An interesting alternative to a liftgate-equipped pickup truck is a Dodge pickup modified to move safes. The rear drive line was removed (probably started with a four-wheel drive) and two fixed wheels were installed, eliminating the drive shaft and rear axle. The bed area was opened and reinforced, and a custom bed was constructed and installed. This custom bed could be lowered to the ground. Once down, the safe could be dollied over and placed in the bed. Once the safe had been placed into the bed, it was raised up and the vehicle could be driven to the end-user’s location.
Locksmiths need a safe transporting trailer that is easy to load and to unload. For this reason, safe moving trailers generally tilt or lower to the ground for ease of loading. The smaller trailers are the tilt types usually having only two wheels and designed to hold few safes. The lower to the ground for loading type trailers have a deck that remains level as it raises or lowers. These trailers are available with two or four wheels with larger decks to accommodate more or heavier safes.
The smallest trailers are the two wheel tilt type trailers. These trailers are designed to provide a slightly above ground level loading and unloading platform. The Defiant Safe Inc. Black Safe Chariot is a two-wheel tilt type trailer with a 50” deep and 52” width deck. The trailer weight is 1500 pounds with a payload capacity of 3500 pounds. The trailer coupler accommodates a two-inch ball. The trailer tongue weight is approximately 10 percent of the gross trailer weight. The Safe Chariot is designed for one person operation using a single drive winch to tilt the bed down to load and unload the safe and up to transport. Important: Always be certain the trailer is attached to the tow vehicle before loading or unloading a safe.
The second option is the two and four wheel trailers that lower to the ground for loading and unloading. These trailers are available in a variety of configurations that include different widths as well as lengths. The deck onto which cargo is loaded varies in size. The larger deck usually indicates greater payload capacity. The larger the trailer, the more the trailer weighs. For example, a four foot-four inch by eight foot deck, single axle trailer can weigh about 1,700 pounds. A six foot by 12-foot deck, dual axle trailer can weigh about 3,000 pounds. Payload capacity goes from about 2,000 pounds for the smaller trailer to about 7,000 pounds for the larger.
For example, Air-Tow ground level loading trailers have a 75” wide steel diamond plate deck. These trailers are available with single or tandem axles. The payload capacity is up to 10,000 pounds depending upon the trailer. The deck can be lowered to the ground. Once the safe is loaded, the deck is raised hydraulically.
Advanced Metal Working Trailers have the ability to not only provide ground level loading, but their Lift-A-Load Trailers have elevating platforms that can load at truck or dock height up to 52 inches. Lift-A-Load Trailers are available with two or four wheels with a payload capacity from 4,400 pounds up to 15,000 pounds. These trailers are available with a tongue or gooseneck hitch.
The features available for ground level loading trailers vary by size and manufacturer. Most have hydraulic lift mechanisms with a dedicated battery and electric brakes. Some of the trailer manufacturers that lower to the ground for loading include Air-Tow trailers, Lift-A-Load Trailers, Selma Hydraulic Trailers and Triple L Trailers.
When towing a trailer long distances, consider stopping every hour or so to check the tires and the content of the trailer. Make sure the straps are tight and the safe(s) have not shifted.
Moving the safe around the shop or positioning the safe in the end-user’s location can require heavy duty moving equipment. We will begin with the moving the safe from the outside in and then address moving the safe into position in the showroom or end-user’s location.
Loading a safe onto or off of the trailer or liftgate requires the ability to move it from the warehouse dock, your storeroom or safe showroom. Many larger safes come crated with a pallet attached to the bottom. To make sure the safe can be loaded onto or off of the trailer, carry pieces of 6061 T6 aluminum plate about 1/8” or 3/16” thick to smooth out a rough floor. This helps if the trailer is parked on an angle. This type and thickness of aluminum plate will normally flex when moving an average size safe. One safe company recommends two or two and one half feet by four feet sheets.