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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A couple years back I picked up a small, 4' x 8' tilting trailer to use for various cargo and utility purposes. It's one of those where the tongue extends below the deck to a pivot point and is secured in place at the front of the deck with pins. I have also been using for loading up any of my tractor's when I need to use them elsewhere. However, after an incident involving a 30" Craftsman rear engine rider flipping over while loading, I've been working on making some improvements. I'm almost done installing a winch, but I'm not making any progress with upgrading the tilt function.

It's a real struggle trying to keep it tilted while trying to load anything. I typically have to weigh the rear end down with cinder blocks to keep it tilted. However, whenever I need to load up my SS14 I have to get it partially onto the trailer so the front wheels will keep the trailer tilted, and then remove the cinder blocks to make room for the mower deck.

I've been looking into using hydraulics, and even rigging up an electric trailer jack. But for the life of me I can't seem to find anything solid on the best way to mount anything. Has anyone done something like this? Wouldn't mind tips, tricks, and suggestions. And it's no problem doing electrical. I'm almost finished installing the wiring and battery box for the winch, just ran into general complications that have slowed down my overall progress.
 

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Perhaps an electric actuator could tilt the bed?
 
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Sitting on level ground hooked up to your tow vehicle, how much height from the tongue to the trailer deck when it is tilted?

Where I see the biggest problem is getting enough stroke to get the trailer deck up to where it needs to be, then be able to lower all the way down to the tongue height for transport.

I ask this because I built a 4 x 6 foot tilt trailer and to get the deck rear on the ground the front is almost 4 feet above the trailer tongue. Probably the cheapest and strongest method to get that kind of height, a handy man jack between the tongue and deck frame. Build a metal base that the handyman jack base will just fit in, attach that to the trailer tongue and attach a metal bracket that the jack can catch to raise/lower the deck. But that also means carrying the jack with you everywhere you go that you need to raise the deck. It also means jacking the jack down manually once loaded.
To use hydraulics or a linear actuator will most likely require a scissor jack type linkage under the trailer deck to get the height, which would mean extensive mods to he frame of what you have if it is anything like what I have in my mind for how it looks.
 

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You need something that holds he trailer deck in tilted position yet will pivot to transport position when load moves past the center of gravity. This is needed so you do not have to rely on tractor brakes, etc holding the tractor on tilted frame while you get off to operate hydraulics, jack, etc. Have you thought about using a pneumatic strut(s) like used on pickup toppers/hatchbacks. I had a 5th wheel camper years ago that had one under the master bedroom mattress to hold the mattress elevated while accessing storage under the mattress. Took all my weight to collapse it.

Gabby
 

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Since there is a winch installed, he don't even need to be on the mower as it is loaded and brakes will not be holding it on the trailer as the deck is lowered. If his deck is anywhere close to being as steep as mine is when tilted, the tractor will not drive up the slope under it's own power anyway.

Since mine is towed behind my tractor about all I ever haul on it that is wheeled is a garden tiller. I just use a 2x4 cut to the right length to go from the deck to the ground to keep it tilted as I load the tiller, then back the trailer up to let it down. Simple, cheap and strong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Since there is a winch installed, he don't even need to be on the mower as it is loaded and brakes will not be holding it on the trailer as the deck is lowered. If his deck is anywhere close to being as steep as mine is when tilted, the tractor will not drive up the slope under it's own power anyway.

Since mine is towed behind my tractor about all I ever haul on it that is wheeled is a garden tiller. I just use a 2x4 cut to the right length to go from the deck to the ground to keep it tilted as I load the tiller, then back the trailer up to let it down. Simple, cheap and strong.
Well, it definitely feels quite steep, but not too steep for a tractor to ascend. However, there have been complications from driving a tractor onto it like this. Go a little too far and it slams down hard. Also, if the weight balance and approach aren't quite right the tractor will flip over backwards. I'd like to not have any further trips to the ER because of that.

And I've gotten a little goofed on my winch install for now. Things have been nutty and my conversion from a hand winch to an electric winch have hit some snags. Crazy times at work, COVID, other nonsense... I need a vacation from my life. =P
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I hope these photos are helpful. I measured the lift distance between mounting holes for the pins that hold the deck down to the tongue, the mount holes in the bracket on the deck are at the very front. It looks to be something like 9 1/4" between hole centers.
 

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Simple solution; forget the tilt feature and get a couple of 8' long 2x8 planks to use for a ramp.

Reasons:
  • Current bed angle to level ground using tilt is 30° +/-. 1°.
  • Ramp angle will be less than 20°.

Much more conducive to safe loading and less hassle than other methods that include use of the tilt feature. Build brackets on the sides of the trailer for ramp stowage so that they can double as sideboards for containing loose fill.
 
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That is a lot different than I had pictured in my mind. I had pictured the trailer tongue going all the way back to the axle, which is how mine is.

Cost wise, Tudors would be the cheapest and simplest fix by a long way.

Linear actuator would probably be the next one up in cost, but I would be a little concerned about strength and how much force the actuator would have to overcome to tilt the bed, which would be variable related to how much weight was on the bed and where it was located.

Hydraulics would be the most expensive route, but also the strongest. It would also take up the most room, Tank, valve cylinder.

