6 inches short of being dock high.

teacel

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My Question!!! I have a 14ft box truck that is 41” from ground to box floor. I do have a 1600lb lift gate on the truck that will raise 15”above the floor of the truck calling the gate “powers beyond”, which is a big help. I carry a set of ramps that I made so when I need to be dock high I set the ramps and Wa-la!!! Dock high! I was wondering if there was any way I could have a set of electric or hydraulic lifts made kinda like dolly legs, or like stabilizers on a back hoe to lift the truck enough to be dock high, and would it be worth the cost? Does anyone know what something like this may cost? Do you think I would be better off staying with the ramps? Right now I have one customer where I must be dock high to get loaded. He only gives me one or two loads a week. I would like to hear from anyone who may have a suggestion.
 

Lawrence

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Tony-Mon!

Hey Dude! How's it going?

Lawrence,
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RichM

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Tony,good to hear from you,Give a call to Hans Freightliner in Cleveland.They can probably point you in the right direction.I had a friend running out of Cleveland with a D unit.His axle support legs were driven by air pressure.He said they could lift the back end right off the ground. If you don't have a air compressor maybe some other type of hydraulic system that will run off of 12 volts might work.
I havn't been there in a while but Mike was the service manager several years ago. Good luck,glad to hear things are going OK for you.
 

teacel

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Hi Lawrence!

It’s going! Doing okay – holding my own. As you can see the fleet is starting to grow. We’re starting to get into some bigger trucks. But! you know me though, - easy does it!!! The only reason I went bigger is because I landed a nice account with a fairly big retailer out of UT who has some stores in the Mid-Atlantic Region, and needed space larger than a van to service it, so I bought a 14ft box truck. I also signed on an O/O with a 24ft box and am doing some heavier deliveries, 10k to 14k loads going easterly bound.

I’ve been here on and off lurking keeping my big mouth closed. I started this thread because I need a reality check. I just want to here some others opinions about the legs or ramps. I see your still doing a great J-O-B!!! I read too that you will be in Canonsburg PA in June. Set aside some time so we can go get a bite to eat!!! I will treat you to a Pittsburgher from Permanti’s. You’ll Love it!!! See ya then.
 

davekc

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Not sure on the name of the company, but there is one out there that does something simular to this for airport delivery vehicles.
Just an idea.
Davekc
owner
20years
 

Twmaster

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Hey Tony glad to see you posting again!

So I gotta ask. Is being "6 inches short of being dock high" like having too much hole in you doughnut? Or maybe being one pallet short of a full load?

Best wishes!

--
Mike N

Faster than a speeding poulet.

Owner/Operator Big 'B'
Experienced
10 years auto transport
2 years local/distance expedite
Laurel, MD (Washington DC area)
 

geo

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we have one of truck's that help's us out that has the same problem and he put's his ramp's down each time he need's them and some of places he goes to most have made a speical dock for him
good luck
 

Twmaster

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While my previous reply to Tony was in jest I too have the problem of being too short with the 'Big B'. The more I think about how to solve the problem the more my answer comes back as 'buy a dock high truck'.

--
Mike N

Faster than a speeding poulet.

Owner/Operator Big 'B'
Experienced
10 years auto transport
2 years local/distance expedite
Laurel, MD (Washington DC area)
 

ATeam

Senior Member
Retired Expediter
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While it may be possible to create dolly legs or some similar configuration that would lift the truck to dock high, you should also consider the pounds per square inch that will build under the feet of those legs when deployed. The weight of the truck will be distributed over a very small area, thereby increasing the pounds per square inch by an order of magnitude. Also consider the wight of the load, and of the forklift if one is used to load the truck. If the surface below the dolly legs is not sufficient, the legs could poke deep into the ground, damage the paved surface, and/or create a potentially dangerous situation for a fork lift driver, the truck driver that may be in the truck, and anyone else nearby.

It's a novel idea. Dropped trailers are supported by dolly legs and loaded with fork lifts all the time. If you proceed, it may be wise to consider the surface type the legs will be used on and the size of the feet. The bigger the feet, the lower the pounds per square inch.
 

ATeam

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Retired Expediter
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I thought about this a bit more overnight. Another point or two if I may. A mechanical device used to raise a truck to dock height should be extra-heavy-duty strong if it will be used to support a significant amount of weight. In determining the weight, don't forget to include any forklifts that may be used to load the truck.

When truck bodies fail (the box), it is sometimes because they got beat up over time by forklifts. I don't mean the obvious where forklift drivers pucture body walls or drive through roll-up doors. I'm talking about the pounding a truck body undergoes again and again and again when forklifts enter the unit.

