full size frame twist and implications to campers

Chorky

Observer
Specifically speaking to Alaskan campers for those who have them, but applies to any camper.

Full sized trucks (older with C channel frames - like my '97 OBS for example) have pretty significant frame twist, causing beds to really move even if only going over a speed bump. Naturally this amount of twist is hard on things not designed to move so much.

So for these situations, what are some ways to strengthen the frame so it does not twist and instead just does full cycling of the suspension? Is this even possible in older trucks (without a 3 point system)? If not, does anyone have any real life experience with their campers either surviving or being destroyed in normal rough road use?

Thanks :) Just trying to weigh some options.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
The problem with trying to stiffen the frame can be that you just move the stress to another place.

That said, Alaskan campers have a better reputation than most (except maybe Four Wheel Campers) for withstanding the rigors of offroad use.
 
In my opinion, your best bet is to make one of the four tie-down points spring-loaded. There are a number of options that will get the job done, depending on your attachment method.
 

Nailhead

Active member
Saw this on a truck at the Overland Expo and took a pic for future reference:



My camper frame is attached to the truck frame with u-bolts, which I’m starting to believe to be an inferior arrangement for off roading.



Someday I may have to modify mine with that mounting shown above.
 

Chorky

Observer
spring mount is an excellent idea and one i have had for a long time. only issue is not quite sure how to incorporate a spring mount on a standard bed. those beds themselves are pretty flexy and I dont think built well enough to work with a spring mount system
 

Chorky

Observer
what do folks think about spring loaded tie downs, and finding a way to mount the tie down to the inside of the bed so that the width doesnt' extend much past the 4' of inside wheel wells - theory being that there is less angular movement resulting in less twisting force of the frame being applied to the camper. Although only functional I suppose if the camper can actually lift off the bed (as in a flat surface on a twisted surface.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
what do folks think about spring loaded tie downs,
I don't have direct experience, but a lot of people like Torklift Derringers for exactly this reason - springloaded tie-downs let the camper move independently a little bit from the bed when things start rocking and rolling.
 

97heavyweight

Active member
So far my homemade pop top has survived about 3000 miles of off-road use and some of that mileage has been technical rock crawling trails. I have a 3rd gen tacoma and the frame flex scared the ******** out of me the first trip because I initially thought it was my camper. So far though I have had no issues and it seems to be holding up fantastically. I'd just use it and keep an eye on things as you go along. Good Luck
 
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