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my latest project, harbor freight truck bed crane

19304 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  lockey32
i've been meaning to install this crane for 2 years. i finally got some time to do it yesterday.
i bought the crane used from a friend who removed the manual cable winch and installed a 12 volt 2,000lb harbor freight 2.0 winch. i went to a car audo shop and bought a big heavy 4 pin connector so i can disconnect the remote and stow it in the truck.
the crane is designed to swivel. its really tough to swivel when theres a load. i may need to weld a 1 or 2 inch section of i inch id pipe sideways to the top of the mast and use the jack handle to swivel the crane. there's a grease fitting on the top to lube the joint between the top of the mast and the tower, i'm going to wait untill i paint the whole thing black before i put any grease on it.



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I picked up a crane very similar to that one at a flea market for 20 bucks a few months ago--it's hand winch had a stripped gear and the bottle jack's pump piston had pulled the pivot pin out,I fixed the jack,but haven't fooled with the winch yet--I have electric ones I could adapt or a worm gear hand cranked one I could swap on it...I've been wanting to put it on my '82 K2500 ,but it's stepside bed has little room and I'd prefer to mount it on the outside of the bed between the right rear fender and'll take some engineering to make a sturdy enough bracket to do it however,and my trucks frame aint in pristine shape,so if I do put it on it I'll have to be carefull not to pick up really heavy objects..

I have a flatbed like yours I kept off my last 4x4 plow truck that also had a crane setup like these,only home built out of a railroad traffic gate lift..I really tweaked the frame on that truck,I used it to haul scrap and lawn tractors,engines,and did deliveries with it,when guys wanted an engine or tranny from the junkyard but lacked a truck to haul it with...

It's very important to have a "foot" that you can lower to the ground while using the crane,so the weight gets put on that instead of the trcks springs and frame rail--I neglected to use mine too many times when I was in a rush,and more than once I lifted the drivers side front tire off the ground when I lifted a heavy load with the crane (mounted on the right rearmost corner of the truck)..when my truck finally rotted away and blew the TH350 tranny (lost reverse!),,I decided to part it out,and when I removed the flat bed,the frane rail on the crane side was a good 2" lower than the other one!..

I made a "foot" out of two peices of square tube that slide inside one another ,it had holes punched in it about every inch (was street sign posts) and I welded a bumper jack base plate to one end and bolted the other end to the flat bed--when I went to use the crane I'd pull a pin and let the foot drop to the ground and re-pin it so that supported all the weight and kept the truck from tilting,which can cause the crane's load to suddenly shift and swing,pinning you between it and the truck!..the home built crane had a handle on it so you had some leverage to swing things into the bed,but sometimes 3' long wasn't enough,and you had to push the load itself to get it to budge and swing in---and be careful it didn't pull you in with it!--once you get 500+ lbs moving it can whip you around like a rag doll...

The crane I bought like yours had about 10 lbs of grease on the mast where the 2 peices slid over each other,probably to ease the friction when trying to rotate a load into the bed..these things are very handy but I have a few warnings..

One,you'll be easily injured or worse if your not dilligent while using the crane...NEVER trust the winch or the cable,or the jack to hold the load,and dont get under the load,EVER..I've had a 350 chevy engine crash inches from the feet when the hook on my crane decided to snap off as I was trying to push the engine into the bed!..luckily it was a junk motor I was going to scrap,and it landed on dirt,nothing broke!(can bet if it were a good engine it would have cracked like an egg!)..

Two,if your anything like me,once you have a crane,every hunk of iron in the surroundng counties will end up in YOUR yard,ones you previously couldn't latch onto because you had no way to get them into your truck!..I now have a yard full of "trreasures" I hauled home with mine,some of which I wish I had ot!..and I'll need a crane to haul them away when the day comes....
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Have one on my 5x10 utility trailer, works great. Installed it to save backaches.
Tpolly: Rush Center says hi.
Nice job getting that crane mounted! I think you're going to love it and work the bejunior out of it. :fing32:
Years ago we bought a Northern Hyd. truck bed crane and modified it to our needs and we're real happy with it. Here are some ideas to share.
We made the base larger and connected webs to the top plate. The base mounts in different places on the flat bed to make it more useful. It swivels on a big thick washer of that slipery plastic used on router tables, etc.
We welded 2 receviers on the back of the flatbed for stabalizers, they are adjustable and use a simple 1/2" pin.
We added a winch and 70' of cable
A 12' extension for greater reach
It works for placing shingles on a 2nd floor roof
Or loading 700 lb rocks
Or lowering a fellow MTF member into his well while mounted to a garden tractor
The truck looks stout! Load it safe. Use as large as you can 1/4" plate under, for a washer to spread the load and prevent distortion. :fing02:

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Here's mine and how i monted it , all the way across the bed and to the fram . It will pick up more than it's safe .


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