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Old 05-31-2014, 12:58 PM   #1
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HydraLift Motorcycle Hauler - Questions

I am considering the purchase of a HydraLift. I have done the obligatory search and read eveything I can but still have a few questions to those in the know.

Just for background, I wish to carry either my BMW KL1200LT touring bike (800lbs) or my KLR and my wife's 250cc Scooter (750 lbs combined).

Question 1:
The HydraLift has an accessory called a "Sports Adapter". This accessory allows me to add an additional rail to haul two smaller bikes (KLR & 250cc scooter). My question... how hard is it to switch back to a single bike hauler for when I want to take just the KL1200LT.

Question 2:
Can the HydraLift be easily removed when not in use? How difficult is it to remove? More specifically, where is the hydralic pump located? If fixed mounted to the coach, do the hydralic lines have quick disconnects?

Question 3:
When you bought your Hydralift, what exactly came with it? Looking on the HydraLift website (which is somewhat lacking details), it appears you get the lift itself, one bike rail with a front tire loop. I see a wheel chaulk and tiedown bar are sold separately, though they appear in many of the photos.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-31-2014, 03:18 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtwinwilly View Post
I am considering the purchase of a HydraLift. I have done the obligatory search and read eveything I can but still have a few questions to those in the know.

Just for background, I wish to carry either my BMW KL1200LT touring bike (800lbs) or my KLR and my wife's 250cc Scooter (750 lbs combined).

Question 1:
The HydraLift has an accessory called a "Sports Adapter". This accessory allows me to add an additional rail to haul two smaller bikes (KLR & 250cc scooter). My question... how hard is it to switch back to a single bike hauler for when I want to take just the KL1200LT.

Question 2:
Can the HydraLift be easily removed when not in use? How difficult is it to remove? More specifically, where is the hydralic pump located? If fixed mounted to the coach, do the hydralic lines have quick disconnects?

Question 3:
When you bought your Hydralift, what exactly came with it? Looking on the HydraLift website (which is somewhat lacking details), it appears you get the lift itself, one bike rail with a front tire loop. I see a wheel chaulk and tiedown bar are sold separately, though they appear in many of the photos.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Vtwinwilly,
Well, I had it all typed out what I was answering you with on this POS site and it lost it all due to the fact that it "looses" your log on if you're taking too long to type an answer. That sucks.

Anyway, I've done all that you're asking. Basically, we purchased a used Hydralift off of Ebay for way less than 1/2 price. I don't know how you feel about used equipment but, that one worked absolutely flawless for well over 8,000 miles that we had it on our coach.

As for the addition of a second rail for two bikes, yes, Hydralift sells one. But, you can use a "ramp" that many metal supply houses sell and, they're a lot cheaper than what Hydralift would charge. And, yes, Hydralift sells the "over center" chock for their lift. But, it's right at about, $167.00 if I recall. But, what I did was, use the one off of my "Condor" wheel chock. It's the same over-center style chock. A very tiny bit of modification (two hack saw cuts) and, it adapted to the rail in the Hydralift system.

And, if I want to replace it for my Condor chock, it's only about, $65.00. As for the placement of the pump, that's determined by a couple of factors. One, you need around 15" long by, about 12" wide by, about 8" or so high for the motor and pump assembly. And, since it needs a fair amount of good electricity, you need for it to be either close to the batteries or, some large gauge wire form the batteries to it.

Now, I elected to do the install. So, you ask what comes with the Hydralift? Well, we bought ours used so, basically nothing came with it. Just exactly what comes with a new one, I'm not sure. What I do know is, you'll need the "cradles" that the lift sits on/in. If those come with it new, then great. But, if you have to buy them, as I did, they cost me around $350.00 for th two of them. I don't think you'll have to buy them if you purchase new. But, I don't know if you plan on doing the install yourself of not, but, you'll have to have it shipped to a dealer near you. Will they let you install it? Who knows? Again, we got ours used, so nobody cared who installed it. I wanted to anyway.

Now, what I did was, removed the factory trailer hitch on our coach. Then, I purchase some heavy duty steel that I bolted into the same holes that the hitch used. Then, I mounted/welded the cradles to that steel. Since the Hydralift comes with its own hitch, there was no need to keep the factory one and, I needed the area for installing the steel anyways.

