The Complete Guide to Hydraulic Bed Lift Trucks


Hydraulic bed lift trucks are a game-changer in heavy-duty hauling. Imagine being able to lift up to 5,000 lbs with ease, directly from the ground into the bed of your truck. That’s not just a pipe dream—it’s a reality with the cutting-edge technology of hydraulic bed lift systems like those from AmeriDeck™ and Kelderman Suspension Systems.

These systems have transformed medium duty trucks, like the popular Ford 650/750, International CXT, and Freightliner models, into versatile powerhouses capable of handling an incredible range of loads. But it’s not just about the raw power. It’s about the simplicity and efficiency these systems bring to the table for small to medium-sized business owners in construction, landscaping, and more.

Key Points at a Glance:
Hydraulic Bed Lift Power: Lift up to 5,000 lbs with Kelderman Suspension Systems.
AmeriDeck™ Versatility: Detachable decks for different hobbies/workloads, capable of lifting 2,500 lbs.
Ease of Use: Systems designed for simplicity, improving loading and unloading efficiency.

Whether you’re looking to transport heavy equipment, bulk materials, or work on customized projects, understanding the mechanics, benefits, and applications of these hydraulic lifts is essential. They are designed not just to ease the physical strain but to significantly cut down the time and manpower needed for loading and unloading heavy items—making your operations more efficient and cost-effective.

Infographic showing the benefits and key features of hydraulic bed lift systems for trucks, including load capacity, ease of installation, and versatility for various industries - hydraulic bed lift truck infographic 3_stage_pyramid

In the coming sections, we’ll dive deeper into how these systems work, the different types available, and how to maintain them for long-lasting performance. We’ll also explore real-world applications and shed light on how small to medium-sized businesses can leverage these hydraulic bed lift trucks to streamline their operations and bolster their bottom line.

Understanding Hydraulic Bed Lift Trucks

When we talk about hydraulic bed lift trucks, we’re diving into powerful machines designed to make heavy lifting and transportation easier. But how do they work? And what makes them so efficient? Let’s break it down into simpler terms.

Hydraulic Principles

At the heart of a hydraulic bed lift truck is the principle of hydraulics. Imagine using a small force to press down on a syringe filled with water, which then uses that water to push up a much heavier object connected to another syringe. That’s hydraulics in action! By using fluid under pressure, these systems can lift heavy loads with relatively little effort.

Pneumatic Operation vs. Hydraulic

While hydraulics use liquid to transfer force, pneumatic systems use air. Pneumatic bed lifts are less common in heavy-duty trucks because air is compressible, making them less precise under heavy loads. However, they’re lighter and can be more cost-effective for lighter duties.

Electric Relay Control

To make these systems user-friendly, electric relay controls come into play. With the push of a button, the operator can activate the hydraulic system, raising or lowering the bed of the truck. This simplicity is key in work environments, reducing manual labor and saving time.

Mechanical Alternatives

Not all lift systems are hydraulic. Some use mechanical means, like gears and levers, to achieve a similar lifting effect. While these can be simpler and cheaper, they often require more physical effort and can’t handle the heavy loads that hydraulic systems can.

Hydraulic bed lift trucks are a game-changer for industries like landscaping, construction, and equipment rental. They allow small to medium-sized businesses to operate more efficiently, safely lifting and transporting heavy equipment or materials. Whether it’s the hydraulic prowess of Kelderman Suspension Systems, the versatility of AmeriDeck™, or the reliability of tail lifts, these systems offer a solution to one of the industry’s most pressing challenges: moving heavy loads with ease.

We’ll delve into the various types of hydraulic bed lift systems available, including their installation and maintenance. This knowledge is crucial for businesses looking to invest in these systems, ensuring they choose the right type for their needs and keep them running smoothly for years to come.

Types of Hydraulic Bed Lift Systems

In hydraulic bed lift trucks, there are several types of systems designed to fit different needs and applications. Let’s explore three primary systems: AmeriDeck™, Tail Lifts, and Kelderman Hydraulic Bed Lifts.

AmeriDeck™ Hydraulic Loading System

AmeriDeck™ is a standout choice for those looking to turn their pickup truck into a versatile workhorse. With a load capacity of up to 2,500 lbs, it’s a powerhouse in a compact form. The system is designed to fit in the bed of a standard pickup truck and offers a variety of detachable decks, such as the PowerDeck™ and DumpDeck™, catering to different uses from hauling heavy equipment to moving bulk materials.

  • PowerDeck™: Ideal for transporting motorcycles, golf carts, UTVs, and more. It simplifies the loading process, eliminating the need for trailers or winch-based systems.
  • DumpDeck™: Formerly known as the Choremaster™, it’s perfect for landscape, snow, and ice management tasks, supporting both 6.5′ and 8′ bed lengths.

AmeriDeck Hydraulic System - hydraulic bed lift truck

These systems are not only about lifting and hauling; they offer ground-level loading and unloading, making them a safer and more efficient choice. Switching between decks is a breeze, requiring only two pins for a quick detach, enhancing the system’s versatility.

