Aluminum Gantry Crane Improves Workflow at Custom Car Garage


Extreme Performance and Off-Road is an automotive garage in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, providing vehicle restoration, off-road equipment, and custom aftermarket performance modifications. The 5,000 square-foot garage has three work bays where mechanics modify and repair cars and trucks. Mechanics provide services including electrical work, custom welding and fabrication, equipment installation, performance tuning, and more.

For many of Extreme Performance’s jobs, they are required to remove or replace an engine. They usually use a two-ton engine hoist for engine removal, but sometimes the hoist is too small for the job. One recent job involved upgrading a 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with a higher performance motor. The Monte Carlo’s hood is longer than most cars’ hoods, and the cantilever arm of the engine hoist wasn’t long enough to reach the engine. Large trucks and SUVs cause a similar problem, because the engine hoist isn’t tall enough to reach over the hood.


To make up for the engine hoist’s failures, Extreme Performance looked for a more versatile solution. They decided to try out a Spanco One-Ton Aluminum Gantry Crane with a height adjustment kit. The 10-foot span of the aluminum gantry crane allowed it to fit easily around the sides of a vehicle, so it could be positioned above any vehicle’s engine, even over the long hood of the classic Monte Carlo.

The crane could also be extended up to 10 feet—high enough to fit easily over tall vehicles—so it could be used to remove engines from large SUVs, trucks, and even boats. It can also be useful in other ways; the gantry crane is much more versatile than an engine hoist. With swivel-locking polyurethane casters, it can be used to lift and move heavy objects around the garage, and it can also be used for loading and unloading at the loading dock. When equipped with optional pneumatic tires, the crane can also operate outside to move heavy objects in and out of the garage.


Jim DeCerio, owner of Extreme Performance and Off-Road, says the Spanco Aluminum Gantry Crane was easy to use, and the mechanics were able to adapt to using it quickly. It never got in the way like the engine hoist, making it easier for mechanics to work around. It’s also more stable and could provide better lateral movement thanks to the polyurethane casters, and the lightweight aluminum construction made it easy for one person to move or adjust it. In fact, the mechanics found the crane so easy to use that he says, “they want to know when we’re going to scrap the old engine hoist.”

But the crane’s benefits go beyond the mechanical uses—it can also help build better relationships with customers. According to DeCerio, using the best equipment available shows Extreme Performance’s customers that the mechanics care about their cars and want to provide the highest-quality services. “It’s imperative that we have the right equipment to protect the customer’s investment,” he says. The gantry crane’s clearance around a vehicle can protect cars from scratches and damage, which helps strengthen customer relationships with the company. The gantry crane provides better usability, greater versatility, and more vehicle protection than the conventional engine hoist, making it an excellent tool for many automotive jobs.