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Posted by Stephanie on July 17, 2023

Whenever you need to transport cars, snowmobiles, or ATVs, you can use an enclosed trailer to transport them from one destination to another without exposing the vehicle to the elements. Enclosed trailers are also used to transport everything from heavy machinery to construction materials. Among the more common problems that people encounter when moving vehicles in a trailer is that there isn’t enough width to support the vehicle.

Most enclosed trailers are equipped with small fender boxes that reduce the amount of space owners have access to. In this scenario, you can build a ramp-over, which is an interior ramp for cargo trailers that’s fitted over the fender boxes. These ramps allow you to take advantage of the entire width of the trailer for easy loading. The following guide provides everything you need to know about ramp-overs and how to build them.

Access Ramp

Introduction

When you move a vehicle or large piece of equipment into your trailer for transport, a ramp needs to be positioned outside the trailer to ensure you can move the vehicle or machine into the interior space. Any large goods can be moved up loading ramps with ease.

If you have enough room to fit your vehicle, all you need is the outside ramp. However, many cargo trailers come with fender boxes that jut out from both interior sides of the trailer. While these boxes aren’t that tall, they can make it difficult for you to store a vehicle or piece of equipment when you don’t have enough width.

You can resolve these issues with ramp-overs. Once you install ramp-overs, you can drive the vehicle from the ground outside the trailer to the top of the fender boxes, which ensures that the space in your trailer is maximized. These ramps are also relatively easy to build and can be purchased.

The construction process depends on the type of material you decide to use. While the best ramp-overs are made from high-quality modular steel, wood is the most commonly used material for DIY ramp-over projects. Among the most important aspects of the construction process is having the right tools and materials for the job. If you’re creating wooden ramp-overs, you’ll need to purchase or cut the right sizes of wood. The types of tools you need include everything from a circular saw to a screwdriver.

Determining Your Requirements

Before you can start work on building the ramp-overs, you’ll first be tasked with determining the project requirements. For instance, you should evaluate the trailer’s dimensions and weight capacity to make sure it can hold the vehicle or equipment you’re looking to store or transport. In most cases, lengthier units have higher weight capacities. While it’s possible for 12-foot trailers to have a weight capacity that’s as low as 3,000 pounds, the average weight capacity is 4,400 pounds. Longer trailers can support upwards of 10,000 pounds.

You should also take this time to measure the space between the two fender boxes as well as the space that you’ll have once the ramp-overs have been installed. Having this data on hand makes it easier for you to build the ramp-overs to the proper specifications. During this process, take a look at the different types of vehicles or equipment that you’re going to be loading to the trailer. You should know how heavy the vehicle is to ensure your trailer can support it.

Consider your desired ramp-over design and materials as well. The type of material you select depends on how much you want to spend and the items you’re going to be transporting. As for the design, most ramp-overs have a basic design. The end of the ramp-over that meets the edge of your truck will have a sloped design for the first few feet before leveling off above the fender boxes.

Green and Black Mobile Yard Ramp

Choosing the Right Materials

During this stage of the process, your main goal is to select the right materials for the project at hand. The three materials that are most commonly used when constructing ramp-overs include wood, steel, and aluminum. Each material has its pros and cons, which you should consider before making a decision.

Wood is a relatively affordable material, which means that your upfront costs should remain low. Depending on the type of cargo trailer you have, this material can also be aesthetically pleasing. Despite the advantages that come with wood, these ramp-overs can take a couple days to construct, which might result in higher labor costs. Depending on the type and quality of wood you use, you may need to perform regular maintenance to keep warps and wood rot at bay.

Modular steel ramps are designed to provide your trailer with a stronger and more robust material. It’s relatively easy to customize this material to suit the vehicle you’re using it with. One potential issue with steel is that it rusts quickly. However, including this ramp in your vehicle should allow you to avoid moisture problems.

Aluminum is a lightweight yet effective material that allows you to make a customizable ramp-over for your trailer. If you select modular parts, they will be constructed before they’re shipped to you, which means that you’ll only need to handle the installation process.

