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Old 06-16-2019, 06:47 PM   #1
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Hydralift V conventional M/C trailer

I'm still combing the forums for information, but I've only got a few days before having to make up my mind about carrying a motorcycle with a DP. I'm searching for my first class A and I'm due to go look at one this week.

I've stumbled across a 38' Freightliner-based, 1999 Coachman. It has a 275 ISB, single slide, rear radiator. It's also got this monster "Hydralift" attached to the back. I'm not real excited about a single slide (I'll be full-timing it) or the early ISB/rear radiator, but I do have a mid-sized motorcycle that I'd like to bring along when I travel. The Hydralift seems to get good reviews on the forums here, but I have not seen it compared to a traditional motorcycle trailer. So for those of you who have done it both ways, and those of you who have an opinion about the better way, tell me: Is the Hydralift so much better and more convenient than a traditional trailer that I've got to have it at the expense of a larger engine and more interior room? Or is it hydra-hype -- a novelty answer to a question nobody asked?
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:58 PM   #2
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I would not buy a coach that is not exactly what I want to fulltime in just because it has a motorcycle lift on it.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:23 PM   #3
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I would not buy a coach that is not exactly what I want to fulltime in just because it has a motorcycle lift on it.
I agree.

I've never full-timed in a motorhome before. So what do I know? I've spent a lot of time living on boats. I've been in mobile homes, I spent two years living off my motorcycle trike, and this last winter I moved into a '93, 17' Layton TT.

I don't imagine any of those housing modes compare to what I'm considering now. So what I'm trying to find out is how, if at all, the lift factors into the tradeoffs. Is it a huge convenience, or an expensive novelty?
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:31 PM   #4
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Will you be towing a Toad? That will answer the question about the trailer.
If no Toad, the trailer hauls more stuff than just the bike. And, you can store stuff in the trailer when you are camped.
The hydralift makes it easier to maneuver / backing.
Loading / unloading I suspect is still easier with a trailer, though I have never used a hydralift just seen videos.
The trailer protects the bike against elements better.
The trailer is easier for someone to hit on the road.
The $'s to add a hyrdra vs. a trailer is about a wash. But the RV already has a Hydra so you shouldn't be paying what it's worth.
Trailer takes a little $ to register.
I am guessing maintenance is a wash for both.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:14 PM   #5
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Iíd obviously opt for the lift (see sig block) as it allows you to pull a toad. Quite a few of us that want all the toys. Sure, itís not as clean as an enclosed trailer but it isnít bad. Most of us arenít driving on a lot of unpaved roads.
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Old 06-17-2019, 02:21 AM   #6
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There could be a trailer, but I don't see a toad right now. I've been thinking about converting the Layton TT into a tool and toyhauler. It will fit my tools and "stuff" and the trike. If I can leave the bike out of the trailer mix, then I also have some convenient climate controlled shop space -- the TT has a furnace and roof a/c. If I have to carry the bike in the trailer, accessing the shop space becomes a lot less convenient.
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Old 06-17-2019, 04:22 AM   #7
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The bike lift is great if you want the ease of backing up when you need to and you don't want to deal with the extra 20+ feet the trailer adds. The Hydralift is the Cadillac of lifts.

You can add a trailer or a toad later - IF the trailer hitch and rear axle can take the additional load. Many times the rear axle (and tire capacity) will be near max on a single axle coach once you load all your gear and consider the extra 1,000 lbs for the bike and carrier.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:58 AM   #8
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The other question to ask is if the rear axle is overloaded. A lift on a single axle motor home can severely overload the rear depending on overall weight and distribution.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:38 AM   #9
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Yes the lift is nice if you pull a toad but I have concerns if you have a heavy bike. That rig has a long overhang off the rear axle and only a 27,400 weight rating. Nowhere do you say how big of a bike you have so for easy math the lift is 450 lbs and using a 550 lb bike, that 1000 lbs is going to put probably 1600 lbs extra on the rear axle. Do the math of wheelbase to the distance off the rear axle.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:22 AM   #10
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After you do the math and see if the coach can handle the lift I vote for the lift. We pulled a trailer one year with the bikes. It does keep them cleaner, but hassling with the trailer in some parks was a bit much. Some parks there was just enough room for the coach, so unhook and park the trailer somewhere else in the park. Also, not having a toad at times was an issue. We had to rent a car for about a month as all it did was rain where we were and had to be there for some business.
We now have a coach with a tag axle, hydra lift and pull a toad. Great to have a choice in bad weather or you need to pick up something large from the hardware store. Unloading or loading the bikes is no different from the trailer. Our Hydralift has worked flawlessly, no issues at all.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:33 AM   #11
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I have owned or presently own both options. And, I have full-timed in a 5th wheel. If it were me, I would opt for the trailer, assuming it's enclosed. This will be invaluable for other purposes as a full-timer, as well as keeping the bike cleaner and having the option to acquire a different bike that might be too heavy for the HydraLift on that particular bus.
The lift has been great for us, but our scenario is different in a lot of ways. No more full-timing, also pulling a toad sometimes. To me it will be simpler to pass on this bus and get the floor plan and running gear you are really looking at. Trailers are easy to get and easy to handle, and especially valuable for a full-timer. My 2 cents.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodekyll View Post
I'm still combing the forums for information, but I've only got a few days before having to make up my mind about carrying a motorcycle with a DP. I'm searching for my first class A and I'm due to go look at one this week.