Tail Lifts

Tail lifts, or liftgates as they’re known in North America, are mechanical devices installed at the rear of a vehicle. They facilitate the handling of goods, making it easier to move items from ground level to the vehicle bed and vice versa. With a variety of designs like Parallel Arm, Railgate, Column, Cantilever, Tuckunder, and Slider, tail lifts can support loads up to 2,500kg.

  • Operation: Most tail lifts are hydraulic or pneumatic, controlled by an electric relay switch. They’re a practical alternative to forklift trucks for loading heavy items.
  • Applications: Tail lifts are versatile, used in vehicles ranging from standard vans to articulated lorries. They’re particularly valuable in logistics and delivery services.
  • Safety Features: The design of tail lifts includes safety measures to prevent accidents during loading and unloading, making them a reliable choice for businesses.

Tail Lift on a Truck - hydraulic bed lift truck

Kelderman Hydraulic Bed Lifts

Kelderman Suspension Systems, known for their quality air ride suspensions, have engineered a hydraulic bed lift suitable for medium-duty truck chassis like Ford 650/750, International CXT, and Freightliner trucks. These systems boast a load capacity of 5,000 lbs, making them suitable for heavier duty applications.

  • Engineering: The design of Kelderman lifts focuses on efficiency and durability, ensuring that heavy loads can be managed with ease.
  • Medium Duty Trucks: Specifically engineered for medium-duty trucks, these lifts are ideal for businesses that require the extra lifting power for heavy equipment or materials.

Kelderman Hydraulic Bed Lift - hydraulic bed lift truck

Each of these hydraulic bed lift systems offers unique benefits and features, catering to a wide range of applications. Whether it’s the versatile AmeriDeck™, the reliable tail lifts, or the heavy-duty Kelderman lifts, there’s a solution for every business need. Understanding the operation, load capacity, and specific applications of these systems can help small to medium-sized businesses in construction, landscaping, equipment rental, and more, choose the right system for their operations, ensuring efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness.

We’ll delve into the installation and maintenance of these systems, providing businesses with the knowledge they need to keep their hydraulic bed lift trucks running smoothly.

Installation and Maintenance

When you’ve decided to enhance your truck’s capabilities with a hydraulic bed lift truck system, the journey doesn’t end with just choosing the right model. Installation and ongoing maintenance play a crucial role in ensuring that your investment continues to pay off in efficiency and reliability. Let’s break down these essential steps to keep your hydraulic bed lift truck in top condition.

Choosing the Right Hydraulic Fluid

The lifeblood of any hydraulic system is its fluid. Not all hydraulic fluids are created equal, and selecting the right type can significantly impact the performance and longevity of your hydraulic bed lift truck. For most systems, Dextron 3 is a common recommendation. It’s an automatic transmission fluid that provides reliable performance for hydraulic systems. However, you might also consider hydraulic oil, particularly a 32 weight oil, for its excellent performance in a wide range of temperatures and conditions.

Regular Maintenance Practices

Installation Process:
First things first, installing a hydraulic bed lift system requires precision and understanding of your truck’s specifications and the lift system’s requirements. It’s often best to have a professional handle the installation to ensure it’s done correctly. They’ll mount the hydraulic cylinder, connect hoses and wires, and ensure everything is securely in place. Proper installation is critical for safety and performance.

Maintenance Tips:
Hydraulic Fluid Level: Regularly check the fluid level and top off as needed. Low fluid levels can lead to poor performance and damage the system.
Inspect Hoses and Fittings: Look for signs of wear, leaks, or damage. Replacing compromised parts promptly can prevent failures and maintain system pressure.
Hydraulic Filter: Change the filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. A clean filter keeps the fluid free from contaminants that can wear down your system.
Cleanliness: Keep the hydraulic system clean. Dirt and debris can cause blockages and damage components.

Safety Checks:
Before using your hydraulic bed lift truck, always perform a quick safety check. Ensure all components are in good condition, and the system operates smoothly without any leaks. Regular checks can catch issues before they become serious problems.

Hydraulic System Care:
Fluid Replacement: Periodically flush and replace the hydraulic fluid to remove contaminants that could damage the system.
Inspection Routines: Develop a routine to inspect the hydraulic system regularly. Look for any signs of wear or damage and address them promptly.
Cleaning: Keep the hydraulic components clean. Dirt and debris can lead to wear and tear over time.

By following these guidelines for choosing the right hydraulic fluid and adhering to regular maintenance practices, you can ensure your hydraulic bed lift truck remains a reliable and efficient tool for your business. A well-maintained hydraulic system not only extends the life of your equipment but also ensures safety and efficiency in your operations. Whether you’re in landscaping, construction, or equipment rental, taking care of your hydraulic bed lift truck is essential for smooth, uninterrupted business operations.

Applications and Benefits

For Small to Medium-Sized Businesses

For small to medium-sized businesses, especially those in landscaping, equipment rental, snow and ice management, and motorcycle recovery, the hydraulic bed lift truck is a game-changer. It offers cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and versatility that can significantly impact operations.

