Trailer Talk

Hydraulic Ramp Modules Now Convert High-Floor Vans into Auto Haulers

June 12, 2013

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Decking modules are battery powered and contain their own hydraulic equipment. This system is for a low-floor van; the designer is preparing modules for high-floor trailers. 
Decking modules are battery powered and contain their own hydraulic equipment. This system is for a low-floor van; the designer is preparing modules for high-floor trailers.

Household goods movers haul not just furniture, but sometimes automobiles owned by the people making the move. This of course enhances truckers’ revenue.

In 1989, while moving from southern California to central Indiana, my wife and I sent our ’64 Corvair convertible with the mover. The trucker, who was a bit on the obnoxious and intimidating side, drove it up a pair or ramps and into the van. What he didn’t do was properly secure it, and it rubbed against some pads and suffered some paint damage en route. (Don’t get me started on that!)

The trucker installed some decking over the car to carry some of our house stuff; that worked fine, and nothing fell through the roof of the car. That’s still commonly done, but a designer has a system to effectively deck the cars themselves.

Ernest Dandridge Carrier Design Services makes modular, hydraulically powered ramp-type decks that slide into a van via forklift and lock into the vertical logistics posts. They are battery powered and self-contained with their own hydraulic systems, says Ernest Dandridge Jr., who runs the company from McLean, Va.

“The upper decks of modules can hydraulically go down to the van floor, or raise flat or pivot on any angle to help with stacking of vehicles,” he said. “A single module can be placed in the rear of a van and it can both contain vehicles as well as help with lifting a vehicle up into the upper area of a van so a trucker can drive the vehicle forward onto a non-mechanical, fixed position parking area.

“Or multiple modules can be placed in a trailer to provide more vertical adjustment for the upper level vehicles to both be lifted up and park on. The yellow car [in the photo] was turned on an extreme angle to show the pivoting capability of the upper deck. Normally, an upper car would not be on this sharp angle during transit and a lower vehicle would be under it.

“Modules can help to haul trailer loads of vehicles or be used to help haul mixed loads of vehicles and dry cargo,” Dandridge said.

The module ramps have been available for low-floor Kentucky moving vans that use 19.5-inch wheels and tires. Now Dandridge is designing modules for use in high-floor vans that ride on more widely used 22.5-inch rubber.

“The big difference is in higher floor trailers there is not as much vertical interior space but these trailers are far more plentiful for someone wanting to enter the enclosed car hauling market, particularly with used Kentucky trailers,” he said. “The layout involves ‘low-profile’ stacking of vehicles.  Modules are positioned differently and upper vehicles are placed further ahead and lower vehicles are placed further rearward.”

If you’re interested, contact him at 703-904-1875 or [email protected]


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Author Bio

Tom Berg

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Senior Contributing Editor

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.


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