Tech tip 25 Loading Ramp Technique
| Tech tip 25
Loading Ramp Technique
The following procedures are for reference use only and are in no way an endorsement for violating the ramp manufacturers Cautions & Warnings
Danger of serious personal injury exists. Serious personal injury can occur when using a loading ramp.
· Never ride an ATV up a loading ramp.
· Always attach safety chains if provided.
· Make sure the safety chains are properly adjusted for length to prevent kick back of the loading ramp.
Metal loading ramps generally can be found in two materials, steel and aluminum. Most styles are either bi-fold or tri-fold. We have found the aluminum tri-folds are the easiest to handle. All commercial loading ramps are load rated. Choose a ramp with a load rating of at least 1000lbs.If you have a heavy-weight 4×4 and ride the ATV up the ramp and you don’t happen to be a 5ft.2in. SYT (sweet young thing) then consider a 1500 lb. load rating.
There are two basic construction types for these ramps, diamond mesh and rungs. If you plan on loading something like a riding lawnmower besides your ATV, then go with mesh. The smaller lawnmower tires fall into the space between the rungs and create a bumpy load and unload. However the rung-style loading ramp provides greater traction to an ATV tire if the ramp angle is steep or the conditions are wet.
You can also build a ramp with a ramp kit consisting of a metal end that accepts a 2×8 or 2×12 wood plank. If you go this route werecommend NOT using a 2×8 for any ATV/rider combo that would gross over 600lbs. Why? Because 2×8’s just don’t have the strength to carry an ATV AND a rider safely during loading. Note how the 2×12 board is deflecting under the weight of the Prairie and rider (830 lbs!) If you get this much deflection with a 2×12, imagine how much you would get with just a 2×8! Also note how little the aluminum ramp deflects. One final note: When lumber deflects it can suddenly break! An aluminum or steel ramp will bend. We would also recommend the purchasing of a traction kit for the wood. When wet or snowy, plain lumber provides little traction, especially at a steep load angle. Plus, the chances of slipping off the side of a wet slippery plank are greatly reduced if your tires start to spin.
Danger of serious personal injury exists. Serious personal injury can occur when using individual loading ramps.
· Aligning individual ramps to correctly correspond to your ATV’s track.
· Loosing traction and spinning sideways will result in the ATV slipping sideways off the ramp, tipping sideways and possibly falling on the rider causing injury.
· Never use a loading ramp without safety chains.
· Always attach loading ramps safety chains to the trucks tailgate retainers.
· Ensure safety chain length does not allow rearward movement of the loading ramp
How many of you have ever bothered to adjust the loading ramp’s safety chains (if you even bother to use them at all!)? Place the loading ramp on the edge of the tailgate and attach the safety chains to the latches of the tailgate. Now pull the loading ramp rearward. If the majority of the flat lip of the loading ramp is pulled off the edge of the tailgate or it can be pulled completely off the tailgate, the chains need to be adjusted. As shown in the photo at right, the further safety chain has been shortened 4 links over the nearer chain.
With your safety chains properly adjusted for length, try to locate either a mound or wall to raise the bottom of the loading ramp or a ditch to back the truck into to lower the bed height. Either of these will reduce the loading ramps incline angle. It is always best to load with the least ramp angle but this is not always possible. I suggest you practice loading from a wall, loading from a ditch and loading without the aid of any angle reduction whatsoever.
With a 2×4 machine, especially at steeper ramp angles, speed (momentum) is more important than traction, especially if you have to ride up and over a wheel well. It will take practice to ride a 2×4 ATV up a steep angled loading ramp at +10mph and hop over a wheel well and come to a stop before hitting the rear of the bed. (See warning below) It is best to cut throttle as you start up the wheel well (or the helper ramp) and apply the front brakes as you reach the top and then slide down on the other side of the wheel well into position.
Danger of serious personal injury exists. Serious personal injury can occur when loading a 2×4 ATV as described above. The above procedure is for expert riders only.
One final note after loading; remember to turn the key off and remove it, turn the fuel off and set the parking brake. For manual clutch machines, leave the machine in gear. Fold up your ramp and slide it under the ATV securing it from sliding out if you have to leave the tailgate down.