You ask about the potential to remove it? Yep, I did just that. I set the Hydralift up so that it could be removed in about 4 minutes. And, since I removed the factory hitch, I would need one when the lift (and its own hitch) was removed, I fabricated a replacement hitch to sit in the cradles. And, since that lift was that easy and fast to remove, it sure made for easy maintenance on the rear of that coach, if and when needed.

What I did was, add "Quick release" fittings to the hydraulic line from the pump to the lift. Then, I installed what's called a "Weather Pak" connector for the electric part of the operation. Now, when it comes time for the removal of the lift, all I do is, lower it to a furniture dolly, un-do all the bolts, disconnect the hydraulic line and electric line and, roll it away from the coach. Again, that takes me about 4 minutes.

Then, it takes me about another 4 minutes to install the trailer hitch I made for the cradles. There are times when we will not want the bike for a particular trip. But, we'd want the toad. So, that's why I did what I did. One thing you'll notice is a "floor" under the bike. Well, that's a seriously long story but, I'll make it real short. I purchased the "no touch" "portable cover/garage" from Hydralift. Well, needless to say, it TOUCHED the bike, in multiple places. So, I sent it back, minus the floor. I liked the floor so, I kept it. And, one other thing you'll see is, "lights" on the outer/rear edge of the floor. The reason they're there is, when drivers are up close to the bike, the bike obscures the tail lights of the coach so, installed thin line LED tail lights for when we're carrying the bike but, not towing the toad.


There's so much more I can tell you about but, I'd bore the other readers so, PM me if you'd like to know more. I'd be really happy to help.
Scott





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Old 05-31-2014, 04:09 PM   #3
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Before you buy the lift go to the Blue Ox web site, they have a page where you can compute the amount of weight you'll be putting on your rear axle once the lift is loaded with you bike. You might be surprised at how much weight will be put on the rear axle with a lift and bike on the back of your coach.
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Old 05-31-2014, 04:25 PM   #4
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Scott,

Thanks for that very detailed answer. That is exactly the kind of info I was looking for.


I'm not necessarily looking to buy new, But if I buy used I know I'm committing to doing the install myself. I just have to get comfortable with the idea. I'm pretty capable and do own a welding machine, I just want to be sure I don't under-engineer it. Usually I over-engineer thing for that very reason.

I called the local stocking dealer who also installs. He wanted full price for the lift $4500, and said it could take as much as $1700 to install when all said and done. That sounded very high to me. ... and by the way, that didn't include the Sports Adapter that I will need. Another $800. SO from this guy I'm looking at $7000. That's nuts!

I also found a dealer (Innovative RV Tech) who's selling the lift on Amazon for $3938 Better than $4500, but still a bit dear.

I did find a used one today. I'll PM you about that one.

BTW... you do nice work.
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Old 05-31-2014, 04:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D Lindy View Post
Before you buy the lift go to the Blue Ox web site, they have a page where you can compute the amount of weight you'll be putting on your rear axle once the lift is loaded with you bike. You might be surprised at how much weight will be put on the rear axle with a lift and bike on the back of your coach.
D,

I did that already. I'm close... but good.
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by D Lindy View Post
Before you buy the lift go to the Blue Ox web site, they have a page where you can compute the amount of weight you'll be putting on your rear axle once the lift is loaded with you bike. You might be surprised at how much weight will be put on the rear axle with a lift and bike on the back of your coach.
X2

Look at the dual tire weight rating stamped on the tires & add up the total for 4 tires. You do not want to exceed that number.

I carry a 425# BMW F650GS on an Overbilt lift; another 400# that far back would have me doing the calculations. You don't want to be suprised when you run it across the scales.
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:23 PM   #7
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X2

Look at the dual tire weight rating stamped on the tires & add up the total for 4 tires. You do not want to exceed that number.

I carry a 425# BMW F650GS on an Overbilt lift; another 400# that far back would have me doing the calculations. You don't want to be suprised when you run it across the scales.
This is good advice. I knew, way before I installed the Hydralift on our coach, that I was close in max for rear axle weight. But, as I've stated many times on this subject, I've had a few decades of experience in loading suspension systems, frame systems and more, working with the design and building of Fire trucks. I pretty much knew and know, what loads it (the coach can handle). But, it's our coach and ours alone. So, I chose to take the gamble of being overweight.

