Never mind, this thread looked really dumb once I typed it out.

Discussion in 'Vintage & Off The Wall Campers' started by dbhost, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    You bring up an interesting point...

    My truck has an extremely mild lift (2.5" front only) and air bagged rear, but I am running 35x12.50 tires, I will be going not long after I get the engine work completed, down to 33x12.50s as the 35s are just too big for what I need, or want... Stock tire diameter on my truck I believe was 31"...

    Anyway, I need to measure the height from ground, to the bottom of the bed to make sure I won't exceed 10.5 feet with my planned 7' interior height...
     
  2. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Yep, still need to take that measurement.... Long night yesterday...
     
  3. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Progress is being made! The new engine is almost complete, and we have verified all the lines etc.. are in good shape, once the engine is ready to go in, is should be a simple matter of bolting it up, filling the fluids, making the electrical and fuel connections and cranking it up!

    On the camper end of things. For the time being, I am working on getting the truck cap camper setup going a bit better. It's a 6.5 foot bed truck, which means end to end it barely fits an RV short queen mattress. I need a bit of room for the AC to mount up and work. For the time being I am going to rig up a hybrid sort of rig. The truck cap (Leer 122) goes up, the tailgate goes down, and I am going to fill the space between with a redneck truck tent. I.E. I could go out and buy a DAC, but for a LOT less money, and less worry about modifying it, I can use a Harbor Freight tarp, some gorilla tape, and some velcro to fab up a truck bed end tent. I will probably use a silver tarp which I have several of, and some reflectix. The idea here is to simply close off the open space left with the tailgate open, while allowing a port for the window AC to pass through. I will likely place this up high so the AC rests on a tote, and blows cold air across the bed...

    The idea here is just that the sleeping space is comfortable, and out of blowing sand as we both love the beach, but gulf winds always pick up after dark and make tents on the beach sandblasting chambers...
     
  4. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    So while toying with some design ideas, it was mentioned to me that some folks are using something called Poor Mans Fiberglass to build foam / canvas boats. The materials are dirt cheap, allegedly waterproof, and durable. HOWEVER, I am very concerned about its charateristics, most notably its ability to support a load, torsional rigidity etc... Now I came across an interesting build of a pop up truck camper using a Harbor Freight full size truck rack. It could be modified easily to give me more sleeping space.
     
  5. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    I need to source up some foam board for testing...
     
  6. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    The ladder rack gives you some nice options without having to wonder if it'll all collapse. :)
     
  7. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Assuming I can pull it off, if I can use the ladder rack as a more internal frame, and set up the tent part to do 2 different things, this will work.

    #1. Pop straight up, not at an angle. I don't want my feet cramped up there if I go that way.
    #2. The "clamshell", tent, and hardware would have to mount to the outside of the ladder rack, The width between the rails barely allows for a queen mattress to fit.

    Using the rack as a frame though, I am sure it could be done. Probably "box out" the area over the open tailgate to give me more room.
    Install the AC in the back wall of the "box out" portion on the left side, and put the entry door on the right.
    Rig the bed so that it can slide in over the cab entirely, allowing more space inside the lower part of the camper. This would allow me room to have a space for a kitchen, sort of a chuck box with a slot for the cooler that could fit behind the wheel well, and a padded bench / toilet cover for a sanitary facility as it were. Just make sure I have provision for the shower

    A DIY awning on the passenger side buys me dining / living room ish space in good to mildly poor weather My previously mentioned witht the bench in the camper we can get driven inside without too much of a problem. Good thing my wife and I like eath other huh?

    It is possible that we could design the bench / couch on the lower side to fold out to a full in case of addition to the family that has not been totally written off yet, although would require succesful adoption or a physical miracle at this point...

    Looking at the instructible for this, it looks actually somewhat easy.
    https://www.instructables.com/id/Out-West-Truck-Camper-With-VW-Camper-Van-Inspired-/

    I like the overall of this build, but I think I know my issue with the way it is hinged.