Even though aluminum ramp-overs are lighter than steel ones, they should withstand harsh conditions and repeated use. Aluminum material is slip-resistant as well. Since aluminum ramp-overs are often built beforehand, they can cost more in comparison to wood ramps.

Designing the Ramp-over

Before you can begin the construction process, the ramp-over needs to be designed. For one, make sure that it reaches close to the back of your trailer. Each platform needs to be wide enough to support the tires on your vehicle or equipment. The slope should be between 1:20-1:12 depending on how long the track is going to be.

You can calculate the necessary dimensions based on the vehicle or equipment you need to store. Make sure that you leave a foot or more of material on both ends to keep the vehicle secure. You should also consider incorporating safety features, which include everything from handrails to anti-slip surfaces. Once you drive the vehicle up the ramp, you’ll need to get out and leave it there, which is why handrails and anti-slip surfaces are highly recommended.

Gathering Tools and Equipment

There are numerous tools that you should have on hand to construct a ramp-over, which include:

  • Circular saw
  • Square
  • An MIG welder for steel or aluminum ramp-overs
  • Screws and nails
  • Electric drill

The types of safety equipment you should have for the construction process include:

  • Work gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Ear protection
  • Mask
  • Protective clothing
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Construction Process

Building a simple ramp-over is fairly straightforward. Prepare your trailer and the surrounding area by putting down some cloths to keep the surface from becoming damaged. Once you’ve measured your vehicles and gathered your tools, the main construction process involves:

  • On both sides of your trailer, place a series of 4×6 pieces of wood around two feet apart for the length of the ramp-over
  • The 4×6 pieces need to be long enough to fit along the width of the 2×12 pieces that are going to be the base of the ramp-over
  • When you use 2×12 pieces, they should be long enough for the initial sloped surface that leads into the trailer as well as the flat surface that the vehicle will rest on once you move it into your trailer
  • When cutting the 4×6 pieces, consider leaving enough room to support additional 2×4 pieces that can provide each side of the ramp with more width
  • Secure all 4×6 pieces to the floor with thick and durable nails
  • You might want to place D-rings at the front of the trailer to support a removable section of the ramp that extends outside of the vehicle while it’s being loaded but can be taken out after the loading is done
  • Place 2×4 pieces along the length of the ramp to keep the loaded vehicle from shifting and to provide you with wheel guides during the loading process
  • Add grip tape along the length of the ramp to avoid tire slipping issues

Once you’ve completed these steps, all that’s left is to make sure the final product meets specification and supports your vehicle.

Safety Considerations

As mentioned previously, placing grip tape on the surface of the wood should prevent slipping. You can ensure the stability and durability of the ramp-over by taking a smaller vehicle up the ramp to test its weight capacity. Place additional 4×6 pieces beneath the surface to improve stability as needed.

During the construction process, you can prevent accidents and keep injuries at bay while wearing the protective clothing and equipment mentioned previously. You’ll likely be using circular saws and other heavy-duty tools, which is why taking proper safety precautions is essential. If you use wood, this material needs to be inspected and maintained at least once every six months to ensure it isn’t warping or rotting. Steel and aluminum materials don’t need to be maintained as much. However, make sure to inspect your ramp-overs immediately after installation to ensure they support your vehicle.

Stationary Access Ramp with Manual Crank and Safety Chains

Conclusion

Ramp-overs provide you with an effective way to increase the width of your trailer and transport your vehicles with ease. Even if you don’t have much experience with DIY projects, ramp-overs aren’t that difficult to build as long as you know how to take the right measurements.

When building ramp-overs for enclosed trailers, take a slow and steady approach to ensure you don’t make mistakes. Once the ramps have been correctly installed, they should last for years with the right amount of maintenance. If you have past experience with building ramp-overs, feel free to share some information and tips with other readers in the comment section below. Ask any questions that come to mind.

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