MR750 Manual Loading Ramp-Exterior Dovetail Ramp Comparison
What’s the Best Box Truck Loading Ramp?
Let’s analyze two very popular manual box truck loading ramps to determine the best option for your company. We’ll be looking at the exterior dovetail loading ramp and the MR-750 bolt-on loading ramp from Super Lawn Trucks and Super Lawn Technologies.
Notice the compact fit and design of the MR-750 loading ramp allows the ramps to fold tightly up against the rear of the box truck body adding just 10 inches of length to the truck length. The exterior dovetail ramp extends 52” from the rear of the box truck rear door frame adding over 4 feet of length to the truck.
This is an important difference. In our study of efficient truck body and loading ramp design, a shorter body length or footprint allows the truck to require less space in crowded storage yards or inside of garages. A shorter truck body design allows the truck driver to park in standard size parking spaces and allowing for easy entry or exit into tight drives and job sites.
Owners of the dovetail loading ramp report frequent damages to client property such as mail boxes due to excessive swing radius and longer truck body.
When deciding which loading ramp is best for your needs, you should pay careful attention to the overall length of the ramp. In this example you’ll see the MR-750 loading ramp deploys into a 10 feet long ramp while the exterior dovetail ramp design is just 9 feet in length. This is a critical concern for anyone loading wheeled equipment with low ground clearance such as zero turn lawn mowers. The lower the angle of inclination going into the rear of the truck, the safer the ramp will be for the equipment operators.
There must be a fair analysis of the amount of weight the loading ramp will add to the truck chassis cab. Overloading trucks can expose your company to hefty DOT fines. Further, adding unnecessary weight to your cab/chassis will decrease fuel economy for the life of the truck. Let’s look at the weight comparison of these two identical box trucks with identical cab/chassis, identical box van, identical wheel base and identical options. The only difference between these two trucks is the model of loading ramp installed on the rear of the truck. After taking each truck through the certified CAT weight scale, you’ll see the exterior dovetail design weighs almost 400 pounds MORE than the MR-750 loading ramp design. That’s equivalent to carrying around an extra 36” walk behind lawn mower. Or…you might say, the exterior dovetail ramp design sucks 400 pounds out of your cargo capacity for the life of your truck.
Safe truck and truck body design requires careful analysis of the weight distribution of the truck load. In this weight distribution analysis, you’ll see that adding an additional 400 pounds of weight 48” behind the rear of the truck body COULD create a significant weight distribution problem. Adding weight far behind the truck rear axle actually REMOVES weight from the steer axle of the truck. An unbalanced weight distribution can reduce braking efficiency AND create uneven or pre-mature tire wear. It’s not easy to put a price on safety, but one accident due to impaired braking capacity could be devastating for your employees and the public. On the other hand – simple math will show you that reducing tire life by 25% to 50% will add $500 to $1500 per year to the annual operating cost of the work truck.
We should examine the maintenance requirements of the two ramps. Each ramp system uses springs to assist the operator to lift and lower the loading ramp. The exterior dovetail loading ramp uses a coil spring design. Our experience shows the life of the coil spring to be significantly LESS than the gas spring design used with the MR-750 loading ramp. When you look at the replacement costs of a coil spring vs the gas spring – here’s the numbers….approximately $75 for the coil spring vs $59 for the gas spring. The gas spring costs less. But the BIGGER issue is the LABOR required to replace a worn-out spring. The gas spring is easily removed and replaced with simple hand tools. However, replacing the coil spring will require significantly more labor, significantly more hand tools and exposure to equipment down time. Frankly, our experiences show after going through the aggravating replacement of a coil spring a couple of times, the equipment owners may skip replacing the spring and require employees to lift 85 pounds of gates 2x per stop without the help of the coil spring. If you make 10 stops per day, that’s 20 more lifts x 85 pounds or almost one TON of daily lifting. This is labor intensive and small employees may not be strong enough to lift 85 pounds 20 x per day. Failed coil springs can expose your company to serious workers compensation claims that could cost your company a fortune over time.
But here’s an equally important problem. Failed coil springs means the 85 pounds of steel is often DROPPED to the ground crashing down onto the surface. If your company provides services to properties with brick pavers, decorative concrete or asphalt drives the weight of the steel ramp crashing down can expose your company to costly repairs to your client’s property, lost business because of client dissatisfaction or serious injuries to people.
Let’s examine the installation process of the MR-750 bolt-on loading ramp verses the exterior dovetail loading ramp. You’ll see the compact and well thought out design of the MR-750 loading ramp allows for ramp installation without modification to the rear bumper, rear lights rear door or truck tag bracket. The MR-750 loading ramp requires no welding and can be installed in just a few hours by anyone who can read step by step instructions or watch a well-thought-out installation video.
The exterior dovetail installation process will require significant modifications to the rear of the box truck. Welding, cutting, painting and modification of electrical systems for rear lights is required to install the exterior dovetail ramp. Further, when you build a truck and follow the weight distribution best practices, the cab chassis you select may need to have a longer wheelbase just to be compliant with the cab/chassis body builder guidelines. In a side by comparison of the installation labor required to install these two ramps, the exterior dovetail required 6 more hours on installation labor than the bolt-on design of the MR-750.
Another area of cost of ramps could include common carrier shipping. The MR-750 loading ramps fold neatly onto a shipping pallet and can stacked for a cost-efficient compact shipping solution. Typical shipping costs for an exterior dovetail ramp will typically cost 2 times that of the MR-750 loading ramp.
We understand that personal preference, initial cost and your specific application may point you towards either of these loading ramp options. That’s why we make each product available directly from www.superlawntrucks.com. You may order online 24 hours a day from our SLT store. Discounts are available for multiple ramp orders and the discounts are applied at the time of check-out from our secure shopping cart. Shipping is calculated separately and will not be charged until your order ships. Regardless of the type of loading ramp you need, Super Lawn Trucks stands ready to ship products quickly directly to your location or directly to a local truck up fit company of your choice.
We hope the video above is helpful to you as you consider your loading ramp options. We look forward to working for you very soon!