Homemade tire dollies
I have a one car garage to work in.
With a welder, workbench, tools, drill press, pedestal grinder, etc, its kind of tight quarters in there when you roll in a vehicle to work on.
If I had some tire dollies to put under the tires of whatever Im wrenchin on, I could roll it to one side or the other for more access room around it.
I searched the web and found out that the cheapest ones for about $50 a set, like the black ones from HF arent really worth buying for heavier vehicles. The wheels dont have bearings in them and dont roll well under a load, as well as having a tendency to fold over if you push on them too hard and they arent straight.
The tire dollies that do work well start at more than I want to spend. About $100 apiece for the low end HF ones.
I also found some for sale that are solid steel and looked really sturdy. Still more than I want to spend. About $60 each. Hmmm. I could make something like this;
So, I looked around the web for people who have built their own homemade tire dollies and I found these;
I also found this thread on hotrodders.com;
I have some steel, a torch, grinder, drill press and a welder.
We dont need no stinkin store bought dollies!
I began by looking for some casters. I needed them all to swivel, and I need about 300 to 500 pounds capacity for each caster, or about 1200# to 2000# per dolly.
After looking for a while, I ended up with these;
Capacity? IDK for sure, but a LOT! They have 6 inch fiber wheels and greasable ball bearings for the swivel and the wheels. Im guessing capacity is over 500# per caster.
I have a few sheets of 1/8" mild steel that I scored a while back, so I guesstimated and started cutting out some 14" x 14" squares.
Sizing it up.
I made a bolt pattern of the caster mount out of cardboard;
Transferred the pattern over to the sheet steel with a spring loaded punch;
Deepened the marks with a real punch and a hammer;
And drilled the holes;
Then I bolted on the casters;
I know the bolts are too long. I had them, so I used them. I will replace them with shorter bolts.
Here is the first one;
Dang, they're multiplyin;
Then I added some angle iron as a tire stop;
They work pretty good. The pickup frontend swivels around without too much effort at all. I will put the rear dollies under it after I get it in the garage;
I was slightly concerned that the 1/8" steel would bend in the middle and require a gusset across it, but no sign of that happening.
I also designed them so they would hold up a jackstand;
I will use a ratchet strap to strap the jackstand to the dolly so it wont tend to tip over if I push it sideways. I may just go up over the frame rail with another ratchet strap and strap the dolly and all to the frame if I use the jackstands like this and work under the truck. You cant be TOO safe when it comes to tons of steel over your body;
It took me about a day to make them. I got the casters for pretty much nothing, and had the steel laying around, so the total cost is exactly what I had in mind.
I had a problem with the dollies today. I suspected when I built them that the 1/8" steel was borderline as far as strength holding up the truck without a square brace for the tires. I was right.
I rolled the pickup into the garage today and put all four dollies under it. I was having fun pushing the pickup around, then the frontend wouldnt move. I pushed harder but it still wouldnt move. I looked closer and the dolly under the RF wheel was starting to bend, causing 2 of the casters to refuse to swivel.
I didnt have a camera handy, so the above amateur illustration will have to do. The front tire was trying to roll off the dolly, pushing on the piece of angle iron, and bending 2 of the casters back under the dolly.
I jacked the truck back up and pulled the front dollies out from under it. I sledge hammered the dolly flat, then cut some more steel and welded in 2 pieces of angle across the sides, effectively boxing in the area where the tires sit. This will keep the tires from trying to roll off the dollies.
Another amateur illiustration.
I put the 2 reconfigured boxed in dollies back under the front wheels and pushed the truck around a few more times. No more problems.
The back wheels are locked. I have the E brake on, and its in gear, so they cant roll off the dollies. I still plan to box those dollies in as well.
Except for the minor structural problem, they worked great! I can roll the pickup from side to side, or front to back, and it gives me lots of room on any side of the truck.
They also raise the truck up about 8" or so. That makes it easier to get underneath it. That will come in handy since the bed will be coming off, the rear axle swapped, a fuel cell installed, etc.
I boxed in all the dollies and they have been exactly the right idea for my small garage. The pickup is pretty easy to move anywhere I need it.
Working on either side of the truck is a breeze since I can push it all the way over to one side of the garage or the other at will. Brakes on the casters will lock them in place so the truck wont move on me.
Shots of how I boxed in where the tire sits on the dollies.
where did you get the casters?
Nice job and well documented This should go into our knowledge base. :thumbup:
Great write up on the construction of the tire dollies. I like the ability to use them as a tire dolly and as a jack stand dolly. I think you have the right idea about strapping the jack stands to the dolly for extra safety. The higher you get the vehicle on the jacks stands the more tipping force you have so I would still be cautious when moving a vehicle with the jack stands on the dollies.
hmm i just dont like the idea of any dollies of this type at all, home made or not.
i only will use the floor jacks and jackstands
i just cant trust anything else. and rather not take any more risk than possible. i already gotta work under vehicles on a twin post lift every day that i have no idea how well is secured to the concrete and one is not braced at all and actually moves when we lift a vehicle up
so yeah..... thats enough risk for me.... i dont want any more and ive taken wayyyyyy too many crazy risks over the years that ive been lucky and not gotten seriously hurt with.... somehow.... i dont know how...
Nice writeup,I would be worried about the jackstands on them though.
Good write up, how stable are they? They look very tippy, especially with the jackstands. A little momentum and a rock on the floor could be trouble. I would imagine they are fairly safe with just the wheels on them, but with jackstands you are raising the c of g quite high. You really need to move the casters iout from under the wheel, like the other design where the tire sits in a cradle, there is no way that is flipping over.
That said, as long as they are your tools, and you know how to manage them, safety is in your court. Maybe don't let others use them though.
They are all good and all that, but a closer replication of the ones the idea was copied from would work and be much safer .
if it was me i would make them longer and make hold in the mid of them so the tire can sit in them a little better and they will be a safer
but other then that thank u did a grate job
and don't get under the car or truck with the jack stands on them
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