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Author Topic: Genie lift service?  (Read 1099 times)

Scott Helmke

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Genie lift service?
« on: April 26, 2021, 04:21:15 pm »

Does anybody here have significant experience servicing Genie ST lifts?  In particular the winch brake mechanism.  Trying to figure out if it makes sense to do repairs in-house or keep farming them out to a lift company.

I'd be fine with a private discussion if you don't want to publish anything that might cause worry about liability. 
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Riley Casey

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2021, 04:55:57 pm »

Anything to do with overhead lifting devices be they motors or lifts always come down to LIABILITY for me. As a result I always let someone else do the work that has some sort of imprimatur for the doing the job and the insurance to match.

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2021, 05:35:34 pm »

Does anybody here have significant experience servicing Genie ST lifts?  In particular the winch brake mechanism.  Trying to figure out if it makes sense to do repairs in-house or keep farming them out to a lift company.

I'd be fine with a private discussion if you don't want to publish anything that might cause worry about liability.

We use our local Genie sales/service/rental shop for anything other than replacing casters.
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2021, 05:43:28 pm »

Our "local" shop is about an hour away.  Which isn't terrible. 

What I'm thinking about is the possible benefit of having better maintained lifts than the usual "every year at best" sort of approach.  Just being able to gauge wear on the lifts would be worth a fair bit to me.
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Steven Eudaly

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2021, 10:04:01 am »

We took a pair of 5 year old Sumner Eventer 20s to the nearest service center. One was having break clutch issues (wouldn't release) and the other was working properly, so we figured we would get the clutch replaced and have them both inspected, re-lubed, etc.

The service center told us that both units had bent masts, were a "total loss" and quoted a repair price that was greater than buying new. We had to either pay to get them repaired, pay to have them re-assembled or pay a diagnostic fee and come grab the pile of parts they were now in since they had been disassembled.

We were always very careful to use these lifts within their means, never cross rented or used without our techs involved and they were regularly inspected and lubricated in the shop, so this came as quite the surprise. We ended up just picking up the parts and scrapping pretty much everything except a few usable pieces. We now own some VMB lifts that we are extremely careful with.

A few months later another company near us took their 4x Eventer 25s to the same service center and had the exact same result--all four were deemed a total loss.

I say definitely have them checked out by the service center but be prepared for any outcome.

Erik Jerde

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2021, 11:16:54 am »

Makes you wonder what the result would be with a new one.  Could you identify the bent parts when you had them back in hand?
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2021, 11:46:59 am »

Makes you wonder what the result would be with a new one.  Could you identify the bent parts when you had them back in hand?
Yeah, sounds fishy to me too.
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2021, 05:55:02 pm »

Yeah, sounds fishy to me too.

And that raises questions about whether there's really all that much liability protection to be gained by deferring all repairs and maintenance to Somebody Else.
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Steven Eudaly

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2021, 07:12:44 pm »

Makes you wonder what the result would be with a new one.  Could you identify the bent parts when you had them back in hand?

I couldn't, but regardless of that there was no way I could ever feel comfortable about using them again.

Mike Caldwell

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2021, 07:56:00 pm »

I couldn't, but regardless of that there was no way I could ever feel comfortable about using them again.

I would have asked to show me the bend using what ever gauge or fixture they measure it with.

Steven Eudaly

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2021, 08:04:11 pm »

I would have asked to show me the bend using what ever gauge or fixture they measure it with.

Agreed. For better or worse I was not directly involved in the service transaction. I just had to write the check for new lifts.

Brian Jojade

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2021, 04:23:40 pm »

Yeah, sounds fishy to me too.