    The tent clamshell is hinged directly to the front bottom of the bed platform, causing there to be next to no foot room in the tent.
    [​IMG]

    If you look at the VW Westfalia setup, you can see that the hinge arrangement not only pivots, but also raises up the hinged section allowing for room for silly things like heads, or feet on that end of the bed.
    [​IMG]

    When I was a kid, my parents had a '71 VW Sportsmobile conversion with the penthouse roof, instead of raising at an angle, it raises striaght up. FWIW, I have then and still do want a 1972 Sportsmobile penthouse roof. IF there was some good way to get AC in one, I would find a way to make it happen...
    [​IMG]

    I would be happiest with this setup if I could figure out a way to make a good, solid straight up lift mechanism for the roof. And again, insulate, insulate, insulate. How do I insulate the tent?

    The other area where I would make changes, like I said is in the AC arrangement. I would probably need to use a fan to boost the air up to the overcab, but the original builder used a flip up board with a hole for a window unit in the upper part of the design. That requires hefting the AC into place every time you set up. My old back won't like that one bit.
    [​IMG]
    So instead of that arrangement, I would slide the door as far to the right as I could, and put the AC in the back wall of the lower part. It's not like you can see out of it anyway...

    With this layout, actually I don't think I would need the box over the tailgate, and could actually use my hitch haul to carry things like the generator, gas cans etc... that I don't want in the camper.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  8. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    It's a really small space and I bet a window unit placed in the back wall will be fine without being elevated or needing an extra fan. My popup TC has an 8' floor plus north/south queen cabover bed and is setup for a regular window unit in the back window. Now, I confess I don't actually HAVE AC in there, but I know folks that do and they need no extra cooling because it's so small inside.

    If you do like the blue popup, maybe you can get extra footroom by making the cap that pops up taller.

    Have you looked at the FWC or ATC lift systems?
     
  9. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Well, with the back wall above the height of the bed, where I can mount the AC at around the height of the bed instead of just cooling the storage area, I know even on the low setting, with the amount of space, a little 5K BTU AC is way more than enough to keep the tiny space cool.

    The issue with the AC being "downstairs" is that heat rises, and the bottom of the sleeper, assuming I do an "upstairs sleeper" is that the boards making the bottom of the sleeper would restric airflow. GREAT for keeping it warm, lousy for cooling it off...

    I have been going over my requirements and I am finding some issues. and not sure how to and how not to address them.

    • RV Short Queen bed is the smallest I am willing to deal with. I am considering a TriFold Millard 6". I can do that downsltairs with some custom work, but upstairs would require the bed be set up 100% of the time, causing headroom problems downstairs.
    • Bed Platform needs to clear 18" storage underneath to allow for the 17" height of the toilet. Upstairs no problem, downstairs not really a problem except for headroom.
    • Ability to sit upright in bed without hitting my head. I'd like to be able to change clothes in the camper should the weather be foul outside.
    • Home brewed (Expedion Portal evldave style) awnings on each side, using 8x10 silver tarps. Easy to fix / replace, and budget friendly. And I already own the Coleman expanding poles and tarps. I need to figure out a way to do it but I want these to be "encloseable" so that I can quickly and easily close these off to make protected space should the weather go foul on us for kitchen space. How do I go about making the side enclosures?
    There are some things I need to figure out though.
    • How much water do I need to carry for 2 peaople for ? days? I seriously doubt I will be off grid with my wife for more than 5 days. I have 4 7 gallon Reliance AquaTainers, plus the toilet has maybe 3 gallons fresh for flushes. It seems like carrying 31 gallons of fresh water might be a wee bit in excess, and cut into the weight handling and space of my truck.
    • With encloseable side awnings, do I need to keep the privy tent? Is doing a privy in one of the encloseable awnings a good idea?
    • Provide secure storage for my HF Tailgator while having enough flexibility to replace it with the generator I REALLY want (Westinghouse iGen2500).
    My big design issue revolves around the bed. I will likely work with my local tailor shop and they will probably charge me too much, but I would like the trifold mattress pieces independent of each other. The 2 back pieces need to be able to be put on top of the 1 bottom piece to allow me to convert to a sofa. IF I can do this, with the rest of my gear set up in the kitchen, the truck cap should make a comfortable ish living room...

    I am NOT wedded to the Leer due to even though it is a hi top, still limited headroom. I am willing to try to DIY a foamie cap. There are a couple of guys on tnttt.com going these with F150s giving me plenty of ideas. The ladder rack / westy roof clone idea offers some interesting possibilities, and it would certainly qualify as a "pop up"...

