nailed some 2xsomethings together. My parents are still in the same house, and the "beam" is still there. Worked for me. I now own an engine hoist, but a comealong is certainly an affordable way to get the job done.

    One more thing I should add ... the comealong is not going to be the weak point, what you attach the comealong to is what you need to worry about.

    Ooops. Just reread your original post ... you definitely won't be standing on any fenders if you are simply moving the engine from one stand to another.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011

  5. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499


    Comealong. Yes, did it close to 10 times, rest with chain hoists. Whatever WORKS and is SAFE.
  6. Francisco Plumbero
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 2,533

    Francisco Plumbero
    from il.

    I'm assuming it's the cable type ratchet type one you use for pulling fences and squaring buildings.

    I would say no.

    I will justify my no with a few supporting reasons.

    The cable on these never really feed very square and the shit gets all tangled, now you have a 600 pound engine hanging in the air and you have to put your fingers in there and jack ass around with the dang thing. That's a recipe for being nick named multiple stubby.

    The dang lever wants to kick your teeth out when you do get the cable cleared.

    The cables on these things are made from some of the least controlled steels on earth, I think they use old beer cans to make these cables, if they bend they almost always snap, and they usually wait until your foot is beneath them.

    So having used these a few times due to bosses supplying me with junk to lift stuff with I will just tell you that "It's a freakin nightmare" using one to lift something heavy if you care at all about those 10 things that you use to itch your butt and eat french fries with or squeeze a booty.

    Rent an engine lift.
  7. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    from MI

    Not my first choice, but I have done it many times. So long as it's rated for the weight, the come-along doesn't know or care what it's lifting. No matter what you use, you should never put yourself or any part of yourself in a position where you could be hurt if something goes wrong. Like borntoloze said, make sure the unit is securely hung. One disadvantage is that sometimes you might want to move less than what one click on the come-along allows.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2011
  8. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499


    The manufacturers ALL say in their instructions not to use one with a frayed cable, for God's sake. That means it's worn out, or it's been abused. SAFETY comes first.
  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 54,504


    We used to use a come a long to lift engines all the time in the old days. That was when come a longs were made in the USA.

    I wouldn't do it today....something about being older and wiser. And having the proper equipment.
  10. Francisco Plumbero
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 2,533

    Francisco Plumbero
    from il.

    All I know is that these freakin things got me to cursing and swearing and salivating so many times in my youth that I spent perfectly good and noble beer money on an engine crane at a very young age of 18. I've had the thing now for 30 years. And I can still pick my nose with the full assortment as and opposites.
  11. mickeyc
    Joined: Jul 8, 2008
    Posts: 1,363


    Comalongs are fine, but the cable type are not as good as an industrial type. All comealongs are somewhat jerky in use, but the cable kind unload in a very jerky and hard to control manner. Also with a tripod you may have interference with the support legs. I have used both with success, but I much prefer a chain fall. A chain fall is very good for pulling and replacing motors as it allows very precise control and the ability to made minute adjustments. This will be a lot of help lining up motor mounts, trannys etc. The only downfall with a chainfall is the excess chain hanging down, and the need to control the pull chain slack.
  12. terryr
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 286

    from earth

    I used one in a low garage after reinforcing the rafters. The come-along was still too long, so I used the included pulley over the engine and laid the come-along flat against the rafters. No problems, but working the come-along is tedious.
  13. cleatus
    Joined: Mar 1, 2002
    Posts: 2,277

    from Sacramento

    I would vote no - especially if it were a Harbor Freight type item - based on past experience: Helping a friend drop his engine in using a come-along and I had just had my hands down under the engine positioning a few things and just half an instant after pulling my hands out of there, the come-along snapped and 'wham' - the engine smashed down into the bay. Would have mangled the hell out of - if not removed - both my hands if I was a second slower.
    Renting a real hoist is too cheap to take the chance ...
  14. I wouldn't trust it,, HRP
  15. Pops1532
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 544

    from Illinois

    I've pulled and installed dozens of engines using a come-a-long. Not all come-a-longs are created equal. I wouldn't use one from Harbor freight, but I have no qualms about using my 30+ year old USA made come-a-long.
    One of the features of the good ones is a piece of spring steel that ensures the cable spools on the drum correctly. Some of the el cheapo ones have that too but they tend to break and fall out on the cheaply made ones.
    I've pulled many a FE Ford with auto trans attached with my trusty old come-a-long. That combo has to be 800-900 pounds.
    I now use a chain fall or cherry picker, but I'd still use the come-a-long if that's all that was available.
    Just be careful to not get yourself in a situation where you could get hurt.
  16. 90ssp
    Joined: Jan 3, 2009
    Posts: 398

    from dallas, ga

    no...engine hoists are way to cheap not to get one....they are worth the money plus i'm sure at some point that engine will have to be put in something
  17. Engine man
    Joined: Jan 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,480

