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Toy Hauler Ramp


Av8r3400
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There's a lot more experience here than I have on my own, so I want to pose something that I saw on Facebook and have been thinking myself, for a while.

I have a toy hauler without the rear patio option.  I didn't want the expense or the loss of space for the railings and stairs.  My UTV just fits in my garage now.

However, I've been thinking of putting on stabilizing cables to use the ramp as a limited patio.  I don't want to have a party with 20 people on there, I just want the ability to sit on a lawn chair with my DW and a cold beverage, above the bugs.  I don't want to add the railings and all that, either.

My dealer says this is impossible and will wreck the door, I need to buy the complete patio door kit, to the tune of several thousand dollars.  I feel the urge to call shenanigans on this.

As a recovering engineer, I can't wrap my mind around how a ramp that can hold a 2500 pound load between the ground edge and the hinge, but can not hold a 500 pound (at the very most) load from stay cables at the mid point.  I would even be open to making the cable brackets longer than the small u-brackets normally used.  What I mean, instead of a 4" long u-shaped bracket why not make the bracket 24 or even 48" long.   1 x 2 x 3/16" is 3 pounds per foot, making a 4 foot piece only 12 pounds (24 for both sides), yet adding considerable strength to the door frame.

Has anyone done this or had a look on the inside of their own ramp/patio door to know what the difference in construction is?

 

Thoughts or comments?

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I have done this to mine years ago with now ill effects.  What I did was installed eye bolts on the ramp about 3/4 the length of the ramp away from the hinge and used chain instead of cable with S hooks.  
I lower the ramp and  if I want to use it as a deck I hook the chains with S hooks to the eye bolts and set outside having a cold one. I don't think I would want to hold a dance party on it, but it works great for me and the wife.  
 

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Each door is built differently. 

When we looked at used toy haulers on some the perimeter frame on the doors had twisted where the cable attached breaking the sealant on the outside. We didn't look long at Toy Haulers so I never found out if these doors were screwed and glued or welded.   Some of the alum is .040" which is hard to make any connection to.

 

 

 

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I would contact the manufacturer of the ramp. Mytoy hauler was a Cyclone built by Heartland with a Lippert ramp. I had the patio option. I have seen people with Smart Cars drive up the ramp. I think they were having separation problems. But the weight of two people and two chairs should be no problem. I never had any problems with driving a Harley up the ramp in five years of ownership. 

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I am sure the cables would work if you already have the spring assist cables on the sides of the door but another alternative would be to just use a couple of adjustable jack stands at the end of the  door to raise it to a level position. Put some padding on the top of the stand so it does not scratch the outside of the door.

Dave

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 I am with Star Dreamer on this. A couple of well placed jack stands, if you can figure out how the door is framed internally, and place them there. I have thought about installing some folding legs to the door itself, when it is lowered they could be deployed if you want the porch, left attached to the door if you don't. That way you aren't hunting jack stands, one more thing to pack. And the legs could be adjustable in length for uneven terrain. 

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The stand idea is okay, but would require leveling the door and a bunch of messing around to set up.  Stay cables are pretty simple and the deck would be level if the trailer already is.  There would be some playing around to make them up originally, but once made, it would be quick to set up at camp.

I"m thinking along the lines of instead of the small 4" long, aluminum "U" shaped cable bracket mounted to the door, making this from 1 x 2" x 3/16" wall steel tube, miter cut at the ends for looks, with a port in the middle for the cable to attach through.  I could make these tubes 36 or even 48" long to distribute the weight on the side of the door, using four bolts on each side.

 

Thoughts?  Comments?

Edited by Av8r3400
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I'm a desert rat at heart, I have an enclosed car hauler in addition to our TT and have numerous friends with true toy haulers.  We've been using the ramps on our trailers as a patio for years before it occurred to the manufacturers that they could charge extra for a "patio".  I drive a 5000 pound Jeep into my car hauler on a regular basis with no issues.

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1 hour ago, Av8r3400 said:

The stand idea is okay, but would require leveling the door and a bunch of messing around to set up.  Stay cables are pretty simple and the deck would be level if the trailer already is.  There would be some playing around to make them up originally, but once made, it would be quick to set up at camp.

I"m thinking along the lines of instead of the small 4" long, aluminum "U" shaped cable bracket mounted to the door, making this from 1 x 2" x 3/16" wall steel tube, miter cut at the ends for looks, with a port in the middle for the cable to attach through.  I could make these tubes 36 or even 48" long to distribute the weight on the side of the door, using four bolts on each side.

 

Thoughts?  Comments?

If the build of the door checks or is reinforced the chain and eye bolt idea that dennisvr uses is the best.

Cable may stretch allowing the the door to bounce. 

If the strength of the door is a concern expand on dennisvr idea and use 2 eyebolts and 2 chains on each side to reduce the point loads. One of the chains on each side will need a turnbuckle.

A high tech solution is 1/8" Amsteel rope. It is good for +/-2500lbs and has less stretch than cable.

 

Edited by J-T
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I should have said, my idea for using the tubing would run vertically along the sides of the door, keeping the center unobstructed.

Also, my door uses a "watch spring" hinge for operational assist rather than a recoiling cable or some other means to that the weight off the door to open and close.

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14 hours ago, Av8r3400 said:

I should have said, my idea for using the tubing would run vertically along the sides of the door, keeping the center unobstructed.

Also, my door uses a "watch spring" hinge for operational assist rather than a recoiling cable or some other means to that the weight off the door to open and close.

hmmm......the spring would mean there is less side to side strength which is needed to suspend the door along the edges.  My next thought would be to suspend the door from the back edge.

Any chance the manufacture would provide drawings/details of the door?

 

 

 

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On 12/9/2017 at 9:41 AM, beyerjf said:

 I am with Star Dreamer on this. A couple of well placed jack stands, if you can figure out how the door is framed internally, and place them there. I have thought about installing some folding legs to the door itself, when it is lowered they could be deployed if you want the porch, left attached to the door if you don't. That way you aren't hunting jack stands, one more thing to pack. And the legs could be adjustable in length for uneven terrain. 

This ^. 

My C-Force's door has a number of springs along the hinge that get wound up as the door lowers. Simple. 

The door supports it's load by the hinge and the top of the door which is on the ground during vehicular ingress and egress operations.* I would place Jeff's adjustable attached deck post legs at the top of the door.  If placed closer to the hinge you would have to do extensive beam and cantilever calculations so as not to tip the toyhauler right over. 

*Engineering terms for loading and unloading stuff.

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