With either linear actuator or hydraulics I would scrap the winch mount you now have and make it much stronger. A lower mount in the area behind the tongue cross member to fasten the end of the rod, and then a mount in front of the winch mount for the cylinder to attach to. The cylinder is going to have to stick up above the tongue.

Your only other option would be a scissor lift, but that would require a lot of fabrication and again even more money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Simple solution; forget the tilt feature and get a couple of 8' long 2x8 planks to use for a ramp.

Reasons:
  • Current bed angle to level ground using tilt is 30° +/-. 1°.
  • Ramp angle will be less than 20°.

Much more conducive to safe loading and less hassle than other methods that include use of the tilt feature. Build brackets on the sides of the trailer for ramp stowage so that they can double as sideboards for containing loose fill.
I was honestly considering that, as well. Figured I could use the stake pockets on one side to mount a ramp rack or equivalent. I was just initially thinking hydraulics since I was already installing a battery box and other related wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That is a lot different than I had pictured in my mind. I had pictured the trailer tongue going all the way back to the axle, which is how mine is.

Cost wise, Tudors would be the cheapest and simplest fix by a long way.

Linear actuator would probably be the next one up in cost, but I would be a little concerned about strength and how much force the actuator would have to overcome to tilt the bed, which would be variable related to how much weight was on the bed and where it was located.

Hydraulics would be the most expensive route, but also the strongest. It would also take up the most room, Tank, valve cylinder.

With either linear actuator or hydraulics I would scrap the winch mount you now have and make it much stronger. A lower mount in the area behind the tongue cross member to fasten the end of the rod, and then a mount in front of the winch mount for the cylinder to attach to. The cylinder is going to have to stick up above the tongue.

Your only other option would be a scissor lift, but that would require a lot of fabrication and again even more money.
My primary concern has been determining the most appropriate mechanism to use. I know I wouldn't need anything super strong because the odds of needing manage anything heavier than a lawn/garden tractor are extremely low. I'm also quite unsure of the appropriate lift geometry, and if the trailer is even large enough to properly accommodate it.
 

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I would put stake pockets on both sides of the trailer, one ramp equals one trailer bed side. So two ramps, two bed sides. Now you only need a head board and a tailgate to be able to haul gravel, firewood or what ever.

Looking at that tongue material that is a rather light weight trailer.
I would be concerned about the weight that any jacking system is going to put on the tongue in a location it was not engineered to be.

I have no idea what your tractor is, how much it weighs and any dimensions on the trailer or even the trailer rated capacity.

That said, my tractor is a 22 HP Craftsman GT, it weighs about 1200 pounds with double wheel weights and steel plates I have added to it to be able to cut my yard. If I were building a tilt mechanism on a trailer for me, it would be able to support in excess of 1000 pounds. 1200 pounds of tractor, 200 pounds of me, 1400 pounds possibly on the lift if I pulled the tractor on the trailer to far. That would be a big bang if the jack collapsed, and I could see that tongue getting bent when it slammed down. I could even possibly see me getting bent when it slammed down, not a good thing.

Tudor's ramps are making more sense all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I would put stake pockets on both sides of the trailer, one ramp equals one trailer bed side. So two ramps, two bed sides. Now you only need a head board and a tailgate to be able to haul gravel, firewood or what ever.

Looking at that tongue material that is a rather light weight trailer.
I would be concerned about the weight that any jacking system is going to put on the tongue in a location it was not engineered to be.

I have no idea what your tractor is, how much it weighs and any dimensions on the trailer or even the trailer rated capacity.

That said, my tractor is a 22 HP Craftsman GT, it weighs about 1200 pounds with double wheel weights and steel plates I have added to it to be able to cut my yard. If I were building a tilt mechanism on a trailer for me, it would be able to support in excess of 1000 pounds. 1200 pounds of tractor, 200 pounds of me, 1400 pounds possibly on the lift if I pulled the tractor on the trailer to far. That would be a big bang if the jack collapsed, and I could see that tongue getting bent when it slammed down. I could even possibly see me getting bent when it slammed down, not a good thing.

Tudor's ramps are making more sense all the time.
The trailer already has two stake pockets on each side of the deck, so that's not a problem. And the more I thought about it yesterday, the more I figured that just using ramps would be the best way to go. As far as tractor's go, the "fleet" consists of a Sears SS14, Sears SS16, Sears 18/6, and a Craftsman built somewhere in the 90's. I guess it's a Die Hard II, but not really certain. They're not particularly large tractors, but I've definitely seen smaller.

I was thinking I might just go get a set of those wide aluminum ramps. They seemed pretty useful considering how much other stuff I tend to load onto the trailer and I've never been fully trusting of using boards for ramps. Kind of got an idea into my head of drilling a pair of holes into the forward flange of each ramp and then drilling matching holes in the plywood on the deck, and then use some long 3/8" clevis pins to secure the ramps into place when in use. Make a few sets of holes for various ramp positions.
 

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I loaded my 2250 lb MF1655 with a FEL and 5' weighted back blade onto my trailer many times using 8' 2x8s with no problem.. I somehow doubt that an 800 lb Sears SS with a mower will be any riskier.

I will admit that my 1500 lb MF12H with a FEL did break an 8' 2x8 when loading on the trailer. That might have had something to do with the big knot right where it broke.
 
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