Adding a truck lift crane to the back of a pickup truck will make unloading and loading cargo easier. Available as powered or manual cranes, no matter the manufacturer of the pickup crane, the instructions for mounting a pickup truck lift crane are the same. The common element of the design of these cranes is they all use a base plate and pedestal for support. This lessens the amount of space the crane will take up in the bed.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Permanent marker
- Box knife
- Drill with metal bit (bit sized to match bolts)
- Thread locker adhesive
- Socket set
- 1/4-inch steel plate (if desired)
- Oxy-Acetylene Torch (if desired)
Place the base plate of the lift crane into position on the truck bed before the crane is assembled. Place the plate to one side of the truck bed so the crane will not take up too much available cargo space and near enough to the edge of the truck bed that the lift arm of the crane will be able to reach cargo easily. Do not place the base plate closer than 3 inches to the edge or the potential for the weight of the cargo on the crane bending the edge of the bed will be increased.
Check underneath the bed to make sure that the base plate is not set over the fuel filler tube or any electrical wiring. Adjust the placement if necessary.
Trace the outer edges of the base plate and the mark the centres of the bolt holes on the bed of the truck with a permanent marker. Remove the base plate.
Cut out the shape of the base plate from the truck bed lining, if a lining is installed, using a box knife. Place the base plate in the hole created and remark the centres of the bolt holes. If there is no truck bed lining, this step may be skipped.
Drill through the truck bed where the centres of the bolt holes are marked.
Assemble the lift crane according to the manufacturer's instructions and lift it into place on the truck bed. Make sure that the bolt holes in the base plate match the holes drilled through the bed.
Place a washer on each of the bolts and then push the bolts through the base plate so the washer and head of the bolt are on the top side of the base plate.
Slide a washer on the bottom of each bolt, followed by a nut. Spin the nut clockwise by hand until the nut has almost reached the underside of the bed.
Coat the bolt threads between the washer and nut (under the truck bed) with thread adhesive. Spin the nut by hand until the washer is tight against the underside of the truck bed.
Use a socket wrench and socket to tighten the nuts on the bolts completely. Alternate the bolts being worked on, do not tighten one bolt all the way but work on each bolt a little at a time so the plate above will be remain balanced.
Tips and warnings
- Add extra support to the crane by attaching a 1/4 steel plate under the truck bed that covers the area of the top base plate. This will prevent the bolts from tearing into the bed when under heavy load. Use a plate that is 1 inch larger then the base plate. Mark the plate where the bolt holes need to be to match the plate. Burn the holes out with an oxyacetylene torch. Place the plate on the underneath of the bed and pass the bolts from the top through the base and support plate. Proceed to attach the bottom washers and nuts.
- Do not install the lift crane alone. If the crane falls it can cause serious injury. Have a helper hold it in place while tightening the bolts on the underside of the bed.
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