Lance 1040 on a flatbed.

Capt Eddie

I am in the process of building a new flatbed on a Doge 4500. This will be a similar setup to the Ford F450 Flatbed build that I did in 2008. The biggest mistake that I made the first time, was cutting holes in the boxes to allow the tiedowns to be hidden. And soak everything in those boxes. I am looking for another way to attach the camper and bed together. I have thought of using the camper jack locations and attaching anchors to the front and back of the bed. I also think that I would like to use more spring loaded tiedowns. I thought that a long time ago I saw an advertisement for a spring loaded attachment that you would put on a turnbuckle tie down to give it spring . But now I can not find the name of the product. From what I remember, it was about 5 inches long, a threaded female end and a hook on the other. It was preset with 300 LB of tension. How important is it for the tie downs to be angled? I think that being perpendicular to the bed would allow a lot of movement. As compared to being at oblique angles to the bed and camper. Maybe alittle movement will save a tiedown from being ripped out. Any help in the issue would be appreciated.



I will be chasing down the same question (different camper) soon. Looking forward to hearing advice from the collective here.


Expedition Leader
Torklift and Happijack make spring loaded turnbuckles. Both companies make a range of products for different camper weights.

Recommended books for Overlanding

Dreaming of Jupiter
by Ted Simon
From $16.43
Into Africa
by Sam Manicom
From $23.76
Overlanders' Handbook: Worldwide route and planning guide...
by Chris Scott
From $19.2

Capt Eddie

I look at Torklift as I have the derringers but did not see the add on spring tensioners. I will try Happijack. Thanks.


Expedition Leader

"Designed exclusively for all Torklift frame mounted tie downs. The Springload XL turnbuckle gives a custom clean look and an inexpensive upgrade alternative to the basic springload and chain system. The Springload XL incorporates the lifetime guarantee FastGun internal springs and spring tension indicators. Sold in sets of two with a reach of 28” to 43”."


would it be possible to attach the flatbed to the truck frame using spring mounting - similar to a unimog. Then bolt the camper to the flatbed.


Why not get a service body and gain all that outside storage, they make them that will fit a camper, aluminum would be great


I use 4 Happi-jack turnbuckles to hold my 11' camper on my flatbed. The front two angle in and slightly forward. The rear ones angle in and slightly back. I have had no trouble with the camper moving around. I also have 3/4" rubber stall mats underneath it. I just have "D" rings in the bed of the flatbed for the turnbuckles to hook too.

I followed your build of the F550. That was a nice rig. I'm curious if you wore it out, wrecked it, sold it, or just wanted to build another one. Also, what drove the change to build a Dodge this time? I'm looking at getting a larger truck for my camper and have been considering a Dodge 4500 for the build. My Chevy 3500 is far from worn out so I may not get around to it for a while.

Capt Eddie

Wire nut.. The Ford had a 6.4 diesel. In the last 8 months that I had it it broke down on 3 different trips. It was in the shop 45 days during that time trying to get everything straight. It was not dependable. If you do a Google search for 6.4 ford defects you can see what I am talking about. Ford would not buy back. But did give me a 250K extra warranty. I only had 42K miles. When I tried to trade it in on new. Ford offered $18 to $20 K. Dodge did not know the truck and gave me $29500. And the Dodge has a lot of extra points. Backup camera. Engine break. Shift on the fly 4 x 4.


New member
After tearing out a front loosely tensioned tie-down on a challenging road in remote Escalante backcountry, I took an 18" piece of 1 1/2" angle iron and bolted it to the front of my flatbed.
With about 8" projecting forward of the flatbed, I was able to use my front jack mount as a tie-down point. It got me out of a rough spot and I have realized that I didn't need to drill those holes in my front storage boxes. I don't carry jacks, as they would just get bent or torn off on the roads I go on.
I have bolted two 8' 1 1/2 x 1 1/2" aluminum angles length wise and bolted 2x4's on edge to them to make a frame for the camperbottom to prevent side to side movement. The top of the 2x's are beveled to guide the camper into place when loading it on the flatbed.
The biggest tearout prevention comes from just slowing down, although in this last tearout I was caught between two sandy spots on either side of a rock ledge, going uphill. No choice but to keep my speed up.