Submitted: 06-13-2005 by bill_stevenson
The Harken hoist has an important limitation that is not clear in their product description. The distance from the point where the lines are all gathered together (called an accumulator by Harken) and the wall where an anchor eye is installed (usually the wall opposite to the garage door) must be equal to the lift height. Also, the wall where the anchor eye is installed must be strong enough to bear the weight of the lifted item. If the distance from the lift point to the wall is less than the lift height desired, or if the wall is not capable of bearing the load (both were true in my case), the Hoister cannot be installed.
In fairness to Harken and their product, this is a limitation of the construction of the garage more than a criticism of their product. The people at Harken were great. My motive in giving this review is not to slam the product or the manufacturer. Rather it is to let potential customers know that they should make sure that there is enough room between the place where the lift will occur and the wall to get the needed lift, and that the garage wall itself is strong enough to hold the weight. In new construction here in South Florida, interior walls constructed of steel studs often have no headers and are not capable of holding any kind of load at all. For example, they can't handle the weight of a plasma TV hung on them and they can't hold the weight of a kayak anchored to them. This type of wall is more of a room divider than a real wall. Obviously this is not Harken's fault, but it precludes using this product.
Harken customer service was superb and they gave me a full refund.