How to Manually Lower a Dump Trailer with These 5 Quick Changes

Quick Guide to Manually Lower a Dump Trailer:
1. Verify the area is safe and clear of obstacles.
2. Ensure the dump trailer is on level ground.
3. Locate and adjust the gravity down valve (if equipped).
4. Use the manual lever release for lowering without power.
5. Always double-check hydraulic lines and battery voltage before starting.

Operating a dump trailer involves responsibility and an understanding of the equipment. This article is designed to simplify the process of manually lowering your dump trailer— a crucial skill when power options fail or aren’t available. Whether you’re a seasoned professional in the construction, roofing, or landscaping industries, or a small business owner navigating the complexities of equipment maintenance, this guide is for you.

Safety cannot be overstated. Before attempting to manually lower your trailer, assess your surroundings for safety hazards and ensure the trailer is properly stabilized on level ground. Incorrect handling can lead to injuries or damage to your equipment, so it’s vital to proceed with caution and use the correct techniques.

This introduction to manual lowering is just the start. We will delve deeper into identifying issues like low battery voltage, hydraulic line restrictions, and the importance of routine maintenance to prevent unexpected problems. Our objective is straightforward: To empower you with the knowledge and confidence to safely and effectively manage your dump trailer operations, ensuring the longevity of your equipment and the safety of your team.

Infographic showing steps to manually lower a dump trailer - how to manually lower a dump trailer infographic roadmap-5-steps

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with practical, actionable advice tailored to the needs of small to medium-sized business owners within the heavy equipment usage sectors. From the gravity down feature to hydraulic pump troubleshooting and preventive maintenance, we’ll cover everything you need to know to keep your dump trailer running smoothly and your operations uninterrupted.

Identifying the Issue

When a dump trailer refuses to lower, it’s crucial to pinpoint the problem quickly to avoid downtime. Understanding the common culprits can save you time and money. Let’s dive into the potential issues and solutions.

Gravity Down Feature

Some dump trailers, like those from Norstar Company, come equipped with a gravity down feature. This allows the trailer to lower without using power, simply by gravity. The operation involves a brass knob that, when turned, allows the hydraulic fluid to bypass the pump and flow back into the reservoir, letting the trailer bed descend smoothly. This feature is especially handy when you’re dealing with power issues or want to conserve energy.

Hydraulic Pump Troubleshooting

The hydraulic pump is the heart of your dump trailer’s lifting and lowering mechanism. Several issues can impede its function:

  • Low battery voltage: A battery that doesn’t hold enough charge can fail to power the pump adequately, leading to weak or non-existent lifting power. Regularly check your battery’s charge and health to ensure it can meet the demands of your hydraulic pump.
  • Hydraulic line restrictions: Collapsed or clogged lines can restrict fluid flow, making it impossible for the trailer to lower properly. Inspect your hydraulic lines for any signs of damage or blockage. A line that’s collapsed or clogged needs immediate replacement or cleaning.
  • Air leaks: Air entering the hydraulic system can lead to a loss of pressure, preventing the trailer from lowering. Check all connections and seals for leaks and tighten or replace as necessary.
  • Pump alignment: Misalignment of the hydraulic pump can lead to inefficient operation or damage. Ensure your pump is correctly aligned according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Collapsed line: Similar to restrictions, a collapsed line can severely impede fluid flow. This often results from physical damage or wear. Inspect your lines regularly and replace any that show signs of collapse.
  • Clogged line: Debris in the hydraulic fluid can clog lines and filters, disrupting the flow. Regularly check and clean your hydraulic fluid filters to prevent clogs.
  • Worn pump: Over time, the pump can wear out, reducing its efficiency or causing it to fail entirely. Listen for unusual noises and monitor the pump’s performance. A decrease in performance or strange sounds can indicate wear.

hydraulic pump troubleshooting - how to manually lower a dump trailer

By identifying and addressing these common issues, you can ensure your dump trailer operates smoothly and efficiently. Regular maintenance and inspections are key to preventing these problems before they start. Stay ahead of potential issues with proactive care, and you’ll minimize downtime and extend the life of your dump trailer.

Manual Lowering Techniques

When your dump trailer won’t lower as it should, it’s not just frustrating—it can halt your project entirely. But don’t worry, there are ways to manually lower a dump trailer even when the usual methods aren’t working. Let’s dive into some techniques that can help you out in a pinch.

