Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
Okay. I'm going for it. Hooray! First snag. How do I safely get that big box from truck-bed level to ground level in my driveway?
I feel your pain. I just opened mine in the truck bed and emptied the crate from the truck.
Let the shipper know that this is a residential delivery and you need provisions to get it off the truck to the ground. I think it might be called "Tailgate Service". It means that they will bring it to you with provisions (like a bob tail fork lift) and they will put it on the ground for you. Or better yet, onto a few of those 4 wheel furniture dollies from harbor freight to wheel it into your garage.
It costs extra, but unless you have a bunch of friends who can unload the box from the truck onto your driveway (its 800 lbs) its worth the expense.
If you've got a buddy with a business that has a dock and fork lift, many times the freight rates are less expensive for delivery to a business with a dock vs delivery-to-home and tailgate service. A lot of docks have either varying dock heights or ramps, so the box can then be transferred on a lower level with the fork lift. Make two dollies of 2x6 or bigger lumber with a swiveling caster on each end of the board. While it's still held by the forklift, put one under each end of the crate, secure with cleats, and roll/set the crate onto your trailer and roll it off the trailer at home! My trailer's ramp was steep enough the crate wanted to "high center" as it rolled out, so I took my small tractor with front end loader, picked up the end of the crate, and pulled it farther out, set it down and rolled the crate into my garage. Did all this with 2 people!
Whether you transfer it to a trailer or get tailgate service at your residence, put the casters on the crate, anyway. I could single-handedly move the crate around during the build to get it out of my way yet keep it handy for retrieving parts safely stored in the crate. Once finished with the build, I took the crate to one of my barns, turned it on its side, and installed shelving for storage.
It was a red-letter day when that empty crate rolled out of the garage - It was good to get it out of the way and I knew I had used-up all the parts and was closer to getting finished than getting started! :>)
For my 701 I called a tow truck with a platform. He parked back to back with the delivery truck and used its winch to pull the box on the platform with 2 feet hanging at the back. The tow truck drove back in my driveway and inclined the platform until the rearmost part of the box was on the ground. It just drove forward slowly and it was done.
Several ways to tackle this problem:
Tractor with loader
8 guys with a case of beer after unloading
A harbor freight 1 ton engine lift
And some of the other options mentioned
I had a loading dock and fork lift on my first airplane delivery; but the freight company still wanted to charge residential delivery due to the shipper! I fought it and got the business price but the shipper was pissed off because I went around them. Not Zenith!
Just a note: At that time I was shipping 24 full trucks in the summer.
On the second plane, I used the HF engine lift which worked just fine, pick up the back, slide it out, lay it on the HF rollers, pick up the front and do the same. This was all by myself in southwest texas 60 miles from the closest freight line depot. The trucking lines are going to try to get you for the residential rate period.
I used my Zenith crate for a vertical sheet metal storage place which I recommend. The rest for a 15 foot solid table to build the airplane on. Almost perfectly level, within 1/2 degree. I was impressed by how straight the 2x4s were. Must have been kiln dried.
Hope this helps!
Oh, you can use the engine lift to install you airplane engine and then sell it if no further need.
Congrats! You are overthinking this, just open it and unload it in your workshop, then drag the empty box off the truckbed. My wife and teenage son was all help I needed. When the box is on the floor add caster wheels to one side, lay it on that side, and roll it over to your build area, add shelves and reload the box with its contents, lay the lid pieces on top and store the large flat items up high
Ask the shipper to load it to a U-Haul truck, a 15' truck (10' may not fit), be sure to have that 2' loading ramp that extends from the bottom rear of the truck. You will need to buy 2 "Milwaukee Model # 33700 Internet # 100057209 Store SKU # 639092 1,000 lb. Capacity Furniture Dolly" at Home Depot for $19 a piece. Pull and install the 2' ramp on the U-Haul truck. With the help of one guy push the crate about half the way out and nail/screw one dolly to the bottom of the crate. Push the crate further out until it leans to the 2' ramp. Stop there and nail/screw the second dolly to the opposite end of the crate. Now just slide the crate carefully and it will nicely move on its 2 new dollies. I keep it that way so I can move the crate, with my fuselage on it, around the garage. Hope this helps (I got this tip on this forum, just added my 2 cents)
Thanks for the kind thoughts and encouragement, everyone. For the day of home delivery, I built 3 identical 4'x4' tables out of 2x3s, bought 3 $7.99 dollies from HFT, took the 12 casters, bolted it all together, and slapped on a decent top ('instructible' on request). I even put custom-fit rails on the sides. I paid $100 for lift-gate service, and when the truck arrived, I wheeled my "receiving dolly / assembly table" out of my garage, into the street, and into position behind the truck. I even had an electric hoist fixed to the back of the table to assist in delivery. I needn't have bothered. FedEx crash-landed my plane before it ever reached me. FedEx had "recalculated" the 877 lb. box at 415 lbs, and had clearly loaded about 450 lb. of cargo onto the top of a box clearly marked "FRAGILE" "Do Not Stack". The result wasn't pretty.
I took a picture, emailed it the factory, spoke to the Office Manager, received her assurances, and accepted the contents. The driver and I carefully unpacked and off-loaded the contents by hand.
But here's the good part: Zenith staff and factory support so far has been top notch! And I have every reason to believe that this standard will continue into the indefinite future. I have nothing but praise for the Zenith people. Their dedication is second to none, and this post is just to make my thanks public. Thank you very much!