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Author Topic: size of truck bed vs. size of cab over camper  (Read 14087 times)

mommadana

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size of truck bed vs. size of cab over camper
« on: November 16, 2010, 10:34:41 AM »
My original topic was "size of bed vs size of camper" but that sounded like I was just too fat for the sleeping area.   ;D I changed it.  LOL!
So, I've been noticing a few ads for older camper trailers that say they'll only fit a 1997 or older truck.  This brings a whole new research topic into play.  I know there are long and short beds, and hitches to accommodate just in case, but how do you know the width?  Is it common to have wider campers if they're older?  Can we get a newer truck and still use an older camper?
Thanks all!

Joezeppy

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Re: size of truck bed vs. size of cab over camper
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2010, 11:32:46 AM »
I don't know much about TC's ("truck campers") but since they are intended to sit right on the floor of the bed, I don't think the overall width of the truck (bedrail to bedrail) should matter much. Since at least the 70's, all full size trucks are at least 48" between the wheelwells so that should not be an issue. I wonder if the height of the bedrails is the issue? Specifically, the distance between the floor and the top of the bedrail. If the bedrails are too high, it's possible that a TC's side overhang would not clear them. If it's close, I suppose one could use 2x4's or plywood in the bed to raise up the TC a bit but then there are center of gravity issues to deal with.

Just thinking out loud.
Joe & Kim
Upstate NY - Kuyahoora Valley
2010 GMC Sierra 2500HD - 6.0L
2010 North Country 27BHS TT

Marc L

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Re: size of truck bed vs. size of cab over camper
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2010, 02:48:16 PM »
Joezeppy may be on to something.  Trucks nowadays seem to have higher bed rails than previously.  It might not be the reason, but it's something to look into.
Marc...

gonemissin

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Re: size of truck bed vs. size of cab over camper
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2010, 02:46:54 PM »
Not only should you investigate dimensional fitment, but weight and center of gravity.  Some of the slide in hard side campers can weight in at 2500# and up.  Know the weight limits of your truck.  A half ton truck will have real trouble with a 2500# camper.  Some of the big ones that are well outfitted, like a Lance are over 3000#.

A friend recently bought a 1980 9ft Coachmen slide in that weighed in at 2750#.  He put it on an '02 Duramax 3/4 ton (single rear wheels) with upgraded 6-leaf springs and sway bar.  He drove it through some high winds and it was 'all over the road'.  This is a guy that has had slide in's before and decided his truck was just too small in load capacity to handle this camper while running across the upper plains.  Plenty of power, but it swayed heavily.  He probably would have been ok with a dually.

If you are buying a used unit, ask if you can 'test drive' with your truck before you actually make the transaction.  You may be glad you did.
Rocky

99 Dodge Quad Cab 4x4 DRW Diesel
2007 27ft TT
2011 Capri Rodeo

Lou Schneider

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Re: size of truck bed vs. size of cab over camper
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2010, 11:48:27 PM »
The issue is the width of the tailgate opening.

Back in the 1960s, the 3 major truck makers voluntarily agreed to build their pickups with standardized dimensions so any camper could fit any full size pickup.   This lasted until the mid 1990s, when Ford decided to break away with a taller cab and narrower tailgate.   The narrow tailgate is the problem - even if you prop the camper up to clear the bed rails and cab, it may not fit through the newer tailgate opening.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 11:50:53 PM by Lou Schneider »

reifwj

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Re: size of truck bed vs. size of cab over camper
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2010, 07:11:23 AM »
I purchased a 8.5SC Caribou and had to put a rubber mat down or it was sitting on the side rails of my 2003 2500 Duramax
Bill
03 2500 Duramax Crew Cab
96 Caribou 8.5 SC
02 Wells Cargo 14' Enclosed
06 Arctic Cat TRV 400
06 Arctic Cat DVR 90
2010 Powerwheels 4 wheeler

Tumbleweed44

  • Posts: 1
Re: size of truck bed vs. size of cab over camper
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2011, 12:37:36 PM »
The issue is the width of the tailgate opening.

Back in the 1960s, the 3 major truck makers voluntarily agreed to build their pickups with standardized dimensions so any camper could fit any full size pickup.   This lasted until the mid 1990s, when Ford decided to break away with a taller cab and narrower tailgate.   The narrow tailgate is the problem - even if you prop the camper up to clear the bed rails and cab, it may not fit through the newer tailgate opening.
This is the issue I faced. behind the wheel wells, towards the tailgate my 1988 Hornet TC extends out a few inches for more interior room. At the tailgate opening I have a grand total of 1/16th" clearance. I had to remove the striker bolts that the tailgate locks onto when closed. Very tight, but I don't need to worry about it shifting side-to-side!!! I have a 2010 Ram 3500 Dually. Lots of issues with tie downs due to the extra length of the sculpted fenders. And the OEM fender flares!

bill philip

  • Posts: 4
Do we need a change Truck camper Design
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2011, 06:59:52 PM »
There is now a whole line of class 4 and class 5 trucks made by hino, kenworth, izuzu, freightliners. These cab chassis are 67 inches from frame to the top of the cab.They are in competion with domestic three dodge, gmc and ford. The domestic three have a frame to top of cab of 43 inches.The problem is the height from the frame to the top of the cab. This makes the truck camper not tall enought for cab chassis trucks that are in competion with the three domestic makers. Does anyone know of anyone is making a tall truck camper?
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 08:38:50 AM by bill philip »

Full Monte

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Re: size of truck bed vs. size of cab over camper
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2011, 02:40:21 AM »
It seems like there is a conspiracy to make campers difficult to use.  What a pain!  I have had the same camper for almost 20 years and it has taught me a lot.  I think the "center of gravity" issue needs more emphasis here, because it caused me more problems than I would have ever guessed.  First, think of your truck.  If it's a super cab with a small seat behind the driver, the center of gravity of the camper will be shifted back two feet.  If your truck is a crew cab, the number is four feet.  This means that the further back the camper is relative to the wheels, the more weight will be carried by the rear axle.  For me, air bags and a rear anti-sway bar helped the most.  Torque-lift tie-downs also helped with anchoring the camper.  Then there's the length of the over-hang.  If you have an 11 ft 6 in camper like mine, you have 3 ft 6 inches of over-hang in the back.  Now you need  a special tow-hitch setup if you want to tow a boat or other trailer.  On mine, it's such a pain to disconnect that item, I never remove my camper from the truck.  If I were to do it over again, I would go for a shorter camper, no more than 18 inches past the edge of the truck bed.   
2004 Tiffen Allegro 27.5 ft.  8.1L Workhorse engine.
11k miles.
1985 F350 dually crewcab 6.9 diesel 4x4 with 11 1/2 ft. Vacationeer camper