From 1-10, how bad is this going to be?

Double_Eh

Member
I’ve been posting around here a little bit lately, trying to find a camping solution for my wife, myself, our baby. We have a 1st gen, double cab Tacoma TRD. The tiny 5’ bed was replaced with a flatbed by the previous owner. I recently came across a 1979 FWC Hawk. How bad of an idea can it be to put these two things together?

1595221918470.jpeg


The flatbed dimensions are 72” long by 67” wide, and it sits 32” below the top of the cab. I believe the base of the hawk is 64” by 76”. I don’t know any other dimensions yet.

Concerns I have are primarily the weight of the camper and the fact that weight could sit relatively high and behind the rear axle. I do have relatively stiff Dakar leafs in back and the flatbed is noticeably lighter than the stock bed.

The camper seems plenty affordable, looks to be in good shape considering it’s 41, and I kinda like the idea of restoring it. I’m a little excited. Somebody save me from a bad decision, or better yet, give me a push!
 

Photobug

Active member
I don't know about the weight and balance issues but sounds fantastic to me. My biggest problem with a truck camper is you give up all the storage a truck bed provides.

It would be likely less balanced because of the height. What would be cool is to build up the area under the wings of the camper with storage bins, think outdoor kitchen, tool shed, spare parts, etc.
 

Photobug

Active member
One thing to consider though is overall weight. I think the Tacoma is marginal at best or a truck camper setup. With the extended cab and flat bed you might have very little weight to add and be within the trucks max weight.
 

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Double_Eh

Member
Yeah, in my magical dreamland it could be a pretty rad build with a little work.

The flatbed is a bit lighter than the stock bed, so I save some there. But it also site roughly 3” higher than the bottom of the stock bed, so all weight of the camper will be that much higher.

I need to find the actual weight of the camper. If anyone has a guess, I’d love to hear it!
 

tacollie

Explorer
1st Gen have a higher payload than current tacos and sold off the older FWC are supposedly light. That camper will put a lot of weight behind the rear axle. It may cause some handling issues. My big concern would be the Tacoma frame behind the cab. 1st Gen tacos have issues when they get heavy. Luckily there are a ton of companies that make frame reinforcement plates for Tacomas. The Tundra brake upgrade would be good. You'll probably be heavy for that leaf pack and may want to consider airbags.
 

Double_Eh

Member
I made a few calls... Best guess from FWC is the ‘79 Hawk as it sits w/furnace, couch, But not a ton of amenities is probably around 1000-1100 pounds. Stripped down completely it might be 500-ish, a minimal build and a little gear comes back up around 700-800.

Called my mechanic and local off road shop... He says 500 pounds is a safe weight for a 1st gen Taco, at its core a quarter-ton truck. Add some airbags and it can reasonably handle 700-800.

I‘d guess the flatbed is at least 50-75 pounds lighter than the stock bed.

Putting it all together, it seems doable, but borderline.
 

VanWaLife

Member
Given the price I would say it is definitely worth a shot...worst case scenario you sell it for double what you bought it for if it is in halfway decent shape. If you could relocate the spare to the front bumper that would help with your weight distribution problem.
 

Double_Eh

Member
Sold. I contacted the seller within an hour or two of the sale post, but that was still too late. The search continues....
 

85_Ranger4x4

Well-known member
Find something lighter, find a rear sway bar if you don't have one. Unless you add a second axle to your truck I think you will hate it anyway though.

I just had a Skamper in my Ranger with a 7' bed, the brochure says about 800lbs dry. And mine was dry. With Explorer springs (way heavier than stock) it carried it fine but it would definitely lean in turns. Walking around in the back it was kind of like I was on a fishing boat. The "center of gravity" label is about at the very front of the rear wheel arch but empty I think it is pretty much balanced on the rear axle (I put it in my 7' pickup box trailer and it has like 20lbs of tongue weight. With a 5' bed it is going to be hanging off the back of the truck taking more than a couple hundred pounds off of your front wheels... and with the very small amount of space between your cab and rear axle there is no good way to counter that by how you load it, everything you put in it is going to be behind the rear axle (not good)

I have a factory sway bar for the truck and it will be going in before I do much more with it on the road. Even then I think it is too heavy for a stock compact/midsize running gear to take on much of a trail especially loaded. Asking for a broken spring or axle etc, IMO in their heyday they were intended for pavement pounders.



 

Double_Eh

Member
Find something lighter, find a rear sway bar if you don't have one. Unless you add a second axle to your truck I think you will hate it anyway though.

I just had a Skamper in my Ranger with a 7' bed, the brochure says about 800lbs dry. And mine was dry. With Explorer springs (way heavier than stock) it carried it fine but it would definitely lean in turns. Walking around in the back it was kind of like I was on a fishing boat. The "center of gravity" label is about at the very front of the rear wheel arch but empty I think it is pretty much balanced on the rear axle (I put it in my 7' pickup box trailer and it has like 20lbs of tongue weight. With a 5' bed it is going to be hanging off the back of the truck taking more than a couple hundred pounds off of your front wheels... and with the very small amount of space between your cab and rear axle there is no good way to counter that by how you load it, everything you put in it is going to be behind the rear axle (not good)

I have a factory sway bar for the truck and it will be going in before I do much more with it on the road. Even then I think it is too heavy for a stock compact/midsize running gear to take on much of a trail especially loaded. Asking for a broken spring or axle etc, IMO in their heyday they were intended for pavement pounders.



Cool ranger! And yeah... I think that’s great advice. If I put something on the back of the Taco, I’ll probably stick to something more like a flippac, habitat, GFC, etc. Or I’ll just give in and look for a cheap pop up trailer.
 

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Stan@FourWheel

Explorer
Hawk Model will be too big, too wide, and too heavy (in my opinion).

Will be sitting a mile about the truck cab. :(


Look for any of these models used (if you are looking for a Four Wheel Camper) . . .

Falcon Model
Finch Model
Swift Model

Eagle Model
Fleet Model

These are the only models I would recommend.

Hope this helps.

Stan
 
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