Originally Posted by McRat
The battery is the most expensive part, often over $5k.
A busted electric forklift is often dirt cheap after you subtract the resale value of the battery. The batteries are often over 2000lb, mostly lead. Scrap batteries are 30 cents US a pound, so over $600, and the lift can be had for $500. What's the catch? A forklift weighs 4500+ lbs. You must pick it up in person.
You should get them in Holland, I pay 1,8k€ (roughly 1,4k$) for a 24v set of 700AH tubular batteries (and real good ones, I bought them in 2000 and they still have approx. 90% of their initial storage capacity by daily use).
So for a 48v forklift that would make 2,8k.
Batteries are seldom really dead. If you buy the forklift with batteries that need replacement you stilll would get a couple of miles out of them after thoroughly loading (and refilling with distilled water) so if you can get it anywhere in the neighbourhood you could still drive it to your garage if you´re lucky.
Nevertheless I would still recommend paying the firm that scraps the thing to unmount the motor at a reasonable price so you are not left with 4100 tons of scrap, and they can still sell it for roughly the same price so everybody happy.
I don´t now how regulations are in the US but here lead-acid batteries are virtually worthless, as nowadays they only accept empty ones that are cleaned from any trace of sulphuric acid and you have to dispose of that acid in a legal way so any profit on the lead is eveporated on advance.