You’ve been looking at garage storage lift systems, and decided on a Thule Box Lift – also confusingly called the Thule 572 MultiLift. But how do you install your cargo box lift?
It’s not quite as treacherous as putting together an Ikea crib, but you do need to put some forethought into how you’re going to install your lift to get the safest and best use out of it.
If you are not familiar with rigging and using pulleys, there are also some basics to know about how the leverage system works. OK – let’s get into the Thule Multilift 572 installation guide.
First, you might need more materials than the Thule box lift kit supplies to get this installed safely.
For instance, does your garage ceiling have studs that are 24″ on center or 16″? Many installation guides assume you have 16″, but in newer homes 24″ is quite common. So, it’s best to double-check.
You can do this with a stud finder (I’d look to spend between $20-$40 on a good one, like this). Or, if you have a garage door opener, check how it’s mounted. It’s assuredly mounted on studs, too.
The basic idea is the weight needs to be anchored into the studs. Someday, it will be lifted fully loaded and you want to be sure everything’s fastened securely.
You can use two by fours cut to 5 feet to allow placement into three of the studs, spread out to 48″ with a 6″ overlap on each side. I would suggest using two screws in the center (lag) and getting a good secure mount with one near each end of the wood.
The MultiLift middle rod is at a distance of 47.25″. 1200mm for the UK & EU crowd ;-). With 48 inches, you should have some space to spare. Pick up two 10-footers and cut them in half.
Thule box lift instructions suggest you make the distance between your back 2×4 and your front 2×4 equal to one-half the length of your car box. However, a much better guide is to make their length equal to the length that your car box attaches to your car. Because of how pulley leverage works, this will ensure you the easiest effort to lift!
This should allow you to hang the rope straight down (getting the best leverage) and catch the anchors on the box. This way, the box won’t slide anywhere.
Installation Tools & Supplies
- 2 : 2×4″ x 10 ft (cut in half to make 4)
- 16 : 3 1/2″ long 1/4 inch thick lag screws (4 on each 2×4)
- 16 : 1/4 inch washers
- 6 : #8 wood screws or #8 2 inch deck screw
- 8 : #14 2 1/2 inch wood screws
- 3/16 drill bit for lag pilot hole
- 9/64 drill bit for pilot hole.
- 20′ 3/16 rope (might not need if low ceilings)
- 3/8 inch foam pipe insulation (get the solid foam without the slit)
Step by Step: Installation Guide
1. Cut your 2×4’s in half (5 foot each).
2. If you have a center stud in the center of your garage where your opener is, mark the center on the 2×4 and drill 2 pilot holes with the 3/16 bit. Leave the pilot hole at least 1 inch from the edge of the wood.
3. Measure a good distance away from your opener to give you enough room to suspend your car box.
4. Find and mark the center stud with your stud finder.
5. Using one of the pilot holes, drill up into the ceiling studs and attach the 2×4 into the ceiling. Square with your garage.
6. With the 3 1/2 inch, 1/4 inch thick lag screws + a 1/4 inch washer, secure the 2×4 to the ceiling. DO NOT fully tighten at this stage, you need some adjustment room, and your ceiling might not be flat. Push the stud into the correct position, squaring it with the garage. With the second pilot hole, drill the pilot into the ceiling and secure with the lag screw.
7. Drill one pilot hole into the stud, using a stud finder on each side of the 2×4.
8. Measure the distance between the rail attachments on the car box. Remember to place the second 2×4 this distance away from the first 2×4.
9. Hang the second 2×4 at the right distance, making sure to keep it square to the first.
10. With the front and rear 2x4s in place, hang the pulleys.
11. The pulleys cannot be spread out any farther than 39 inches. A typical Thule box is about 38 inches wide, but measure yours. Spread the pulleys out to 19 inches from the center of each 2×4. Use a square to make sure you are putting the pilot holes square on the 2×4. Use the 9/64 drill bit for the pilot holes. Use the #14 2 1/2 inch wood screws for this, no washer needed.
12. Once all the pulleys are on, secure the middle 2×4. This should be evenly spaced between the rear and front 2x4s.
13. Secure the middle 2×4 in a similar fashion as the other 2. You may have to use a countersink into the 2×4 to get the lag screws flush with the face of the 2×4. This is only important on the middle 2×4. The anchor brackets that attach to the wind-up bar need to be spaced out to 47 1/4 inches which can be close to the lag screws. The first anchor bracket has to be facing a certain direction, but the other two can be facing either direction.
14. Attach both the end anchor brackets to the middle 2×4 with #8 2 inch deck screws, and do not use a washer. No pilot needed. These need to be mounted at 23 5/8″ off center on each side. I suggest about 1/4 inch to allow it to fit just inside the lag screw head. Put the outer one 47 1/4 inches away.
15. Look at the picture and assemble the rod with the coil wheels installed. The rod might have one pin in it already. Slide the rod in place. Don’t forget to insert the middle anchor bracket.
16. Bend the cotter pins to hold the rod in place. Secure the middle bracket to the 2×4 with a couple more deck screws. Look for a good 2 inches of extra rod exiting the far bracket.
17. Thread the rope through the pulleys and wheels.
18. Use 3/8 inch foam pipe insulation around the rope. Buy the closed-type with a center hole, and feed the rope through it.
19. Decide how high you would like your car box when fully descended. This rig should get you 48 inches from the ground with a 10 foot ceiling, but you can adjust this easily as it’s really only limited by the rope’s length. Cut the rope and run your insulation over the rope, then tie a good stopper knot.
20. Put your car box into the rig. Level your system by pulling rope through the coil wheels in the middle.
21. Test lifting your box and crank it up. It should take less than 1 minute to lift and release the unit. SUCCESS!
Enjoy your new lift. If you don’t have your Thule MultiLift yet, kudos on checking the install first!