ITTOG's Truck Camper Build (was 6' x 12' Trailer Conversion)

Ducstrom

Active member
Yeah, this is great! Really nice work so far.

I noticed the same thing with the reico titan jacks; lots of wobble when they're up higher.
I just deal with it when loading my camper, actually helps a bit being able to shove it around a bit before setting it in the bed. When we use it off the truck I just lower it down to around 12" off the ground and it's pretty stable there.
I had a similar wobbly issue with a set of Thule xsporter racks I had in a previous truck. Solved the wobble by using Ratchet straps in an 'x' inside the rack frame. Completely stopped all wobble.
 

ITTOG

Well-known member
Yeah, this is great! Really nice work so far.

I noticed the same thing with the reico titan jacks; lots of wobble when they're up higher.
I just deal with it when loading my camper, actually helps a bit being able to shove it around a bit before setting it in the bed. When we use it off the truck I just lower it down to around 12" off the ground and it's pretty stable there.
I had a similar wobbly issue with a set of Thule xsporter racks I had in a previous truck. Solved the wobble by using Ratchet straps in an 'x' inside the rack frame. Completely stopped all wobble.
Thanks for the info and ratchet straps are a great idea for a quick solution.

Sent from my Pixel 5 using Tapatalk
 

ITTOG

Well-known member
Does anyone have experience with VHB tape on powder coating? I have read where it is difficult to stick and there is even special VHB tape for powder coat applications. This concerns me and I am thinking about not powder coating the outside of the camper where the skin attaches. But, if I don't powder coat, what do I put on the steel to keep it from rusting? I can't just put the VHB tape on raw steel because it would eventually rust. Does VHB tape stick well to painted steel?
 

ITTOG

Well-known member
Q, Does VHB tape stick to paint

it might stick to some paints but not others, it could peal weak paint, do some testing, i would use epoxy paint on the whole frame and ruff it up where the VHB goes.

This is made for protection in industrial environments

Thanks for the info. I will investigate further.


Date: Dec 27, 2020
Time: 4.5 hours
Total Time to Date: 156.5 hours
Rework: 0 hours
Total Rework to Date: 49 hours (not part of Time above)
Current Weight: 513 pounds (calculated)
Roof: 115 (112 + calculated 3 pounds + (get wedge weight))
Camper: 398 (309 + calculated 89 pounds)


I like to work on the camper in my yard to prevent metal particles getting on my driveway and then creating rust stains. But getting it into the yard is becoming difficult due to the weight. Removing it from the truck in the yard proved to be too difficult due to the yard not being level. So, time to pull out an old Sea-Doo trailer. It worked perfectly.
PXL_20201227_190506475.jpg

I boxed in a frame for a MaxxFan.
PXL_20201227_190522286.jpg

I haven't decided how I want to install the hinges on the door yet. On the camper (top tube) it will be as shown. I will weld two bolts on the underside of the hinge that will go through the top tube. I am welding them so they will not be seen on the outside. The primary reason for this is so people can't mess with them. I will weld the hinge to the door. On the door I have two options I am debating. First, would be as seen in the picture where the hinge is in the space between the camper and door. The other option is to embed the hinge in the bottom tube so the space between the camper and door is free of everything other than weatherstripping. This option would be a bit more difficult but I think cleaner. I doubt it would make a difference on functionality. I would love to hear your thoughts on the two options.
PXL_20201227_195924472.jpg

I quickly ruled this option out because I do not want anything on the face of the door other than the skin. I don't care about the hinge on the face of the camper because it will go on top of the skin.
PXL_20201227_195836436.jpg

When I built my door I purposely built it to fit tight in the door jam. I wanted to start this way and then modify it once I had the hinges on. I obviously don't have the hinges on yet but I started looking at how I may modify the door to ensure it opens and closes properly. As you can see in this picture, it will not close due to the arc created when swinging down. In this pic you can see it hits at the top of the tube. The black line on the top tube (one without Door written on it) is where the door hits when trying to open it. My thought is I can cut this part out of the top tube and make it angle downward so there is no obstruction or I shorten the bottom half of the door to eliminate the interference.
PXL_20201227_204208846.jpg

The bottom line on the top tube in this pic shows where the cut on the tube would be.
PXL_20201227_204237590.jpg


EDIT: After further thought on the topic in bold below, I will not embed it into the tube. The reason is I would not be able to reseal the tube completely. There would be open parts next to the hinge. Therefore, the only option is to weld the hinge between the camper and door.

