How to buy a used forklift ?

Page 1 of 3  
Does anyone have any advise on buying a used forklift? I know what to look for in a used car, but I don't have the slightest idea about what to look for in a used forklift.
I've been looking for a sit-down 3000-5000 pound model. But there are so many models to choose from and such a wide price range--less than $1000 for a beat-up old one from a classified newspaper ad, around $5000 for one with a new paint job from a dealer, and around $10,000 for a factory rebuilt one.
Which brands are good? Some are made by automakers (Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Daewoo) and construction vehicle companies (Komatsu, Caterpillar). I assume these are probably good. But what about companies like Yale, Clarke, Hyster, etc? I've never heard of them. Are there brands to stay away from?
Is there any advantage to getting an electric model instead of a gas/propane/diesel one?
It seems that dealers like to specify the number of run hours instead of the model year. What is a reasonable figure?
What is a side shifter? I realize it moves the load side to side, but in what direction? If I were sitting in the seat and activated the side shifter, would it move the load parallel or perpendicular to my shoulders?
If I get an electric model, is there any advantage to a 3-phase charger over a single-phase charger? (Yes, I have 3-phase power.) Can electric forklifts be charged indoors? Do the batteries give off hydrogen gas like a car battery?
I realize cushion tires are intended for indoor use on a concrete floor. But can they be used occasionally on asphalt (for example if I need to go outside to unload a truck)?
My forklift will sometimes sit unused for extended periods of time. I know that gasoline and diesel fuel can grow a fungus when left to sit. Does this apply to propane? I also realize that I can rent forklifts (and even have them delivered). But I can't always predict my needs in advance and so I want to have one available when a need arises at the last minute.
A long, long time ago when I was in high school, I worked at a grocery store and occasionally drove a stand-up electric forklift when no one was looking. I remember the forks could be tilted vertically (ie. tilting the load and either causing it to hit the rack, or slide off the forks). Generally speaking, can the forks on a sit-down forklift be tilted too?
Are there places that give lessons on how to drive a forklift safely? The dealers? (But I wouldn't go to a car dealer if I wanted to learn how to drive a car.)
Any comments?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What type of fungus?
Stephen R.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Try this site to start. http://www.free-training.com/osha/forklift/forkmenu.htm
For occasional use propane is an ideal fuel. It produces limited fumes so is acceptable indoors as long as you are not dealing with food products and you have some reasonable ventilation in the building. If you are a neophyte you should use a dealer with a good reputation. You could buy a forklift that would need repairs valued many times what you paid for it. Side shift moves the pallet left or right approximately a foot depending on the size of the forklift. Randy

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The hydraulics and transmission are the key components to look at. There are both regular (i.e. clutch) and hydrostatic (no clutch) transmissions available.

Yale, Clarke, Hyster, Prime Mover are the main names in forktrucks.

Depends on the environment in which they are being used, and how much use they get.

Parallel to. So you don't need to line the truck itself up exactly with the spot in which the pallet is to be placed.

Yes. When driving with empty forks you should tilt them forward slightly and run the tips just at the floor.
HTH
scott
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What are you planning to use it for? Many are for outdoor construction, while others are for warehouse work.
NJBrad
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'd recommend one with an automatic tranny, that way you don't have to worry about a clutch when spotting a heavy load. I don't know if they make a 5000# cap model in electric, I doubt it.
If you go propane, plan on renting the tanks from your local weld supply with the monthly rental fee. Gasoline will be cheaper as long as you operate in a well ventilated area. Diesel is nice but a more expensive machine.
My Yale 5000# is a well used machine, but it has a simple Chrysler 6 cylinder engine, very easy to get parts for and repair. I paid $2500 for it.
Check out ebay to get an idea of prices.
Tony

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Tony wrote:

Yes they do, and larger.
Dave Miller
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I used to run a Towmotor that gave good service. When I worked in the paper mill as a kid we'd have jousting matches.
The Towmotors beat the shit out of the others.
It was hard getting used to the rear wheel steering but the iron posts in that warehouse were pretty strong.
Good thing.
Thomas J. Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) (Real Email is tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1 /
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Im new to this group and have read a lot of guys get scolded for not putting OT in their subject surely this is off topic?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
joey wrote:

Ken Cutt
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Joey:
The post was relevant to the group. What you can get scolded for is tattling. Are you a netnanny in training?
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I think material handling is on topic for me , ;-)

I agree. Two things come to my mind: 1.) The topic is one of general interest to people that work around metals and machines. 2.) The Subject is in plain view to anyone, so the slightly OT nature of the post should be no surprise. and C.) If you're new to the group, why don't you just lurk a little longer, until you have a feel for the friendly and tolerant atmosphere here?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Forklifts are made of metal. That qualifies.....
RJ
--
"You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me, instead of you."


"joey" < snipped-for-privacy@tnet.com> wrote in message
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
AL wrote:

The only two issues that I know about are the result of my very limited experience operating one:
1. If you are using it to lift parts into place and then attach them, make sure that the forklift will hold the forks stationary under load.
2. If you buy a propane forklift make sure it will start when cold. The one I was using would not properly vaporize propane at low temperatures at startup. Once it was running, it was fine.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
DO NOT go into a used forklift store without knowing a lot about the subject. My boss trusted the dealer when he bought a used forklift, and we ended up with a piece of crap that I'm sure the dealer was dying to get rid of. It was under warranty, but the service was slow and frequent.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Try making a new friend at a machine rental outfit and see what they do or do not recommend, and why to start with.
AL wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
AL wrote:

No exhaust fumes, quieter. Good if you only need to use it an hour or two a day. If you need to run it all day, get one that you can refuel, rather than waiting for the battery to cahrge.

