How to build an engine hoist out of wood

Updated February 21, 2017

A homemade engine hoist constructed from wood can be both a practical and unobtrusive addition to any garage. While traditional engine hoists constructed from steel take up large amounts of floor space for storage, a homemade hoist can be built to practically any storage and use specifications. By following a few simple steps, you can build an engine hoist that can be stored above a toolbox against the wall of the garage, with a footprint of just four feet wide by eight feet long.

Cut the 5 by 10 cm (2 by 4 inch) timber into 1.2 m (4 foot) sections, then cut the plywood in half to form four triangles. The plywood will form the frame gussets, or supports, which will prevent the engine hoist from moving from side to side. The 1.2 m (4 foot) sections of timber will form the feet of the engine hoist.

Form a header board by laying the three 5 by 30 cm (2 by 12 inch) boards on top of one another on the shop floor, with two triangular frame gussets on the top and bottom of each side. Lay the gussets so there is 5 cm (2 inches) of overhang past the end of the beam on each side. This will be where the upright support beam will be attached. These boards together will form the structural cross beam of the engine hoist.

Drill five holes in each side through all three boards and the gussets, then four holes in the centre of the beams. Install the bolts, washers, and nuts into these holes to secure the three boards together with the plywood gussets. In the exact middle of the top of the beam, drill a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) hole through the top of the beam with the extended length drill bit, then install the steel eye bolt and secure it in place with a washer and nut.

Secure the four by six by eight foot boards onto the top beam using four 10 cm (8 inch) lag bolts on each side driven into the ends of the beam. Use wood screws to attach the plywood to these boards.

Build two triangular feet for the engine hoist using the 5 cm by 10 cm by 1.2 m (inch by 4 inch by 4 foot) timber. Each side of the triangle should measure 1.2 m (4 feet) in length. Use wood screws to secure the triangle together.

Stand the engine hoist up, then secure the triangular feet on the inside of the hoist, securing it to the upright posts with eight inch bolts, washers and nuts. When secured, fasten the chain hoist to the eye bolt of the support beam. Use a framing square to ensure that the upright posts are perpendicular to the floor.


Use a framing square throughout the hoist's construction to ensure that the hoist remains perpendicular to the floor.


Do not exceed the recommended load rating of the chain hoist. Do not use the wood engine hoist to attempt to lift the front end of a car or truck. Remove the vehicle's hood before attempting to remove a vehicle's engine. Always lift the engine straight up out of the engine bay. Do not attempt to pull any engine out at an angle.

Things You'll Need

  • 14- 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) by eight inch steel bolts
  • 14- 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) steel nuts
  • 28- 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) steel washers
  • 20- 6 mm by 15 cm (1/4 by 6 inch) steel bolts
  • 20- 6 mm (1/4 inch) steel nuts
  • 40- 6 mm (1/4 inch) steel washers
  • 8- 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) by eight inch lag bolts
  • Wood screws
  • 1- 1.2 cm by 35 cm (1/2 inch by 14 inch) steel eye bolt screw
  • Framing square
  • Drill
  • 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) drill bit
  • 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) extended length wood boring drill bit
  • Chain hoist
  • Two sheets of 60 cm by 60 cm (2 foot by 2 foot) square 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) plywood
  • 3 5 cm by 30 cm by 2.4 m (2 inch by 12 inch by 8 foot) boards
  • 3 5 cm by 10 cm by 2.4 m (2 inch by 4 inch by 8 foot) boards
  • 2 10 cm by 15 cm by 2.4 m (4 inch by 6 inch by 8 foot) boards
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About the Author

Don Kress began writing professionally in 2006, specializing in automotive technology for various websites. An Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technician since 2003, he has worked as a painter and currently owns his own automotive service business in Georgia. Kress attended the University of Akron, Ohio, earning an associate degree in business management in 2000.