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Typical Hooklift Hoist configuration
Typical hooklift hoist (single lift/dump cylinder configuration)

Hydraulic hooklift hoists are mounted on heavy duty trucks to enable hauliers to change out flatbeds, dumpster bodies, and similar containers. Primarily used in conjunction with tilt frame bodies and specialised roller containers, generally designed for the transportation of materials in the waste, recycling, scrap and demolition industries, as well as for disposal of construction debris.[1]

The system employs a series of hydraulic rams to hook, lift and hoist the container onto the chassis of the truck. There are several configuration options, and strict guidelines[2] which must be followed to ensure that the container is secured on the truck in transit.

Load capacity

Lift and dump capacities of hydraulic hooklift hoists typically range from 8,000 to 68,000 lb (3,630 to 30,800 kg). Generally a hoist is capable of lifting (off the ground) and dumping (onto the ground) the same maximum capacity, although there can be exceptions where short wheel bases are involved.

The ratio of container length to chassis length is a factor in achieving rated load capacity. This ratio determines the load angle, and all hooklift hoist systems indicate a recommended range of body lengths, typically 3–5 ft (914–1,524 mm) difference in length between the container and the chassis. Container bodies shorter than the recommended length produce substantially steeper load angles, and consequently lower load rating, than those of the longest bodies intended for use with a particular hoist.

Chassis frame height is also important, as the lower the chassis frame height, the lower the potential load angle. A combination of low chassis with the longest recommended body lengths offers the best case.

Finally, hook height has an effect, as a taller hook height achieves a greater lift and dump capacity.

System components

Hydraulic system

The hydraulic operating pressure of all hooklift hoists are preset at the factory to achieve the intended lifting capacity for the design application. The original approach used by early European models, still widely used today, was a high pressure / low volume system. This setup suits chassis with space restraints, allowing for use of a smaller piston pump and a smaller hydraulic reservoir. Such systems operate between 4,000 to 5,800 psi (28,000 to 40,000 kPa).

The North American market developed low pressure / high volume systems, which allowed operators to share the hoist's hydraulic system with other hydraulically powered devices. These systems typically operate with a larger gear pump and larger hydraulic reservoir. Operating pressures range from 2,000 to 3,500 psi (14,000 to 24,000 kPa).

Jib system

There are two common types of jib system, each controlled by a single hydraulic cylinder. Both systems can be used with either a single or dual rear pivot section.

Rear pivot section

Hook lift operating
25-ton hooklift hoist (dual lift/dump cylinder) mid lift

Rear lock system

There are typically two styles of rear lock. Both styles can be located on the hoist such that they are positioned either on the inside or outside of the container/body long rails.

Lift/dump cylinder(s)

Two configurations are typical, both suitable for either single or dual pivot designs.

Safety features

A series of safety valves act to ensure safe operation of the system.

Cab controls

Cab controls can either be operated by cable, air or electricity. Both cable and air controls, in a floor mounted lever configuration, offer additional benefits in controlling the load, by feathering the controls.


The flexibility offered by the hydraulic hooklift hoist system offers several advantages:


The main disadvantages of the system are revealed on uneven ground:

See also


  1. ^ Adams, A. (2005) Trucking: tractor-trailer driver handbook/workbook, p.391 Cengage Learning. ISBN 1-4180-1262-9. Retrieved August 2011
  2. ^ Office of the Federal Register (U.S.) (2010) Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Transportation, Pt. 300-399, Revised as of October 1, 2009 p.475. Government Printing Office. ISBN 0-16-084062-7. Retrieved August 2011