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Old 01-24-2005, 08:20 AM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3
M.O.C. #2947
Motorcycle Lift

We are owners of 2003 Big Sky Montana and have recently bought a Harley Davidson Road King. We would like to install a motor-cycle lift to the back of the Big Sky if possible.

If anyone has done this type installation or knows of someone who may be able to proived us with additional informaiton - pros and/or cons, we would appreciate the input.
Thank you,
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Old 01-24-2005, 10:11 AM   #2
stiles watson
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Leona
Posts: 6,382
M.O.C. #2059
When these RV's are built, the manufacturer has to maintain a balance between strength and weight. The stronger the frame the heavier the weight. If I have my facts straight, beginning with the 2003 models the frame was beefed up a little. However, Keystone still does not recommend adding any kind of additional cantilevered weight beyond the back of the Montana. It is not just the weight. It is also a function of the distance from the supporting axle.

A cantilevered weight subjects the frame to the most severe stress at the point of the rear axle. The severity of this stress is magnified when weight protrudes from the rear. The frame of your unit was not designed to compensate for these kinds of physical forces. These are the laws of physics, not just scare tactics from some engineering cowards.

To get a mental image of what I speak, pick up a ten pound weight with one hand. Not too hard. Now tie the ten pound weight to a fifteen foot pole, then pick it up with the other end of the pole. The difference is significant.

All this to say, if you are going to add a cycle lift, you need to beef up the frame all the way back up past both axles to ensure you don't break off your tail someday on less than stellar road surface. That would be an aweful comsplateration.
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Old 01-24-2005, 01:28 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Chandler
Posts: 624
M.O.C. #740

I'm going to assume you were able to use the search in this Forum, for Motorcycle. After reading the two pages there you have decided to go forward with your idea.

Stiles is right on the money with his comments. If your going forward, I would like to suggest doing a little more calculating. Lets look at a couple of things.

If the Bike weighs say 750 lbs. and we keep the weight down by using a ramp with a fixed carrier to save some weight, rather than a Hyd/Elect lift. We might be at about 900 to 1000 lbs. added to the rear of your Rig. This weight is unloading the weight on your pin. You can and should calculate this loss of pin weight. The lost pin weight and the added Bike with carrier weights all winds up on your 5ers axles. In this case it might add 1500 lbs. to your axles. Do you have 1500 lbs. of capacity to give up? Need to find axle ratings to see.

You could off-set the loss of pin weight by welding new spring shackles on and moving the axle rearward, but you now need new wheel wells and if for some reason you wanted to tow with out the Bike you've got way too much pin weight.

Stiles wrote about cantilevered weight. In this case the new over hung Mass is in motion. The inertia of this Mass can easily double the load of the Bike on to your 5ers frame. Now your axles might see an additional 3000 Lbs. or more than it has ever seen before.

Bottom line, can it be done? Yes. After years in Structural the AeroSpace Bus. I could never give up on an idea. Sometimes to my detriment, but I do love a challenge.

Above all please do your homework. This is serious business. Lives could be lost.

Wish you well
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Old 01-24-2005, 03:29 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Chandler
Posts: 624
M.O.C. #740

Thinking more on the subject, I would go with the Trailer behind the 5er and use a Tire pressure monitor set up in the TV to keep an eye on the Cycle Trailers pressure. That was my only big concern regarding trailers behind 5ers. I have no experience with these Pressure Sensors but I believe some of our members have reported good things about them. They use them in their 5er wheels, but why not put one in the M/C Trailers wheel?

In case you haven't seen this,

Happy Camping
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Old 01-25-2005, 02:10 AM   #5
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Location: Malta
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M.O.C. #607
wow too much thought into this one! thought I was back in math class.
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