Common Questions About Dock Lifts


Is it okay to operate the dock lifts on other than the standard 230 volt/60 cycles/3 phase power?
Yes. Motors and electrical components are designed to operate on 208V/220V/230V/-240V/ 440V/460V/48OV – 60 cycle – 3 phase at no extra charge. Just specify the voltage so that the correct overload heaters can be supplied.

Can lifts be operated on single phase?
Yes. Any power unit of 5 HP can be supplied for 230 volt single-phase operation with an up charge. The 2 HP 1045 and 1055 units can operate on 115-volt or 230-volt single phase current at no extra charge. The 7-1/2 HP power units require too much amperage for single-phase operation.


What oil should be used to operate the lift?
The oil supplied by the factory is ISO 46 hydraulic fluid.
Dexron III transmission fluid is a suitable and easily obtainable substitute. It is important not to mix fluids. Pick one and stick to it.

Can other hydraulic fluids be used?
Many hydraulic fluids will attack the seals in our power units or cylinders, so you must check with the factory before making a substitution.

What happens if a hydraulic line breaks?
The lift will not free fall. We only use double wire braid hose for our pressure lines so large ruptures are extremely unlikely. Furthermore, by ANSI code, our cylinders are equipped with flow controls which prevent a lift with a ruptured hydraulic line from lowering faster than the greater of 4 times the normal speed or 30 fpm when fully loaded.

What about velocity fuses?
Velocity fuses are small hydraulic valves that are  screwed into the hydraulic cylinder ports. If a hydraulic line loses pressure, the fuse closes so the lift won’t come down until the line is repaired. Velocity fuses are very good devices for certain equipment.

Why aren’t velocity fuses standard on Advance dock lifts?
The problems they create outweigh their safety advantage. They can lock up in cold weather due to thick oil and under shock loading which is common to dock lifts (loads bouncing over the ends or dropped onto a platform). One fuse can lock up while the other(s) remain open which puts all the load forces on one cylinder which could result in damage to the lift. Advance offers velocity fuses as an option, but does not recommend them for multi-cylinder dock lifts.


Can the hinged bridge be mounted on the side of the platform rather than the end?
Yes, for most units and at no additional charge. In addition, they can usually be offset along the side. The single caution is to check the side load capacity of the unit, which may be considerably less than the end load capacity.

Can the hand rail locations be changed?
Yes, and at no additional charge. The rails can be put    on the ends or in an “L” configuration.

Can a truck or semi-trailer drive over the lift?
Yes, but only at slow speeds and only when the lift is fully lowered and resting on its mechanical stops.

What happens if a truck hits the lift?
The lift will probably be damaged, the extent of damage is determined by the impact forces.

Can the platforms be made smaller than shown?
It depends upon the lift model. Some of the 6000 series lifts can be narrowed to 5′ wide and many of the pit mounted 2000, 3000 and 4000 series lifts can be narrowed to 4′ wide.

How long can the hinged bridge be made?
36″on all models except the 4000 Series, which are limited to 24″.
Bridges can be extended to 42” with hydraulic activation. Consult the factory on special requirements.

How does the hinged bridge work?
It’s manually operated. When the lift is raised to truck bed level, simply move the bridge against the truckbed. When lowering the unit, simply lower the lift to cam the bridge upward then pull on the bridge chain to pull the bridge fully back.

What about full skirts or skirting around a lift?
Federal regulations do not require full skirts; they   require 8″ bevel toe guards which are standard on all of our pit mounted dock lifts. Where additional personnel protection is desired, we recommend use of our electric toe guards.
Fabric roller shades and accordion bellows skirting are not durable and because they do not provide a rigid physical barrier, their protection is based upon “what you can’t see can’t hurt you”. Telescoping sheet metal skirt sections are more rigid, but extremely susceptible to damage which makes them impractical.


Where should the power unit be located?
Wherever convenient, out of the weather, preferably inside the building within 30′ of the lift.

Where should the pushbutton be located?
Preferably within reach of the person riding the dock lift. Generally the control is on an electrical cord and hung on the handrail while the lift is being used and then put inside the building when the lift is out of use. Wall mounted switches are also acceptable provided that they can be reached by the person using the lift.

How thick should the concrete pit floor be?
That depends upon the floor loading and the local soil conditions (quicksand or solid rock).

What kind of drain should be used?
The best drain is one that goes into the storm sewer. The next would be a sump pump arrangement and the last choice is a “french” drain or drain field.

What happens to the lift if the pit floods?
All new Advance loading dock lift platforms are equipped with closed return lines from the cylinders to the reservoirs. However, if the lines are not installed correctly or are damaged, then water can enter the cylinders through the breather lines and cause internal rusting.

Check flooded units to be sure no water has entered the cylinders. If power units are flooded, they too must be drained and flushed with clean hydraulic fluid before being put back into service.

Can the 3″ chase for the hydraulic lines be located other than shown on the pit diagram?
Yes, it can be located anywhere along either side or end of the pit as long as it can be plumbed to the cylinders. Units with 8″ lowered heights and 8″ bevel toe guards must have a trench to reach under the base frame and the trench may not be under the roller path of the base frame or where the leg pivots are supported.

Should bumper posts be used to protect the lift?
They are recommended but not required. The lift is usually down when the trucks are backed in, when this is true, there is little risk of damage to the lift.

Where do the 8″ concrete filled bumpers go?
On a 6′ wide lift with a 6′ wide hinged bridge, the pipes go on the sides of the lift, just outside the 3″ pit curb angles and on the centerline of the bridge hinge. This will leave 8″ of the 12″ bridge projecting beyond the pipes. On a lift that is wider than 6′, the pipes must go in front of the lift and the 3″ pit curb angle and be on 84″ centers. The bridge length should be increased to 18″ to allow a 6″ bridge projection beyond the posts.

Can the lift be installed on top of blacktop?
No. It will sink. A concrete pad must be used.


What does it cost to install a dock lift?
This is a variable depending upon the application, but as a general rule of thumb you can add 50% to the price of a lift.
This 50% will usually cover the cost of the pit, electrical work, mechanical installation, freight and taxes.

1-800-843-3625 |


701 S. Kirk Road • St. Charles, IL 60174 • Toll Free 1-800-843-3625 • Fax: 630-584-9405
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