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Old     (_vitty_)      Join Date: Jul 2009       03-08-2010, 1:38 PM Reply   
I am currently in the market for a boat lift and have ran across a couple good deals on some used hydraulic lifts from Shoremaster. Does anyone have any experience with these lifts or hydraulic lifts in general? I only have experience with the hand crank ones.

Since it is hydraulic this brings me to my second question for you all. I have no electricity running to my dock and would thus need to get a solar panel and 12V marine battery to operate the hydraulic pump. Is anyone operating an electric lift motor either hydraulic or not via solar and battery? How well does it work and what is the backup situation in case the battery or motor fail and your boat is sitting in the water? I know some normal crank style motors either work directly with the hand crank or have a built in override that a crank connects onto. Not sure about the hydraulic though.

Thanks for any input and opinions.
Old     (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       03-08-2010, 2:06 PM Reply   
ShoreMaster & Basta (formerly Nyman) both make lifts exactly like your describing, ie; hydraulic using vegetable oil, and then using a solar charged battery for power.

Nyman used to also have one that used water pressure from a garden hose. We used to rig a pump to it & run it off the boat's battery to get it to lift & drop the boat.
Old     (liveoz)      Join Date: May 2002       03-08-2010, 3:37 PM Reply   
Just sold mine as I moved, but I had a Basta (Basically the same as the shore station. 4 years, never had any issues with the battery. The only issue I had was user error. If you don't clean the filter(easy process) the motor will have to work harder and will create heat. This will cause damage to the solanoid and battery. That and a simple flush every year or so and it basically is trouble free and soooo much better than the hand crank.
Old     (nautiquesonly)      Join Date: Sep 2007       03-08-2010, 5:56 PM Reply   
My dads lift uses 110 power supplied by an inverter mounted in the boat that runs off the boat batteries. It leaves no need for solar power or a battery on the dock. Works great 3 years with no issues.
Old     (_vitty_)      Join Date: Jul 2009       03-09-2010, 5:40 AM Reply   
My only concern is what happens if the hydraulics malfunction? I'm assuming they have no override mechanism....
Old     (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       03-09-2010, 7:43 AM Reply   
Malfunction, how? It can only lift so far. If it leaks, it's just vegetable oil or water & doesn't hurt anything. Hydraulics are used in a buttload of different environments without failing, ie; garbage trucks. Even if the battery dies, you can use the winch on your ATV or a come-along to pull the winch up, release the dogs, and then lower the boat into the water. The only time we ever had to do that was when the water had been shut off due to winter, and we wanted to ride. Eventually we figured out a way to use a 12v Jabsco pump to pump the cylinder up & get the boat off the lift. Even worked to put the boat back on too.
Old     (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       03-09-2010, 7:48 AM Reply   
My friend has a shoremaster hydraulic lift with solar power. He's had 3 trouble free years thus far, and it's been thru a 100 mph hurricane.

The lift is awesome. I'd love to have one but they are way too expensive IMO. They are super fast and much easier to put a boat on ( canteliever design)

He has his on a key fob remote , no need to every get out of the baot to put the boat on/off lift.

Highly reccomend if you have the $$$$
Old     (bmartin)      Join Date: Jan 2007       03-09-2010, 6:24 PM Reply   
I have had a hydraulic 12v solar Hewitt lift going on 5 years. The solar system is pretty solid and as long as you have a fresh deep cycle battery you will be good there. Depending on how fresh battery is you can discharge the battery if you lift it more than 3 or 4 times a day, but can always jump it with boat battery in a pinch.

Here are some of the times when I ran into trouble. A couple of times our lake 'flooded' and the the motor box went under water and bushings went on the motor 2x, so you got to keep that motor out of water. I now have motor box stored on cinder blocks to keep it above high water when everyones dock goes under water. I have had the hydraulic lines fail 3x. Two of the times I had a line blow out, a beaver chewed through them. Anyone need a beaver pelt???? The lines are not hard to replace as long as it is not too cold out and you can get replacements at tractor shops or the local NAPA dealer here can custom make them.

You are spot on with the lack of redundancy or back up. If motor goes, or lines blow, or seals on hydraulic pistons fail, your boat is stuck unless you could winch it or pump the fluid with an alternative mean. I have used a drill motor with a blade bit that fit in pump flang to get it off the lift, but it is slow going and more than a trivial hassle.

Last edited by bmartin; 03-09-2010 at 6:33 PM.
Old     (whoanellie)      Join Date: Jan 2009       03-10-2010, 6:56 PM Reply   
I have a lift that would work for you. It can easily be adapted to run off the boat's battery with a kit from AirDock.


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