Bleeding Air from Hydraulic Cylinder

Air trapped in the hydraulic system can prevent your dump trailer from lowering properly. Here’s how to tackle this issue:

  • Gravity Down Valve: This is your first go-to solution. Many dump trailers come equipped with a gravity down valve. This valve allows the trailer to lower using gravity rather than hydraulic pressure. To use it, simply locate the valve—often marked or referred to in your trailer’s manual—and turn it. This should allow the bed to lower smoothly without power.
  • Lowering Without Power: If your trailer’s hydraulic system is unresponsive due to power issues, you can still lower the bed manually. Look for a manual override lever or mechanism on your hydraulic pump. Engaging this lever bypasses the need for electrical power, allowing the hydraulic fluid to flow and lower the bed.
  • Lever Release: Some trailers have a specific lever designed for manual lowering. This lever directly releases the hydraulic pressure, allowing the trailer to lower. It’s a straightforward method but requires some muscle, as you’re manually controlling the descent.

Air Bleeder Valve: Trapped air can be a real nuisance. Here’s a step-by-step guide to deal with it:
1. Locate the air bleeder valve on your hydraulic cylinder. It’s usually at the highest point to effectively release trapped air.
2. Extend the piston rod fully. This ensures that any air trapped in the system is pushed towards the bleeder valve.
3. Depressurize the system by carefully opening the bleeder valve. You might hear a hissing sound as the air escapes. Close the valve once fluid starts to leak out, indicating that most of the air has been expelled.

Safety first. Always ensure your trailer is securely supported before attempting any manual lowering techniques. And if you’re ever unsure, consult with a professional.

By understanding how to manually lower a dump trailer, you can save time and keep your project moving forward, even when technical issues arise. Regular maintenance, including checking for air leaks and ensuring your hydraulic fluid is at the right level, can prevent many of these issues from occurring in the first place. Stay prepared, and you’ll navigate these challenges with ease.

Next up, let’s explore preventive maintenance and troubleshooting tips to keep your dump trailer in top condition and avoid future lowering issues.

Preventive Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Real-World Solutions

When it comes to keeping your dump trailer running smoothly, a little bit of preventive maintenance and some troubleshooting know-how can go a long way. Let’s dive into some practical solutions that can help you avoid common pitfalls.

Wiring Contact Points
First things first, check your wiring contact points. Loose or corroded connections can cause a myriad of issues, including power failures to the pump or control switches. A simple visual inspection and tightening of connections can save you from headaches down the road. If you spot any corrosion, a bit of electrical contact cleaner can work wonders.

Battery Check
Your dump trailer’s battery is the heart of its electrical system. Ensure it’s fully charged and in good health. A weak battery might not provide enough power to operate the hydraulic pump effectively. If you’re unsure about your battery’s condition, a quick test with a multimeter can give you a clear answer. A well-maintained battery ensures reliable operation.

Solenoid Functionality
The solenoids play a crucial role in directing the flow of hydraulic fluid for raising and lowering your trailer. If you’re facing issues with lowering the trailer, it’s possible the solenoid responsible for this function is failing. Testing solenoid functionality with a multimeter can help identify if a replacement is needed. Listen for a clicking sound when activating the lowering function; no sound could indicate a problem.

Jumper Cables for Power Boost
In a pinch, jumper cables can provide a temporary power boost to your trailer’s battery, especially if it’s struggling to operate the pump. Connect the cables to a running vehicle or a secondary battery, but proceed with caution and ensure proper connection to avoid any electrical mishaps.

Adjusting Restrictor Fitting
If your trailer lowers too slowly, adjusting the restrictor fitting in the hydraulic system can help regulate the flow and speed of lowering. This is a delicate adjustment, so a small change can make a big difference. Consult your trailer’s manual for specific guidance on making this adjustment safely.

Checking Hydraulic Fluid
Low or contaminated hydraulic fluid is a common culprit behind operational issues. Ensure the fluid level is within the recommended range and check for signs of contamination, such as particles or discoloration. Changing the hydraulic fluid and filter according to the manufacturer’s schedule can prevent many problems.

By incorporating these preventive maintenance and troubleshooting steps into your routine, you can ensure your dump trailer operates smoothly for years to come. Regular checks and maintenance not only prevent downtime but can also extend the life of your trailer, making it a reliable workhorse for your business.

Next up, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about dump trailers to help you tackle any specific issues you might encounter.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dump Trailers

When it comes to handling dump trailers, several common questions often arise. Whether you’re a small business owner in the construction or landscaping sector or simply someone who frequently works with heavy equipment, understanding the nuances of dump trailer operation is crucial. Let’s dive into some of these questions to provide you with practical, easy-to-understand answers.

