TR Footnotes FN_0813 : Page 1
TOWING & RECOVERY The Independent Voice of the Towing Industry August 2013 FOOTN TES ® w y o no hl nt inf 4 mo o Page 2 p e re Se Keeping Industry Pros On Their Tows www.trfootnotes.com Largest In The Industry! See Page 27 Bigger & Better! More space, lower rate All Classified Ads In Full Color* Photoclassifieds In Print & Online** *at no added cost **for one low rate Our Classified Ads Are Fast, Light Loaders Let Towers & Repomen Grab & Go! in the towing sPotLight In This Issue: Safety & Training September: Asset Protection advertise now! Call David Abraham 877-219-7734, Ext 1 Volume 24, Number 4 x $3.95 x ©2013 CAuSey enterPrISeS, LLC. x ALL rIgHtS reSerVeD. lock, lift, load & leave! f BY AllAN T. DuFFIN TOP: The Minuteman XD wheel lift cenTer: Dynamic’s Lightning can be blacked out for repo work bOTTOM: The Lil’ Hercules underbody wheel lift P .O. Box 64397 Virginia Beach, VA 23467 peoria, il permit no. 315 ast, efficient equipment for swift, light-duty loading of motorists’ cars and light trucks has long allowed tow-ers and recovery agents to do the job with minimal effort and risk. In recent years, however, many products have been developed as alternatives or com-plements to the standard self-loading wheel-lift LD tow truck for use in cer-tain towing situations. A variety of these special lifts and loaders are available these days: under-body or “hidden” lifts that are installed underneath the truck bed, attachments to towing chassis, slide-in lifts that sit in the truck bed, and even stand-alone vehicles that operate independently of a tow or pickup truck. Here are several examples of manu-facturers that offer these specialty lifts and loaders: See grAb & go, page 3 Towing & Recovery Footnotes ® PrSt StD u.S. POStAge PAID
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Fast, efficient equipment for swift, light-duty loading of motorists’ cars and light trucks has long allowed towers and recovery agents to do the job with minimal effort and risk. In recent years, however, many products have been developed as alternatives or complements to the standard self-loading wheel-lift LD tow truck for use in certain towing situations.
A variety of these special lifts and loaders are available these days: under-body or “hidden” lifts that are installed underneath the truck bed, attachments to towing chassis, slide-in lifts that sit in the truck bed, and even stand-alone vehicles that operate independently of a tow or pickup truck.
Here are several examples of manufacturers that offer these specialty lifts and loaders:
Detroit Wrecker (www.detroitwrecker.com) sells its Lil’ Hercules manual-arm wheel lift to recovery agents and vehicle-lot owners, among others. the unit is used for service calls, repossession, and for moving vehicles around car and storage lots. Mike Farrell, president of Detroit Wrecker, noted that mounting a device such as the Lil’ Hercules on a pickup truck allows towing and repo companies to keep their tow trucks available to respond to calls.
“Some clients use this unit to move cars around the yard without having to use the tow truck,” said Farrell. “that way, the wrecker can stay out in the field, making money.”
Other clients use the Lil’ Hercules on their battery truck or service truck, said Farrell. “When a call for a flat tire or dead battery comes,” he explained, “this unit can retrieve the disabled vehicle in an emergency situation.” Again, repeated Farrell, this keeps the company’s tow trucks ready to respond to higher-priority calls.
The Sniper wheel lift, manufactured by United recovery Industries (www.unitedrecoveryind. com) in Independence, MO, includes a remote-controlled drawbar with hydraulic jaws. noting that trucks often need to be reinforced in order to carry underbody lifts, united recovery Industries’ Bill Benfer explained that “the installation of frame reinforcements is recommended” with the Sniper, adding that the minimum gVW (gross vehicle weight) is 10,000 pounds, and the truck should have dual rear wheels.
In Shippensburg, PA, Cal roth’s company Lift & Tow (www.liftandtow.com) offers three versions of its wheel-lift attachment, which can be installed underneath the rear bumper of a pickup or tow truck. Having this lift on a pickup truck, said roth, saves time because a driver can answer late-night calls by hopping in the pickup and heading straight for the stranded vehicle rather than going all the way back to the shop to grab a tow truck.
