The season is over, and for various reasons I won't be traveling soon, so it's time to get the roof top box off the car, and the little garage I rent is the logical storage spot. I've got other storage plans for the small area left behind the car when I park, so the only direction to go is up. I've been reading about hoists and pulley systems, and thought just for kicks and giggles I'd see if you guys have any ideas or suggestions.
Here are the criteria for hanging the box from the rafters:
- I need to get the box on and off the car by myself, which means some kind of pulley system holding the box over the back of the car (e.g. back of the garage) and tied off to a cleat or whatever I end up with.
- The box is something like 30 pounds, so with friction I need at least a 2:1 mechanical advantage, preferably 3:1. 4:1 is a bit of overkill and probably results in a lot of extra rope to pull and coil. OTOH, the rafters are pretty low, which means less rope.
- The hoist needs to raise both ends of the box evenly. Most commercial products don't.
- Price is an issue, getting bigger every day. I don't want to pay more than $50 for a commercial product, because I could build something that works for well under that and install it in about the same amount of time.
There are plenty of commercial bike and canoe hoists under $50 that could easily handle the weight of a cargo box, but most are made out of cheesy materials or are poorly designed, and almost all arrange the pulleys in a way that raises the near end of whatever you're lifting before the far end, which could cause slippage and probably makes lifting more difficult, all of which are negatives if I'm doing this myself. The most promising-sounding hoists are made by Harken, which also makes marine fittings, but it's hard to find reviews that specify that they lift evenly, and they're pricey new, though there are some used ones out there.
OTOH, considering how interesting this whole mechanical advantage thing is, putting a pulley system together myself sounds awfully easy. If I were to go DIY, it'd probably be something like the 3:1 version at the bottom of this picture:
(Here's the website if anyone's interested)
I'd tie 1" or 3/4" webbing around the box, wind it a few times around the clamps to create enough friction to keep it from rotating in the webbing, and tie a knot on top of each to clip pulleys to. I may or may not use a prusik knot; it may be slick if you're a knot nut, but it just seems like there might be something smoother than having to fiddle with the knot while raising or lowering the box.
So whaddaya think? Has anyone used a commercial version that's cheap but works well and lifts the bike/boat/box evenly? Or a simpler solution I haven't even thought of?