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 > Our bumpy intro to truck campers and our Bigfoot score

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adamis

Northern California

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Posted: 09/30/19 02:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I went through a very similar experience. Bought a Truck / Camper combo with a Lance 1160 from early 2000 period. I wasn't super excited about the camper but the price was right so I bit. Ended up with dry rot that I put $3k into before giving up and looking for something else.

At that time I was infatuated with the Host Mammoth. It is a spectacular camper but reality of price plus being concerned on the weight I passed. Eventually I came across Bigfoots and started my Craigslist search covering almost the entire West Coast. I settled on a 2001 10.6 2500 down near San Louis Obispo in CA. Bought it and couldn't be happier with it after the last four years of moderate use.

One suggestion... That Bigfoot is an investment and probably as near to an appreciating asset as you could get in the RV world. If possible, figure out a way to store it indoors or at the very least covered. Fiberglass is great but UV damage from the sun can still cause problems.


1999 F350 Dually with 7.3 Diesel
2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Camper


Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 09/30/19 05:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Congratulation on camper you love.
I do own 2001 Fleetwood Caribou, who is Ekhorn sibling and I might have good idea what was wrong with the slide you got rid off.
2001 was the 1st year Fleetwood start using aluminium frame, or rather skeleton. Not only the frame was really skeletonic, but they did not hire qualify welder to put it together.
On my camper welds on both slide corners broke off and there was a limit how much siding could hold.
Not to mention the PO fixed it with Eternabond.
I am DIY and I was able to fix the frame and repair some dryrot who entered. the wood around.
Happy camping.





TCBob

Junction City, OR

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Posted: 09/30/19 09:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like you found a great rig!

Another thought on your A/C - When we purchased our TC used about 12 years ago, we had a dealer install an A/C unit before we ever used the TC.It was and still is our first TC. Now we realize that we do almost all our camping in the PNW so I think for us the A/C was a mistake. I can only think of 2 times in 12 years that we have actually used the A/C, and we really could have done without it those time. The extra height is a real hassle for us storing. I would have had a lot more options without that extra height.

Just a thought before you "cut the hole". I do get the attraction, and if I were expecting to do a lot of camping in the south west I would have a different opinion. I guess the point is, and just a suggestion, to think about where you plan to use your camper before you cut the hole in your roof.


2004 S&S 8.5 SC Ponderosa
1999 Ford F-350 4X4 7.3-PSD DRW


Z-Peller

Oceanside BC

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Posted: 10/01/19 01:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dodgemahal

I'm not understanding why you wouldn't just cut out the 14x14 vent hole forward of your existing vent and drop AC unit in there where it is supposed to go.....having AC there won't make any difference to the light you are getting from the existing vent. If you want more light, put in the skylight....My 2002 BF 9.6 had a fantastic fan in that A/C hole forward of the vent, but 110v wiring was there and roughed in to the cupboard behind the microwave.


Bill..
2017 Bigfoot 10.4 camper...2016 GMC 3500 4x4 Xcab Duramax Dually...

ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 10/01/19 09:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think is a mistake to remount the AC.

Did you consider mounting the AC where it was purposed to go and cutting a new hole for a skylight?
Putting holes in the roof is never a good plan.

I would install a light, LED if power is a concern, and enjoy its luminescent glow.

You will likely install more solar panels down the road, and adding additional junk on the roof will eat up the limited square footage you have for solar panels. Keep the roof clean.

Do you plan to go camping and spend a big part of the daytime sitting in the camper? Most only spend time in the camper at night or during weather events. When you camp you tend to go do things.

I don't thinks these TCs will become collectible like the Airstreams are, but you never know. When I make mods to my fiberglass TC I pride myself on "doing no harm". I removed the fridge and put in drawers and a cabinet and was able to build it 100% so it was un-doable and did not drill any holes or make any alterations to the camper at all. I mounted an electric fridge and also did not do anything that was not 100% un-doable. I know I will probably sell this one day and want the next owner to have a perfect interior and exterior that can easily be returned to stock if thats what they want. This should not be your driving force, but it is just a mentality I like to have on vehicles…

