Buyer's Guide

Buying Guide for Step Deck Trailer Load Levelers and Ramp Kits

 Posted: November 12th, 2020
 Please watch this video that covers how to set up the load leveler configuration as well as the loading ramp configuration

If you operate a drop deck or step deck trailer, load levelers are an absolute necessity as they ensure your load will be supported at the same height as the top of your deck for stable transportation. Although you can buy load levelers buy themselves, consider upping your game with a loading ramp/load leveler kit that can be used as load levelers or as a loading ramp for vehicles and heavy machinery. You’ll never have to turn down a load again. To complete the package, hanging storage systems allow you to keep ramp/levelers and ramp supports secured beneath your deck for easy access no matter where you go.

Just as every rig is slightly different depending on the driver, every load requires a slightly different set-up, which is why there are a lot of sizes and kit options available.

This buying guide will help you determine:

  •  What you should look for before you make a purchase
  •  How to set up, take down and store the loading ramp/load leveler kits
  •  What is in each kit, and why drivers prefer one over the other
  •  The purpose for each component and how it’s used

What makes up a load leveler and ramp kit?

This two-in-one lightweight aluminum system allows you to save time and money while increasing the versatility of your step deck set up. Instead of keeping load leveler bunks and loading ramps on hand, or stored at home base until the next load requires them, a load leveler and ramp kit can be used as one or the other, and stores neatly until the next job. So for the price of a single system, you get both of these:

Load leveler bunk system

When hauling larger loads on your step deck, the load levelers even out the gradient so long cargo rests horizontally. Stake pocket supports hold the bunks in place so you can thread a chain, and lumber clips allow hardwood dunnage to be inserted as a bridge between the load and aluminum levelers.

Load leveler bunk system
Four load levelers in place with dunnage and chains

Loading ramp system

The ramp system repurposes the load levelers as loading ramps that can support anywhere from 20 to 23k pounds of heavy machinery, or vehicles. In addition to the ramps, ramp support stands create an additional point of contact and can be adjusted to raise or lower the angle of the ramps on center.

Loading ramp system
Four ramps and two ramp support stands

Optional storage system and ramp attachment brackets

If you want or need all the bells and whistles up front, look for kits that include the storage and attachment system. They’ll include hanging brackets for the ramps/load levelers and ramp support stands that install beneath the sides of your step deck trailer, in addition to ramp attaching brackets that, once welded to your deck, allow you to quickly and easily set up your loading ramps.

What should I know about my step deck trailer before I start?

Does my drop trailer have knee braces?

These support braces or beams connect the frame of your trailer to the deck, and will determine what type of ramp hanging brackets you can use. They are common on most step decks as they provide additional side support to your load.

If your deck does have knee braces and you plan on purchasing a kit that includes storage components, make sure it’s clearly noted that the ramp hanger brackets that will work with knee braces.

What is the height of my step deck?

This will determine the height of your load levelers (and the width of your loading ramps). We offer load levelers for step decks with heights of 16”, 18”, 20”, 24” and 26”.

Components explained:

Ramps/Load Levelers

Ramps/Load Levelers – These ramps are used for loading, or can be turned on their side and used as load levelers. The width of the ramps will vary based on the height of your step deck to ensure that when they are used as load levelers they will be the appropriate size.

Ramp attaching brackets

Ramp attaching brackets – These must be welded to your drop deck before use, and include long pins to secure the ramp to the deck. This prevents the ramp from kicking out as you load.

Ramp hanger brackets

Ramp hanger brackets– These particular brackets are only to be used on trailers without knee braces. They bolt on, and the ramps slide in for storage.

Lumber clips

Lumber clips – They attach to the load levelers and hold lumber to prevent the levelers from scratching or otherwise damaging your load. When pacing lumber, always use wood planks that are true to size to ensure a secure fit. Kits include 3 lumber clips per load leveler.

Stake pocket supports

Stake pocket supports – They keep your load levelers in position by securing them at stake pocket locations, so you can customize where you place your levelers. Kits include 2 stake pockets supports per load leveler. A chain will be passed over the top to secure them, and the load levelers in place for transit.

Load leveler spacer

Load leveler spacer– These are sized to be used with 24” and 26” H step decks. The correct size is included in each kit, and they are placed on top of the load levelers before the lumber clip and dunnage.

