CABO 4X4 EXPEDITION BUILD (a 3 to 6 week build)


Renaissance Redneck
Any reason (I may have missed it in all the thumbnails) why you wouldn't just shorten the flatbed and frame of the truck? In the part of Mexico I spend time in there are plenty of people capable of doing that. Do you NEED a really long flat bed? If it were my rig I'd shorten bed and frame, and then mount the camper "properly" (at cab and with 3-4" max from roof of cab to bottom of overhead), and then buy or build some storage boxes for tools, genset etc to mount along the sides under the camper.


We did a similar project with an 08 F550 and Lance 830 (see build thread link in my sig). Feel free to PM me any time. In our experience it was fairly easy to trim to camper skirt and move items up into the camper belly in order to have the camper sit on the flatbed. We kept the space between the truck and camper cabover to a minimum. At full frame flex the camper just misses the truck cab lights. As far as camper mounting we use four torklift fast-gun. They have proven very strong in harsh conditions. I use 3/4" rubber horse stall mats between the camper and flatbed. They provide a small degree of cushion and help keep the camper from moving . The overall rig is about 11' 7" to the top of the AC. Good luck with the project.
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West slope, N. Ser. Nev.
I have a couple questions for you.
1. Do you plan on doing much off-road travel? The answer will dictate whether you need to consider a 3-point or 4-point diamond shaped chassis to flatbed design.
If you do plan a lot of boondocking, dry camping, off-road driving anywhere in Baja or the Western U.S. and Canada, this is a huge issue, one we usually don't want to face. There are options: one is to keep adjusting the tie-downs to meet the stress encountered on any given road or trail. Since I did my XTC on the cheap, I do it manually loosening the front tie downs a little bit and the rear tie downs a lot to allow the frame and pickup bed to twist underneath, lifting one side or the other. With a very sticky, thin rubber bed mat, it takes a lot to move the TC in any direction. I use camper guides (mine are made by Lance) which allow only an inch of side play, right and left. After a long hard season of XTC-ing, I have issues where the stress is sideways on the front wooden frame/camper guide meeting place. I'm going to get a couple 3", by 1/8", aluminum angle that screw on the length of the TC bottom framing. That should be enough shear strength to spread out the pressure loading when descending, side hilling, or roads like this:

2. Do you plan on going down two-tracks enchroached upon by a lot of trees? The answer will help design the height and width of your rig. My design perimeters were to:
keep the overall height of the camper as low as possible. 10 foot, 4 inch. With a 3/8" thick bed mat only, I have about 5 inches of air between the cab and the cabover.
Keep the overall width as narrow as possible. 86 inches
Keep the heaviest things near or on the floor.
Keep nothing on the roof. Nothing. No AC. No kayaks. No firewood or golf clubs. No blow-up rubber woman. Nothing contributes to sway more than heavy stuff up high.
Keep the camper as far forward as physically possible with as little lift as possible on the truck. Your handling will be as good as it can be.
Find alternate storage solutions. With a short bed, here is one: I cut down the receiver tube so the rack would have 1/2" of clearance between the bumper and redrilled the hitch hole. It's almost vertical to the end of the camper box.

I also have a front receiver and another rack if I really need a lot of space. Beyond that, I can pull my jeep trailer if need be.
Have a minimum of external gee-gaws. They will just be scraped off by passing flora. Most of the side plastic vent covers, clearance lights, external lighting went missing, slowly but surely after spending time on jeep trails. My eyebrows and bug deflector (a gift from my son) were all lost after a 5 foot snow storm.
Remove the 4 corner jacks before starting on an adventure. They're heavy and prone to drag (the rear ones) on slowly passing rocks or curbs. They're basically unneeded outriggers. If you have no plugs at the jacks, splice in an appropriate male/female plug on each corner and remove. Remember this will narrow your footprint by 4-5 inches.
I'm not sure if any of this free advice is too late. So, take it for what it's worth. This and $2.75 will get you a pretty good cup of coffee.
regards, jefe
I have a couple questions for you....
Thank you for your insight and your advanced info regarding the questions. I am actually finished with the build and will try to post an update tonight or tomorrow. Some of these things that you suggested I will add to the rig in the next couple of months.