Why won’t my dump trailer come down?

There are a few reasons your dump trailer might refuse to lower. Firstly, check the battery voltage. If the battery doesn’t have enough power, it won’t be able to operate the hydraulic system effectively. Another common issue could be hydraulic line restrictions or air leaks in the system, which prevent the hydraulic fluid from flowing smoothly. Lastly, pump alignment issues can also cause the trailer to stick in the raised position. If the pump isn’t properly aligned with the rest of the hydraulic system, it won’t be able to generate the necessary pressure to lower the trailer.

How do you bleed air from a dump truck hydraulic cylinder?

Bleeding air from a hydraulic cylinder is a critical step to ensure its proper operation. Here’s a simplified process:
1. Locate the air bleeder valve on the cylinder.
2. Extend the piston rod fully to ensure that any trapped air is pushed to the top of the system.
3. Depressurize the system by carefully opening the air bleeder valve. You’ll want to do this slowly to avoid any sudden movements of the trailer.
4. Watch for hydraulic fluid to start escaping from the valve. Once you see a steady stream of fluid without air bubbles, the air has been successfully bled from the system.

Safety first. Make sure the trailer is securely supported before you start working on the hydraulic system.

Why won’t my hydraulic pump go down?

If your hydraulic pump won’t lower, it might be due to a collapsed or clogged line preventing fluid movement. Inspect the hydraulic lines for any signs of damage or blockage. Another possibility is a worn-out pump that can no longer generate enough pressure to move the hydraulic fluid effectively. In some cases, the issue might be with the solenoid functionality. If the solenoid that controls the lowering function isn’t receiving power or has failed, the pump won’t be able to lower the trailer. Checking the electrical connections and ensuring the battery is fully charged can often resolve this issue.

These questions highlight the importance of regular maintenance and a good understanding of your equipment. For small to medium-sized business owners, being able to troubleshoot and resolve these issues quickly can save time and money, reducing downtime and keeping your operations running smoothly. If you’re ever unsure or the problem persists, seeking professional help is the best course of action to prevent further damage or safety risks. Stay tuned for more insights and solutions to keep your dump trailer in top condition.


In wrapping up our discussion on how to manually lower a dump trailer, it’s crystal clear that the key to longevity and optimal performance lies in routine maintenance and a solid understanding of manual operations. These practices aren’t just about preventing mishaps; they’re about empowering you, the owner or operator, with the knowledge and skills to tackle unexpected challenges head-on.

Routine maintenance cannot be overstated. It’s the bedrock of ensuring your dump trailer serves you faithfully year after year. From inspecting wiring contact points to checking the battery and ensuring the solenoid functions as intended, these steps are your first line of defense against common issues that could sideline your operations. A well-maintained dump trailer is less likely to face hydraulic or electrical failures, saving you both time and money by reducing downtime.

Understanding manual operations is equally crucial. In scenarios where the unexpected happens, such as a stuck dump bed, knowing how to manually lower your dump trailer can be a game-changer. It’s not just about solving the problem at hand; it’s about doing so safely and efficiently, preventing potential damage to your equipment or harm to yourself and others. This knowledge ensures you’re never at a complete standstill, no matter the situation.

At, our commitment to knowledge sharing is unwavering. We believe in empowering our customers and the broader community with valuable insights, practical guidance, and the latest industry trends. Our goal is to help you navigate the complexities of dump trailer ownership and maintenance with confidence. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to heavy equipment, we’re here to support your journey, offering solutions to common challenges and celebrating the successes along the way.

In conclusion, the journey of owning and operating a dump trailer is filled with learning opportunities. Embrace routine maintenance and familiarize yourself with manual operations to ensure your equipment remains in peak condition. We’re here to help, with a wealth of resources designed to make your experience as smooth and rewarding as possible. Here’s to many years of successful dumping, lifting, and hauling with your trusted dump trailer by your side.

6 thoughts on “How to Manually Lower a Dump Trailer with These 5 Quick Changes”

  1. I do believe all the ideas youve presented for your post They are really convincing and will certainly work Nonetheless the posts are too short for novices May just you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time Thanks for the post

  2. I just could not leave your web site before suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard information a person supply to your visitors Is gonna be again steadily in order to check up on new posts

  3. I do agree with all the ideas you have introduced on your post They are very convincing and will definitely work Still the posts are very short for newbies May just you please prolong them a little from subsequent time Thank you for the post

  4. obviously like your website but you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to inform the reality on the other hand Ill certainly come back again


Leave a Reply

Discover more from The Best Dump Trailers

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading