New Four Wheel Camper owner

It has been a long time since I updated this thread. Thought I would get everybody caught up.

A few months ago I purchased a nearly new 2015 Toyota Tacoma to mount my FWC on. The Colorado is showing it's age with over 160,000 miles on the odometer and having been a daily driver in the winter. The modifications on my new truck were going well and I was able to take the new combo out for a camping trip with friends to get a feel for it. About a week later a tree in my yard fell on my truck and camper. The truck was a total loss and has since been replaced but the camper survived with what looked like minor damage.

.

Upon further investigation and in talking with a representative from FWC, it was determined that one of the main north/south structural beams had been fractured.

The recommendation from FWC was a new roof. At first I thought this was a good thing because since I purchased my camper back in 2008 FWC has switched to a seamless design. Also my insurance has paid me a good chunk toward the cost. Unfortunately, in the end, it was not going to be feasible for me to have FWC do the work.

Reasons for not having FWC repair my roof.
1. Distance....4380 miles round trip.
2. FWC is busy....I would not have been able to get in until December and I have no desire to do a power drive across the country in the winter.
3. Spring trip....I'm going to the Overland Expo. in May and I need to have my camper by then.
4. Distance X 2....I was willing to make the round trip one time but because my camper is no longer in production they would have needed my camper for a quoted 45 days in order to make a new roof from scratch. This would have required me to make two round trips.
5. My unwillingness to hire a service to transport my camper.
6. Cost....When it was all said and done, with travel and everything else included, it would have cost me more than I was willing to pay even with the reimbursement from the insurance company

So I decided to do the repair myself.

Step 1. Jack up bent and cracked roof beam. Then go to the roof and beat with a rubber mallet anything that's sticking up to much.


Step 2. Buy corner brace and Loctite metal and concrete epoxy


Step 3. Cut out patch from roll of galvanizes flashing.


Step 4. Cut out excess roofing material to gain better access to damaged area. Apply generous amount of epoxy to corner brace and set in place. Let stand for 24 hours.


Step 5. Round edges of patch and scuff. Apply a generous amount of epoxy and set in place being careful to hold edges down all the way around.


Step 6. Paint to match.


Overall I am happy with the results. We'll see if it lasts.
 
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Plug Replacement

Before I mounted my camper onto my new Tacoma I decided that I was going to replace the electric plug that connected the camper battery to the vehicle battery through the battery separator. I didn't like the plug that originally came with the camper. Although it functioned fine, it was a little difficult to plug in and unplug. It was the type that you push in and turn to lock in place. The rubber cover seemed to twist a lot easier than the plug itself. The other thing I didn't like about it was the fact that it was flush mounted. This means that a 1 inch (or so) mounting hole needed to be drilled into the bed of the truck. Another draw back was the wire connections on the outside of the truck bed were exposed to anything the wheels kicked up being just hidden behind the inner wheel well covers.

I decided to go with a Battery Tender trolling motor plug.

This plug is also designed to be flush mounted. I mounted it on a junction box cover and then mounted the junction box cover to the truck. My original mounting idea was to use the threaded holes in the truck bed that originally held tie down brackets. This would have completely eliminated the need to drill holes in my truck bed.

Unfortunately this location didn't leave enough clearance for the camper. I ended up drilling two small bolt holes on top of the wheel well. I'm even able to reach the plug from inside the camper if needed.
 
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Camper Mounting

I needed a different mounting solution for my camper now that it will be on the Tacoma permanently. When it was on my Colorado, I had it bolted down to the sheet metal bed of the truck. This worked fine without any problems. With the Tacoma having a plastic type bed, this was not going to work. I ordered the Tacoma mounting hardware that FWC sells. It comes with rubber mats to bring everything up to level and to prevent slipping of the camper.

I just needed to use my router to cut a small notch in the bottom of the camper in order to make room for the two bolts that stick up above level on the rearward brackets.

Then I went out and purchased some turnbuckles to connect the camper to the mounting brackets. This is where a ran into problems. The only turnbuckles available locally that were short enough for my application were wimpy 5/16.

I put them on and hoped for the best. When I returned from my first camping trip (paved and smooth gravel roads), I checked on the condition of the turnbuckles. Two were loose and two were loose and bent. I new I needed to come up with a better solution.

My solution was to custom design and manufacture my own mounting brackets.

Parts list: weldable steel flat, stainless steel U bolts (item# 3xta6 from Grainger website), die springs (item# 44u601 from Grainger website)

I replaced the nuts that came with the U bolts with locking nuts.
I then cut the flat steel into 2x2 squares and drilled a 19/32 hole in each corner.

I set it up in a way that the u bolts could be tightened against each other and the springs allow for some frame flex.

Set up and ready to go.

I'm hopeful that this will work!
 
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elmo_4_vt

Explorer
I know it's already put together, but are those nuts self locking? The spring tension will help, but I'd be afraid of them coming loose. Other than that, looks like a great solution.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
I like it! I've often wondered about the old turn buckle approach. Zero give and like 100% are cheap china buckles these days.
My sail boat racing background I would probably rig up some fancy tech line type tie downs if I had a fwc.. Some day!!!
 

LuckyDan

Adventurer
What you've done is build your version of a Happijac turnbuckle. Or an inverted, sorta like version of the tank to frame mounting system used on our water trucks at work. Nice approach and should serve you well as long as your spring tension is stout enough. As an aside, this thread is one of the first I followed when I joined the Portal in 2009. Thanks for keeping it going:ylsmoke:
 
What you've done is build your version of a Happijac turnbuckle. Or an inverted, sorta like version of the tank to frame mounting system used on our water trucks at work. Nice approach and should serve you well as long as your spring tension is stout enough. As an aside, this thread is one of the first I followed when I joined the Portal in 2009. Thanks for keeping it going:ylsmoke:
You are very welcome. The spring rate is 500 pounds/inch and there are two of them working in parallel. The springs are only an inch long so I'm not sure what that would equate to for pounds for full compression. It was kind of a guess when I got these and the fact they were on sale for $1.80 and the other options were in the $7.00 range made the choice easy.
 
Maxtrax Mounting

I decided the best place to mount them was under the cabover. I purchased the mounting pins but needed to modify them in a way to prevent the threaded end from sticking up into my mattress. I decided to make a mounting bracket that would be attached to the camper using carriage bolts. The bracket would also give a little breathing room between the camper and the Maxtrax.

The pins are designed to be used with either a set of four or a set of two Maxtrax. Because of clearance issues and since I only have a set of two Maxtrax the inboard set of pins needed to be modified. I replaced the original shaft with a shorter bolt and just used the two plastic pieces that twist to lock.


I then cut and drilled some two inch bar stock to be used as the mounting plate.


All assembled.


I used half inch spacers to allow room for the nuts.


All in place.


There is only about a quarter inch of space between the front drivers side peg, the Maxtrax and the roof of my truck when I am sliding the Maxtrax into and out of place. Double check your measurements if you are going to try this for yourself.
 
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