1,000-Pound-Capacity Harbor Freight Pickup Bed Crane With Hand Winch

By John Gilbert – Photography by the Author

If you’re not able to pick up 1,000 pounds by yourself and lift it into the bed of your truck don’t worry because Harbor Freight sells the Haul-Master Pickup Truck Bed Crane with Hand Winch that turns the task into a one-man job and will save your back in the process—and it’s a nicely detailed beauty.

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Step one is to determine where to mount the Haul-Master Pickup Truck Bed Crane with Hand Winch. Using the base as a template, use a 1/2-inch drill bit to find the center of the four mounting holes.
I used a (free) Home Depot 5-gallon paint stick to make an underside template to determine how much length needed to be cut off the two mounting plates included with the crane.

To install Harbor Freight’s fully powdercoated and CAD-plated in-bed crane requires drilling four holes into the bed of the truck, so I thought long and hard about how I was going to mount the crane into the bed of the 2005 GMC Sierra I bought new before drilling the holes. On Harbor Freight’s website the crane is mounted in the rear corner of the bed on the driver side. I considered mounting it there but decided the passenger side rear corner of the bed would work best for me.

To ensure a solid mounting of the crane, ideally the mounting plates should not have to be cut down in length to fit. Having four holes in the mounting plates gives two placement options.
I marked the two holes on the template from the topside and then drilled the paint stick with a 1/2-inch drill bit. Cut a shade too long the paint stick will wedge in place.

Mounting the pickup bed crane on the passenger side means heavy and awkward-to-handle loads can be off- or on-loaded out of the flow of traffic from the curb side of the street. The boom length extends out from 33 inches to over 53 inches and the boom height towers from 42 inches stretching to over 90 inches in height. The 25-foot-long 13/64-inch steel cable operates with a hand winch and the boom lifts via a 3-ton hydraulic jack.

Bolting the paint stick template to the mounting plate will indicate where the mounting plate will need to be cut in order to fit this application. Arrows indicate the direction of offset.
It always works faster and provides less wear on drill bits to start out with a smaller sized drill bit first. To find the center to drill the 1/4-inch pilot hole, a 1/2-inch bit was used.

What one has to accomplish in order to install Harbor Freight’s Haul-Master Pickup Truck Bed Crane with Hand Winch properly depends on which style of truck they own. In the case of my 2005 GMC Sierra, a minimum amount of light fabrication was necessary. It is essential the crane is mounted securely to the bed floor in a manner where it cannot rock (wobble) and stands straight up without leaning. A good rule of thumb is if the bed floor is flat the crane can be bolted in directly without making spacers. If the bed floor is corrugated steel, like this 2005 GMC Sierra, spacers must be made to ensure the Haul-Master crane will sit flat.

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There are center punches designed to be self-centering but using a Harbor Freight Warrior titanium 1/2-inch drill bit worked just as well to center all of the pilot holes needed.
I stacked two lengths of flat stock to fill the gap in height between the low point in the corrugated bed floor and the bottom of the crane base. Then I used the base as a template to drill the holes.

The following photos are not a step-by-step how-to but rather a few handy tips I discovered while installing the crane without needing someone to lend a helping hand. MR

Harbor Freight

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