Designing My Van’s Rear Motorcycle Carrier Unit

Saturday December 30, 2017 Guerneville CA.

Working on projects

I waited for the sun to warm up the day a bit before venturing out there to work on some projects. The day was a bit overcast so the sun wasn’t as warm as it could be, but around noon it was nice enough to do some work.

Two projects for the day

I wanted to do two things today. Work some more on my van’s motorcycle lift for the back of the van and put some gas in the Toyota and see if I could get the engine started.

Van’s motorcycle lift design

I felt more like working on my model for the van’s motorcycle lift so I started with that.

I figured I needed another set of levers on it to keep the upper end of the ramp (2×4) from hitting the back of the van. This parallel set of levers should keep the end of the ramp from hitting the back of the van if I get it right. The idea is for the levers to move the ramp to a steeper angle as the ramp was raised up. This would prevent the end of the ramp from hitting the back of the van.

Just a test unit

I cut and drilled two more lever boards and added them to the unit to see how things would work. Now this is just a test unit and I don’t expect it all to work, but it needs to work just enough for me to see if and what might work when I build it in metal. I can do things in metal that I can’t in wood, but wood still makes a good model as it’s cheap and easy to work with. I knew the levers would run into each other when raised up, but I just needed to see what might work otherwise.

Anyway, here’s my attempt after some changing around of the lever mount points. The unit is anchored to the ball hitch which would let the unit swivel a bit when up so I might be able to get into the back door.ramp1


The top of the ramp still hit the van after it came up a bit, so I figured I needed to move the pivot points on the upper lever so I did.

That allowed the ramp to do mostly what I wanted it to do and that was to hold the ramp top back away from the back of the van. It’s actually working in the below picture, but the sag makes it look like it’s not, but when I put a strap on it, it stays away from the back of the van. In metal there wouldn’t be any sag.ramp2


I tied my winch strap to it to see what would happen. It rose nicely for the first part then the lever boards hit each other which  I was expecting.

Might work in metal

So this might work made in metal changing the lever’s to something that wouldn’t run into each other which is easier to do in metal than wood.ramp4


Looking for materials

In the mean time I was thinking that I would use a piece of  4 inch aluminum channel for the ramp, but I don’t have any in stock. Steel would be a bit heavy and I’m always trying to simplify and lighten things up when I design things.

Getting more ideas

So I went next door to my brother Tom’s to see if he had any aluminum channel. He didn’t but while talking with him he generated some more ideas.

I went back to the house for a break and turned on my computer to You Tube and looked for some video’s on motorcycle carriers to get some more ideas of what I might use for a ramp.

I  don’t need no ramp

In  the process I discovered I don’t need a ramp which would get rid of some more weight.

What I discovered is this rear cycle lifter. It has a jack and lifts up, but I don’t need a side mount cycle carrier like this one.

Well maybe just a little ramp

What I was interested in was it doesn’t have a  big ramp. It has a  little ramp that goes under the bottom of the cycle just below the engine. I like this idea as it gives a good place to hold the bike down. They usually bolt the foot pegs to the mount and put a strap around the bike and it’s held down tight.

This unit is almost 500 dollars

Here’s a unit I was checking out called MX Hauler.jack


So if I remove the ramp, then the unit can drop to the ground and I can run the bike’s front tire into the middle of the levers and mount the block area to the under side of the bike. I’d then use the winch to pull the unit up to a vertical position over the ball and lock it in place.ramp1


No sideways mount

I’m still not sure if this will all work out of not. I don’t want the bike mounted sideways as it blocks the lights and the license plate which is  just asking for trouble.

So mounting the bike this way clears the lights and the license plate. It also gives me a chance to maybe get into the right side door with the bike up. I can pivot the whole arm a bit on the hitch ball to give the  door a bit more room to open.

Still some tinkering to do

I’m going to tinker with the model a bit more  to see if I can make this work and then I will either make something in steel or abandon the whole idea.

I have a hand winch that has a yellow strap on it that I thought might work better than a cable winch, but after messing with the strap a bit, I think a cable winch would work better. Less fussing with the cable when winding. The strap needs constant strap messing around to keep it on the spool until the slack is taken out which isn’t such a big deal with a cable.

I made some progress today however slow it may be. I didn’t get to starting the Toyota’s engine, maybe tomorrow.

That was my day.

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One Response to Designing My Van’s Rear Motorcycle Carrier Unit

  1. Patsy Irene says:

    I’m sure you’ll figure it out but you lost me at waiting for the sun to rise. ha ha
    Not your detail, my understanding of such things.
    Good luck!

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