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Old 11-04-2017, 01:04 PM
Spencer Spencer is offline
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Default Pickup Truck Cranes

I have been trailering my snow blower back and forth over to my mother's house for the last three Winters and I'm thinking a truck crane may be less of a hassle.

I did a search here a few weeks ago and didn't find many topics on truck cranes, but I imagine a few of you must have them.

I don't have a lot of spare time, so I'm not looking to make my own. It will be hard enough to find the time to provide the proper reinforcement for one.

Thoughts, and preferably pictures, on reinforcement is what I am hoping the members here can provide. I would be installing this on my 2005 F350. I believe I would not only want to have reinforcement go down to the frame on the passenger side of the truck, but I also think I'd like to install a crossmember from the frame on the passenger side over to the frame on the driver's side.

I'm also considering just getting a crane that fits into the receiver hitch, like this one:

http://www.vestilmfg.com/products/gantry/WTJ-HITCH.htm

It is not like I have a lot of other uses for a crane in the bed of the truck and I believe the 600 pound capacity of the receiver hitch model will be sufficient for my snowblower, but a bed-mounted one would undoubtedly be heavier duty, better height capacity, etc.

A bed mounted one would always be there too, which has both pros and cons.

Thoughts, photos, recommendations?
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:39 PM
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I had a crane on my pickup for many years. It was extremely handy but there were some issues. Some things to consider...

A hitch mounted crane would be pretty awkward in my view. The purpose of the crane is to lift stuff into the box so if the crane is mounted dead center on the hitch you'll either need a very short arm on the crane--which probably isn't practical--or you'll need more lift height so you can swing your load over the side of the box. If you don't want to remove the tailgate every time you use the crane you'll have to extend the mount back far enough that the crane will clear the tailgate when it's down. A hitch mounted crane will slop around quite a bit and extending it even further back will make it even worse.

If you mount the crane over to one side on the floor of the box it should be connected directly to the frame of the truck. I mounted my crane with a large pad on the floor of the box with a good sized backup plate underneath and I also tied it to the side of the box with a substantial chunk of angle iron. This worked for a bit but I soon realized that when I lifted a heavy load I was twisting the box enough that after the load was off the tailgate didn't close as nicely as it did before. I tied the sub-plate to the frame and also made up a stabilizer leg which reached over the side of the box and down to the ground. This made a big difference when I was picking up a heavy load from off to the side of the truck...
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Old 11-04-2017, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spencer View Post

I did a search here a few weeks ago and didn't find many topics on truck cranes, but I imagine a few of you must have them.
Spencer, I remembered a couple of old auto crane threads that don't quite match your intentions but you might still find something useful in them.

Photomask put his on his trailer.

Jeff mounted one on his service truck.

I also recalled they built outriggers. I've seen and benefitted from Photomask's trailer snatch when he moved a compressor home for me several years ago.
It is a slick rig.
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Old 11-04-2017, 05:10 PM
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Spencer if you know the weight of your blower and it's at or under the noted weight of the hitch lift you linked, I can attest to that being the simplest and cheapest route unless you find something akin on the cheap in used fashion. But this little lift is still going to be heavy and speaking from an old guys point of view(me)even this can be a problem and even annoying to deal with to put on and take off.

The only non enjoyable moments to having a true hydraulic lift on a work truck somewhat like what Photo had/has on his trailer was the annoyance of friends and family always having a need for me to pick something up or unload something. Having a "not for hire sticker" on the side of the lift was a must just traveling from job to job.

You've darn sure got enough truck to handle one if placed and decked for it's footprint. Mine had two rear out rigger legs that were hand manipulated to plant for help, most times I saw that as overkill and un-needed but due to safety requirements of the truck and the company, necessary.

I still have dreams and parts sitting in a corner to build something identical to what Cutter built and calls the ForkSnatch. I've got the hat as proof of build and probably enough information on the hat to make it. lol

The new hyd truck mounted cranes I've seen actually had a pictorial of what was needed on the trucks frame side of things to be added and where placed for safety's sake.

The little jib I've got mounted on the tool bar of my SA tractors came from HF, cheap down and dirty, but the thing has had the front wheels off the ground dozens of times, sometimes with blocks under the tool bar allowing me to pickup a good ton of crap off the ground.

I'm sure at my age today I'd be looking at a shop to install a full hyd crane on my stuff today, but it's what the pocket book will sustain for all of us.
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Last edited by LW Hiway; 11-04-2017 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 11-04-2017, 05:20 PM
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Spencer doing a search on datube found me a dozen of HF bed cranes used in different areas and mounts. Even found a couple of vids that mentioned how not to mount them to failure. lol

I got both of mine from HF with promo's for $99 each. Scrap'd the hyd cylinders for something better quality and removed both of the hand cranked line winches as they are crap as well.

In lieu of a hand crank I have two HF 12 vlt winches that can mount like a receiver hitch on the main pole and then used as the winch.

Cheap, down and dirty and no hyd lines, pumps or valves. Works for me, but know I'm a cheap bastard.
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Old 11-04-2017, 05:25 PM
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I have a few cranes. Trailer mounted is the way to go imho.

Flat bed or regular bed? That would have the biggest impact. If you add a crane to the side of the bed, you may be required to install a helper spring on that side.
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Old 11-04-2017, 05:40 PM
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Another option, grab a hitch mount wheelchair carrier and strap the blower onto that. Lower height, built in ramp.

Edited to add a photo snagged from an ebay listing.
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Old 11-04-2017, 05:59 PM
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I have sketched up a couple of times a design with a bumper.

I figure, if you make a new rear bumper out of say 8" wideflange,
you can make the whole thing while still driving the truck, not much
down time.

The crane could be the one from H.F. or other ones, put it on the Right Rear
corner, so as not to interfere with loading sheets into the truck.

Using a semi trailer landing gear jack, (or similar) directly under the
crane, it would support the truck while swinging the load.

So no real mod's to the truck.
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Old 11-04-2017, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Trailer mounted is the way to go imho.
To repeat Cutter, PhotoMask and his trailer mounted hoist/lift was a beast and just seeing the pictures of it in use was proof of it's worth.

I agree, that would be my best use for one.

Having it on a trailer means not having to have it in the way on a truck. But again, I wonder if we still have those pics or were they lost in the great hic-up of a few years ago?

In lieu of a hoist/lift on my trailers, I used two pipe etc to make gin poles that lift/pivot towards the center of the trailers they are used on.

Once the load is lifted off the ground, the poles are winched back allowing the load to shift to the center or spot I want on the bed. Less of a hassle in my eyes and less likely to be 'borrowed' by those friends.
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Quoting "The Hunt". "A man will walk into hell with both eyes and arms wide open. His dog will know better."

I never thought I'd live long enough to become a grumpy old bastard. Here I am, killing it!
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Old 11-04-2017, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LW Hiway View Post
To repeat Cutter, PhotoMask and his trailer mounted hoist/lift was a beast and just seeing the pictures of it in use was proof of it's worth.

I agree, that would be my best use for one.

Having it on a trailer means not having to have it in the way on a truck. But again, I wonder if we still have those pics or were they lost in the great hic-up of a few years ago?
There are several good pictures of the Trailer Snatch at about the mid-point of Tom's thread and on page 2 that I linked in my reply above.
And I found a few more in the opening post of a thread documenting one of his visits here shortly after he built it.
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