They can be charged indoors with good ventilation. They do give off hydrogen gas. Open the access panels around the batteries when charging.

No problem.

Where I live, both the local community college and an equipment rental yard offer forklift classes.
--
--
Steve

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

From my experience, used forklift salesmen make used car salesmen look like paragons of virtue.
You'll pay less buying from an end user than from a dealer, in general. The dealer may, or may not, paint it. The dealer may, or may not, fix anything. The truck may, or may not, break when you get it home. The dealer may give you a warranty on the engine or hydraulics.
What to look for: does it run? does it smoke? do the brakes work? does it have the capacity you need? Does it have the lift you need? (you can find single, double or triple section masts). Are the tires good? Does it leak? Does the transmission work? What does the trans fluid look like? Can you get parts? How's the steering linkage? Any slop in the kingpins? Suspension work is a pain and, if you do it yourself, will probably mean pulling the counterweight.

Others may correct me, but what I remember from looking at this a year or so ago is Yale and Hyster are now owned by the same holding company. This is good, parts are available. Clarke was in bankruptcy the other year, trade in values had dropped to nil. Cat was importing a Daewoo lift and rebadging it, I think. There are a lot of old trucks around from companies that have disappeared: Towmotor, Allis Chalmers, Burke(?). Some of these trucks are 40 years old and still running, but parts may require some creativity.

if you run it inside, ditto on diesel. When you run out of propane, you'd better have another tank handy. Propane tends to be nicer on engines.  >

maintenance did it have? If it came from a company that had a lift service handle routine maintenance on a regular basis, a high hour truck may be in better shape than low hours from someplace that ignored maintenance. 

way you don't have to move the truck to get the forks where you need them.

They'll just dig it. If you're on concrete or asphalt, it should be fine. >

I also realize that I can rent forklifts (and even have

You can also get manual or automatic transmissions. Manuals have fewer things to go wrong, autos are a little easier to creep around. Auto's have bunches of springs that can break as the truck gets older. With most trucks you can rebuild the clutch or trans without pulling it from the truck.

take turns fast. Don't exceed the capacity, don't drive with the load high, etc. In other words: don't do anything dumb :-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Propane trucks give off fumes but are best at long sitting without running. Forks shift parallel to shoulders. Forks can be tilted.Can be charged in building, but need ventilation because hydrogen is generated. Three phase chargers are cheaper to install and operate, smaller wire and conduit. Most industries now require fork truck licenses or certification. Should be available from local community college as a non degree seeking student.
Look for leaking hydraulic seals, cracked hydraulic hoses, hydraulic fluid drips, if fueled...leaks or corrosion in radiator, wobbles, pulsing, or jerking in steering, poor braking. It should have flashing warning light and beeper, save later lawsuits and required OSHA upgrades. Does it have a seat belt, I believe req by OSHA? It should have a working headlight. Does emergency brake work? If you are going off smooth or level pavement, buy one with GROUND CLEARANCE. Many trucks are only one inch off ground. Get easily stuck. Good luck
Bill Turpin in WNC mountains
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Let me preface all remarks by saying that I am a certified forklift operator. I operate a 5,000# capacity lift at the Las Vegas Convention Center, The Sands Expo, and many hotels in Las Vegas. I am on my third certification, and they are good for five years.

Same thing as a car. High hours. (easily disguised on a forklift by changing the hour meter.) Lots of wear on the moving parts. Signs of leaks. Signs of repairs, particularly welding. Examine it as you would a car.

You get what you pay for. Stick with a Toyota, Yale, or Hyster, IMHO. I drive those 8 hours a day.

We use Yale, Hyster, Komatsu, and Toyota forklifts. They are good names, although I do not like the old Komatsu stick shifts. If there is anything to stay away from, I believe it is a stick shift clutched forklift.

Electric forklifts are used in special environments, usually confined spaces, indoors and special environments. A diesel would be only used outside, as well as a gasoline model because of the exhaust. Propane lifts can be used indoors with ventilation.

The lower the better. Model year means nothing when put beside the hour meter. You can have a year old forklift with 2,000 hours on it, or a ten year old lift with 500 on it. Hours mean something. Model year means a lot less.

It shifts loads horizontally. It is a very useful control.

Electric lifts have a whole separate list of needs and maintenence. They also have different repair and replacement procedures. Yes, they can be charged indoors. Yes, they give off noxious flammable gases.

Yes, they run on asphalt.

You might consider a lease. That way, the leasing company maintains it, and you pay a flat fee or for the hours of use. You may have a better deduction factor with a lease instead of having to amortize depreciation on capital investments of a purchased lift. Check with your CPA for the figures.

Yes.
You would have to check that out in your locality.

Are you going to be the one driving it ALL the time. Just like you used to sneak a drive on the forklift, employees may do the same thing and create a huge liability for you. If you know so little about a forklift, and need one, I would hire an employee who is already certified. Your insurance company will probably require it. If you go and get experience, it will be at a cost. A lot of it is trial and error, and it will be on your stuff. Driving a forklift looks easy. It is not. It is hazardous, and the statistics are there to prove it.
HTH
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.