I haven't decided how I want to install the hinges on the door yet. On the camper (top tube) it will be as shown. I will weld two bolts on the underside of the hinge that will go through the top tube. I am welding them so they will not be seen on the outside. The primary reason for this is so people can't mess with them. I will weld the hinge to the door. On the door I have two options I am debating. First, would be as seen in the picture where the hinge is in the space between the camper and door. The other option is to embed the hinge in the bottom tube so the space between the camper and door is free of everything other than weather stripping. This option would be a bit more difficult but I think cleaner. I doubt it would make a difference on functionality. I would love to hear your thoughts on the two options.
 
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ITTOG

Well-known member
After further thought on the topic in bold below, I will not embed it into the tube. The reason is I would not be able to reseal the tube completely. There would be open parts next to the hinge. Therefore, the only option is to weld the hinge between the camper and door.

I haven't decided how I want to install the hinges on the door yet. On the camper (top tube) it will be as shown. I will weld two bolts on the underside of the hinge that will go through the top tube. I am welding them so they will not be seen on the outside. The primary reason for this is so people can't mess with them. I will weld the hinge to the door. On the door I have two options I am debating. First, would be as seen in the picture where the hinge is in the space between the camper and door. The other option is to embed the hinge in the bottom tube so the space between the camper and door is free of everything other than weather stripping. This option would be a bit more difficult but I think cleaner. I doubt it would make a difference on functionality. I would love to hear your thoughts on the two options.


I will edit my last post to show the text above so no one reply's before seeing this post.
 

ripper1600

Adventure Seeker
The build is looking good. I have thought about doing a similar project. If I decide to go through hope fully it will look as clean.
 

ITTOG

Well-known member
Bad weather, the kids soccer seasons starting up, and my daughter buying a 2016 Fusion (just got her drivers license) has limited my work on the camper. So I have been doing some investigation and planning into things like weather stripping, attaching the jeep latches, and the struts. In post 126 , I had indicated I was going to use weather stripping like below. This weather stripping is for the roof.
IMG_20200915_073057.jpg

Unfortunately this has proven to not be practical for two reasons: the two materials are too firm (ie high durometer) and the top weather stripping wouldn't stay affixed to the metal properly and would roll. So, I have changed direction, but not 100% sure the following is the final direction, still investigating/testing. Instead, I am replacing the top (from above pic) with a closed cell neoprene. If anyone has used this time of weather stripping I would love to find out your thoughts. For instance, did it degrade over time (ie loose its height, crumble, etc). So I am currently testing this arrangement. In this pic there isn't much weight/pressure on the weather stripping so it isn't engaging. Here the weather stripping has a height of 1".
PXL_20201229_225949636.jpg

Next was to see how well it will compress using the jeep latches I purchased. I will have three latches on each side since my roof is 12' long. I figure the easiest test at this point is using wood. Here the 1" stack of weather stripping is compressed to 7/16".
PXL_20210110_191315513.jpg

Clamping the two pieces together causes both to compress as can be seen in the picture below.
PXL_20210110_224133435.jpg

At this point I am planning to use the closed cell neoprene for the door as well.

Taking measurements from the wood will help with setting up where to install the Jeep latches so testing the weather stripping has had two benefits. I can't wait to get this things to the sand blaster.

Speaking of bad weather, it is 34 F and sleeting in north Houston. I know that doesn't sound like much but if that was in, say Denver, that would be equivalent to about 10 F with a foot of snow. I have been outside enjoying it. If it wouldn't have rained most of the night I would be outside with a bonfire.
 

ITTOG

Well-known member
Date: Jan 9 and 17, 2020
Time: 6.5 hours
Total Time to Date: 163 hours
Rework: 0 hours
Total Rework to Date: 49 hours (not part of Time above)
Current Weight: 513 pounds (calculated)
Roof: 115 (112 + calculated 3 pounds + (get wedge weight))
Camper: 398 (309 + calculated 89 pounds)


With the door finished it was time to install the hinges. As mentioned before, the hinges were welded to the door and bolted to the camper. To make it tamper proof I welded the bolts to the hinges and the bolts are on the inside of the camper (next pic).
PXL_20210109_182909940.jpg

PXL_20210118_134611983.jpg

It is time to get gas struts for the door.
PXL_20210109_182854655.jpg

This pic shows the rain shield I put over the door. It is 6" but due to the angle extends out about 5".
PXL_20210117_231020228.jpg

Here you can see the door in the approximate open condition. When it is on the truck the lowest part of the door should be well over 6' high.
PXL_20210117_230913823.jpg

