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NAMCO Forklift

Ray Behner

Active member
A previous thread mentioned NAMCO (North American Manufacturing Co) forklifts. I've got an LC20-15G that takes a small and obsolete propane tank. What do other owners do for a replacement? Around here they wont even test out of date tanks let alone fill them. I've only got one that's usable so when you're in the middle of a lift you don't want to run out without a spare. There's no room for a larger one. This is one sweet little machine otherwise.

Ray
 

9100

New member
I have the one mentioned. I got several new tanks a few years ago. Previous to that, I had several recertified and they didn't even replace the o rings in the connections. Then I found that I could get new for only a little more. They came from Manchester Tank http://www.mantank.com/ I think you need a #5306. With my small shop, 3000 sq ft, I couldn't use a much bigger forklift. The only thing I would like to do on it is to add counterweight. The mast will lift more than the counterweight will balance. If you use it on a rough surface, get a good grip on the crank handle. But you probably already know that. If I lost my NAMCO, I might as well shut down.

Bill
 

Ray Behner

Active member
Bill,

Thanks for the tip on the tank. I'm on concrete, but I know what you mean. This has to be one of the best forklifts in this capacity that has been made. When I was a plmbg. contractor they had this one in the warehouse. Ran like crap so in comes the repair company. New carb, gas reg, solenoid and a few other gizmos. Ran exactly the same, so they parked it in the back of the building. Two years later I bought it for $300. Got it home, cranked it over and noticed the points box going up and down instead of the points (which had been replaced. Tightened it up and it's still running 25 years later. A guy in SE Ohio used to recon these and sell for big bucks. Don't know if he's still around, but he said, "These are the only forklifts that increase in value the older they get". Thanks again!

Ray
 

BGunn

New member
Best little forklift ever built for a shop, turns on a dime, no coolant to deal with so no radiator problems. I had two, one was an electric and the battery finally died. My brother needed a taller mast for his so I parted it out. The other one is gasoline powered, I had planned on converting to propane (even had the heads) but decided it was kind of nice to be able to fill it with gas in the middle of the night when the tank went dry. I have been offered a pretty good price for it but that would be like getting rid of an employee that never gripes and does any thing asked of him. I had the wrong parts book for it for many years and came across the correct one last summer, probably won't do much good but it has reference to many of the oem part numbers for components.
 

Ray Behner

Active member
Best little forklift ever built for a shop, turns on a dime, no coolant to deal with so no radiator problems. I had two, one was an electric and the battery finally died. My brother needed a taller mast for his so I parted it out. The other one is gasoline powered, I had planned on converting to propane (even had the heads) but decided it was kind of nice to be able to fill it with gas in the middle of the night when the tank went dry. I have been offered a pretty good price for it but that would be like getting rid of an employee that never gripes and does any thing asked of him. I had the wrong parts book for it for many years and came across the correct one last summer, probably won't do much good but it has reference to many of the oem part numbers for components.

BGunn,

Yup, could have sold mine many times, but like you say, " it never gripes ". Do you have "passing gear" on your unit? That's handy for cruising down the driveway to pick something off a delivery truck on the road.

Ray
 

BGunn

New member
Ray
I do have the "passing gear" (lol I never thought of it that way) but I have it disconnected. I have well ...... kind of big feet and when you happen to be moving in tight surroundings and no place to put them, you get the idea. Plus a couple people that come around the shop from time to time are good guys but they have a tendency to do dumb things, it just keeps them safe. Bill
 

Peter S

Active member
Guys,

Any chance of a photo, sounds like interesting machines! A walk behind model? I get to use a modern 'stand behind' electric BT Lifter in a friends warehouse (i.e. stand on a fold-down platform), it has been a reliable hard working unit for many years.
 

Ray Behner

Active member
Guys,

Any chance of a photo, sounds like interesting machines! A walk behind model? I get to use a modern 'stand behind' electric BT Lifter in a friends warehouse (i.e. stand on a fold-down platform), it has been a reliable hard working unit for many years.

Peter,

It's a stand on. I'll try for some pics soon, unless Bill beats me to it.

Ray
 

9100

New member
I can't pass up a challenge like that, so here they are. I bought mine about 1979 or 80 at an auction. Before it started, I asked one of the auctioneers how much it would likely go for. He said $500. I stood all day in a freezing building, the roach coach didn't show up so the auctioneer brought in a case of McDonalds hamburgers, the sun went down, most of the people went home except for the ones lusting after forklifts, which were last, and standing on feet that had lost all feeling, I bought it for $500. One of the most profitable miserable days I ever spent. Can a machine return 1,000 times its purchase price? It has tried.

