Suggestions to load 400lb tool into pickup bed

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Old 07-25-13, 09:25 AM
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Question Suggestions to load 400lb tool into pickup bed

Hey all,

I'm probably going to purchase a used air compressor this weekend, an 80 gallon unit that weighs around 400lb. My truck is a '95 Nissan Hardbody 4x2, stock ride height.

I'm wracking my brain for ways to load this compressor safely and upright into the bed of the truck. When I helped Dad get his 60 gallon compressor home, we essentially raised it up with cribbing, tilting it to one side, placing a block under that side, tilting it the other way, placing a block there, etc, back and forth until it was up high enough. It wasn't very safe and there were lots of us to help, and it was lighter weight than this unit.

So I'm considering my options. One thought was to use the engine hoist, but it would be impossible to keep the compressor level, and I'm worried about it tipping over because of the grab point being so low with the compressor on the ground. I may be able to cantilever it level with some barbell weights on the other side, but that's definitely odd and chancy.

I do have an appliance dolly. I'm also considering renting a short-load-height trailer with a ramp, but before I make the reservation I'd like to hear any other suggestions first...

Thanks!
 
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Old 07-25-13, 09:36 AM
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Have some fun. Rent a tow behind forklift.
 
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Old 07-25-13, 09:38 AM
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Are you looking for a method to load and unload regularly or simply load and remove sometime in the future?
When moving my tool chest and other large items from my old garage to the new place, I was working solo. What I ended up doing for the tool chest was lay a couple 2x6 or 2x8 (can't remember) onto the back of the van. I then tipped the chest onto the boards (that is a struggle by yourself). Once on the boards, I was able to left the low end, the boards leveled out with the chest, and slide the whole thing into the back of my wife's van.

For your compressor, could you lay it down on one side without damaging it?
Could be a quick and easy two person job if you could lay it down and use that method I used. Get it up into the truck, then with help stand it up and place it into location.

Edit:
Tried finding the weight online of my tool chest. It was sold by Costco a while back. Unfortunately couldn't find a weight listing.
Here is the chest loaded in the van. The hatch just closed.
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Edit #2:
Did a quick search to find out how heavy my tool chest was. The best I could find is a similar (not as deep) unit on the Sams club site weighing in at ~320lb (72"L x 20"W vs. mine at 21"W).
So although not nessissarily smart, I was able to move and load just over 300lb using a couple 2x6 planks.
 

Last edited by Northern Mike; 07-25-13 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 07-25-13, 10:08 AM
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I would tip the compressor into the bed of the truck and transport it lying down. If you can I'd drain the oil from the compressor first or put down cardboard in the bed to catch the spillage. Once you get the compressor home stand it upright and let it sit overnight to let any oil that got into the cylinder seep back down into the case. Top off the oil level and wire it up.
 
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Old 07-25-13, 10:45 AM
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Yeah, put it on its side. You should not transport it on its feet without some kind of a mounted shock absorber anyway - a good jolt may fracture the weld and ruin the tank.

If you want to make it easy on yourself, break it down to pump, motor, tank. 15 minutes of work and no puzzle. Put the pump and motor in the cab, tank in the bed.
 
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Old 07-25-13, 12:35 PM
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I'll probably lay it over then. When they're new they're palleted upright, just bolted down, so I figured that'd be best. I'd rather not have to disassemble as it's a three-piston unit, but I'll just drain it, probably could use fresh oil anyway.

There's a plastic bedliner in the truck, so it should slide in. Maybe I'll bring a long 2x4 and some lag bolts to attach across two of the four feet as somewhere to get purchase while lifting. It'll have to move about 30 miles, so tyig it down well is a must.
 
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Old 07-25-13, 12:48 PM
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Still thinking ou side the box. Tip it over and use an engine hoist.
 
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Old 07-25-13, 02:15 PM
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Yeah, but then I have to drag the engine hoist along too, and somehow make it fit in the bed next to the compressor...
 
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Old 07-25-13, 02:49 PM
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Take the tailgate off first, then load it. You don't want that much weight bending the center of the tailgate once all the weight is placed on it.
 