After getting the hinges installed it was time to get the bottom of the door figured out. When I built the door I filled the door jamb except for 1/8" gap all around. On the bottom this was too close and therefore the door wouldn't open without removing the hinges. This pic shows the interference with the frame.
PXL_20210110_191341278.jpg

This pic shows that I cut the angle back by 3/4" (it was 1.5" angle). I also had to cut the side tube and shorten the door about 1/4".
PXL_20210118_123429734.jpg

After doing all that, the door open and closes freely and has about a 1/4" gap on the bottom which will be perfect for the 1/2" weather stripping I will be using.
PXL_20210118_123439785.jpg

Continued below...
 
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ITTOG

Well-known member
Next was to work on the gas strut connections. The 1.5" tubing I am using is 16 gauge which is about 1/16" thick. Obviously too then to hold threads or to support much loading. Therefore I used 1/8" plate to attach my gas struts to. This plate will be welded to the camper around the edge and plug welded. This pic shows the gas strut fitting. The next pic shows the backside with the nut welded to it which will be inside the frame.
PXL_20210117_184333156.jpg

PXL_20210117_184347283.jpg

This plate is for the roof and is a bit taller than the plate above, 2" vs 1.5".
PXL_20210117_180857254.jpg

My first strut is now attached.
PXL_20210117_180823525.jpg

All four struts are now attached.
PXL_20210117_221202975.jpg

With all four struts attached I let my excitement exceed my knowledge that the struts only lift and do nothing to ensure the roof doesn't fall forwards, backwards, or to the side. So, after raising the roof it almost immediately fell off to the side. Fortunately I did not have the strut retaining clips installed so the struts popped off and did not bend and get damaged other than some paint scratches. Now I need to hurry and build the horizontal end to end and side to side support which is a simple hinged riser (or whatever it is called) at each end of the camper. It will look something like this (this is the design on the CampX pop-tops, https://expeditionportal.com/forum/...up-slide-in-pickup-camper.214329/post-2786314).
20200518_160110.jpg

20200518_160419.jpg
 

ITTOG

Well-known member
Previously I set up a mock clamp for my roof weather stripping to see how it would perform. After letting it set in a clamped state for 16 days I removed the clamp to check the integrity of the weather stripping. The high durometer B-shaped material returned to form immediately when releasing the clamp. However the closed cell neoprene didn't fare as well. In the pics below you can see the neoprene has large indentions from the b-shaped weatherstripping. From the side you can see it is very flat and nowhere close to its original 1/2" thickness. After 48 hours the neoprene shape has not changed. So, do I not use the neoprene since it deformed so much or do I just not clamp it as tightly? Maybe I need to test it with less clamping force and see how it responds. Obviously it will deform with any force applied but would a reduced amount still have sealing value? I am leaning towards no.
PXL_20210126_023335785.jpg

In this pic it looks like the thickness may be about 1/8" to 3/16" but that is just at the edge. Where the two bulbs impacted it the thickness is closer to 1/16" thick.
PXL_20210126_023345365.jpg
 
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ITTOG

Well-known member
As expected, with less force the neoprene still deformed and doesn't return to normal shape so it must be for permanent installations and not ones that will be open and closed repeatedly. So next was to see what would happen if I just used the B weather stripping. Given it is a high durometer it requires more force and pulled my clamp out of the wood (can be seen better in the 2nd pic). Thus, I used clamps to apply the force. I compressed the material from 1/2" to almost 1/4". I won't be able to do that in real life because the black clamps wont' be able to apply that amount of force. But if I can get just 1/8" of deflection I think it would be give me the seal I need.
PXL_20210130_173242052.jpg

I used some wedge spacers to help get the compression I wanted on the weather strip. You can see the bulb on the weather stripping is trying to squeeze out.
PXL_20210130_173250504.jpg

This is the backside of the weatherstrip and you can see the compression here. Here I think it is definitely compressed more than 1/4". I will let it set for a while and then release it and see how it does.
PXL_20210130_173314412.jpg
 

Andrew_S

Observer
Amazing progress in here lately. This is going to look so epic on the truck. I like the jack design you went with, super easy to remove and beefy.
Those Jeep clamps look really nice. Where did you get those from? dealer?

Why not just cut down a fabric reinforced neoprene sheet and use that against the double bulb seal? When clamping with that amount of force I would use similar durometer material for sure. You just really need a light positive seal, unless you plan on pressure washing the camper at point blank you won't have any water issues.
 
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