Building a Lift for your Bandolero Chassis
This is a great project for the do it yourself type. If you’re moderately handy and have a few tools, you can soon be building a lift for your bandolero chassis. This is a project that can be completed in a few days, working a few hours a day, with some basic tools that most moderately equipped race shops would have.
What you’ll need to get started:
- Chop Saw
- Various Square’s for fabrication
- A new or used motorcycle lift or hoist
- A Welder
- Hand Grinder
- Soap Stone
- Grinding discs and cutoff wheels
- Tape Measure
- Shop helper
- Various Square Tubing
- expanded metal or grate
- Scale pads if you’re making it dual purpose
- A 110v 2hp or more Air Compressor
The kinds of things you need to plan out ahead
We wanted to accomplish a few things with our lift. At the time we built our Bandolero Lift, we had not moved into our present-day race shop. We had a nice shop, but the floor had done some buckling through the years and made some cracks in the concrete. This made the surface unlevel. It was difficult to scale a car, and know you had the car just level and perfect for scaling. We decided building a lift for our bandolero was appropriate action because it helped us in a few ways. We could make a nice level chassis table to work from. We could make our knee’s happier because we would be off them and standing up. We could incorporate some scale pads and end up with a beautiful, flat way to scale out our cars for the future. Not only would our knee’s be happier, but it would increase consistency and repeatability in the shop and on the race track. Knowing all these things, helped us decide on the appropriate dimensions for building a bandolero lift.
Another key consideration when you are planning things out for the future is the total capacity of the items that you will be lifting with your new hoist. A typical bandolero lift, when using a motorcycle hoist as the
lifting mechanism will have a total capacity of around 1000 lbs. A Bandolero race car weighs 550lbs with no lead and no driver. You need to consider when building the bandolero lift, that you need to build it “just heavy enough” to safely support the car, but not so heavy that the weight of the car, the weight of the lift, and the weight of the scales, don’t accumulate too quickly on you. The end result could be, that you have a lift so heavy that you can’t get the lift itself to jack up, much less with the weight of a car, or potentially a driver with it as well. We used 3/16″ wall, 2″x3″ tubing for the main structure. This is right on the verge of too heavy. I chose this because I had it left over from an existing rear clip project on a straight rail super late model chassis that had needed some repair. It was one of those economic decisions. Thankfully the lift is still capable of handling the load, but when fully loaded with everything, there are times the jack wants to wimp out. It’s because of the total weight of my build. When the car is off, the lift works just fine. For the span and car weight, we are working with, 1/8″ wall 2″x3″ square tubing would be just fine. The thinner wall would take a little more stress off the lift.
What to do first:
When building your bandolero lift, you’re going to need to take some measurements of your car. You’ll need to measure your scale pads if you’re using them, and you’ll need to measure the style of motorcycle lift that you have found. We bought ours used. These vary, we checked out a few on Amazon, and we have seen them at other stores too. We found ours used, but if the used market is too inflated, or you are unsure about the quality of what you are buying, new is the way to go. Amazon is appealing because with the right purchase the delivery is free. It’s a convenience thing. I had to take my enclosed trailer, back down a 1/8th-mile drive with some blind spots and haul it home 45 minutes. There is something to be said about new and free delivery.
We’ll post the basic dimensions of a bandolero for you, but when building your bandolero lift, you’re going to need to do some basic measurements and calculations all your own, because each case will be different, depending on the lift, with or without scale pads and just your general taste.
You’ll want to in your planning allow for a little cushion, for workspace. We allowed for about 6″ in front and behind the rear wheels, and about 6″ on either side. We had to account for the dimensions of our scale pads to fit in between the framework of the existing motorcycle lift. For our scale pads, we used the dimensions from this set we picked up at racingpartsales.com They are lightweight and small, and the pads are just the right size for bandolero tire footprint. Our dimensions using these scale pads were 14 1/2″ x 9 1/2″. They helped to keep our overall platform smaller, like a Bandolero, and the young people that are often handling things.
Plan for a bit of a work area in laying things out and for assembly.
We were working in a 4 stall pole barn during our planning and assembly times. We used up a good two of those stalls. The motorcycle lift takes up a good bit of floor space. As it evolves, building the bandolero lift starts to take up a little space. Once we were all finished, the unit took up about 12’x6′.
How to lay things out
We laid out the overall outward frame first. We then squared everything up. this is critical. Ultra critical. If you are building a bandolero lift to also scale out cars, having it square and level, is essential for repeatable data. After the outward frame is laid out and tacked together, you can place it over the lift, and level it to the front and rear leading edge of the motorcycle lift. After you get the outer frame in place, you can box the scale pads area. Calculate your centerline for your scale pads, equivalent to the wheelbase you typically run on your bandolero. we boxed our scale pad housing edges to be the same height as our outside edges that we had squared up. A simple piece of taught string will ensure that you get the pad boxes level. In between our scale pad boxes, we installed heavy steel grate, that we picked up at the local scrap yard. kinda like the stuff you see on a “headache rack” on the back window area of a commercial flatbed pickup. The bottoms of the scale pad boxes we left open on ours, but we put an angle iron lip on the inside edge that held up the scale pads. Ensure when laying out your scale pad boxes that you have adequate clearance on each side of the pads, otherwise, if your pads touch any of the sides, it will skew your weight numbers and make all your work troublesome.
This was a fantastic project to do with my son’s. We raced our first year in bandolero’s with no lift. That is hard on the knees and back. Building a Bandolero Lift is not hard to do, but it does take a little planning. I had most of the hand tools already and most of the materials. Scrap yard, Craigslist.org racingpartsales.com and Amazon provided the rest. Good luck and we’ll see you at the races!