  • Cost-effectiveness: Instead of investing in multiple vehicles for different tasks, a hydraulic bed lift truck can perform various jobs with the simple change of a deck. This versatility reduces the need for a large fleet, saving on purchase costs, maintenance, and even insurance.
  • Efficiency: Loading and unloading heavy equipment or materials can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Hydraulic bed lift trucks streamline these processes, allowing for ground-level loading and unloading, which speeds up operations and reduces labor costs.
  • Versatility: With attachments like the AmeriDeck™ hydraulic loading system, businesses can customize their trucks for specific tasks—be it hauling gravel for a landscaping project, moving heavy equipment for rental purposes, or managing snow and ice in winter months.

Real-World Examples

Landscaping: A landscaping business found that using a hydraulic bed lift truck with a DumpDeck™ attachment allowed them to haul more materials in fewer trips. This efficiency led to completing projects faster and with fewer labor costs, directly impacting their bottom line.

Equipment Rental: An equipment rental company utilized the PowerDeck™ system to load and unload heavy machinery without needing additional equipment or manpower. This capability allowed them to offer more competitive rates and faster delivery times, enhancing customer satisfaction.

Snow and Ice Management: For snow and ice management, the efficiency of quickly loading salt and sand without manual labor meant that a small business could take on more contracts without increasing their workforce, leading to significant growth during the winter months.

Motorcycle Recovery: A motorcycle recovery service highlighted the ease of using a hydraulic bed lift truck to safely and quickly load motorcycles without risking damage. This efficiency and safety improved their service quality and customer trust.

Case Studies and User Testimonials:

One compelling case study involves a small construction business that integrated a hydraulic bed lift system into their operations. They reported a 30% decrease in loading and unloading time and a significant reduction in labor costs. The business was able to reallocate these savings into expanding their services and hiring more staff, leading to an overall growth in their operations.

User testimonials frequently praise the hydraulic bed lift truck’s ability to transform a standard pickup into a multi-purpose work truck. Many note the ease of switching between detachable decks, allowing for a quick response to different job requirements without the need for multiple vehicles.

Industry Applications:

In the construction and landscaping sectors, the hydraulic bed lift truck has become an essential tool for businesses looking to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Its ability to handle heavy loads safely and quickly means less time spent on logistics and more on productive work. For equipment rental companies, the quick loading and unloading capabilities allow for better customer service and the ability to handle more orders with less downtime.

In conclusion, the hydraulic bed lift truck offers small to medium-sized businesses a versatile, efficient, and cost-effective solution to a variety of logistical challenges. By leveraging this technology, businesses can improve their operations, reduce costs, and enhance their competitive edge in the market.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hydraulic Bed Lift Trucks

Can you put a dump bed on a pickup truck?

Yes, you can! Putting a dump bed on a pickup truck is not only possible but also a popular modification for many businesses and individuals. This conversion involves installing a hydraulic lift system, such as the AmeriDeck™ Hydraulic Loading System, which fits in a standard pickup truck bed. The system allows for ground-level loading and unloading, making it a versatile solution for transporting equipment or materials. The key is to choose the right kit that matches your truck’s make, model, and year to ensure compatibility and safety.

How do you put heavy items in a truck bed?

Putting heavy items in a truck bed is made significantly easier with a hydraulic bed lift system. Systems like the AmeriDeck™ PowerDeck™ allow you to safely and efficiently lift up to 2,500 lbs. of equipment or materials into your truck bed. Here’s a simple step-by-step:
1. Lower the deck to ground level.
2. Load the heavy items onto the deck.
3. Use the hydraulic system to lift the deck (and your heavy items) into the truck bed.
This method eliminates the need for manual lifting or the use of ramps, reducing the risk of injury and making the process much more efficient.

How much does an Amerideck weigh?

The weight of an AmeriDeck™ system varies depending on the specific model and configuration. However, the standard PowerDeck™, designed for hauling heavy equipment and materials, is built to be robust yet as lightweight as possible to maximize the payload capacity. While specific weights for each model are best obtained directly from the manufacturer, it’s important to remember that the system’s design focuses on balancing durability with efficiency, ensuring that it doesn’t unduly compromise your truck’s load capacity.

In conclusion, hydraulic bed lift trucks, such as those equipped with AmeriDeck™ systems, offer a versatile and efficient solution for loading, transporting, and unloading heavy items. They provide an excellent way to transform a standard pickup truck into a powerful work truck, capable of handling a variety of tasks with ease. Whether you’re in landscaping, equipment rental, or any other industry requiring the transport of heavy materials, investing in a hydraulic bed lift system can significantly enhance your operational efficiency and safety.


In heavy equipment and dump trailers, knowledge is not just power—it’s also safety, efficiency, and innovation. At The Best Dump Trailers, we’re more than just a platform; we’re a community dedicated to empowering small to medium-sized business owners with the information they need to thrive.

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In heavy lifting and transportation, being well-informed isn’t just an advantage—it’s a necessity.

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