Project "Autonomous" F-350

VroomSIX

Member
What specs? It has an aftermarket intake, headers, an HEI distributor, and will run a serpentine belt. Fuel mileage will be the goal so a TBI is probably how I will go. The correct distributor drive gear needs to be bored to fit the 300 HEI distributor shaft. I need to modify the bore size of the serpentine pulley to locate on the water pump, and the input shaft housing on the transmission needs to be turned down so the hydraulic slave cylinder will fit.
Sorry, by specs I meant how are you going to set up the motor to perform, but I see you’ve already stated for fuel mileage. These big six motors are thirsty, so anything you can do to make them more efficient is very interesting to me. I would also consider an electric fan over the one mounted to the water pump as it has been proven to be good for a few mpg’s.
 

Seabass

Idiot
I’ve still got my old Jayco slide in. It’s a pop up is about the only thing about it that I’m really happy about. The more I got to messing with it the less I liked it. I don’t think it’d be hard to shake it to pieces off road......or maybe in road. But not so much because of rot, it’s pretty good that way. The construction just isn’t that durable looking. I hope some day to run into a Four Wheel Camper that I can afford. But on my side of the country they are very rare. I bet you’ll get your camper fixed up though. A little duct tape, bailer wire, and some long screws ought to get her going good as new!
 

Chorky

Observer
Wow..that's not good. You know it just boggles my mind how poor quality generally is across the board. And not even just campers. My friend is going through his boat and finding all sorts of design flaws and problems. And marine quality is supposed to be top quality too! The sad thing is many of these issues are not necessary flawed because a better option is more expensive. No, in fact many times I see so many flaws that are just simple laziness. Like a wire connection that goes around a sharp corner and has zero protection, or a terminal that is crimped but has no shrink-wrap, or even tape at a minimum.... Modern stuff is just put together with too much haste and little care it seems. For example, my dad's brand new Leer canopy has the seal on the rear door off, and so one side rubber sticks out 1/2 inch, and the other it is inset by 1/2 inch allowing a water leak. That's not a design problem, but simple laziness and lack of care to take time to get it right problem. Maybe I'm too OCD, but I see zero reason for equipment that is so darn expensive to have a problem caused by someone's inability to think and do things right. Of course when pointing it out to various companies, people get pissed at me rather quick for pointing out an obvious 'lack of care' issue. Sad....

Hope you can come up with a solution to resolve the rot and lack of build quality to make it work! You going to start a new build thread specific to the camper, or keep it here?
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
Mike, it sounds to me like you need to find you a good F-350 or F-450 4WD Type I Ambulance, and built it out to suit you needs. They are build like a tank with a rollover cage built into the rear body, and it's all aluminum and stainless construction. The roof is more that strong enough to serve as a photography platform, and if you get the right model you can stand up straight in them (6' ceiling height).

As far as driving off road with them, a lot of the guys change the rear dual wheels and tires over to the off-set supersingles. Personally, I don't know that much about them except it allows you to lower your tire pressure for driving on sand, which you can't really do with dual wheels because the tires will rub against each other.

Here is a pretty sweet deal on a F-350 I found on Facebook Marketplace in an 'Ambulance For Sale' group.

510192

For Sale: Mint Condition LOW MILES - 2000 Ford F350 4x4 Ambulance 7.3L Turbo Diesel New Tranny
35 pictures available at the link.

7.3L Turbo Diesel New Tranny
$24,000
17011
www.pilipcustoms.com/inventory
1 Owner Ambulance used by fire department and always garage kept from Virgina.
No Rust.
Mint Condition.
Everything works perfect. Perfect mechanical condition.
Like new Tires
New Transmission
4x4 - Perfect for off-roading
Only 96,918 miles
7.3L Turbo Diesel Engine
Call 267-243-3697
For Sale by Pilip Customs - This Ambulance gets Stamp of Approval - 100% road ready

If I didn't already have two of these sitting in my driveway already and I wasn't new house shopping, I would pick this thing up myself.
 

pappawheely

Autonomous4X4
Seabass: It's already past the duct tape stage. 💩

Chorky: I will keep it here. I already have too much stuff going online. ☕

Pat: I am 6' 4" tall. 🤪

This guy is kinda weird, but he demonstrates how the walls are constructed.