Yeah, seems a bit fishy.  The sad thing is some service departments do fishy things.  If you were the sole owner of the lifts and never used them in a way that should have caused a bend in them, and they couldn't show you the exact cause of the bend, AND you know of it happening again, well, that certainly adds to the suspicion of what they are doing...
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Erik Jerde

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2021, 11:33:07 pm »

Yeah, seems a bit fishy.  The sad thing is some service departments do fishy things.  If you were the sole owner of the lifts and never used them in a way that should have caused a bend in them, and they couldn't show you the exact cause of the bend, AND you know of it happening again, well, that certainly adds to the suspicion of what they are doing...

Or maybe it's their test equipment that's bent.
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Jason Glass

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2021, 12:23:03 am »

Or maybe it's their test equipment that's bent.

Or it kind of looks like their customers are getting bent.   ;D

Brian Bolly

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2021, 05:40:44 am »

We were always very careful to use these lifts within their means, never cross rented or used without our techs involved and they were regularly inspected and lubricated in the shop, so this came as quite the surprise. We ended up just picking up the parts and scrapping pretty much everything except a few usable pieces. We now own some VMB lifts that we are extremely careful with.

I figure most folks on here are careful, but this sort of thing makes me wonder how many people ignore, either accidentally or blatantly, the decreasing load rating the farther out on the forks you go. (Steven, I'm not picking on you here, just to be clear)

Case in point: Front page of the local paper a few days ago had a story about the first outdoor show returning to the local fairgrounds at half capacity, accompanied by 3 photos at load-in.  In one of those photos, clear as day, you can see one of the arrays on a lift, and the top two sections of the lift are bowing and it's not just lens distortion from the camera.

Taking a stab at which model lifts they were and which model boxes (mfg of both lift and boxes were somewhat obvious), they were likely just below (ok) load limit but at <10" from the mast.  Based on where the arrays were actually rigged on the lift though, they were somewhere between +25% and +50% over the rated load limit.  Very much not ok.  That sort of thing makes me wonder if someone just didn't RTFM, or if they said "Hey, our lifts are rated at X" and never realized that it changes the farther out from the mast you get.

Scott, to answer your original question and trying not to swerve too far off topic: We let the pros handle our lift and hoist maintenance other than the frequent inspection and lubrication, which can easily be done in-house by "a qualified person" (to borrow the lexicon from one of the recent CM classes).
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Steven Eudaly

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2021, 10:19:55 am »

I figure most folks on here are careful, but this sort of thing makes me wonder how many people ignore, either accidentally or blatantly, the decreasing load rating the farther out on the forks you go. (Steven, I'm not picking on you here, just to be clear)

I completely agree with this theory. I have a feeling that could be what happened. A load too close to limit that wasn't kept within the correct range. We had load weights/distances posted on the back of the mast and marks on the forks for our heaviest load but that doesn't mean someone used it incorrectly at some point (perhaps put the pick point on wrong side of mark). Another theory is cranking the lift up or down too quickly and causing a load to "bounce" creating additional, dynamic load.

When we received our VMBs that replaced the Sumners in question, we spray painted red, yellow and green zones on the top of the forks according to the manufacturer's specs for what load ranges are acceptable where.


Scott Helmke

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2021, 05:15:59 pm »

We did almost buy some of the Eventer lifts, but realized that the ratings were different than the Genies and wouldn't work for our application.  With the Eventer the max load has to be significantly closer to the column.
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2021, 03:29:27 pm »

So we did have a couple of lifts just come back from service at the Genie dealer.  They replaced the winches, so I asked to get the old winches back for educational purposes.

The brake mechanism is pretty clever.  It's two disks (ceramic or very hard fiber?) squeezed between three steel plates.  All this is part of the ratchet mechanism.  The pull on the winch drum works to squeeze the brake tighter, while an opposite movement on the handles loosens the brake.  So the "grip" of the brake is affected by the weight of the load.  Over time this will be further affected by rust and hard gunk building up on the steel brake surfaces, throwing the balance towards too much braking. So after enough outdoor shows and general age you'll start getting the dreaded "refuses to lower" problem.  I definitely found that to be true in the one I took apart.
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Re: Genie lift service?
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2021, 03:29:27 pm »


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