Picking a Hook Loader Dealer: 6 Caution Signs to Consider Before You Buy

In today’s truck equipment market, technology is leaping ahead like never before. But as you shop around, you may discover that some dealers are not keeping pace. They’re out of touch with the latest innovations and best practices concerning equipment—including hydraulic hooklifts of the type offered by Ampliroll.

This lack of knowledge is especially worrisome if you’re buying a new hook loader. To begin, you must choose the right one for your roll-off application. Of course, you need also to specify the optimum chassis, engine and transmission combination to get the most from your investment now and in the years to come.

If you’re looking for a new hook hoist, proceed with caution before deciding on a dealer. Here are a few yellow caution flags to be aware of when shopping hooklifts, Beware of the dealer who:

1.) Selects a chassis right off the lot. Now it’s true that some dealers will have just what you need, right at hand. But others may offer whatever chassis they may have available just to move their brand of hooklift and score a quick profit.

2.) Recommends less than a 3000 series automatic. Some dealers will suggest a 2500 series. But, in truth, most hooklift users will never be fully happy without a 3000 series (or even larger!) automatic transmission.

Why? The heavier-duty types deliver the so-called “live” PTO (i.e., power take-off). This means the PTO is driven ahead of the torque converter. This allows movement forward or reverse of the chassis while the PTO is engaged, greatly simplifying loading and unloading containers or other roll-offs.

3.) Mishandles a weight study—or skips it altogether. You should never commit to a hooklift-and-chassis purchase without a complete weight study in hand. It will detail the correct axle loading and weight distribution of a specific hook loader as it is mounted on a particular chassis.

This weight study helps ensure you get the right equipment for the jobs you have in mind. Down the road, it may also help protect you in case of an accident and lawsuit. The study will help prove that your truck left the dealer/upfitter with a correctly sized unit.

4.) Fails to factor in key measurements. There should be no guessing or dealer “judgment calls” when mounting a hook loader to a chassis. One critical measure is the location of the rear roller of the roll-off to the CT or CA of the chassis. Failure to adhere to these correct dimensions can result in the vehicle’s front axle leaving the ground under heavy loads.

It’s imperative in inclement weather conditions you have the correct front axle loading for safe steering. A responsible hook loader dealer will consider these measurements. Expect a written copy of the weight distribution study for your particular hook loader/chassis combination.

5.) Can’t mount special equipment. The use of hook systems has grown far beyond the ability to simply lift, load and dump waste containers or handle other roll-offs. It’s important to find a dealer who carries water tanks, aerial lift devices, cranes, grapples, cement mixers and other specialized equipment.

Few fleet owners have the time to track down various resources. Ideally, you’ll want a single, “go-to” dealer to rely on if an issue arises with any piece of special equipment.

6.) Carries several brands of hook loaders. At first glance, “greater choice” may seem like a “plus.” But on a practical basis, a dealer who carries multiple lines of hook systems may be tempted to sell you one that’s been sitting on the lot the longest. Others might be inclined to push a brand that offers the highest profit margin—regardless of your particular needs.

Many fleet owners rely instead on a dealer that carries but one brand of hooklift. The dealer believes in it 100%. They’re experts in matching a specific model to your operation’s needs. They usually carry a large selection of replacement parts and are experts in repairs. And the bottom line? They’re proud to compare their recommended brand of hooklift point-by-point with any competitor!


For selection, savings and service, make Ampliroll your first choice in hooklift systems

Ampliroll Hooklift Systems are manufactured by Marrel – the inventor of the dual-pivot hook loader in 1969 and first again in bringing them to users across the U.S. in 1980. Today, Ampliroll is the only supplier in the U.S.A. of premier hook loader systems and associated equipment.

Unlike many others, we also offer a complete selection of truck-mounted accessories and roll-on/off bodies that we can supply as a package with our hook loaders, allowing for single-source acquisition! Select from aerial lifts, cranes, grapple systems and more. Also choose from cement mixers, dump bodies, flatbeds, septic pumpers, waste containers, water tankers and other interchangeable bodies. In addition, you can select from our line of high-quality pre-owned hooklift vehicles.