Dodgemahal

Idaho

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Posted: 10/01/19 11:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well I can't put the AC in the forward framed optional opening. I would cover the existing vent since the back half of the AC upper is 25-30 some odd inches aft of the opening. The front half I believe extends 6 inches forward of the opening. So it looked like the existing vent or the new cut behind it was my only option. I could not agree more about bigfoots being an investment. So alterations in my mind need to be a very significant improvement to the unit. Or not done at all.
I also like the advice on being in the PNW and how many times AC was really needed. Reading all this, talking to my wife, I think we are going to camp all next summer and see before cutting my plans in. So there sits a 1000 dollar box. Grin... I seem to do that with car parts a lot. It was 18 degrees last night. I am about 40ish miles from Canada and we get snow here. Lots of it. For storage I had to boot a very old backhoe back out under the stars. I put the Camper on 6 metal barrels with OSB to share the load with the jacks. It is in a three sided car port that faces East. Keeping it up high helps deter curious mice. So it is under cover. I really wish I could keep it in my main shop where I work every day. It is heated and rarely gets below freezing. But I do to much metal work in there. I need the space for car resto's and metal grit, dirt, welding smoke is really hard on stuff. I did fully winterize it three days ago before we got this cold. So it is covered just not isolated from the cold. I put a dessicant inside too.

I wanted to look into the power supply and battery charger. I have read they will not self monitor well and can cook batteries unchecked. Plus I just replaced the batteries with two big deep cycle interstates. It appears if I remove the battery tray, I might be able to fit two 220 AH 6 volt's. I guess that is the way to go. I need to study up on that. I sure wish we could get another trip in. We are so excited about finally having a camper.[emoticon]

I will try to post a picture of the Bigfoot drawing and a picture of the camp out we just did. I could not find a way to post a PDF file. So I took a picture of it.
I really appreciate the responses!

Please note, this is how it appears as if looking up under the roof. I received it this way.

[image]

And the 2001 Dodge with our small trailer that hauls two kayaks and fire wood in the center. We want a bigger trailer for at least one quad, two kayaks, and hopefully two bikes and a generator.

[image]

* This post was edited 10/01/19 01:12pm by an administrator/moderator *


New to truck camping. Truck is a 2001 Dodge 3500 Dual rear wheel with a few performance mods. Camper is a 2005 Bigfoot 2500 9.6 owned 2 months now. Working on a trailer to carry two quads, two kayaks, two bicycles, and a generator.

Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 10/01/19 12:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

AC need depends highly at time & locations where you camp.
2 years ago we took 2 months for FL trip and AC + generator were heavily used. Even we travel August/September I remember only 3 nights when we could sleep without AC.
This year we went to Alaska for 2 months. AC and generator were dead weight.
But if you are split on your AC installation - good backup is truck AC.
We had to use it once in 115F weather when Generac gave ghost.
All you need is a boot between truck rear window and camper front window.
Set truck to defrost and max fan, start exhaust fan in the camper and you have nice breeze.

adamis

Northern California

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Posted: 10/01/19 02:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm in California and have found our AC unit to be used very rarely. It is a bit of an albatross since it isn't low profile and sticks up about 14" from the roof line. The handful of times I have used it was when I was in Las Vegas or Southern California during the summer. I have plans to replace it someday with something low profile and more energy efficient (considering something that will run on battery + solar for a limited amount of time) but money and time make this a low priority.

Considering how much further North you are, you will be fine until you start venturing south. If you have remote start on the vehicle, adding the boot between the truck and camper might be a worthwhile idea for a season or two to get you by in a pinch.

Dodgemahal

Idaho

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Posted: 10/02/19 12:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks moderators for fixing my photo's. I have been reading the help section and have been trying to see what the issue was. That is the best help section on any forum I have ever seen. Very thorough and great information.

Going back and rereading everything, one thing sure rings true. Out camping you are usually out doing something and not sitting in the camper thinking about the weather. Leaving the AC install till later is a good idea. I doubt we will be heading south very far. Never say never right? And I just fixed the truck AC. That is a heck of an idea for a problem hot day. Lots of really good ideas here.
Our first trip a couple weeks back it rained all day. I have a tarp system from my Jeeping tent camping days that works well, even in windy conditions. 4 of us sat under it by the fire and were fine. One thing the camper does not have is an awning. We found a folding bug screen wall canopy. The bugs here are voracious and hungry in the spring thaw. We get our bug dope from my wifes sister up in Juneau AK. Natural, clean and effective stuff. It makes you smell kind of like root beer. LOL. We think the canopy will be better than an awning with no walls. So no holes to drill and wince while doing it. Even though the camper is tucked away and winterized, we are having fun finding stuff now to take along with us later. It feels like it is going to be a long winter.

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