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 > Considering building camper from scratch...

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BigfootBill

Central NY

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Posted: 10/21/20 10:41am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you are doing a full build with metal and are planning on hard mounting, why use a flatbed? If you can use the deck that sits on the frame rails and structural supports for the "truck camper" you would be able to shave cost and weight. Consider doing a frame mount build - think hook lift truck but you dont necessarily need to use that style of system to install and remove it.

You can install a separate flatbed or dump body, etc when you want to use the truck for other purposes.


2008 Ram 3500
2004 Bigfoot 10.11

urbex

Glendale, AZ

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Posted: 10/22/20 11:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BigfootBill wrote:

If you are doing a full build with metal and are planning on hard mounting, why use a flatbed? If you can use the deck that sits on the frame rails and structural supports for the "truck camper" you would be able to shave cost and weight. Consider doing a frame mount build - think hook lift truck but you dont necessarily need to use that style of system to install and remove it.

You can install a separate flatbed or dump body, etc when you want to use the truck for other purposes.


Because the camper can be put on/taken back off in minutes, and taking off/putting the bed back on is a considerably longer and much more involved process? That's a lot more than just one electrical plug and a handful of bolts that would be easily accessed while standing next to it.


1990 Ford F350 CCLB DRW 7.3 4x4
1990 Lance LC980 truck camper


Siri_Keatom

Catskills, NY

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Posted: 10/26/20 01:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm not building mine from scratch, I bought a long unknown brand camper that had been rear ended. The damaged back was cut off and a wall and door put in place. This allowed me to build out the inside to my standards and it's simple but I'm pleased with my work so far. It's simple, I get tons of sheet material and aluminum from my job.

Sounds like you have the experience to do something pretty cool. I'm a little proud of how it looks nothing like any other I've seen. I have no water tanks and will cook outside mostly. I've probably put $1000 into it, including the cost of the camper. Fits snug in my k2500 and weighs less than a thousand pounds. I wouldn't recommend this for someone with no experience, I enjoy wiring lights and building multipurpose furniture in my free time so that helps. Good luck!

BurbMan

Noblesville, IN

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Posted: 10/26/20 07:16am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

urbex wrote:

All of my appliances are still good/usable, as is the entry door, windows, sinks, furniture, cabinets, and holding tanks. Anything plastic such as roof vents or outside hatch covers, I'd just as soon install new to avoid age related plastic brittleness, along with rubber trim and any pipes/hoses etc. For what little plumbing there is in a TC, I see no reason to try to reuse any of the old stuff.


You are on the right track here, outside plastic gets UV damaged and can be replaced relatively cheaply. The only appliance issues I had were a faulty gas valve on the HW heater and I also replaced the converter with a Progressive Dynamics unit for a better charging profile.

A word of advice...the average life span of an RV fridge is 15 years, and they DO NOT fit though the entrance door. The only way to get a new fridge in my Lance is to remove the slideout. If you are investing in a rebuild, you should strongly consider replacing the fridge as part of the construction, or rebuilding with a new cooling unit.

I only went filon on the exterior to match the walls that we weren't replacing. I laminated it to 1/4" luann so it's more puncture-resistant than aluminum siding, but could be made stronger if you used something like sheet aluminum. Good sealing around the seams is more important than what you use for siding.


2015 Ram 3500 SRW 4x4 Laramie Crew Cab Long Box, Cummins diesel
2002 Lance 811 Slide-In Camper
SOLD: 2008 Terry 34' TT
SOLD: 2001 K2500LT 8.1L Suburban

Lance 811 Renovation Story!
Project Complete!
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Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 10/26/20 11:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My Dometic is 20 years old and keeps food frozen in 115F weather.
New compressor-driven refrigerators are tempting, but hard to justify the expense.
There is nothing wearable on old fridges. Only every few years you need to clean propane burner.





mr_andyj

Georgia

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Posted: 10/27/20 10:05am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Depends on how nice u want it inside, and how good your skills already are.
$5,000 is not much if you are having to buy all of the components and parts. This is going to be a huge project, and you might be sick of it before you get done and when you get done you are so tired of it you don't want to look at it, or even camp in it....

To save money, buy a junk camper, this already has all the components, appliances, cushions, etc. $1,000 camper will get you $6,000 worth of parts assuming it all works.

If you want a bare-bones good-enough interior then you can do it quick. Building out a camper is way harder than building a house. In a camper you cannot just throw up a 2x4 wall and plaster over it. Things are small, and you have to maximize space, and a lot of custom fitting and cutting is involved unless you want to waste huge amounts of space.

You can do it, you will like what you have, but it will be a huge project.

hedgehopper

Denver

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Posted: 10/27/20 11:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My father-in-law built a truck camper from scratch. It was quite nice but too heavy for the truck he put it on. Don't know the details and he's no longer around to ask.

But to answer your question: If you have the time, the requisite skills, and will enjoy the project, go for it.

urbex

Glendale, AZ

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Posted: 10/28/20 12:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mr_andyj wrote:


To save money, buy a junk camper, this already has all the components, appliances, cushions, etc. $1,000 camper will get you $6,000 worth of parts assuming it all works.


I completely do not understand why I would buy another camper for appliances when I already have one with fully functional appliances?

Kxracer704

NE Pennsylvania

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Posted: 11/16/20 11:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Urbex, I am currently in the process of building my truck camper from scratch. I am salvaging the appliances and aluminum siding from a 1977 Sunline TC. If you proceed with a wood structure, your budget of $5000 is achievable. Going with aluminum for the structure is superior in my opinion, but I would think you will go over your budget unless you have a good connection to get AL. What also will make the budget increase is if you had to buy any appliances. My advice is to do what ever you can to get those appliances in your Lance to function correctly and reuse them. Also a big expense is the electrical system, if you plan to put a big battery bank, inverter, & solar, your price tag will go up $2000-$4000. If you only want a few 12v lights, you can build this TC within your budget. Like others have said on this thread, it all depends on what you want to build.

Time is the other obvious factor. I work on my camper after work and on most weekends (while still having a life). I’ve been working on it for 8 months and have completed the shell and only have half of the interior done. It will probably take me over a year to complete. You said you build rock crawlers so you understand how long it takes to build things (I have built mud trucks in the past). It seems like you know what your signing up for.

It seems like you want a custom TC that is built the way you want it, I say go for it and start the design and building process!

If you are interested I have a post of my build on this forum named 1977 Sunline Truck Camper Full Build. There are links to my YouTube channel. Truck Camper Build Playlist

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