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Recommendations for pickup bed or hitch mounted crane

Discussion in 'Truck & Equipment Repair' started by JFon101231, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 457

    Hope this is the best forum, rather than commercial, as I don't want to spend $2000 on this...

    I'm looking to add a crane setup to my truck, preferably something removable. I think that having it mounted to a plate that would slide into the hitch/receiver would be best, as the weight would only be that far out for a short period of time while loading. I would consider mounting something to the bed if needed, but assume would require cutting a hole in the bed to reach the frame, which I'd prefer not to do if possible. Down the road when I get a trailer I may need to modify whatever it is I end up with, but that's probably a few years away.

    I think swivelling will be necessary to lift longer items into the bed and clear the bumper etc. I'd like it to be able to safely lift up to 1,000 lbs or so. I'd be looking for manual lift (pump or winch style) probably to keep cost down, but would consider an electric winch or pump system. This would be used to lift heavy car parts (engine, trans, etc.) into the bed of my pickup, possibly hardwood logs, and also allow me to put a plow into the bed of my truck when we head north rather than driving with it on the front and wearing the FE more than necessary.

    There seem to be a ton of choices out there, but not sure if it is like 4 post lifts where they are all made in the same plant and just a different sticker is slapped on them. I'm thinking something like this HF unit, but actually decently built ;) There are also a bunch at Northern Tool.

    Here is one that is a little more than I was hoping to spend, but seems to be a good design except the weight capacity is a little low:

    Suggestions for brands/styles or good/bad things to look for etc. appreciated. Would be happy looking out for a used unit as well.

    Thanks, Jeff
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  2. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 457

    No one? Guess it isn't winter yet :) Maybe I'll try the commercial section...
  3. Dakota Dave

    Dakota Dave Member
    Messages: 44

    I had the harbor frieght one mounted on a trailer at work. it was very usefull for the price. Just had to put a plate under the bed of the trailer and bolt through to it. If you put to heavy of a load on it. it was hard to swivel. and when not in use you had to attach the cable to something so it didn't swing around. We did manage to bend it lifting a grate. but when we went back and got the 15k fork lift we couldn't lift it with that either. The crane still worked fine after that just swung a little easier one direction.
  4. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 457

    I tried the MaxxTow one for ~$270 on Amazon and ended up returning it. It looked "OK" made but the bearing was not parallel to the mounting plate. It had some light scratches like maybe somebody put it together but didn't use it. It didn't lift high enough or reach far enough to deal with loaded long items into a pickup box either.

    The best thing I have found is the ViperLift, but its priced at $9000 plus delivery for a 1000lb unit or $1k for an almost 2k lb unit. I guess for now I'll live without and save up for a flatbed trailer.
  5. mmaddox

    mmaddox Member
    Messages: 57

    Two real choices, build your own or find a used quality unit from a service body. You might be optimistic on the price.
  6. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,870

    Agreed, even at $2000 you're going to get slot of use out of it to make it worthwhile.
  7. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 457

    Can't edit my post above but that was supposed to say $10k for a ~2,000 lb version, not $1k.

    I am fine with spending $1000 to get something that works as intended, used or custom is fine. $1500 is the top end of my budget for it. Just need to find a good fabricator in my area as I am not!
  8. djr623

    djr623 Member
    Messages: 60

    If you end up making a hitch mount I am not sure how that would work. The boom is a few feet long so anything you lift you would have to lift it higher then the bed side to swing it around to load it into the bed. Unless its a flat bed, then disregard this .

    There was a thread on here a little while ago about a build where the OP made a mount off the rear corner of a flat bed for a harbor freight crane. Nice little set up.
  9. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 457

    As of now the intention is a hitch mount (for strength without putting holes in the pickup box), no flatbed. I may get a trailer which would make things much easier for the crane piece obviously, but then would have to deal with driving the trailer where I was going and needing to put that somewhere.

    I don't think its possible to lift what I want (8' plow) over the side walls at least for me with a 6.5' bed unless the hitch mounted crane was at least 1.5' feet aft of the end of the bed so the mast wasn't in the way. As far as swinging around the walls of the pickup box, I was thinking, and someone please jump in if you disagree, that as long as there was a swivel built in this could still be done. See my expert drawing below for what I was thinking, which seemed possible with the one I tried in theory. Keep in mind I would generally plan to have a 2nd person, even one that isn't burly, to rotate as I lifted and that as long as I can get say 1/3 of the plow (and weight) on the bed straight, I can slide it the rest of the way in with a good push (or a come-a-long if really needed)...