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How to attach a rope pulley system to an extension ladder

Updated February 21, 2017

Rope pulley systems are labour saving devices on extension ladders. A pulley attached to the top run of the non-operating half of the extension ladder assists with raising and lowering the operating half of the extension ladder. Pulleys bolt onto the top rang with a simple bracket that attaches to the top of the pulley. The bracket wraps around the top of the rang and the pulley rests below the rang.

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  1. Lay extension ladder down flat on a work surface.

  2. Slide the bracket over the top wrung of the non-operating half of the ladder. Position the bracket off to one side, approximately one-quarter of the way out from one edge of the rang. The bracket rests over the rang with the mounting holes below it.

  3. Align the mounting hole in the pulley with the mounting holes in the bracket. Push the bolt through the holes in the bracket and pulley. Insert the washer over the end of the bolt and thread on the nut with your fingers.

  4. Adjust one wrench to fit over the nut and the other to fit over the head of the bolt. Turn the nut clockwise to tighten it to the rang while holding the head of the bolt still with the other wrench.

  5. Wrap the rope around a lower rang on the operating half of the extension ladder. The rope has a loop at one end. Thread the non-looped end through the looped end so that the rope is securely wrapped around the lower rang. Pull the non-looped end up the length of the ladder and thread it through the top opening in the pulley. Tie a knot in the non-looped end of the rope. Pull down on the knotted end of the rope to raise the ladder up. Extension ladders have catches that hold the ladder at various heights. Raise the ladder up slightly above the catch nearest the height you want and lower the ladder onto the catches. Let the rope hang down to the ground. Pull down on the rope to raise the ladder up, release the catches and use the rope to lower the ladder. The rope does not get tied off, it simply facilitates the raising and lowering of the ladder until it reaches the ladder catches at the given height intervals.

  6. Tip

    Store the ladder in a dry place out of the weather to protect the pulley and rope system from damage over time.


    Tighten the pulley securely.

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Things You'll Need

  • Extension ladder replacement pulley kit
  • 2 adjustable wrenches

About the Author

Jonah Morrissey has been writing for print and online publications since 2000. He began his career as a staff reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Morrissey specializes in topics related to home-and-garden projects, green living and small business. He graduated from Saint Michael's College, earning a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism and mass communications.

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