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  1. #21
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    My friend owns the local auto parts store and needed a forklift occasionaly (has
    a newer toyota at the other location with attached warehouse)

    Bought an old Allis Chalmers, for $500.

    Fixed the brakes (I have never driven a forklift with brakes...)

    Said the parts were standard auto parts, the engine was not a
    problem either.

    He is into classic cars (and mixes/sells dupont car paint)
    it's gonna get painted....I think he mentioned "Racing stripes"
    and "Flames"....

    He needs it about once per month, used to only have a "big Joe push type".

  2. #22
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    I have 2, a late 70's Datsun 2K lift. It was my first that I personally owned. It is LP, I love it, use it everyday. It is small enough to go through doors and it easily maneuverable through out the cramped shop. The only thing it doesn't do well is unload 5ft sheet goods as the forks are only 3ft and the center of gravity on those sheets is too far out there if I have very many in a bundle. I have done very little to it, it still has points ignition which is fine with me. So far haven't had trouble finding anything I needed for it.

    It is an auto with a separate clutch pedal, with the clutch and brake separate, I can ride the brake to creep which makes things very easy and predicatable.

    I also have a 5K Hyster late 90's vinatge also LP. I have not had it all that long and have not done really anything to it yet. It does seem to have some electronic engine management on it and some extra safety things that bother me. It also has the single pedal for both clutch and brake and it makes creeping hard. The only way to do it is to drag the parking brake. It is a good second lift for me as the higher capacity and longer forks take care of the areas where the Datsun is too small. The Hyster has a much bigger footprint though and I have to constantly watch the counter weight and fork tips so I don't hit things.

    I'd consider a machine that is old enough to have points ignition, I'd go for LP as it is very common. I have 2 LP tanks for each of my lifts so I don't ever run out. I am 15 miles from the place I get it and they are only open 8-5.
    Anyway, I think if you find one that is complete and runs that would be the best start. I'd advise to not even consider one that was incomplete or had transmission type problems. There are too many out there that are in usable shape to buy a full on boat anchor.

    You don't want a lift so old it doesn't have power steering, it is terrible to try and use one without it. A buddy has one and it is so much work and frustration when loaded and in a tight spot you want to shoot him for bringing it home.

    Ewesly on here has a couple youtube vids of whether to rebuild an old lift he got last year or not. It would be worth a look for the good advice.
    Part 1: Big Ugly Forklift - Part 1 - Intro - YouTube

  3. #23
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    Save yourself some trouble, buy a lift with a clutch and standard transmission. Not only are the various automatic/hydrostatic/slipandslide transmissions iffy, parts and rebuild facilities are rare. Regards, Clark

  4. #24
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    I run a mid 50s Allis Chalmers 3000 lb. Converted to propane at some point. No power steering, which is about the only thing I don't like. With a load on the forks, no problem, empty, it takes a little muscle. Came with 42" forks, and I usually use 60" wide sheets, so I bought a set of 60" fork extensions for about $100 shipped, and leave them on almost full time.

    Bought it for $850 in running, but leaking (follow it around with a bag of oil dry type leak) shape. We pulled the lift cylinders and put fresh seals in it. Didn't polish the rods or anything like that, just pulled the crumbled remains of a seal out, and put new seal in. Still has a tiny seep, but just a park it on a scrap of cardboard qty, not enough to leave anything noticeable on the floor when operating it (also, there are a couple nicks on the first stage cylinders , near the end, so it primarily leaks when the forks are on the ground - left in the air with a load on, nothing).

    $125 for seal kits (4 cylinders), and $50 for a new hose and some new fittings.

    Only thing I've had to do since was replace the voltage regulator. $28, and in stock at the local NAPA.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish On View Post
    I run a mid 50s Allis Chalmers 3000 lb.
    What color ya gonna paint it ?
    House of Kolor- the Official Site for House of Kolor Custom Finishes - House Of Kolor

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    Quote Originally Posted by macgyver View Post
    You don't want a lift so old it doesn't have power steering, it is terrible to try and use one without it. A buddy has one and it is so much work and frustration when loaded and in a tight spot you want to shoot him for bringing it home.
    Some classic/foreign car guys are putting in electric power steering systems. Quick cut of the steering column and room for a windshield-wiper-sized motor is all the mechanics involved, apparently. On a forklift, you wouldn't even need to hide the mod under the dash...

