An average snowmobile weighs between 400 and 600 pounds, which is too much for one person to lift. Fortunately, that’s what ramps are for most of the time, but what if you don’t have one? How do you load a snowmobile in the back of a truck without a ramp?
I can teach you the best way to tackle this tricky situation with some DIY and recommend a few out-of-the-box ideas as well.
To load a snowmobile in a truck without a ramp, line it up behind the truck, and switch the parking brake off. Now, lift both skis up and set them on the tailgate. From there, you move to the back and lift that end using the truck to support the weight as you push it the rest of the way in.
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How Do You Load A Snowmobile Into A Truck By Yourself
You traditionally load a snowmobile into a truck bed by yourself using a ramp.
This involves setting up and attaching the ramp, lining up the sled, and driving it inside. However, you have to improvise when you don’t have a ramp.
I will walk you through using a simple snowmobile pivot-lift instead.
There are two versions of the snowmobile lift.
The first is hydraulic and powered, but we’re going to look at the simpler version, which involves a metal grate or reinforced board that tips into your truck when enough weight is put on the tilted-up end.
First, you need a sheet or two of plywood attached solidly together with reinforcements up the length so it can hold the weight of your sled.
This board should be at least as long as your sled, and it needs cutouts so that when it tips into the truck, the wheel wells don’t stop it from sitting flat.
You are essentially using a long piece of reinforced material to make a teeter-totter, but it will have one snowmobile on it instead of two people.
Set your reinforced platform so that it is at an angle where you can safely drive the snowmobile, ensuring that it hooks into the truck bed and remains steady.
Adding handles or holes for handholds at the bottom, the end you set on the ground, can help you lift.
You simply drive the sled onto the pivoting platform and dismount from there. Then you’ll raise the bottom end up and into the truck with your sled already onboard.
Don’t forget to secure the sled with ratcheting straps.
I recommend this video from Power Modz for DIYers who can weld at home.
In the video, they walk through step-by-step and build a complete snowmobile platform with a locking bar to mount on the top of a truck bed.
This method is safer and more secure than a pivot loader but also requires welding skills to build.
Homemade Snowmobile Loading Ramp
I’ve laid out the directions to build a DIY snowmobile ramp below. You can modify the design to fit your truck bed.
If you want a visual demonstration of a similar build, this video by Pierre’s Adventures is almost the same style, though he uses a few different parts for attaching the ramp at the end.
- Gather Materials and Tools – You need two sheets of 3/4 inch plywood with 2-3 2×6’s and 5 2×4’s of the same length or more. You can always cut down the excess, but you can’t make extra appear. You will also need a drill, screws, two heavy-duty hinges, a large rubber mallet to tap things into place, a circular saw, and a measuring tape. It’s also a good idea to get 2 2-foot lengths of heavy-duty chain, 4 eye bolts, and 2 large hooks to secure your ramp in place when you’re done.
- Measure – You need to know how long your truckbed is to put in the 2×6 for the base. You will also need measurements for the width and where to put the cutouts for the wheel wells.
- Lay First Sheet – Place one sheet of plywood inside the truck bed. You should have enough room for your 2x6s on the sides.
- Cut 2×6 – Cut down the 2 2×6 boards to fit inside the truck bed. Lay these along the inside edge of the wheel wells on the narrow side, so they stick up 6 inches.
- Cut 2×4 – You need 3 lengths that are as wide as the truck bed. Start at the front and back and attach to your 2x6s. You want one piece near the cab and two at the end of the inside of your truck bed. Screw these in place.
- Mark and Cut – You must mark the bottom sheet of plywoodat the end of the truck bed. Slide it out and cut off any excess so it can sit inside the truck without overhanging, so the tailgate will close when it is in place.
- Attach Plywood – Now, pull out that fitted plywood sheet and screw it down over the frame you built inside to hold it.
- Build A Smaller Box – Now that you’ve built the big box, you need to use the rest of your 2×6 and some 2×4 plus the remaining piece of that sheet of plywood you cut off to build a second more petite frame that will fit over your tailgate. Attach this to the main box via hinges so it can fold out of the way and sit on top of the first frame when not in use.
- Cut The Other Plywood Sheet and 2 2x4s – As you did with the first one, cut this plywood sheet and 2 2x4s to fit inside the truck bed. Once the snowmobile is in the truck, this ramp will slide under the box platform you’ve already built inside.
- Center and Attach Guides – Using the extra piece of plywood, center it to sit long ways up the middle of the unfinished section of plywood. This will guide you on where to lay the next pair of 2x4s. You will cut down the unused plywood for traction, but first, you need guides on either side. Once you have your 2x4s in place beside the loose section of plywood in the middle, screw them down.
- Cut Remaining Plywood – Cut the remaining plywood into 3-4-inch-wide strips to fit inside your guide boards as traction.
- Place Eyebolts and Chains – You must place the eyebolts and chains on the box inside the truck bed. Attach the other eyebolts so you can hook the chain on either side of your ramp when deployed. You may need to cut out a small space for these to sit inside.
Helpful Tips To Know About How To Load A Snowmobile Into A Truck Without A Ramp
Loading a snowmobile in a truck is one situation where improvisation can help, but only if you think about your technique carefully.
While there are always clever solutions, choosing the wrong, half-formed solution can be dangerous.
Here are some helpful tips to know about how to load a snowmobile onto a truck without a ramp.
- You can load a snowmobile into a truck without a preexisting ramp by building a natural alternative using the snow on the ground. Although it will take some time, and you should pack the snow down carefully, building a snow ramp is simple. The process mainly involves making a pile out of snow and then stomping it down to make it smoother and more compact. Naturally, this works best in areas where you get deeper snowdrifts. However, as a general rule, if there’s enough snow on the ground to ride your snowmobile, then it’s enough to make a snow ramp.
- Another simple way to load a snowmobile into a truck bed without a ramp is to take advantage of other natural features of the land. Some areas have lots of small hills you can use to your advantage to make loading your sled a little easier when you don’t have a ramp. While this won’t work for everyone, it is still wise to look around and see if the solution to your problem is in plain sight.
- Please do not try leaning a sheet of plywood or a couple of unsecured boards against your truck bed. This is a prevalent mistake that has led to many injuries and damage. Poorly made or hastily improvised ramps not only break under pressure, but they can flip and tilt, leaving you with a lot more problems than how to get the sled in the truck bed.
No one should have to load a snowmobile into a truck bed without a ramp. However, there are ways to accomplish this feat if you have to.
Use a pivot lift, or have a friend help you move the sled. Otherwise, I recommend building your own ramp.
You don’t need many tools or skills to learn to create a simple ramp like the one I described in this article.
More importantly, a ramp is usually the safest option for getting a sled into a truck without injuries or damage.