Our coach, an Itasca Horizon 36GD with the 330 C-7 CAT, had a GAWR rear of, 17,500 lbs. prior to the installation of the lift. When I weighed it after the installation and, with the bike on there and, a full tank of fuel, water etc., it was sitting at, 21,100 lbs. Yep, a bit over weight. But, it had been like that for well over 8,000 miles. That coach, it's suspension, frame, subframe (engine area), mounting system for the lift, and much more, was inspected weekly during the time the lift was in use. Not one crack, bend, issue, etc. was ever created. The coach never handled like I was advised it would. No wandering, no porpoising, no ill-handling effects, what so ever.

It drove straight down the road, with the bike on the back and towing one of many of our toads, without so much as a twitch. The coach rode at the same exact height with the lift and bike on there, as it did without either one. I used to remove the lift when we were on trips where the bike was not going to be used and, just had a supplemental trailer hitch I built and installed for towing the toad.

But, as has been stated, it was overweight of the specs, while it was on the coach. So, since we never really liked the 2011 Honda CRV we used as a toad while carrying the bike, we sold it and purchased our present toad, a 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended cab 4x4. And, because we now tow the truck, I figured, why carry the bike when, the truck can do it??? So, we sold the lift and carry the bike in the truck with the use of a "Rampage" lift.

So, yes, be aware of the "cantilever" weight addition when working with a system like this. Good luck.
Scott
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Old 05-28-2016, 12:17 AM   #8
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Just found this thread, being a new member. I'd ordered a Hydralift to carry my Road King behind my 2016 Itasca Sunstar LX 27N (Ford F-53 chassis with a 12K lb GAWR). I''d never had a motorhome before and my Blue Ox tow bar installer recommended the Hydralift as a way to both tow my Rubicon and haul my motorcycle. After he had everything ordered, I began doing a little research and learning a little more, only to find out this was a really BAD idea. Despite how badly I wanted my Harley (or even my Yamaha TW200) with me. Backing out of this purchase and installation is costing me of course. All my lessons are expensive, it seems. Perhaps sharing this lesson here will help some other newbie from getting carried away with a dealer's advice without fully understanding what you're getting into.

Your experience, Fire Up, and current strategy, though, just won't work for me. I've just gotten a 2016 4-door Rubicon Hard Rock - my dream vehicle (in addition to the motorhome, of course) - won't get traded for a pick-up. Oh well.
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Old 05-28-2016, 12:24 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Whlsdn View Post
Just found this thread, being a new member. I'd ordered a Hydralift to carry my Road King behind my 2016 Itasca Sunstar LX 27N (Ford F-53 chassis with a 12K lb GAWR). I''d never had a motorhome before and my Blue Ox tow bar installer recommended the Hydralift as a way to both tow my Rubicon and haul my motorcycle. Once he has everything order, I start digging and learning a little more, only to find out this was a really BAD idea. Despite how badly I wanted my Harley (or even my Yamaha TW200) with me. Backing out of this purchase and installation is costing me of course. All my lessons are expensive, it seems.

Your experience, Fire Up, and current strategy, though, just won't work for me. I've just gotten a 2016 4-door Rubicon Hard Rock - my dream vehicle (in addition to the motorhome, of course) - won't get traded for a pick-up. Oh well.
Get an enclosed trailer and put your Jeep and your bike in it. That way they're protected from things like hail storms you might run into (don't ask me how I know)
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Old 05-28-2016, 11:29 PM   #10
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Enclosed Trailer

