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How to Install a Dock Leveler [Step-by-Step Guide]

by Carllaen Joshua Gonzales 09 Dec 2023 0 Comments

Installing a dock leveler is not a simple do-it-yourself job. If it's not installed correctly, even the highest quality of equipment will not function well and may even put the workers' safety in danger. Additionally, it may break down and require more maintenance, which costs more and is not good for your business.

There are also different types of dock levelers and each one of them is installed differently. But in this article, we're going to go through each of them. Let's get started and learn how to install a dock leveler!

Note: This is a general guide on how to install dock levelers. But we always recommend that you follow the installation steps provided by the manufacturer of your particular model. If you've never done this before, consult a professional that has experience in working on dock levelers. A mistake in this process can lead to serious injury.

How to install a hydraulic dock leveler

Before installing, it's important to measure the pit, check the correct depth and inspect the shape of the corners. If the pit is not the right size, the leveler may not be properly installed and you will have to make changes to the pit.

  1. First, you'll need to use a crane, hoist, or forklift, and lift up and place the leveler in the pit. Make sure to level the dock leveler's back end with the ground. Weld the angles and if necessary, use shims.

    how to install a dock leveler

  2. To ensure that the top deck is level with the pit side curbs, shim the leveler's front end.
  3. Weld the front base and shims to the front curb angle.
  4. Take off the metal fasteners.
  5. Raise the deck using a lifting support bar, then fasten the ¾" x 10" lifting ring to the ¾" nut at the front of the deck.
  6. Using the included maintenance strut, prop open the leveler with the lip extended.
  7. Shim underneath the primary lift cylinder ram to increase stiffness in that area. Weld it to secure in place.

    how to install a hydraulic dock leveler

  8. Before finishing the power pack connection, read the operating instructions. Repeatedly operate the leveler, stopping in between to let the air out of the system.

Related article: How to Use a Dock Leveler

How to install an edge-of-dock leveler

Ensure straightness of embedded channel with a plumb line before installation. Shim if misaligned.
  1. First, prepare the mounting surface. Clean and clear the dock surface of any obstacle, debris, and concrete splatter or anything else that may interfere with the welding procedure.
  2. Find and mark the mounting surface's center with a tape measure. The location of the faceplate's right and left margins should also be marked on the wall so that when you move the leveler into place, you can see them.
  3. Lift the dock leveler into position using a secured harness or a forklift. Make sure the leveler faceplate's left and right sides line up with the dock edge's previously marked spots.

    how to install edge of dock leveler

  4. Tack weld top of mount plate at the center point of leveler. Make sure the faceplate's edges are continuously below the dock edge's top surface on both sides of the leveler. 
  5. Adjust with shim plates as needed to maintain plumb, straight, and level. Lower the lip and deck into the stowed position with caution.

    how to install edge of dock leveler face plate

  6. Do a cycle check to see if there are any obstructions or binding during operation. If there is, remove the tack welds, adjust leveler, and repeat the steps.
  7. Place the bumpers butted up against the sides of the mount plate and flush with the top of the mount plate.
  8. Mark the bumper beam's bottom hole placement, drill an anchor hole, and attach a ¾" x 4" wedge anchor bolt.
  9. Place the bumper back on the dock, attach the bumper's bottom anchor bolt and nut, and weld it to the embedded channel.
  10. Complete all welding and anchoring. Continuously weld each bumper box's top plate to the dock edge's upper surface.
  11. Apply lubricant to the joints of the unit. Re-test the unit to check for any malfunctions and tune up springs for a smooth operation.

By following these steps, you can safely and efficiently install your mechanical edge of dock leveler.

 How to install a vertical dock leveler

Before installing, make sure to have a clear access to the dock area from inside and out. Check the dock leveler pit dimensions and layout to ensure that it is the same size and will align properly.

  1. Using a crane or forklift, lift the leveler from the lip and align the leveler's rear hinges to the pre-embedded hinge sections within the pit. 
  2. Lower the leveler and insert the two outer hinge pins. Do not install center pins without the maintenance strut.
  3. Insert maintenance strut bar and secure the lower end to the frame with pins. Allow the leveler to lean away from the dock door and secure the lock-out pin in place through the upper end of the maintenance strut and the bracket on the deck.

    how to install a vertical dock leveler
  4. Put a padlock in the lock-out pin's hole to prevent the leveler from moving or being activated in any way.
  5. Put in the last of the hinge pins. Using the supplied flat washers and cotter pins, fasten the lower pin of the maintenance strut and all five leveler hinge pins.

    how to install vertical dock leveler hinge pins
  6. With the elevating device removed, leave the leveler's lip fully extended. In the event of an overflow, place a pan right beneath the hydraulic power unit to collect any spilled liquid.
  7. Complete the electrical wiring and install the hydraulic cylinder as indicated in the owner's user manual.

How long does it take to install a dock leveler?

If the pit is already formed, it should only take one day to install the leveler with the help of a crew.

Otherwise, installing a dock leveler may take around a week or two including days of preparation, demolition/cutting into the floor, allowing the concrete to cure, and the final leveler installation.

How far should you extend the dock leveler?

A standard leveler lip length is 16 inches. As per ANSI MH30, the dock leveler lip must extend at least 4 in. into the truck while projecting 12 inches in front of the dock bumpers

How much does it cost to install a dock leveler

Dock leveler installation cost ranges from $500 to $1000. The price may increase depending on several factors, such as labor costs and the type of dock leveler to be installed. Additionally, it will cost you more if the pit is not yet poured since it will need extra time and work.


Now that you know how to install a dock leveler, it is important to keep in mind to practice safety procedures. Clear any obstacles and wear personal protective equipment to avoid any unwanted accidents and injuries. Also, make sure to do a test run after installing the dock leveler to look for bindings or malfunctions before using it.

We'd like to remind you that if you're never installed a dock leveler before, it's recommended to have an experienced professional do it. That could be someone from your manufacturer's team, or a 3rd party that has experience in working on dock levelers. If you're doing it yourself, make sure to follow the instructions in the manufacturer's manual, as well as industry standards and best practices.

Looking for a high quality dock leveler?

If you're looking to get you next dock leveler, then look no further than WarehouseWiz. We got you covered from top-notch, affordable dock levelers, made in Canada, as well as dock leveler accessories such as pit kits, pour-in pans, and dock bumpers. Our local partners can even take care of the installation for you, to make sure it's done properly and safely.

Contact us today to get your next leveler or browse through our dock levelers to see our options for yourself!

Get a quote

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