“They can head on over and retrieve the vehicle,” said roth, “instead of going back to the shop, turning off the alarm, unlocking the gates, and getting the keys for the wrecker, to go get the tow.”
Lift & tow’s 3-Series is operated by manually pulling the boom out and into position. “Mostly body shops, used-car dealers, and junk haulers use this one,” said roth. By contrast, the 5-Series lift is a powered system that contains a cylinder built into the boom, allowing the driver to extend the lift as he or she backs toward the target vehicle. roth noted that car dealerships and towing companies are the primary customers for this wheel lift.
“We have quite a few customers who have a three-car trailer,” said roth. “they can’t get the trailer down some side roads. So they drop the trailer, run and get the three cars, tow them back to the lot where the trailer is, hook up the trailer, then load and go.”
Lift & tow’s Z-Series lift is a self-loader that is often used by recovery agents. “you simply back up, push the button, [and the unit goes] down, out,” said roth. “When they hit the tires, hit another button.” At that point the arms wrap around the tires. the recovery agent punches the “up” button and is ready to go. roth said the self-loader can grab a vehicle in approximately 20 seconds.
ATTACHMENTS & SLIDE-INS
One option for moving vehicles around without a tow truck is to connect an attachment to a motorized vehicle that’s already being used in the shop. For example, Lift-NLock, LLC (www.liftnlockllc.com), based in Overland Park, KS, offers its Lift-n-Lock attachment that can be installed on a forklift or skid steer loader.
the Lift-n-Lock has eight rocker plates that lock the target vehicle’s tires in place. “Most of the medium-to-large tow, body shop, and dealership-type companies already have a forklift or skid steer,” said Kevin Schorgl of Liftn- Lock. “the Lift-n-Lock attachment makes their existing equipment multi-functional.”
A pickup truck can be turned into a tow truck by adding a slide-in wheel lift to the back. According to Quinn Denning, president of Minute Man Manufacturing (www.minuteman1. com) in Jenison, MI, slide-in lifts differ from underbody lifts due to their weight distributions and installation requirements. Minute Man’s slide-in lifts “tow with the weight farther forward than the underbody lifts,” he said. “Installation is also easier and less expensive, as is transfer to a new truck.”
Dynamic Towing and Equipment Manufacturing also builds a slide-in wheel-lift unit for pickup trucks, pictured here ready for installation.
Some loaders resemble little bulldozers and operate independently of a tow truck. the Master Vehicle Mover (MVM), manufactured by Lift-N-Lock, LLC, is a forklift-type wheeled device that has a small cab for the operator to stand inside, and claws that extend from the front to snatch the target vehicle.
“We built the original MVM to move cars around tow and auction lots,” explained Kevin Schorgl of Lift-n-Lock, LLC. the device is currently used by the Missouri Department of transportation and can be pulled behind MODOt’s motorist-assist trucks. “If there is a disabled vehicle blocking traffic,” said Schorgl, “instead of waiting 20 minutes or so for a tow truck, the MVM can move the car and clear the traffic.”
Schorgl also noted that while the MVM isn’t cheap, “it is perfect for companies that have more than one location. time is money, and this saves both.”
Another stand-alone loader is the EasTract (en.eastract.com), a French invention that resembles a miniature piece of construction equipment. the remote-controlled apparatus features wheeled caterpillar tracks. roland novel godet, inventor of eastract, calls it “a very efficient machine, reduced in size and which can go on any ground.”
Cumbersome tow jobs, noted novel godet, can require a slide flatbed truck, basket lift truck, or a truck with a crane and a forklift. However, he said, the eastract requires only a slide flatbed truck. eastract can grab a vehicle, lift it, and move it onto the flatbed.
Novel godet explained that the eastract has three main advantages over other types of loading devices. First, the eastract can extract a vehicle in any condition from “anywhere a truck cannot go because of its size.” Second, the device can move the disabled vehicle onto a tow truck, carrier, or trailer. third, once the disabled vehicle is transported to its destination, the eastract can move the disabled vehicle anywhere, including “a narrow parking area or inside a garage for repairs,” said novel godet.
While eastract is not yet available in the united States, novel godet is working toward that goal, noting that the device has been exhibited via Canada’s nrC Industries.
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