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Dump hoists


Junior Member
I was wondering what ways are there to lift a dump bed. The truck I use at work (I don't actually own a dump) involves putting the truck in neutral, pulling one knob (pto?), and then pulling another to raise the bed. How does this system work? Also, what other methods are there and how do they function (electric, central hydraulics, etc...)? Finally, what are the advantages of each, which one is considered the best, and what are the prices for each system?


2000 Club Member
pto would be the best as far as lifting heavy loads .electric just for ease of operation but not as fast.I have run both and pto is really the best way to go i think.


PlowSite.com Veteran
There are 3 ways

1. Electric, works well on bodies up to about 4 yards.
Advantages, neat and easy to install/maintain. The install is very clean.

Disadvanatages, high electric draw, easiest to overload.

2. PTO Driven, there are two types. Pto off the crank shaft, or off the transmion. I will talk about off the transmisson set up here. Much like a central hydro system, only you have to engage a pto shaft. Depending on your pto set up, you may not be able to move the truck at the same time. Or you may have to rev the engine to get the pto speed up high enough to turn the pump fast enough to raise the body in a quick manner. A lot depends on your pto set up, and pump set up. Controlls could be all kinds, electic, direct valve, cable valves, air valves, ect. Often used in trucks that only have 1 hydro funtion, ie dump trucks with no plows or spreaders.

3. Central hydro systems, most are powered by either a belt driven pump, or pto off the crank shaft. These sytems are the most common in snowremoval trucks that have plows, spreaders, and dump bodies. They work verry well, for the most part they are the better system out there. However the cost isn't cheap. Again you have the choice of many controll systems, electric, cable, air, ect.

Depending on the controll system depends on how clean you install will be for # 2 and 3. With electric being the cleanest, and direct valve the messyest. Numbers 2 and 3 will be able to lift the largest loads.

I guess my question to you is what size truck are you putting it on and what do you want to do with the truck.

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2000 Club Member
Although it can be done, you don't often see PTO driven pumps on trucks with automatic transmissions. The process to put the pump in and out of gear is complicated. On 1 ton trucks they use electric pumps instead, but they are slow up and down.


we have one on the dump truck where i work. its a PTO, you pull the button, and then I think it automatically revs the engine, but somehow it holds it at a higher RPM. I don't know I don't get to drive that truck.

But I would think that a belt driven pump would be cheaper than the PTO option on the transmission and PTO controls

Lawn Lad

Senior Member
We have two 12,000 GVW GMC's... 4 wd automatics with electric hoist. The newer one we bought in 2000 is slow as molasses. I've borrowed an F450 manual with the PTO - very fast. But they complain about the PTO burning out? Or the clutch burning out?

I like the electric for simplicity sake... but the speed is a drawback. We landscape in the summer and plow in the winter. Just started salting, so no Easy 8's or insert spreaders yet.

Question GeoffD -

1) Does a scissor lift vs a straight lift ram make a difference in speed? Our scissor lift goes up/comes down much faster. Or is this a function of the hydraulics?

2) If I were to stick to the automatics... what would you recommend for lifting the bed if we use the truck for general landscape duty and snow plowing?

Good thread... thanks.


PlowSite.com Veteran
Answer to Number 1.

The pump out put has a lot to do with the speed. However the sissor lift, is easier to lift than a straight ram.

Answer to number 2.

I would just go with an electric hydro pump, tell the truck upfitter that you want a bigger hoist and pump then the stock payload. Because it is very easy to overload a 1 ton dump. The electric pump isn't the fastest, however its the easiest to install / maintain. The amount of time you may save with a high flow pto pump, will never equal the extra money you spent to get it.

PS. The transmission doesn't make much difference in powering the body IMO. A central hydro system can be set up on both trucks, and ptos are avialbe for both.

I would recomend rugby dump bodies and hoist.



Junior Member
If the pto system involves a pump and hydraulic resivor, why don't upfitters just make trucks with central hydraulics? Both the trucks I run have the pto system (Dodge 3500-360, Chevy 3500-350, both with manuals). What is the difference between pto and central hydraulics? Also, why don't autos run the pto system? I know Chevy and I think Ford have autos with pto.

Also, what is the most common type of hoist for class 6 and 7 trucks (International 4700, 4900), and while we are on the subject what do they use to lift the bed of tri-axels?.

I was directing my origional questions to one-ton trucks, but I guess it has gotten beyond that.


2000 Club Member
A true central hydraulic system is more costly than your PTO system due to the valving and the clutch system for the pump. They're also more involved to plumb.

In theory, your PTO system could be considered central hydraulics, but you would most likely need a larger pump to run a sander, this is what draws the most flow. Also, from the PTO source, your pump will only turn if your clutch is engaged, or pedal is released, which would be a hassle when trying to raise your plow at the end of a pass.

I don't know about Chevy's Allison, But Ford's automatic has a provision for a PTO drive, but it's a hassle to engage. I'm not 100% sure, but I think you have to stop the truck, shift to park, engage the PTO, shift the transfer case to nuetral, then shift the transmission to drive, reverse the procedure to disengage. Also, Ford has a limit on the size pump you can drive off the automatic, don't know what it is though.

The most common type of hoist in my area for both 6 wheelers and tri-axles is a telescopic cylinder in front of the dump body, filled by a PTO driven pump if not used for sanding.


2000 Club Member
Yes GM does has provisions for the allison and a PTO. I hear it is very tight to install. Alot more room will be available on the new 16-19K gvw 4500 series trucks. I have an electric dump on two of my trucks and the one on the 98 is as fast as a PTo driven unit, but the one on the 89 is very slow. All depends on the unit I guess.