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Electric Drill Powers Pickup Dump Box
When Craig Spierling wants to raise his truck’s dump box, he pushes a button in the cab that turns on an electric drill, which direct-drives the hydraulic pump. Retrofitting a hydraulic pump from driveshaft to drill-driven was easy. It also cost less than alternative drives, just as the dump beds did.

    “I had picked up a couple of old dump trucks left in fence rows,” says Spierling. “Their hydraulics are self contained. The pump attaches directly to the cylinder, which is actually inside the reservoir.”

    Spierling mounted a 1 1/2-yard box on a 1980 Chevy pickup. Originally the pump was driven off a jackshaft from the transmission. The multi-piece, 3/4-in. jackshaft angled up to the pump. Modifying it to run off a drill powered by a 3,500-watt power inverter was a lot easier than rigging up a new driveshaft. He also beefed up the power system on the truck with a heavier duty battery under the hood.

    “The inverter is also handy for powering tools and even a grain elevator. That takes a lot of amps, especially if the elevator is full. I figured if it could handle the elevator, it could handle an electric drill driving the pump.”

    He took a piece of jackshaft and turned down one end to fit a 1/2-in. drill. He kept the keyway on the other end to match the pump.

    “I welded a bracket to the pump mount and built a steel box for it that would hold the drill,” says Spierling.

    He removed the handle from the drill and used the handle mount to secure the drill in the box. He put a Lovejoy coupler on the end of the pump and attached the modified jackshaft to it and the drill, which he locked in the on-position. He ran a rod from the lift lever on the pump to a T-bar switch mounted through the floorboards and next to the master switch for the inverter.

    With the inverter on, power for the drill travels from the inverter via extension cord to a push-button switch on the dash. To start the drill, he hits the button. To activate the lift, Spierling turns the T-bar.

    It’s a simple system and one that he recommends to others. He did all the work in his garage with common tools, including replacing the dump box with a stake bed.

    “You see those old trucks around, and they often haven’t been used in decades,” he says. “I paid $50 for one truck and $100 for another. The pumps worked fine, and I only had to add some packing to stop a leak in one cylinder.”

    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Craig Spierling, 1627 Cassidy Rd., Levering, Mich. 49755 (ph 231 537-2324).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #5