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Author Topic: Truck camper over bed rails  (Read 5439 times)

Rene T

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Truck camper over bed rails
« on: June 15, 2014, 07:34:06 PM »
I just picked up a used truck camper and my truck has a 5vr hitch with the bedrails. I'm thinking about leaving the bedrails in and placing boards with the thickness being the same height as the bed rails in various spots in the bed. One across in the rear of the truck bed, one between the rails and one up front. I have a 6 1/2' bed. Has anyone done this? I want to leave the bed rails in for when I want to use my 5vr. If this would work, should I also install a rubber bed mat? Thanks.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 07:35:56 PM by Rene T »
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

AMERICANRASCAL

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Re: Truck camper over bed rails
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2014, 04:36:42 AM »
Just noticed your inquiry and I may be too late with a response so sorry for that. Yes I have the same set up with my 5ver hitch. I leave the rails but use several cut boards (a fraction of an inch higher than 2x sized material to clear the tops of the rails) with a layer of 1/2 inch plywood fastened to the wood supports to bridge over the rails. I have not used a cushion.

I have used this set up for several months but am in the process of making a change. I am migrating to using only cross member boards only to elevate above rails, covered compressed foam board insulation for cushion (found at the local building supply). By eliminating the plywood I am saving a significant amount of weight.
Rascal-  (Joe)
RVing for over 35 years.  The old stuff= 1- Class C, 2- Class A's, 2- Travel Trailer, 1- 5ver, 1 truck camper.
Current- 2016 Winnebago Adventurer 38Q w/ V-10 on an F-53. American Car Dolly and 2008 Ford Focus as tail-gunner toad

Rene T

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Re: Truck camper over bed rails
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2014, 07:24:26 AM »
Thanks.
I did end up by using 4 pieces of 5/4 deck boards the same width as the truck bed. They are exactly the same height as my bed rails. I put one up front, one in the rear and the other 2 evenly spaced around the rails. Had the camper on the truck twice and it appears to work great. I didn't see any need for a cushion.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

COCJ

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Re: Truck camper over bed rails
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2014, 09:45:18 PM »
I bought a new Ford Super Duty and put my 1997 Lance Camper in it. The bottom of the front bed overhang rubbed on the roof of the truck. I covered the entire bed with treated 2"x6" lumber to raise it 1.5" and fully support the floor of the camper. I think it is important to fully support the floor of the camper vs. just putting a few spacer boards in.
2015 F350 Super Duty Lariat Crew Cab Dually, 2006 11.5' Lance camper. Polaris ATVS.

Punomatic

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Re: Truck camper over bed rails
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2014, 10:19:43 AM »
I bought a new Ford Super Duty and put my 1997 Lance Camper in it. The bottom of the front bed overhang rubbed on the roof of the truck. I covered the entire bed with treated 2"x6" lumber to raise it 1.5" and fully support the floor of the camper. I think it is important to fully support the floor of the camper vs. just putting a few spacer boards in.
That sounds like a lot of extra weight. I had the same problem of the cabover rubbing on the roof of my 2001 F350.  I use a 4X8 sheet of closed cell insulation foam that I bought at a building supply.  I "painted" both sides with spray on pickup bed liner. Works great. It is light and relatively inexpensive. The only problem I have found is, if I off-load the camper at an RV park, stowing the foam somehow so it won't blow away if the wind comes up. Any ideas? (Oops! I didn't mean to hijack the thread ::) )
2016 Riverside White Water Retro 195
2014 Nissan Titan SL Crew Cab
DW and me and Pogo (the neurotic terrier-gone to the rainbow bridge) and Lulu (the Moxie with moxie)

Rene T

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Re: Truck camper over bed rails
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2014, 01:06:36 PM »
I think it is important to fully support the floor of the camper vs. just putting a few spacer boards in.

My truck has a 6 1/2' bed so by using 4 pieces of 5/4 boards and leaving the bed rails in which are the same height as the boards, I've probably got at least 75% of the bottom of the camper supported. I don't see any need of adding more weight with any more boards.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

COCJ

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Re: Truck camper over bed rails
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2014, 09:46:09 PM »
Wait til your floor starts sagging, then you will wish it was fully supported. Regarding Punomatic's suggestion to use closed cell foam - I would DEFINITELY NOT RECOMMEND THIS! Especially the stuff from the home center. I sell commercial insulation for a living including closed cell polystyrene insulation. The compressive strength of this product is not sufficient to support the weight of a camper.
2015 F350 Super Duty Lariat Crew Cab Dually, 2006 11.5' Lance camper. Polaris ATVS.

kjansen

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Re: Truck camper over bed rails
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2014, 07:54:48 AM »
I think a lot of this is going to depend what the floor of the TC is made of.  5/8" or 3/4" OSB or 3/4' plywood?  With 4 pieces of wood and 2 rails supporting the floor, you would have about 8" spacing between the boards/supports, which 3/4" ply could span easily without sag.
Keven Jansen
'06 Chevy 2500 Duramax
'02 Montana Big Sky
Alexandria, Mn

Camptillyoudrop

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Re: Truck camper over bed rails
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2014, 10:02:18 AM »
Wait til your floor starts sagging, then you will wish it was fully supported. Regarding Punomatic's suggestion to use closed cell foam - I would DEFINITELY NOT RECOMMEND THIS! Especially the stuff from the home center. I sell commercial insulation for a living including closed cell polystyrene insulation. The compressive strength of this product is not sufficient to support the weight of a camper.

I am doing some research on using closed cell foam to reduce the weight of my rig and found this:

http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/pdfImages/97/97d10666-9c95-441c-82b8-dafe8565d218.pdf

It has a rating of 25 PSI.  4 X 8 sheet equals 4608 sq inches.  1000 lb slide in camper over 4608 sq inches equals 4.6 lbs per square inch pressure on the foam.  This comes to 18.6 % of its rated capacity.

Does this sound right?


Camptillyoudrop

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Re: Truck camper over bed rails
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2014, 12:18:40 PM »

It has a rating of 25 PSI.  4 X 8 sheet equals 4608 sq inches.  1000 lb slide in camper over 4608 sq inches equals 4.6 lbs per square inch pressure on the foam.  This comes to 18.6 % of its rated capacity.


Opps.  Math error in previous post.  It is actually better than previously stated.

Pressure= Force/Area

It has a rating of 25 PSI.  4 X 8 sheet equals 4608 sq inches.  1000 lb slide in camper over 4608 sq inches equals 0.21 lbs per square inch pressure on the foam.  This comes to 1% of its rated capacity.

fivestardef

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Re: Truck camper over bed rails
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2014, 07:15:57 PM »
Hi Rene T

Glad to hear you worked out what camper to get for your short bed truck.  Sounds like a great rig.  I believe you were getting geared up for an Alaska Trip.  Sounds like great fun.

I have two observations on supporting a pickup camper:

1. We used a big Lance pickup camper (mid 80s model) in our 1999 F350 CC Long Bed.  I needed spacers to provide adequate clearance between the camper overhang and the roof of the truck.  Since I'm the curious type (and an aerospace engineer), I decided to remove a panel on the bottom of the camper to see where the camper loads transfer to the truck bed.  Turns out the primary load paths are at the bulkheads (forward and aft panels that contact the bed) and secondarily along the sides of the camper. Very logical when you think about it.   I used 2X6 lumber to make a "picture frame" and added an additional 4X8 sheet of OSB to the bottom of the camper between the picture frame and the floor with 4" screws, attaching to the existing wooden frame work of the camper. I did not want to mess with loose pieces. 15,000 miles, and no issues with the floor. Many rough roads and heavy cross winds.  Tore one of the tie down bolts out on a unmarked dip in the road (Lesson learned: vehicle rebound loads can be very significant). My conclusion: Support of the bulkheads may be important, but without seeing the substructure, it is hard to judge.  I'd make sure the front bulkhead has good support.

2. We upgraded to a big 2007 Arctic Fox for our new 2013 Diesel Pickup.  I checked out how these are made, and they use a welded aluminum space frame for the primary structure. VERY stout. VERY heavy. Many intermediate supports within the perimeter frame, so probably less important to get a direct load path at the bulkheads although my guess is this is still the best practice.  We leave this camper on the jacks most times when removed with no noticeable problems, and most of the weight is on the front jacks (monstrous steel plate jack brackets).  I'm using supports now after having a utility trailer that we left at our AZ home blow off 4 jack stands this past summer while we were away.  The Arctic Fox structure is so stiff, I had to use very accurate shims to get all 4 supports to take load.

Note: My F350 truck bed is "corrugated" in the length direction so perfectly uniform support is elusive  ;).  Based on wear patterns in the bed liner, most of the load is transferred at the front bulkhead.

Have a great Alaska adventure!

Erich
Erich K Weinberg
Five Star DEF
www.fivestardef.com

Rene T

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Re: Truck camper over bed rails
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2014, 08:04:10 PM »
Thanks Erich,
I did support the front and back bulkhead as you call it. I also have two other pieces of 5/4 going across the bed and I have the hitch rails. I'm not worried about not being properly supported. We did do a trial run one weekend this past summer to make sure everything operated. We had a great weekend.  We are still in the planning stages about going to Alaska. If we go it will be the end of May. I have a daughter getting married at the beginning of May. 
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
AKA  Pep N Mem
2011 Chevy Duramax 2500 HD 4X4
2011 Montana High Country 343RL
From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

 

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