Ramp support stands

Ramp support stands – These not only ensure that the two ramps per side will be able to support the loading weight of your cargo, but they are also adjustable in case you need to create a slight arch to help with the loading process. This is important with vehicles or machinery that have a long wheelbase and/or lower ground clearance, so they don’t high-center at the top of the ramps.

Stand hanger brackets

Stand hanger brackets – These brackets hold the ramp support stands in place during transit and when they’re not in use.

Kits explained:

Two Ramp - Two Load Leveler Kit

Each kit includes:

8' Ramps

x28' Ramps (widths of 16", 18" or 20")

LL spacers

x2Load Leveler Spacers (for step deck heights of 24” and 26” only)

Lumber Clips

x6Lumber Clips

Stake Pocket Supports

x4Stake Pocket Supports

Step Deck Height (in) Capacity (lbs) Shop now
Step Deck Height (in):16 Capacity (lbs):20,000 Shop now:20-16-096-02-02-MLL-2
Step Deck Height (in):18 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-18-096-02-02-MLL-2
Step Deck Height (in)20 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-20-096-02-02-MLL-2
Step Deck Height (in):24 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-24-096-02-02-MLL-2
Step Deck Height (in):26 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-26-096-02-02-MLL-2

Four Ramp - Two Load Leveler Kit

Standard kits includes:

8x18 Ramps

x48' Ramps (widths of 16", 18" or 20")

Support Stands

x2Support Stands

LL spacers

x2Load Leveler Spacers (for step deck heights of 24” and 26” only)

Lumber Clips

x6Lumber Clips

Stake Pocket Supports

x4Stake Pocket Supports

Step Deck Height (in) Capacity (lbs) Shop now
Step Deck Height (in):16 Capacity (lbs):20,000 Shop now:20-16-192-02-02-MLL-2
Step Deck Height (in):18 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-18-192-02-02-MLL-2
Step Deck Height (in)20 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-20-192-02-02-MLL-2
Step Deck Height (in):24 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-24-192-02-02-MLL-2
Step Deck Height (in):26 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-26-192-02-02-MLL-2

Master kits with storage also include:

Ramp hanger Brackets

x4Ramp Hanger Brackets

Stand Hanger Brackets

x2Stand Hanger Brackets

Lumber Clips

x4Ramp Attaching Brackets

Step Deck Height (in) Capacity (lbs) Shop now
Step Deck Height (in):18 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:20-16-192-02-02-MLL-2-KIT
Step Deck Height (in):20 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-20-192-02-02-MLL-2-KIT
Please note that this bracket design will not fit drop decks with knee braces/support beams.

Four Ramp - Four Load Leveler Kit

Standard kits include:

8x18 Ramps

x48' Ramps (widths of 16", 18" or 20")

Support Stands

x2Support Stands

LL spacers

x4Load Leveler Spacers (for step deck heights of 20”, 24”, and 26” only)

Lumber Clips

x12Lumber Clips

Stake Pocket Supports

x8Stake Pocket Supports

Step Deck Height (in) Capacity (lbs) Shop now
Step Deck Height (in):16 Capacity (lbs):20,000 Shop now:20-16-192-02-02-MLL-4
Step Deck Height (in):18 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-18-192-02-02-MLL-4
Step Deck Height (in)20 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-20-192-02-02-MLL-4
Step Deck Height (in):24 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-24-192-02-02-MLL-4
Step Deck Height (in):26 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-26-192-02-02-MLL-4

Master kits with storage also include:

4 8x18 Ramps

x4Ramp Hanger Brackets

2 Stand Hanger Brackets

x2Stand Hanger Brackets

4 Ramp Attaching Brackets

x4Ramp Attaching Brackets

Step Deck Height (in) Capacity (lbs) Shop now
Step Deck Height (in):16 Capacity (lbs):20,000 Shop now:20-16-192-02-02-MLL-4-KIT
Step Deck Height (in):18 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-18-192-02-02-MLL-4-KIT
Step Deck Height (in):20 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-20-192-02-02-MLL-4-KIT
Step Deck Height (in):24 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-24-192-02-02-MLL-4-KIT
Step Deck Height (in):26 Capacity (lbs):23,500 Shop now:23-26-192-02-02-MLL-4-KIT
Please note that this bracket design will not fit drop decks with knee braces/support beams.

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