How to Install A Dock Leveler

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These pictures were taken at a recent installation of a dock leveler. The project was to remove and dispose of an old mechanical dock leveler, and install our model KHD-6860 6×8 Koke Hydraulic Dock leveler. This leveler specs included 60,000 lbs. capacity, 18″ long lip, 3 sides weather seals and is powered by a 110/1/60 power pack.

dock leveler before installation

Be sure to inspect the dock area prior to beginning. Secure the area for safety, then look for obstructions or concerns that may affect the installation. Debris in the pit is always a problem. Cutting the old leveler out with torches could ignite the debris into a fire.

If you are removing an electric/hydraulic dock leveler, make sure power has been disconnected BEFORE you do anything. We recommend having this done by a qualified electrician.

Most importantly, measure, measure, measure. Make sure the new leveler will fit into the pit before you remove the old one. As simple as this sounds, it is a common mistake people make by not taking the right measurements.

maintenance strut

Make sure the dock leveler is supported in upright position by means of a maintenance strut or with a lift chain hooked to either side of the lip pin. This is the best place to lift the leveler up. Once you have secure access to inside of pit, you can clean pit out, disconnect the electrical if present, and torch out any anchor tabs.

disable leveler

Installer removing shims welded under the hold-down. The focus here is take the tension off the hold-down so the leveler will collapse and make removal process go easier.

cut out back angle

Once the inside obstacles are removed, close the leveler and cut the leveler away from the pit. There are (2) areas that need to be cut away: The front angle below the lip and the rear angle. Here, we are cutting the rear angle of the leveler away from the angle of the pit.

remove old leveler

Once the leveler is cut free from the pit, remove the leveler and get it out of the way. Once removed, clean the pit out and grind away any sharp edges on the curb angles of the pit. Make sure pit floor is as smooth as possible. Grind off any bolts sticking up or hammer away any pieces if concrete that are in the way.

place leveler into pit

You are now ready to install your new dock leveler. Guiding the new unit into the pit. Make sure you have even spacing on the sides. Normally, a dock leveler is 2″ smaller than the pit width, so there is a 1″ gap on either side. This allows for articulation of the top deck, and allows for any inconsistencies in the pit width. Shim under frame in corners and center to get leveler flush with top of pit. Make sure to weld shims to leveler. If you don’t, they will eventually work their way out.

weld leveler rear-corner tack

Tack weld each corner and center of the rear leveler angle to curb angle. Make sure surfaces are as level as possible.

weld leveler front

Tack weld the front bottom leveler angle to the curb angle. Normally, our levelers are built a little shorter than the pit depth, so shimming the leveler to the proper height is normal. Don’t forget to shim under the lift cylinder on a hydraulic dock lever or under the hold-down on a mechanical dock leveler.

weld leveler rear-full

Once the leveler is tacked all around and is square and level, continue to weld across the back angles and the front angles. A full weld is ideal, but 6″ stitch welds on smaller and lower capacity levelers is acceptable. Grind all welds smooth.


In this install, there was no electrical present since there originally was a mechanical dock leveler in the pit. Conduit was run so wires can feed from the control box to the leveler motor. Here, a hole is drilled in the face of the building, allowing the conduit to be snaked down the wall face and into the leveler pit.

control box mounted

Finish up the wiring by running the conduit and wires into the bottom of our standard 110v control box. An electrician completes the wiring by connecting the power source. Once installed, review all your steps to make sure you did not overlook anything or forget a step. Once verifying that everything is installed correctly, operate your leveler several times to make sure it is working properly.