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Get an enclosed trailer and put your Jeep and your bike in it. That way they're protected from things like hail storms you might run into (don't ask me how I know)
I've had an enclosed trailer for many years - for hauling a GL1800 to places my wife wanted to vacation but didn't want to ride to. Certainly not big enough for the current bike AND a 4-door Jeep, but a bigger trailer was a passing thought. What do you do with something like that, though, when you arrive at your destination and unload everything? Always wondered how that would work.
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Old 05-28-2016, 11:43 PM   #11
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Lots of campgrounds I've been at have storage areas for trailers. It may take a little additional planning in terms of where you stay to make sure they have space for the trailer. All boils down to priorities
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Old 05-29-2016, 04:42 PM   #12
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I bought a new Hydralift and had it installed by the dealer where I bought it. My coach, an Itasca Horizon 40FD, has a 10K standard hitch and when they installed the Hydralift, they welded the brackets to the hitch and installed the lift to the brackets. Since that blocked the existing hitch, I used the Hydralift hitch to tow a dolly first then later flat tow the jeep. I also used parts of a Condor lift, slightly modified to fit, and it works well. But it's not as easy as they state. Being 5'7" my bikes are lowered and the hinge knuckle of the lift hits the right side footboard mount. I had to put a length of 2x6 in the rail to raise the bike up as I rode it in. The Condor chock held the bike secure till I could secure the ratchets. I used 6. I bought the additional tie-down offered and brake lights.

My hydraulic pump and motor are located on the right rear to the right of the second fuel filter. I have a side radiator. For removal, do NOT cut the hydraulic line because I couldn't find anyone to crimp in connectors and a quick disconnect. That mistake cost me $107 for a new line and a quick disconnect to mount at the lift end of the hose.
I currently have the lift off and am not taking a bike to AK, hope I don't regret that decision. Lift is heavy, around 350 pounds and setting on a furniture dolly.

Sorry I don't have pictures of it.

EDIT; I did get the replacement line made locally but they didn't have the fitting for the type hydraulic line that Hydralift used in order to crimp on fittings. Lots of press on the line 5700 psi as I remember.
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Old 05-31-2016, 03:05 PM   #13
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Our coach, an Itasca Horizon 36GD with the 330 C-7 CAT, had a GAWR rear of, 17,500 lbs. prior to the installation of the lift. When I weighed it after the installation and, with the bike on there and, a full tank of fuel, water etc., it was sitting at, 21,100 lbs. Yep, a bit over weight. But, it had been like that for well over 8,000 miles. That coach, it's suspension, frame, subframe (engine area), mounting system for the lift, and much more, was inspected weekly during the time the lift was in use. Not one crack, bend, issue, etc. was ever created. The coach never handled like I was advised it would. No wandering, no porpoising, no ill-handling effects, what so ever.

It drove straight down the road, with the bike on the back and towing one of many of our toads, without so much as a twitch. The coach rode at the same exact height with the lift and bike on there, as it did without either one. I used to remove the lift when we were on trips where the bike was not going to be used and, just had a supplemental trailer hitch I built and installed for towing the toad.

But, as has been stated, it was overweight of the specs, while it was on the coach. So, since we never really liked the 2011 Honda CRV we used as a toad while carrying the bike, we sold it and purchased our present toad, a 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Extended cab 4x4. And, because we now tow the truck, I figured, why carry the bike when, the truck can do it??? So, we sold the lift and carry the bike in the truck with the use of a "Rampage" lift.

So, yes, be aware of the "cantilever" weight addition when working with a system like this. Good luck.
Scott
Scott,
Did you have any issues with engine heat from the coach engine damaging plastic pieces on the bike? I have a 2000 37' Itasca Horizon and seriously considered buying a bike lift for my '03 GL1800, but settled on buying a '13 CR-V instead. Seeing a pattern, yet? LOL.
Seriously, there were three deciding factors in waiting on the lift. Well, four if you're counting the costs. The biggest was that much weight that high up off the ground. Since our coaches are air springs/bags, the leveling valve will keep the rear at exactly the same height no matter what, but I was really concerned about sway in the wind and around corners. Were there any handling issues in cross winds and around windy roads?
The next concern was heat damage. I realize the plastic pieces of the faring around the radiators on the bike were designed to take radiator heat, but not on the paint side. Did you have any heat discoloration or warping? Did having the bike that close to the coach radiator have any detrimental effects on the coach cooling?
The last reason for waiting to see how things go are our four legged children. Even though they're Chihuahuas, the saddle bags on the bike are a bit confining if we wanted to take them along on a day trip.
I'm really curious to learn from your experiences.
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