The metal plate found along the edge of the back door in most box trucks is sometimes called a crash plate. It has that name for a reason. When a heavy forklift with a heavy load leaves the dock and enters your truck, a tremendous amount of force is instantly introduced to (crashed onto) your truck. How that force is "grounded" or transfered from the forklift tires to the ground is a function of numerous factors.

If not properly grounded, the truck body is stressed beyond it's design limits and failure may occur instantly or over time. This is especially a concern in reefer trucks where you want the body to remain "tight" so as to retain insulation value over the years.

Think of the Brooklyn Bridge or any other bridge. Engineers have a number of ways of transfering the weight of the bridge itself and the objects on it to the ground. That's what all the girders or cables you see overhead are for.

So too with a truck. The the crash plate, rear frame, body frame, box floor, truck suspension, dolly legs, and more all come into play as weight-transfering devices when a forklift enters the truck. If the components themselves are stressed beyond their original tolerances, or if a modification changes the original geometry a failure could occur.

Electric or hydraulic dolly legs designed to raise a short truck to dock height may well be able to do just that. However, doing so would change the angle of the truck from what the engineers intended. They did not calculate loading forces with the truck raised to an angle. They calculated the forces with the truck sitting level.

Such a modification may work just fine at the visible level. I'd be concerned about the unseen forces that shoot through a truck every time a forklift enters. I'd also worry about the dolly leg device suddenly giving way under the weight of a forklift. That would cause the truck and any forklift driver that happens to be inside or halfway between the building and the truck to be in serious danger.

Finally, while the shipper mentioned may allow such a setup at his docks, I'm not sure how many others would.
 

teacel

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Ateam thanks for pondering and pointing out the unthought-of possible problems and other issues I wasn’t aware of. Although the truck is only a 14ft box with a GVW of 12k and a forklift does not enter the truck box to load and/or unload, at times I do get loaded and/or unloaded by electric pallet jacks weighing 1k plus, thus possibly creating the problems mentioned.

After reviewing my options and weighing the over all cost verses using the ramps I decided to continue using the ramps. Infact the shipper is going to allow me to leave a set of ramps at their dock so I won’t have to lug them around to other locations where not needed. I guess my next project is to have a sleeve or pocket made and welded to the truck frame for holding a set of ramps.

AKA Tony C
 

ATeam

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Retired Expediter
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In the situation described, ramps would be the way I'd go were I in your shoes. You sometimes see ramps placed by shippers at their loading docks to accomodate non-dock-high trucks. It's a proven solution.
 

MSinger

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1997 Dodge Ram 3500 with 12' cube. Dock high with jackstands. 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel.


I had the same problem when I bought my truck. I took it to Lonnie's Truck and Trailer in Indianapolis, IN. They raised the box from 43" to 48" on the chassis using spacers and longer U-bolts to secure box to frame. They also had to lengthen the fuel fill hose. I also had them put on a set of used dolly legs on the back to make some of the union plants happy. They also replaced my step bumper with an ICC bar. Parts and labor was around $950. Granted my unit is on a truck chassis and not a van so the box is not connected to the cab so there were no seals between the cab and box to mess with. My roll-up door clearance is only 65" (short box) so I do not have to worry about forklifts entering the back. I carry my own pallet jack with me to load and unload with.
I used to drive a 3/4 ton Ram pickup with a high camper shell but I realized I was missing a lot of freight because of these silly union plants that require a dock high truck for anything that comes or goes. I found a niche that allows me to go into these places to get the one or two skids that used to go on a van but due to their own stupidity they are now paying straight truck rate for because they want dock high vehicles even though they have a perfectly good ramp.
No wonder cars are so expensive. No wonder everyone's moving to Mexico.
But hey if they want to pay the extra unneccessary freight fees they might as well pay them to me, right?
 

MSinger

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1997 Dodge Ram 3500 with 12' cube. Dock high with jackstands. 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel.





Mike,
I was thinking the same thing. The first thing that entered my mind was "a few fries short of a Happy Meal";)
 

Twmaster

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Msinger:

Nice niche. That's using your noggin!

Got any photos of that truck to share?

--
Mike N

Faster than a speeding poulet.

Owner/Operator Big 'B'
Experienced
10 years auto transport
2 years local/distance expedite
Laurel, MD (Washington DC area)
 

teacel

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That is a nice niche would love to do the same, but I have a van and don’t want the hassle of the seal and all.
Hey Mike, Do you have a head ach yet from banging your head???
 
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