Modifying/Upgrading a DP Ultra Gympac

On August 15th I bought the DP Ultra Gympac, a piece of fitness equipment from the mid-80s.

It was missing some of the original parts, but it had the weight stack and pulley system, which are what I cared about. I had made my own pulley system, but I’ve been fighting with it for several months. Having something dedicated with it’s own weight stack was going to be a big improvement. Here’s what the equipment looked like when I got it home.

This awesome machine was sold at Sears for $499.99 back in the day!

I paid $100 for this one and it also came with a small barbell and weights, which I’ll sell. The unit did need some work. I moved the bench and curl attachment to storage because I don’t plan to use them. Then I disassembled the unit. Most of the weight stack plates had cracks. By a stroke of luck, I came across a Facebook Marketplace listing for 14 of the same weights and I paid $25.

The base of the Gympac had quite a mess where something nasty had spilled a very long time ago. I got that taken care of and cleaned the pulleys really well. The main top and bottom pieces got fresh black paint. I bought new cotter pins for the pulleys, replaced nuts and bolts, added washers and made a cable. The hardest part of the rebuild was replacing the guide rails with longer ones to allow more travel length for the cable. A couple of eight foot pieces of 1″ aluminum square tubing ran me about $30 and I drilled holes for the various bolts. On my bandsaw I cut the original logo out of the cracked plastic case.

Making room required a big reorganization of my gym space. After that I moved the unit in place, put everything together, and bolted it to the wall. The final touch was labeling the weights. I wasn’t confident in the numbers on the original stickers, so I bought a small luggage scale and sure enough, everything had previously been labeled six pounds too heavy. I made some new labels.

I love it! The great thing is it only uses about two and a half square feet of floor space. Rethinking the entire organization of the gym space ended up making the rest of my equipment a lot more accessible as well. This was a really fun project. If you have a garage gym and some extra space, try to find one of these.

11 thoughts on “Modifying/Upgrading a DP Ultra Gympac

  1. Is there anyway you can show a detailed picture of the pulley system? I just got one of these yesterday. Have it mostly put together, but lost as far as which cables go where and how. Of course, the manual didn’t come with it, and I can’t find one online anywhere. 🙏


    • Sure! It’s pretty easy. If you don’t want any mechanical advantage from the pulleys and want the weights to feel like the 11 pounds (5 kg) each you would use it like this. The cable goes up from the traveler and over the top two pulleys.

      Then when using the low pulley, I feed a long cable through the front of that low pulley, out the back and up to attach to the cable coming out of the top pulley.

      Hope that helps!


      • Ok this is crazy but could I have your email, or Facebook instant message so I can send you pics of what I’ve got? I have cables and pulleys that I’m struggling with.


  2. Thank you for the useful presentation.

    Here’s a question: are the original bolts metric or standard (1/2″, 5/8″, etc.)?

    I need to disassemble a DP Ultra Gympac away from home and need to round up the appropriate tools to take with me.



  3. I bought one about a year ago and came across your article just now.
    It has two 12 stack weights which is approximately 240 lb?
    There’s another one selling locally the Gympac 2500 that pull down/ bench press with a healthy 200 lb stack on it in mint condition for $130. I might just get that one too. Lol. While everyone is focused on name brand (Rogue, Smith, Hoist etc) these are fantastic machines that will get the job done. You can’t beat these for the price.

    Liked by 1 person

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