OBS F250/F350 Flatbed camper build

My fiance and I spent just under two years living in a sprinter van, and we recently purchased a new house and wanted to build a new vehicle that was a little more burly and a little less full-time living. We missed having 4x4 capabilities in the sprinter. We also do design and build for a living, so we wanted to build a flatbed camper completely from scratch. Ive had a thing for OBS Fords for a minute now. I wanted an F350, but I also wanted an extended cab, not a full crew cab, which didnt exist on the 350. I decided I'd find an F250 and swap a dana 60, essentially making it the extended cab 350 of my dreams. I began my hunt, and Californians wanted ridiculous amounts of money for them since they are the last years of presmog diesel here. I widened my search, and found myself a beautiful champagne colored two toned F250 up in the Portland area. After a few phone calls I booked a flight and made my way to pick her up.
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1997 F250 7.3 powerstroke 4x4. 178k miles and newly rebuilt transmission.

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Finding a spot to camp halfway back to LA.

As soon as I got back I got to ordering parts and searching for an axle. I ordered up a sky off road reverse shackle kit and 4" lift and some heavy duty springs. I eventually found a pretty low mileage dana 60 locally for insanely cheap just when I was about to give up my search. I also ordered some method wheels and 35" ridge grapplers, and so began the swap..... I unfortunately did not take many photos during the process. (I did document a lot of it on Instagram stories and it is saved in my history @longroadtonowhere) If anyone has done the shackle reversal kit, its quite the pain in the ass. Getting all the old rivets out was not fun, it took a couple days, but we got it done.
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baja style mid swap.
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Swap complete. One good looking if you ask me. Also added bilstein shocks all around. She sat like this for a couple months.

Last week I swapped the original headlights for some new one from CP addicts and swapped everything to LED. Also added a 30" light bar.
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This old truck can now see in the dark again. I also installed a redhead steering box last week, and she really drives like a dream now. Im very happy with it.

Next step is the flatbed, which I intend to build this weekend. I got the bed off on sunday and got aluminum ordered so I can get it built over the long weekend. The plan is to do a spring mounted flatbed.
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As she sits currently. Awaiting her flatbed. This is where I'm at right now.

After the flatbed, the idea is to do a hard side pop up camper inspired by an alaskan camper, but my own little touches on it, and hopefully a little lighter. I will try and continue to update this thread with progress. If you'd like follow my instagram @longroadtonowhere as I am pretty good about documenting things there. Feel free to hit me with any other questions or comments. Thanks for checking it out.
 
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motoboss

Bad Influence
Not on the gram or the face thing so you'll have keep this thread up to date.

Or post your address so we can come over and watch in person :D
 

Tex68w

Beach Bum
I follow you on IG, nice to see you doing something with an OBS Ford. Finding one that isn't ratted out and doesn't have a tweaked frame or 350K+ miles is a struggle, you have a nice specimen there. I am very excited to see where this goes and follow along with your new journey. Make sure to tae a few more pics when you build the flat bed lol.
 

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UHAULER

Explorer
It seems like quite a few people are going back to a truck and camper after having a van. I still go back and forth between wanting a van or truck/camper combo. I had a ford van with a high top for a short while but didn't like the seating position/ legroom area and my wife really wants some sort of shower/ bathroom.
 
It seems like quite a few people are going back to a truck and camper after having a van. I still go back and forth between wanting a van or truck/camper combo. I had a ford van with a high top for a short while but didn't like the seating position/ legroom area and my wife really wants some sort of shower/ bathroom.
Yea for me it was a couple things. First, I missed having 4x4, and good luck finding any 4x4 van for under $30k these days. I guess I could have gone ujoint kit and done it myself, and it wouldnt have been much more work that the axle swap I did, but I'd still probably end up spending about $4-5k more than I spent. I got the 250 for $9000 which was a great starting point. Also going poptop camper keeps the height down a little bit. Our Sprinter van is over 9' tall with 33's and a 2" lift. Put some 35's and a 4" lift on a van you can stand up in you it just makes more a vehicle that is no fun to drive on a twisty mountain road.

The second reason is, I just love to build things, and this seemed like a project I would be challenged by and learn a lot from.

I follow you on IG, nice to see you doing something with an OBS Ford. Finding one that isn't ratted out and doesn't have a tweaked frame or 350K+ miles is a struggle, you have a nice specimen there. I am very excited to see where this goes and follow along with your new journey. Make sure to tae a few more pics when you build the flat bed lol.

Yea it took a while to find one, especially cause I gave myself a $10k budget for the truck itself. I found a few really clean ones while searching, but people wanted $15k+ for them, which just seemed silly for a 20+ year old truck. Got lucky finding an out of state seller that was willing to work with me. I'll definitely take more pics from here on out. I half started this thread to hold myself accountable to document more stuff along the way.
 
