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Flatbed advice for a 1500 needed

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by Accu-cut Lawn Care, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,206

    I made a boo boo on the bed of my 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad cab shortbed...So I have decided to put a flatbed on the back of it. I'll be using it to haul 1 60" or 52" mower plus I'll have racks built to carry blowers and hand equipment.

    Question 1: The shortness of my truck has pretty much ruled out a dovetail; so, I'm thinking about 2- 3'5" gates that hinge out into 1- 7' gate. Has anyone made a gate like this themselves or used a manufactured gate system like one from handy ramp?

    Question 2: I know that I will need some suspension modification...But I am undecided between in-cab controllable air shocks, in-cab controllable air bag leaf spring helpers, or the big daddy of them all, air bags that replace my entire leaf spring system(these would allow me to lower the back of my truck while unloading and loading,but are very expensive). What have you guys had experience with?

    Question 3: I'm undecided as to what to make my floor out of, but am kind of leaning towards heavy guage expanded steel. Again, some advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. grassmanak

    grassmanak LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 792

    Im not sure how big of help i am, but their are a few companies that make fold up ramps, those who have them say they're great, as far as the weight issue, probably a set of timbrens would work, depends on the weight, but you have to figure the factory bed is quite heavy. I would say make it out of steel with wood inserts, saves weight and money.
  3. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,206

    I need suspension information the most.
  4. ashs inc

    ashs inc LawnSite Senior Member
    from alabama
    Messages: 601


    check that guy out. pretty cool truck. has lots of pics too. just keep reading.

    I also have been wanting to covert a regular truck to a dove tail type of truck. Most of my yards now require a 48wb in the front and a 36wb in the back because of gates.

    I have a long bed 2004 F150. I want to take the bed off and have my welder make a dove tail. Prime Trailers in Texas make a bed that will fit your dodge. call them and ask them to send you pics. http://primetrailers.com/
  5. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    You may not want to hear this, but it sounds like you are heading down the road of creating a more or less useless truck. Dodge 1500s have light duty rear axles that are not designed for heavy loads. I'm sure there are lots of guys out there who claim they carry a cord of wood or whatever without any problems but I don't buy it. You are talking about installing a flat bed on a shortbed pickup that is not made for one, and installing fancy, expensive suspension upgrades that will only make something else on the truck the weakest link. Do yourself a favor- fix the truck, sell it, and buy a truck that is designed for what you want to use it for. All three brands are good, buy the one you like.
  6. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,067

    Couldn't have said it better, suspenion "boosters" are only going to create a weak link elsewhere in the truck. You're better off getting at least a 3/4 ton, although while you're at it a 1 ton would be best.
  7. ashs inc

    ashs inc LawnSite Senior Member
    from alabama
    Messages: 601

    so what are you saying about this truck??? wrong direction??? how much do walk behinds weigh??? how much does the stock bed weigh? then look at the gvw. if the truck could handle it it shouldnt be a problem.

    dodge flat bed.jpg
  8. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,206

    It is not cost effective for me to use a 1 ton truck on my mowing route. I've already tried that with a Chevy 3500...The gas prices were crazy. A 1200 lb ztr is not too heavy for my rear axle to haul around. If i wanted to fix the dent in my bed, I would... But I've always wanted a flatbed. Thanx
  9. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    They're giving you some good advice, you should consider it carefully. I would like to do what you're talking about also, but like they said, the weight factor starts getting in the way.

    You will have to factor in the weight of your new flatbed, a ramp for it sturdy enough to handle a 1200 lb mower, the height of the flatbed (which affects the length of ramp need, etc, etc). At about 1500 or 1800 lbs weight carrying capacity on that light duty Ram (a guess) you've got to do the math and see if you can carry enough equipment with it. You can modify it so it won't sag, but even some of those type of products clearly state that they are not recommending that you exceed the load capacity of your vehicle. They just make your load more stable.

    The flatbed allows you more space so you can side by side mowers, but it'd have to be 7' wide or more, more like 7.5' to allow parking a 48" ztr and a 36" wb side by side. That affects weight. I have no idea what the original truck bed weighs vs a steel/wood flatbed of that width. What they are saying is that you may well wind up with a truck that can safely carry a ztr and a wb and nothing else. Which may be all you need. TODAY. What about when you want to sell it one day? Instead of having a heavy duty flatbed which is of value to others, you have a light duty frankenstein truck that is not going to bring much. Combine that with the cost of a custom built flatbed and you might well be better off fixing your bed, selling the truck, and buying a HD version to modify.

    If you are just looking for something to serve as a ramp for the flatbed, however, this might be what you are looking for. They make a variety of sizes and some are made for use like you're planning. This is just one website selling the safe-t-ramp. Try others.


    I use one sometimes with my Ram (tailgate in place). The ramp supports the weight using the trailer hitch. I've put a Lazer HP in the back of the truck fo weeks at a time. But that and a 21" Fill it up, no other mowers will fit.

    Finally, keep in mind that as you raise the equipment up higher (from a trailer to 3' or more off the ground in the truck bed) you need to make sure your vehicle is stable enough to handle it in emergency maneuvers. Airbags and helper springs are a big help, but I'd check with some experts before I put much more than 1,000 lbs or so of mower in the back (plus ramp weight, trimmers, gas, blowers, etc).

    If I didn't have to worry about emergency maneuvers, a trailer wouldn't be a problem in the first place.
  10. Accu-cut Lawn Care

    Accu-cut Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,206

    To all you naysayers, my flat bed is almost done(less paint) and turned out much beter than expected. I'll have pics soon.

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