    The downsides would be cost (which I didn't look up) and eventual bicep deflation.

  7. #27
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    Fuel wise theres a lot to be said for sticking with what you already have on hand, nothing sucks more than running out at a improto moment and having to dash around and find some especially out of hours. Its one of the key reasons i like electric lifts, theres not the run out of fuel issues.

  8. #28
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    I don't know that I have seen a true "clutch" on a normal forklift. Hyster has the wet clutch on the larger models, but most 6K and less lifts have some kind of torque converter. If they have a "clutch" pedal, it's just a dump valve for the converter.

    That said, torque converters are very reliable. Most transmission issues in a lift will be related to clutch packs in the transmission.

    Continental engines are OK, but parts are getting harder to find. Any of the overhead valve engines would be a step up. GM, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Toyota, Perkins, Ford, all good. I don't know if they used Renault or Peugeot industrial engines in forklift, but I would run far from one (they used them in some skid steers).

    Newer lifts have nicer features. Better visibility through the mast. More room for the operator (my old Clark is tight for my 6'4" height). Better quality wiring. Better fuel efficiency. Less oil leaks. Etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    I don't know that I have seen a true "clutch" on a normal forklift. Hyster has the wet clutch on the larger models, but most 6K and less lifts have some kind of torque converter. If they have a "clutch" pedal, it's just a dump valve for the converter.

    That said, torque converters are very reliable. Most transmission issues in a lift will be related to clutch packs in the transmission.

    Continental engines are OK, but parts are getting harder to find. Any of the overhead valve engines would be a step up. GM, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Toyota, Perkins, Ford, all good. I don't know if they used Renault or Peugeot industrial engines in forklift, but I would run far from one (they used them in some skid steers).

    Newer lifts have nicer features. Better visibility through the mast. More room for the operator (my old Clark is tight for my 6'4" height). Better quality wiring. Better fuel efficiency. Less oil leaks. Etc.
    My old forklift has a dry clutch roughly the size of a semi clutch. I wish it at least had a clutch brake because if you shift from neutral to any gear it takes about four seconds to spin down enough to shift, and even then it still grinds. (If you put it in gear, then put it back into neutral while holding the clutch it never grinds again, so the clutch is properly adjusted and in good shape). It also has an entirely mechanical linkage (no master/slave cylinder) and the pedal has to be pushed down, not away like a car. It gives my leg a very good workout unloading metal deliveries.

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    The old Hysters with the manual tranny ,dry truck clutch are my pick......Hysters also have truck type brakes.....not inside like some Clarks,which are a nightmare to fix......The Hysters also have a truck type diff centre,easily serviced......One thing to consider ,is how much weight ..to lift,and to have in the machine.....cause a heavy machine may break up all your concrete floors...Even a 4 tonner ,youre looking at near 10 ton loaded,and six+ on the drive wheels....I like dual wheels too,means you can use old pickup tyres.

  11. #31
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    For years I never really thought much about buying a forklift. Then we spent a winter in Arizona and met a neighbor guy who had one. It had air type tires on it and did well on the packed desert dirt. A week after we returned home I saw an Allis Chalmers ACP 40 4,000# capacity forklift on Craigslist for $1,000.

    I went and looked at it and it had problems but also looked like it had potential. The seller told me that the brakes didn't work and the battery didn't charge. It also had a engine knock. But on the plus side it had pneumatic tires and was powered by a flathead 4 cylinder engine that ran on LP gas.

    Hauled it home and started looking things over. Pulled the floor pan up and looked in the master cylinder and it was bone dry. Poured some brake fluid in it and had good brakes in about 5 minutes. Ran it for a while by just putting a battery charger on it. One day I was going to pull the alternator off and have it rebuilt and when I looked at it I noticed that it has a wire unhooked. Plugged it in and it has charged fine ever since. My guess is that someone didn't feel like working and unplugged it.