    Engine man
    from Wisconsin

    I've done it many times too. Just last week, I was pulling a rod back into a hydraulic cylinder with a brand new cable puller, not using much force and the pawl on the handle broke. Just a poorly cast part from China. Now the other pawl would hold the engine up but it would make life miserable.
  18. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499


    RIGHT. NO tool should be considered fail-safe.;) And this was just covered last week in an extensive thread we did on jack stands:eek: (and Harbor Freight's name wasn't popular THERE, either!:rolleyes:).
  19. Bad Eye Bill
    Joined: Sep 1, 2010
    Posts: 841

    Bad Eye Bill
    from NB Canada

    That's the truth right there.
  20. Willy301
    Joined: Nov 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,426


    All I can say is I have done it. Something to consider, the rating on a come-a-long is usually pulling force which is a little different than lifting. That being said, make sure yours says made in the USA, would not depend on a Harbor Freight come-a-long to lift much more than a case of beer....
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 465

    from ?

    Sure, I do it all the time. Bill
  22. mixedupamx
    Joined: Dec 2, 2006
    Posts: 513


    comealongs are scarry but I have done this many times, just be sure that what you hook it to is strong enough! oh and be prepared to run like hell at the first hint of trouble:D
  23. Many of the modern come-alongs have "do not use for vertical lifting" in fine print somewhere on the packaging.

    As others here, I have used them too, but they were American made, and it was a while ago. I don't use them now except for horizontal applications.

    All that being said, under the conditions you describe, and as long as the weight rating of the come-along will handle it, you would probably be OK. You might consider blocking underneath it to reduce the fall in case the worst happens.

    On a slightly different note...wasn't it Noteboom who had a cheap Chinese engine leveler (not a come-along) fail, and drop a MEL onto his hand a few years back?
  24. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,020

    Member Emeritus

    I have 2 very nice Ingersol-Rand come alongs that I sometimes use to lift engines. They are well made USA working tools. I would not use any of the cheap POS things I see around. But on a one shot deal it would proubly work. But if you buy a good one it will be the only one you ever buy.
  25. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,662


    ' Come a Longs" are not supposed to be used for overhead lifting. But...A good quality unit like USA made Lug All will do the job no problem.But never stand or reach under what is supported by the cable hoist.I have used them to lift all sorts of massive electrical equipment.
  26. rusty76
    Joined: Jun 8, 2009
    Posts: 882

    from Midway NC

    This really brings back memories for me. When I was 14 or maybe alittle younger my uncle and myself pulled the engine out of his pickup with an comealong and a chain. Our garage was more like a shack. We broke two rafters and really scared the fool out of us but we pushed on. I can still see my uncle standing on the battery and fenderwell grunting and cussing. Boy was it hot. They'll do it.
  27. Crystal Blue
    Joined: Nov 18, 2008
    Posts: 609

    Crystal Blue

    Depending on the size of the come-along, go for it ! Your only going up a foot ? What are you going to do if it doesn't hold (doubtfull) ? Dent the pan :D

    You should be done by now. How did it work out ?
  28. 48FordFanatic
    Joined: Feb 26, 2011
    Posts: 1,335

    from Maine

    I have lifted lots of equipment using my come-a-long , but I would have to say that it would depend on the quality of your come-a-long. Even if properly rated, some of the ones made today are pretty cheap , made of thin sheet metal rather than castings. If you feel that your come-a-long is a good unit and the ratcheting and release mechanisms are good , then go ahead. Go slow , be safe.
  29. johnybsic
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 612

    from las vegas

    From pallet to stand. Yes, I done it before. works fine, Nobody goes laying under a engine lift. So dont get under this either. Lift it- slide one pallet out- slide the other on in, watch your hands. Easy peezy
  30. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 33,070


    One of the old US made ones that was in good shape with no frayed cable yes for that distance. One of the newer offshore made ones I'd have to be pretty desperate these days.
    If it is the industral model with a chain go head on. I'd probably see who I could borrow a chain hoist from for a couple of hours.

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