    Ugh, so many options, so many ideas...
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  10. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    Design work proceeds on the camper. I have talked out the requirements with my wife, and they are...

    #1. Queen size mattress. It can be a short queen, but no narrower.
    #2. Bed MUST be able to convert into a couch.
    #3. Must have Air Conditioning.
    #4. Must have provision to hold heater. Coleman 3K BTU Catalytic.
    #5. Must have storage / hauling room for our camping gear including kitchen, and sanitary facilities.
    #6. Must have enough room inside to use said facilities (toilet) without going outside should weather force us inside the camper.
    #7. Must be able to cook inside should weather force us inside the camper.
    #8. Must have awnings to provide shaded outdoor space, encloseable, again, should the weather force more sheltered activities.
    #9. Must exclude all weather related events. I.E. Must be rain proof.
    #10. Must provide standing room.

    A couple of design ideas I am considering, one features basically a Futon arrangement transverse across the bed rails. So that even though I would be attaching the camper like a regular truck topper, it would extend over the sides of the truck like a regular truck camper. This would allow me MUCH more interior volume, and better ability to utilize the space.

    So out goes the idea of using the ladder rack.

    The requirement for standing room, means I either design and build this as a pop up / pop top, which is good by me, OR I build it as a hard side / fixed height camper, again fine with that. The advantage to each design approach.

    1. Pop top / pop up advantage? Lower overall vehicle height during travel. Don't necessarily lose the ability to go through a drive through on travel.
    2. Fixed height camper advantage? Much less complicated build process, fewer moving parts to potentially break, No need to setup in camp, ability to be more "stealthy" for boondocking during travel. There have been times on road trips I have been too tired to drive I needed to pull over and catch some z's before I continue.
     
  11. dbhost

    dbhost Well-Known Member

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    So the design is getting closer to finalized, I think. Here is what we have so far...

    #1. Design will be basic, if not overwide camper shell. No drop down into the truck bed. I already have a bedrug there, and don't need additional stuff permanent down there.
    #2. The bed will be transverse accross the truck bed, making the entire inside of the camper 81" wide to facilitate the bed. And will hinge like a giant futon. I will create flip up cleats to hold the bottom into the couch configuration, and stops to hold it to the bed configuration.
    #3. I will have an extension utilizing the dropped down tailgate as part of the camper floor.
    #4. Construction will EITHER be PMF over XPS foam, OR regular fiberglass mat over Polyiso foam. PMF will likely be safer for interior offgassing, but not quite as strong. Certainly a lot more affordable...
    #5. Back wall of camper will hold the 5K BTU air conditioner, and provide the space for the door. Port o Potty will be on the tailgate.
    #6. Walls will be 1.5" thick of foam before the PMF goes on. This will insure good insulation, AND make it a LOT easier to mount up residential lock sets etc...
    #7. My wife has deemed the blackout curtains in the living room of the house don't work for her, so I have LOTS of blackout curtain material, 3 guesses where that is going!
    #8. Looking for suggestions on where in the Houston Metro area, or shipped to at a decent rate, to source up used and good condition RV windows with screens. Have not determined the sizes, but definately want one of the escape windows, as well as a slider.
    #9 BOTH sides of the camper are to get wood reinforcement ribs with a center that is 7.5' from the ground for my ExpeditionPortal evldave style awnings. Doing BOTH sides. I have had the Coleman extendible poles literally for over a decade in my garage begging for a project. I know what that project is now! I will create sidewalls for these to allow for more privacy and weather protection. The idea is one side can be used for kitchen / dining, other side will likely be used for living / gathering. As I am going with Coleman Liquid Fuel appliances and abandoing propane all together, the shower shelter will be directly behind the kitchen / stove so I can use my copper coil heat exchanger on the stove close to the shower.


    Some experiments over the weekend.
    #1. I have found issues with my Coleman fuel appliances, most notably my 424 had a dirty generator. Cleaned and tested, working perfectly at this time and planning on keeping it that way.
    #2. Played with some 1/2" polyiso, ran some garage sale sheets through a sanitary cycle, and expermiented with making PMF using Titebond II. I have no clue what I am doing. But at least I have less than $2.00 into this experiment so far. From what I am reading, I should be using PPG Gripper primer instead.
     

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