    Only other thing that I ever had go wrong is the seal on the top of the mast cylinder blew. I called a local forklift mechanic and asked him to stop by and take a look at it. He repaired it for about $100, which I felt was fair. I asked him about rebuilding the Continental engine and he listened to it and told me to just run it as is. He said if I was running it 8 hours a day he would recommend rebuilding it but for a hobby shop leave it as is.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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  13. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turner_Whitworth View Post
    I'm considering buying a forklift for my home shop. One option is to buy a nice, low-hours used machine. The other option is to buy an older has-needs machine and renovate it, and because of the potential "fun factor" I'm considering that route.

    I'm a car restorer in addition to being an amateur machinist. Engine repair and similar tasks would be straightforward for me. However I don't know too much about forklift systems, e.g. hydraulics and power transmission, other than having some user experience.

    An older machine of 1960s-70s vintage would seem to offer straightforward mechanicals and, if spare parts were hard to source new, they might be easier to reproduce for a simpler, older machine than for a more recent model. A machine like that would fit well with the era of the other machines in my shop, too.

    Ultimately, I don't mind spending some time getting an old fork truck cleaned up and running reliably and safely, knowing that it would not really be a profitable undertaking. My question to the forum is, is it feasible to do a top-to-bottom renovation on an oddball old forklift?

    Voice-of-experience replies particularly welcome.

    Thanks in advance,
    TW
    Thanks for your response to my thread asking about rebuilding old forklifts. Your STILL project is very much like what I have in mind. I've been semi-seriously considering getting a forklift for my shop for a while, primarily for reasons of safety: the machines in my shop, while not huge, would be much more safely managed with a forklift.

    It's come to something of a decision point for me because over the winter I'll be relocating the shop cross-country. That means loading everything up, and then unloading it again at the new shop. Although it's just a home shop with a few lathes and smaller mills, I'm really not eager to do all that with a couple of old cranes and a Harbor Freight gantry.

    Many or most of the responses to my question have pointed out that used old machines can be cheap and are easy to patch together. But really, I am asking about doing what you did with the STILL: taking an old machine and going through it completely to make it safe and reliable. Replacing wiring, replacing seals, replacing hoses, replacing chains.

    If you have some time, I'd be interested to hear more about how your STILL project went, what you found along the way and what (if anything) you might do differently if you were to do it again. Coincidentally I have just been offered an old Linde lift that has the same three-pot Deutz as your machine, and it was the thought of completely renovating that lift which led me to post my original question to the forum.

    Thanks again for your reply to the thread, and I'd appreciate any guidance you might have based on your experience with your project.[/QUOTE]

    As others have stated, parts can sometimes be difficult to find and expensive when you do, but that was not my biggest issue. That issue was the corrosion in the wiring harness and the fact that the factory always used the chassis for ground. The rest was easy. I took it all apart and repainted everything. I replaced all the glass and rubber everywhere. I replaced the brake master cylinder and turned the brake drums with new shoes.. I replaced 4 hydraulic hoses and made new side curtains. I also replaced the driver's seat. I changed the exhaust pipes and all the filters, but had no work to be done on the engine. It just runs. The most expensive repair was the transmission gear selector shaft seal. It was leaking. Access to the valve body required a lift. Blocking the forklift up for access was too dangerous, so I brought the forklift to a truck repair facility that had a large lift. That repair cost me $900. All in, I paid $4500 for the forklift. The restoration cost me about a year and I spent about $1500 for bits, pieces and paint. So, as you can see, it was not inexpensive to do, but I ended up with an virtually new ultra reliable forklift that resides outdoors in all the weather.

    In your case Linde is a good name and parts should be available. The Deutz engine has been used everywhere and parts are readily available and inexpensive. PS.....your inbox is full.

    Steve

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    Linde is/was a quality machine,BUT.....they are entirely hydrostatic drive...and very complex and expensive to fix ......with hydrostatics,unless its a gross leak,you cannot figure out whats wrong,or stopping the drive from working......think a hydraulic computer in the drive system......They are not simple hydrostatics like an old 643 Bobcat,but all uber expensive Linde components.

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    Thanks all for the replies, and for the PMs you have sent me directly (which apparently filled up my Inbox, now fixed, thanks Steve).

    I appreciate the thoughts and the war stories. Let me clarify a couple of things about my original post.

