Gate assist - help

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tx_angler, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. tx_angler

    tx_angler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 278


    As you can see my trailer has high sides. I've already done a search for pictures of a gate lift system but can only find them fore trailers with low sides. Anyone know of pictures of a gate lift system for a trailer like mine.

    I could probably build my own system but don't know what the gate weighs - reckon I could weigh it in the down position with a bathroom scale?

  2. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    look at a trailer place. Some will have a large spring you put on the rod that goes thru the hinge. They don't work as good but better than nothing.
    If I can find a pic I will post it.
  3. jimslawns

    jimslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 283

    You could mount the lift system on the outside of the sides by welding in to the upright supports. Garage door springs work great inside of square tubing plus they come with the cables already attached. Use the "heaviest" springs you can find. Inside 2" square tubing a #160 spring will fit. With a full gate you will want to build two of the devices which can be done for less than $100.

    PM me with an email address I can shoot a pic of my assist.
  4. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    Heres a drawing hope it makes sense.
    When you let the gate down it winds it up and then unwinds as your are lifting up. Kinda like the springs that are used on a lot of discharge chutes but in larger scale.

  5. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    I think Jim's idea is the best, it's simple. But, here is what I was thinking....Now mind you, the top will not stick up that far, as a matter of fact, it will hardly be noticable. The same thing with the size of the pulleys - they will be small, and not stick out like it looks on this rather "crude" drawing. Run the cable over the top of the first pulley, down the back to the inside of the lower pulley, then out to the end of the gate (further than what the drawing depicts). This will give it more leverage to pull with. Actually, it would look rather neat and tidy done this way. The pulleys are held with C channel of square tubing. Or, you could fabricate your own brackets like I do for all the ones I build.
    The one thing with Jim's design, is that you would run in to alignment issues at the back of the trailer - from the tube to the gate. You would have to run a long eyebolt out the SIDE of the gate, rather than the top, and it would have to stick out long enough so the cable wouldn't rub the back corner of your side.

    Attached Files:

  6. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    Runner may lack in his drawing, but his idea is great. That is pretty much the same as mine (with low rails) omitting the bottom pulley. You might even be able to omit that bottom pulley, but then the cable would be hanging out. I like Joe's idea better, with the bottom pulley. Other than the steel, you should be able to get most items at your local hardware store. Another, less popular route would be to use leaf springs. I have seen a few with these mounted underneath the trailer, upside down. I really like this idea because for one, it's out of sight and out of the way. Two, should it break I doubt that it would or could injury anybody.

    Now that I think about Joe's drawing, I am not sure if that will work. I think with that second pulley down so low and the eyebolt mounted so high on the gate (in the vertical position) that bottom pulley would just act as a pivit point in which the spring would not extend out (when the gate was down) and not retract (when the gate went vertical). Does that make any sense? I am not sure the sping would stretch. Now, if the bottom pulley was closer to the top, closer to the eyebolt that is attatched gate when the gate is vertical, that would give good stretch to the spring. Then on the other hand, if it was that high up, why even have it there? One thing that I don't like to see is that much cable exposed. If it ever decided to break, that is a lot of cable to be "slung".

    Personally, knowing it might be more work, I would go with the leaf spring idea that I mentioned earlier.

    Let us know what you come up with. Also, please share some pics.
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    You are certainly right about the possibility of that just pivoting. We would have to make sure that the bottom pulley is just high enough. I drew this based on the approx. height of a top rail if there was one. On the regular type lift, it does the same thing. When the gate first strts to come down, there is not alot of cable actually pulled. The way for us to know if it will function geometrically, would be to hark a place i=on the trailer wher we would have our bottom pulley. Then, while lowering the gate, hold a tape measure to a spot near the end of the gate. However much tape comes out during the arc, will tell us how much spring will be pulled. Not a whole lot of spring needs to be pulled, as we can alway start with some tension on it. This adjustment is made when we hook up the cable U-bolt clamps.
  8. pcnservices

    pcnservices LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 614

    Hey tx-angler, I have a trailer like yours - only with 24 high sides. I'm not an engineer but something I've been thinking of doing is to make use of a vehicle's shock absorber. It's cheap enough. I just need a friend or somebody with a welding machine to help me make it work.
    I would like to hear some input on this from the guys with the engineerical skills whether this will work or not.
    Here's a drawing of how I invision it. It's installed on the back of the trailer. The one end of the shock is attached to a bracket welded to the frame and the other end to the gate. I think it's a lot simpler in design - and cheaper - than to rig pulleys, cables and springs?

  9. Likestomow

    Likestomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 997

    Raise your tailgate all the way up. Extend a line across the top of your fender back to the tailgate and make a mark there. Weld a piece of 2x2 tubing on the side of the tailgate, horizontal and even with that mark. You might have to extend the side of your tailgate out some.

    The length of that tubing will be determined by putting the tailgate down, and again sighting across the top of the fender. That point will be the top of the tubing.

    Next get two strong garage door springs, secure them in tandem and put a piece of plastic PCV pipe around them. Lay them across the top of your fender, secure the front with a strong eye bolt and tie the back of the spring assembly to the tubing on your tailgate. Adjust the stretch of the springs to match the weight of your tailgate.

    I have mine on the curb side. It is simple, strong and very effective. By the way, this was Eric Elm's idea from his website, and for the past 5 years I have been thankful to him for it.
  10. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    I just took some pics of my assist. The enclosure is made of 2" square tubing and a 160 lb. garage door spring.

    gate assist0001.JPG

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