I've stumbled across a 38' Freightliner-based, 1999 Coachman. It has a 275 ISB, single slide, rear radiator. It's also got this monster "Hydralift" attached to the back. I'm not real excited about a single slide (I'll be full-timing it) or the early ISB/rear radiator, but I do have a mid-sized motorcycle that I'd like to bring along when I travel. The Hydralift seems to get good reviews on the forums here, but I have not seen it compared to a traditional motorcycle trailer. So for those of you who have done it both ways, and those of you who have an opinion about the better way, tell me: Is the Hydralift so much better and more convenient than a traditional trailer that I've got to have it at the expense of a larger engine and more interior room? Or is it hydra-hype -- a novelty answer to a question nobody asked?
rodekyll,
Well Sir, yes I've done it both ways. I've hauled our Honda GL 1800 Goldwing in an enclosed trailer and, on a "Hydralift" on the back of our coach. And we towed a toad, either an '04 Jeep Rubicon or, an '11 Honda CRV EX-L while carrying the bike. Our coach is an '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the CAT 330HP C-7 in it and, it did JUST FINE with that Hydralift on there, carrying that 900 lb. Wing and towing the 4,500 lb. Jeep.

First off, let me say that the Hydralift is by far, the best lift/carrier out there for this type of thing and it's intended use. It's the most stable, the least amount of moving parts and is very efficient in its operation. Some folks don't like "hydraulics" in an operation like this while others, like myself, are not fans of "cables" in this type of operation like other lifts/carriers use.

Hydraulics for this type of use have been around for decades and decades. Think TRACTORS and any earth moving/digging and excavating operations. NO CABLES THERE! Our coach, as stated, is a 36' unit and a rear radiator coach at that. With the bike on the back there was absolutely ZERO cooling issues of that engine due to the bike being in close proximity to the rear air flow. The hot air coming off that radiator and CAC did not affect the bike and, that bike did not affect the radiator.

99.9999999999999% of diesel coaches out there utilize RIDE HEIGHT sensors for keeping the coach at a predetermined ride height during road operations. So, the additional load of the lift and the Wing on the back, had ZERO effect on its ride height. Those sensors kept the coach at the EXACT same ride height with or without the bike on the back. Our coach, also had ZERO handling affects from that bike being on there. No wandering, no porpoising, no weaving, NOTHING!

We used that system for over 2 years and over 8,000 miles and no one died, the earth did not lose its orbit around the sun and my first born is still alive. I did the install of that Hydralift and, while a bit of a challenge, it was a fun project. I did not, REPEAT, DID NOT weld any portion of the attaching metal to the coach frame. It was all BOLTED on. I removed the factory hitch and utilized the factory bolt holes (for that 10,000 lb. rated hitch) for the support metal for that hitch. That way, that lift could be removed at a later date for any reason and would not be a big problem to do so.

We had a ball carrying that bike and having the Jeep too in our travels.

Now, as for what your potential coach will do with that specific engine, well, to me, that would be the deciding factor. That's a pretty small motor for that kind of weight. The size and weight of the coach alone, vs that engine, is tasking that motor quite a bit. Then, add the lift, the bike and, possibly a toad of some sort and well, don't expect any award winning grade climbing capabilities. Banks used to make a kit for that 275 HP Cummins and, it was an outstanding improvement for that engine. But, as I understand it, Banks is not supporting that engine anymore. I have no first hand experience of what or, anything else that can be done for HP or torque improvements on that engine.

This might be a tough choice for you. If you like the coach and it's layout, and it's clean and well taken care of, AND you've got a motorcycle lift ALREADY attached, AND, you'd like to bring along your motorcycle, well, all those bennies vs the smaller engine and as stated, your not-too-fondness of a single slide, well, good luck on your choice.
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Old 06-17-2019, 01:52 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ivylog View Post
Yes the lift is nice if you pull a toad but I have concerns if you have a heavy bike. That rig has a long overhang off the rear axle and only a 27,400 weight rating. Nowhere do you say how big of a bike you have so for easy math the lift is 450 lbs and using a 550 lb bike, that 1000 lbs is going to put probably 1600 lbs extra on the rear axle. Do the math of wheelbase to the distance off the rear axle.
Yeah, I forgot that part. It's a 1976 Moto Guzzi Convert. I'm ballparking it at 650# (580 curb weight + fairing and bags + 40 years of bastardization). So mid-sized.

The math is important to me. I need to visit the rig to do the measurements.
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Old 06-17-2019, 02:05 PM   #14
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Added opinions on the ISB in this configuration appreciated. I don't mind having the grown-up version of a 1600 VW bus, but I don't know that I'd want the 40-horse equivalent.

[edit]
. . .or. . . .(novel thought) . . . I could strap the bike to the back and take the bus for a test ride up and down a big hill.
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