    When I say "old" forklift, I mean before engine management computers, before hydrostatic drives, before safety features. Lifts (like cars) were very simple machines up until the '70s or thereabouts, it seems like.

    Also, as I said in my PM to Steve quoted above, I'd be looking to go through it from stem to stern. I have patched together and used old stuff, like for example the large Air Technical Industries wheeled (but not engine driven) crane/hoist that I use around my shop currently for lifting heavy stuff. It is a great tool, huge and cheap and robust. But I want to get away from relying on old seals and rusty fasteners -- I want to live to be Jim Williams' age. So I am considering refreshing the whole machine as a project, to end up with forklift that has unstretched chains, uncracked hoses, and reliable wiring.

    I have looked at a few 60s-70s era lifts over the last few months, and have decided what I need in terms of size, fuel, and so on. Being a total newbie to powered hydraulics, though, I figured I'd ask you guys (pros, cowboys, and hackers) if there was some showstopper aspect that I was missing.

    It sounds like the consensus is:

    1) very old forklifts can be a pain to work on but failures are generally fixable
    2) parts for old stuff will need some creativity to find/fix/substitute
    3) if you get the thing stuck in your gravel driveway you will end up using all the swear words you didn't already use when messing with the hydraulics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john.k View Post
    Linde is/was a quality machine,BUT.....they are entirely hydrostatic drive...and very complex and expensive to fix ......with hydrostatics,unless its a gross leak,you cannot figure out whats wrong,or stopping the drive from working......think a hydraulic computer in the drive system......They are not simple hydrostatics like an old 643 Bobcat,but all uber expensive Linde components.
    Thanks, John, Stuart (atomarc) made the same point to me in a PM. I know a guy who's an occasional poster here and has a modern Linde for his home shop -- and it's a thing of beauty, like a magic carpet more than a forklift. And it needs a PhD and a supercomputer to troubleshoot.

    The Linde that I had in mind in my message to Steve is an older model, '60s or '70s, nothing fancy about it. I've also looked at similar era Hyster and Clark units over the last few months. I didn't want to mention brands in my original post, though, because it gets people all excited, and really I was asking a much more general question.

    Buying a new or nearly new forklift would be the ideal solution, but it's an expensive proposition, and definitely overkill for my home shop unless I just can't make an old machine work reliably and safely.

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    The problem is that even one simple obsolete part can render your machine worthless. My dad had an old Yale 3000 lbs capacity lift with a little 4 banger. It had a cracked distributor cap and we never could find a replacement. Even the tiniest bit of moisture would cut out one or more cylinders and it could not even move under its own power.

    At one point he contemplated building an adapter to fit a more common distributor. In the end he chose to have it melted down and possibly cast into new forklifts instead.

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    Why do they not make electric forklifts with no batteries and power them like bumper cars or trolley buses?
    Bill D

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill D View Post
    Why do they not make electric forklifts with no batteries and power them like bumper cars or trolley buses?
    Bill D
    Because open feeders are dangerous enough....

  21. #39
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    Having done just that with 4 old forklifts over a 25 year span, each one proved to be completely WORTH the effort and investment in time and materials.
    So......I can't disagree with your idea.

    However, only one was a 'top to bottom' restore. That one was the least cost effective I'd say. The others are more just 'gotten' mechanically safe and reliable and used, all but shy of a paint job and cosmetics.........which could STILL come at any time.
    Each one has it's own 'personality' and quirks. I guess if I had a favorite, it would be the '71 Yale with the Slant 6.
    As you say, it can be a fun project!

    Towmotor 1951 Continental Y112 Flathead 4 4000lb
    Yale 1953 4000lb Chry flat head 6 w/ GM HEI ignition.
    Hyster 1966 3 wheel, Continental Y112 Flathead 4
    Raymond 1950 Electric stacker
    Yale 1986 8000lb Mazda Diesel, engine shot, re-power project incomplete.
    Yale 1971 4000lb Chry Slant 4, Propane fuel, GM HEI ignition.

  22. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkmc View Post
    Having done just that with 4 old forklifts over a 25 year span, each one proved to be completely WORTH the effort and investment in time and materials.
    So......I can't disagree with your idea.
    Pictures of said conversions ?


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