Bill
 

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Ray Behner

Active member
I can't pass up a challenge like that, so here they are. I bought mine about 1979 or 80 at an auction. Before it started, I asked one of the auctioneers how much it would likely go for. He said $500. I stood all day in a freezing building, the roach coach didn't show up so the auctioneer brought in a case of McDonalds hamburgers, the sun went down, most of the people went home except for the ones lusting after forklifts, which were last, and standing on feet that had lost all feeling, I bought it for $500. One of the most profitable miserable days I ever spent. Can a machine return 1,000 times its purchase price? It has tried.

Bill

Bill,

You beat me to it! Wow, you lucky dog, yours is original paint like mine used to be. I loaned it to a friend of mine for about a year and he did me a favor by painting it puke beige. Damn, it's ugly. What's different on mine is the headache rack overhead and an additional counterweight coming up behind the driver. Kinda handy that way 'cause I can scrunch my butt against it for better control.

Ray
 

gusmadison

New member
I'm with you guys, I wouldn't trade my Namco for nothing. What a little work horse! Will place a Bridgeport almost anywhere in the shop and lifts it like a toy. The first time a machinery dealer from the Chicago area saw it in action at my shop "he had to have it".... NOT!

I hate the stinking propane but you just overlook that annoyance when using it. The refill places ALWAYS overfill the little 15# LP tank no matter what you say ahead of time in caution. Then, since it's a dry system, the regulator will freeze up shortly after starting until you get the tank run off down to the proper level.

It would be the perfect machine with a Honda engine in it. It wouldn't take much mechanical problem with the Onan to get me to replace it with a Honda.

If they had a fork lift rodeo, team NAMCO would be hard to beat for precision lifting and placing.

I have a photo of it riding side ways on the forks of a larger fork lift going down the city street to the car wash to give them both a bath.

Gus
 

Ray Behner

Active member
Gus,

I agree about the propane, kinda stinky. I'd just as soon have gasoline. I did put an ether injector on mine that helps in starting. A rodeo? Hmmmm! Anyway, here's my beautifully repainted Namco.



namco.jpg
 

dkmc

Active member
Dang this is a cool thread.....ALWAYS wanted a NAMCO.
Now I want one even more...

Cool pics, keep 'em coming!

Long live the little NAMCO Fork Lift :cheers:

dk
 

9100

New member
Ray,

Actually, that is a repaint. The original color scheme was similar except that the yellow part was a sort of orange. Someone gave me a a lot of Caterpillar yellow, so I stripped it and repainted. At that time you could get a decal set, so I gussied it up. As you can see, it has a few scrapes, but that is a 20+ year collection. I should have the headache bar, but I never got big enough for OSHA to notice. If I could change any one thing, I would add forks that moved sideways, reducing the jockeying to line up with a shelf. Understand, though, I'm not complaining.

Bill
 

Larry Fahnoe

New member
Well, another member of the NAMCO club with a 1970 model 2015. I found it on craigslist locally and was interested right away as I recalled reading about it here some months back. I mentioned it jokingly in an e-mail to my wife suggesting she could get it for my birthday since it was small. "small" is a running joke around our house because while all my machines *are* small, our house is also small and they're taking up way too much room in the basement. Of course, any time I find something, I emphasize that it's "small" and she just rolls her eyes. This time she looked at the craigslist ad and shot back that she thought I needed the lift and that I should plan on checking it out after work.

After a very friendly chat with the seller about his lift, we agreed on a price and I made arrangements for a flatbed tow truck to come and pick it up. So this weekend it came home and my neighbors once again scratched their heads when they saw another strange industrial machine arrive in the neighborhood.

BGunn has been most helpful with providing me with information about this lift (thanks Bill!), and a parts manual for it. I picked up another original manual off eBay and am making them available on my website for other who might be interested.

NAMCO 1967-72 parts manual (posted with Bill's permission)
NAMCO parts, operations and troubleshooting manual (this one was originally supplied with NAMCO s/n 74087)

Photos of my new toy

And for the next logical question: why? Well, since this year's project is building a proper shop, the machines will all have to get moved. My current thought is to stage all my stuff on pallets in the garage then rent a truck and load it with the forklift. When that's all done, I'll have a flatbed tow truck pick up the forklift with the lathe on it, and then the two trucks drive to the new shop which is a couple of hours away. First I'll unload the forklift and lathe, then the rest from the other truck. The little lift is going to be a very welcome addition to my collection!

--Larry
 

Kres

New member
I finally figured out how to post these pictures. Thanks to BGunn for helping decode the serial number.

Ours was built the fourth quarter of 1968 the 168th one built in that quarter.

The first picture is where we found it and the last 2 are in its new home.
 

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ephos69

New member
Namco parts

So I just bought a shop and inherited a little NAMCO. The more I read on here I believe I was lucky to get this in the deal. I will need to get the Model and Serial, but I am wondering where to get parts. At the very least I will need a new swivel tire and probably the fronts as well. My swivel looks like a block of rubber more than a tire. I see you guys have very informative so I am hoping I will be lucky to get some of your knowlege.
Thanks
 








 
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