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Old 07-25-13, 03:06 PM
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Not saying that you necessarily would, but, depending on the model, it seems possible that you could damage an oil slinger, oil pickup, weights in a centrifugal unloader, or asomething like that by hauling it on its' side, so I would definitely consider pulling the pump anyway, and transporting that upright. And, if you were to do that, 4 more bolts and you can take the motor off as well. If you do decide to transport the whole thing on its' side, I would do as Chandler said, and pull the tailgate. If it's taller than the bed is long, I would leave the tailgate at home, as you may have a tough time getting it back on with the bottom of the compressor in the way.
 
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Old 07-25-13, 04:28 PM
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How about renting a small box truck with a powered tail gate. 1/2 day rental if you don't have far to drive.

Bud
 
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Old 07-25-13, 04:40 PM
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We did pull the tailgate when we loaded Dad's 60 gallon unit.

I'm leaning toward just renting a cheap u-haul trailer. They're only about $40 for the day if memory serves, and even if it lacks a proper ramp, if it's low enough to the ground then it's not that hard to boost the unit up to the deck height.
 
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Old 07-25-13, 11:29 PM
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Built something

Okay, built a ramp this evening.

Originally I started thinking about the "T" shape. A 2x6 across the top, periodically attached to a 2x4 or 2x6 underneath. I figured that a flat 2x6 was a nice deck width for a ramp, but was too flimsy, and adding the under-part would take care of that. Two of these T shapes, one for each wheel of the dolly should work, if I can keep them from moving relative to each other. As I was working I realized I had an old aluminum C-channel telco rack that was about 5' long, which would both negate the need for the use of more wood underneath the deck and would be lighter and stronger than wood would have been, and it was just sitting there with its steel fasteners slowly rusting.

Called Dad, his appliance dolly has wheels on 19.5" centers. That was a very good bit of spacing as the telco rack is for equipment with 19" ears. I placed the rack on the bumper in the step/ball area, and used a slightly-too-short 2x4 to test-fit the wood deck of the ramp, and came up with 7'3", or 87". The rise is 23" without extra weight on it, so the slope is around 18 unloaded, which will reduce when there's weight on the ramp.

The rack uses 12-24 screws, which as a size is apparently much less common than I thought. The local Ace Hardware had very few screws in this size and they were ridiculously expensive. I ended up almost buying them out, getting sixteen 2" countersunk screws and sixteen nuts, and installed them through holes drilled through the wood, threaded into the rack, and then the nuts were put on for good measure (remember the rack is aluminum).

After test-fitting it I was a little worried about it bowing at the top and the possibility of those screws at the top failing to hold the wood to the rack, so I installed a flange thing as a support that sits in the step space to add some extra support.

All in all I think it turned out well, and it's the right size for the regular handtrucks that I have too.

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Old 07-26-13, 04:29 AM
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Good idea. Or you could have used 8' 4x4's sitting on the bumper, which would have left very little lip to transverse. Spanners across the bottom would keep them from spreading and would "cradle" the tank on it's way up.
 
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Old 07-27-13, 06:10 PM
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It worked. Some things could have been a touch better, but it worked well enough that even if I don't improve it that's fine. It could use some plywood across the center to walk on. It could use some antiskid stickers too.

The compressor was a real bear to move. The sticker on the side says that it's 361lb, and I believe it. The appliance dolly held it, but it was very difficult to tilt. The dolly had a castered drop segment that let the whole assembly sit at an angle, but I couldn't use the castered part while on the ramp, so it was hard to keep it from tipping too far, needed Dad's help to straighten it up once it was off the ramp out of the truck.

Now, all I have to do is to pour a pad, bolt it down, wire it, plumb it, and build an enclosure to protect it. No problem... *grin*
 
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Old 07-27-13, 06:40 PM
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Sweet!

.
 
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Old 07-27-13, 07:33 PM
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That looks like quite a dandy of a compressor! Congrats!
 
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Old 07-27-13, 08:28 PM
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It sure is! Home Depot sells it for about $950. 14CFM and 90PSI, a bit higher than most single-stage compressors. I got it, a regulator, a ball valve, a regular hose, a self-retracting reel (with a hose that'll probably need replacement due to sun damage from being mounted outside) and an air-powered grease gun for $440.

It looks unused and stored away from things that would scratch it. He said he ran it to break it in but didn't really use it past that. Could be right, but either way, it's WAY more compressor than what I've got now and until I moved it there wasn't a scratch on it...

I found the manuals online, and there were some good suggestions for positioning of filters and dryers and drip tubes. I'll see what I end up doing.
 
 

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