Thanks guys. Kind of started the flatbed build today, but already making tons of changes to my original plan. Sometimes no matter how much you plan, or you draw things up, once you have the actual materials on hand and start lining things up, it doesnt work out exactly as you thought. Oh well. Gotta wait till friday now till the metal yard is open again to get some new pieces and get moving.
 

Ovrlnd Rd

Adventurer
Just bought a F350 that I'm picking up next week. A little newer with a 6.4l diesel but hope to do some similar mods. I don't have the skill set to build my own bed but am thinking going flat. Have to wait and see what kind of condition it's really in before dropping any more cash into it.

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TroyHaas

Observer
I've been frothing over the idea of doing a Dana 60 swap on my truck so I can run a coilover setup. Was the shackle reversal enough to make it not a brick-on-wheels?
 
Made a little progress on the flatbed this weekend. Taking a little longer than I hoped, but I guess that's usually how these things go. Once I got the bed off I noticed there was a bit more surface rust showing its face than i would have liked so I went ahead and spent the good portion of a day wire wheeling and spraying undercoating on the frame.

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All cleaned up.
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Next I welded in this frame brace at the end of the chassis. Partly to strengthen things, and partly to have a place to weld a hitch mount up higher than the original mount. I almost always travel with a bike rack and 2-3 bikes, so I wanted to get them up and out of the way, and boy will this ever. Its high, maybe too high for when I wanna load the dirtbike. Contemplating mounting another hitch lower that would have two hitch mounts that could cary my dirtbike when bicycles arent on, or store a fold up bumper for when its being used as a work truck and has nothing on the back.

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Next step was to make the mounts for the spring mounted flatbed and figure out where they were going to get mounted. Full disclosure, my fiance welded these up. Shes a better welder than I. Im a lucky guy, I get to do all the pretty fine woodworking we do, and she handles all the dirty welding. hahah

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after the mounts were made, we played around with laying everything up and getting the flatbed in the right place. The frame on the F250 goes up and down all over the place, so its a little tough to pull level off the frame. After we got them where we thought theyd work we sat this long flatbar up running past the cab so we could line it up with the lines of the truck. I think we got it pretty good. Think its gonna flow well with the truck.

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Now that we knew where everything was going, it was time to get serious. The mounts got drilled and bolted into the frame. The "spacer" you can see in the photo is just a piece of ply at the moment that will get replaced with a piece of hdpe rubber that I will hopefully have tmw. The huge spacers will be replaced with the springs whenever they show up. For now its just hard mounted, which is fine since it wont have a camper on it anytime too soon.

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And heres where Im at now. Got everything clamped in place and called my buddy up to throw down some welds. My fiance and I mostly have only mig welded steel, and since this job seemed best for tig welded aluminum, I called in a pro. Hes currently welding while I post this. Hoping to have the frame all welded up tonight, as well as the aluminum diamond plate top. Next steps will be figuring out what the back of its gonna look like and hooking up all the lights, and then designing custom toolboxes for underneath. That probably wont get started till at least next weekend. Hoping to find time to get the lights on in the next couple days tho so I can get her back on the road.

Thats all for now. I'll post pics of the finished product hopefully tmw. Hope you guys enjoy, and I hope that wasnt too many pictures for y'all. Let me know what you think
 

tookstar154

Observer
I love it. Just followed you on the 'gram. Seems we know some mutual people. I've got a 2001 F-350 CCLB with a 90's Callen camper on it. Its empty at the moment, but going to clean it up and build it out this winter and hope to have it somewhat done by next summer. But we'll see how that goes. Love the OBS rigs. Can't wait to see what you do with it.
 

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I've been frothing over the idea of doing a Dana 60 swap on my truck so I can run a coilover setup. Was the shackle reversal enough to make it not a brick-on-wheels?
Depends what you mean by brick on wheels. After the reverse shackle and new steering box the truck feels pretty good for being 20 something ft long truck with a 4" lift and big 35's on it. I still need to install my track bar. I was told to let me leaf springs break in before installing it. Think its gonna feel pretty good after that.

I love it. Just followed you on the 'gram. Seems we know some mutual people. I've got a 2001 F-350 CCLB with a 90's Callen camper on it. Its empty at the moment, but going to clean it up and build it out this winter and hope to have it somewhat done by next summer. But we'll see how that goes. Love the OBS rigs. Can't wait to see what you do with it.
Awesome man. Love those callens. Actually kind of been keeping at eye out for one on the cheap to throw on this truck since I am going to baja for new years and I highly doubt my custom camper is gonna be done by then.
 
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