Friday, August 14, 2009

Smart Loading and unloading

All focus is now on getting Clifford setup to load $prite, the smart car on it, piggy back style.  This whole concept has only been around a few years but it provides a way to have a run around vehicle that can go anywhere civilized with good MPG.

The basic design is simple, just put a deck on the back of the HDT behind the cab and some ramps to run it up there and tie it down securely. How hard could that be?

It turns out that there are a few critical points that make this complicated. $$$$$, $$$$$$ and more $$$$$$ if the finished examples of this are any indicator of what is necessary.

The first person to do this that I know of was DennisM. His solution was fixed ramps loading from the driver’s side onto the flat bed he built behind the cab. He is still loading that way just fine.

The next evolution was to make a platform for the smart to sit on when loaded and make it to tilt up when loading and unloading. Lifted by hydraulic or Air bags, this reduces the breakover angle for the edge of the deck.

I am not satisfied with some of the limitations in the current solutions.

For one thing, they are all loaded/unloaded from the driver’s side of the HDT.  They require some powered lift mechanism to give a smart clearance and they also need a winch to get it on and sometimes to get it off of the HDT.

I want to load from either side and unload the same way. I do not want a lot of mechanics to do it and I would like to drive it on and off without dependence on a winch.

We need to have this finished for our anniversary kick off trip at the end of October so I have a friend with some experience doing this, working on the design with me.


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