Like everything, it seems pretty easy (but it's not). Instead of patching up a turd, I'm thinking that I should save all the windows, door, etc, and build one to my own specs. Going down the road the front overhang tends to lift, which pulls on the spring mounts. My biggest fear is this thing will rip the mounting eyelets out and I'll lose everything. I saw one that was done with luan on both sides and 1x1 frame construction. Then painted with a good epoxy paint. I can design something that I know will be stronger. It's already in my head.
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
That's OK, you'll get shorter as you get older. Trust me...I know! I used to be 6'2", but now I'm down to 6'0".

In order to solve that height problem, several of the guys have raised the center section of the roof to give the cabin area more clearance inside.
 

Adventurous

Explorer
I’ve owned 2 campers now (travel trailer and a truck camper) that have needed some fairly major rebuilding, and I can say with complete confidence that they are the most poorly built dwellings I’ve ever encountered. It’s like they intentionally fabricate them in a way that necessitates ripping them entirely apart in order to start fixing things. Literally nothing is easy, or well done.

If you’ve got the time, starting over would be awesome. The ability to begin again without having to splice into existing infrastructure would make your life 10x easier.

That said, we have 25K miles on our Lance across most of the US and Canada, in all weather conditions, both on and off road, and it’s still holding together. For as poorly as they are made, they mysteriously stay in 1 piece. Most of the time. ;)
 

pappawheely

Autonomous4X4
I’ve owned 2 campers now (travel trailer and a truck camper) that have needed some fairly major rebuilding, and I can say with complete confidence that they are the most poorly built dwellings I’ve ever encountered. It’s like they intentionally fabricate them in a way that necessitates ripping them entirely apart in order to start fixing things. Literally nothing is easy, or well done.

If you’ve got the time, starting over would be awesome. The ability to begin again without having to splice into existing infrastructure would make your life 10x easier.

That said, we have 25K miles on our Lance across most of the US and Canada, in all weather conditions, both on and off road, and it’s still holding together. For as poorly as they are made, they mysteriously stay in 1 piece. Most of the time. ;)
👏 My thoughts exactly.
 

Chorky

Observer
I can design something that I know will be stronger. It's already in my head.

I totally symphatize there... so, instead of the full fledged camper, why not do something a little more simple like a oversized canopy shell, and build living quarters into that? make a modular system so it is still plenty comfy, but more robust and partly removable?
 

pappawheely

Autonomous4X4
I totally symphatize there... so, instead of the full fledged camper, why not do something a little more simple like a oversized canopy shell, and build living quarters into that? make a modular system so it is still plenty comfy, but more robust and partly removable?
The uhaul build is still going. That was always going to be a fully self contained live aboard. This will be the launch to my land yacht. My F250 was purchased to be a daily driver and to take to races. The small camper will find a home there when I get it on the road. I have a fabricator friend who is interested in this concept too so it looks like we will be building 2 of them. He wants a flatbed design that he can set in his driveway and use as a shed when it's not on his truck.
 
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Seabass

Idiot
If you do Instagram....there’s an ole’ boy there who goes by @theadventurepenthouse He’s got a really cool 2nd gen Dodge that he put a cool top on. He built the interior himself and it’s even got a pop-up roof. I’m not sure if he modified a bought utility type topper- or if it’s a store bought unit. I do know he’s posted pictures of it on the bed before he built the interior. It’s made like a topper. Super cool rig. It’s a nice thought on how to do one that could leave a truck super usable, save tons of weight, and I suppose depending on how you design the interior, able to be removed. Here’s some of his pics. His name is Ross LeBlanc.
 

Chorky

Observer
Woah! that's slick!! You know depending on how it's done, and materials used, if you did something simliiar to a goosegear set-up it could totally be easily removable/modular.

But then again, pappa I'm sure has ideas and plans with his u-haul build. Neat idea here though.
 

pappawheely

Autonomous4X4
I just came up with a flatbed design. It would be a big tray mounted to the frame. Inside the tray would be an insert. Put the insert in one way and it's a flatbed. Flip the insert over and it's a tray inside a tray. The camper would sit in a padded recess and be held down by normal spring loaded camper tie downs.

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