Are newer electric forklifts any good?
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  1. #1
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    Default Are newer electric forklifts any good?

    I am kicking around getting a newer forklift. We need around about 4k with solid pneumatic tires. I drove a few old electrics in years past and the on/off feeling of the cylinders and transmission was terrible.

    So are the newer electrics better about this? It's ok if they aren't quite as smooth as an IC engine'd lift, but the on/off jerkiness won't be tolerated.

    The main reasons I am looking at electrics is:
    1) It will get used max 4 hours per month or so
    2) It will be stored in a metal shed outdoors. The shed will have power, so keeping it on a charger is easy.

    And just because it gets used so little doesn't mean I'm in the market for some piece of shit 1982 Clark. I like having nice things. And beside that, a 1982 Clark is exactly what I have now.

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    Even one 10 years old will light years better that a 72 clark...Just find a newer one with a good battery, the cost of a NEW fork will or should scare you...Phil

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    If you are going to use it only 4 hrs a month I would think electric would be a bad idea from a battery charge maintenance perspective. They are more designed for shift work. Maybe one with a lithium pack would be better but probably big $$

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    Yeah, that sounds like the wrong application for electric.

    I would think for $10k or less you could get a real nice newer propane lift that you'd enjoy using.

    My Komatsu is from the 80's I think. Maybe 90's. It looks like hammered shit, but works great. Not that that's what you want, but my point is there's a lot of stuff way better than a 1982 Clark. lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    my point is there's a lot of stuff way better than a 1982 Clark. lol.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Montana
    Even one 10 years old will light years better that a 72 clark
    Point taken.

    Thanks for the help gentlemen. I'll look for an LP model.

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    A prior employer had a Yale 4k electric lift that was probably a mid '90s vintage unit that got anywhere from 1-15hrs of use a month, lived inside on the charger all the rest of the time and the only maintenance it got was more water added to the battery when it stopped moving. It was a good lift, no other problems, I actually liked running it. Quiet, full power on hydraulics at all time, could inch the hydraulics if you knew what you were doing, worked well for us.

    Finally got replaced after I left because it sat for ~2 years due to construction and it not being able to move and the battery voltage dropped to zero. They must have had that for ~10 years or so.

    If you find a nice electric lift with a good battery I wouldn't write it off just because its electric.

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    A used electric will be the most bang for the buck, only if the battery is good...Phil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil in Montana View Post
    A used electric will be the most bang for the buck, only if the battery is good...Phil
    Any good tests aside from specific gravity of the acid to determine if the battery is OK or about to fail? I'm thinking ways to spot plate sulfation or similar.

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    Just a load test, 1 charge up battery,2 run till dead, 3 look at hours ran...Phil

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    A friend bought a new 6k Cat 3 years ago, developed a rod knock a bout 6 months ago. It was used similar to what you are planning, out of warranty they pulled the pan and found it to be a dipper cup oiling system that I thought was gone decades ago. One of the rod dipper cups was installed backwards from the factory. You might be ahead to buy one a few years old rather than new

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    I am kicking around getting a newer forklift. We need around about 4k with solid pneumatic tires. I drove a few old electrics in years past and the on/off feeling of the cylinders and transmission was terrible.

    So are the newer electrics better about this? It's ok if they aren't quite as smooth as an IC engine'd lift, but the on/off jerkiness won't be tolerated.

    The main reasons I am looking at electrics is:
    1) It will get used max 4 hours per month or so
    2) It will be stored in a metal shed outdoors. The shed will have power, so keeping it on a charger is easy.

    And just because it gets used so little doesn't mean I'm in the market for some piece of shit 1982 Clark. I like having nice things. And beside that, a 1982 Clark is exactly what I have now.

    Rechargeable batteries do best if they are charged and used daily, with dedicated water checkers.

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    Not a forklift, but I do own a 2008 JLG 20' scissor lift. It has a big gang of 12v batteries and a built in HD charger. Even has a built in inverter/generator to run power tools off the batteries. Pretty handy device in a 20' tall shop. I might use it every day for a week then it might sit for 2 months plugged in (inside shop).

    I WISH that thing was propane. I have owned it for 5 years and the batteries need constant maintenance. They really do need checked every time I use it and the cables need cleaned and/or replaced every few years along with the batteries.

    It needs batteries and cables again. Putting it off until I need it to run at 100% again for the next big project. $1000 and a day of my time is hard to devote to it.

    Most expensive maintenance I've done to Propane forklifts is rebuild mast/tilt cylinders and make new hoses. Mostly just my labor. One would think a beat old propane powered forklift would cost more, but I bet I've spent more money on distilled water for my scissor lift than I have on engine oil and hydraulic fluid for my forklifts.

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    I use electric and gas versions all the time. Electric lifts are nice to run in a shop when all the doors are closed.

    Electric lifts dont have the perfect touch to a spool valve like gas units and if you need exact fork positioning, then do not get the finger tip controls.

    With a gas lift, I can stick my forks into 7 sheets of 18 ga material and be spot on in 10 seconds. With a gas lift with fingertip controls, I'm lucky to get in a pallet in 10 seconds.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    I am kicking around getting a newer forklift. We need around about 4k with solid pneumatic tires. I drove a few old electrics in years past and the on/off feeling of the cylinders and transmission was terrible.

    So are the newer electrics better about this? It's ok if they aren't quite as smooth as an IC engine'd lift, but the on/off jerkiness won't be tolerated.

    The main reasons I am looking at electrics is:
    1) It will get used max 4 hours per month or so
    2) It will be stored in a metal shed outdoors. The shed will have power, so keeping it on a charger is easy.

    And just because it gets used so little doesn't mean I'm in the market for some piece of shit 1982 Clark. I like having nice things. And beside that, a 1982 Clark is exactly what I have now.
    How cold will the shed be? Batteries don't like the cold. How hot will it be. Batteries don't like the heat.
    Is the Clark that bad? I have a 76 Hyster that works great. I just have it tuned up from time to time and keep up on the regular maintenance. Could you spend $1000 and have it running like new?

  18. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plane Parts View Post
    How cold will the shed be? Batteries don't like the cold. How hot will it be. Batteries don't like the heat.
    Is the Clark that bad? I have a 76 Hyster that works great. I just have it tuned up from time to time and keep up on the regular maintenance. Could you spend $1000 and have it running like new?
    Shed will be lightly insulated, but probably get down to 40, up to 100.

    The Clark is hammered. Steering has 1/2 turn of dead zone, brakes work ok but the pedal sinks and has to be lifted with your foot before it bottoms all the way to the floor, occasionally the mast cylinder will start leaking down really quickly so you have to keep 'up' pressure on the stick to keep the forks in one spot. I unloaded a very expensive custom robot for a neighbor with it doing that.... fucking stressful! The engine has so little vacuum that it can't overcome the slight issues the carburetor has, that has been rebuilt multiple times by me and others to no avail, and to buy a new one is half the value of the damn forklift. The tires leak like crazy, it's got several hydraulic leaks, and the seat sucks. The whole damn thing would have to be rebuilt.

    The only reason I bought this particular lift is because it's a dually, and my shop used to be my garage with a gravel driveway to a gravel road. Now we're in a real shop with a paved parking lot. Time to get a nicer, smaller footprint lift.

    Thanks for the information about the battery maintenance issues of electrics. I had no idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
    then do not get the finger tip controls.
    Thanks for this. I never heard of finger tip controls before. Looks terrible to be accurate with like you're saying.


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