Securing fwc

Lan

New member
Hello,

Just came back to California from white rim trail in canyonlands with damage due to a unsecure fwc. I use turnbuckles on all four corners through the fwc ports inside the camper to secure the camper to the bed but the turnbuckles keep coming loose. I've gone on many offroading trips with this camper before but this trip really did a number on both the camper and bed of the truck. Any suggestions?

Thanks.
 

Stan@FourWheel

Explorer
I would upgrade to turnbuckles with lock nut, if you can find the right size. Something like this ...


And add a rubber bed mat to the truck, if you don’t already have one.

If that doesn’t do the trick, adding some simple ratchet straps inside, in addition to the internal turnbuckles should stop any loosing of the turnbuckles.

Takes a few extra minutes, but should really help.
 
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Lan

New member
Thank you for the reply stan@fourwheel. I do have a rubber mat that covers the entire bed. It's about 3/8" thick. I'm not sure how those turnbuckles differ from the ones I am currently using. I haven't heard of turnbuckles with locknut, I'll have to Google those. I thought about using ratchet straps in conjunction with the turnbuckles but I couldn't find any short enough.

Does fwc sell replacement siding and trim? I'm going to have to replace some after I repair the damage I did to mine.
 

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alex_the_axe

New member
I'm sorry to see the damage you sustained there. I recommend you also add some bumpers to the front of that camper.
I have a circa 1999 FWC I purchased used. Off-road it wanted to slowly migrate around the bed before I added the bumpers and the torklift turnbuckles. I also did a spray on bedliner and a rubber mat. Now it's pretty solid.
Dock Bumper on Grainger
Torklift S9012 on Amazon
 
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Bayou Boy

Adventurer
I would upgrade to turnbuckles with lock nut, if you can find the right size. Something like this ...


And add a rubber bed mat to the truck, if you don’t already have one.

If that doesn’t do the trick, adding some simple ratchet straps inside, in addition to the internal turnbuckles should stop any loosing of the turnbuckles.

Takes a few extra minutes, but should really help.
You can add nuts to any standard turnbuckle. Just buy a set of two for each corner from the hardware store.

The biggest thing though. When I had my ATC, I just stuck my hand through the little access panel every couple of days and snugged up the turnbuckles. Took a minute to do all four and I could make sure they were tight.
 

1stDeuce

Explorer
This isn't specific to FWC's... My Hallmark on a rubber mat also moves around a bit. I think it's just that FWC's get used in rougher territory, which makes the problem show up earlier.

With that much damage, were you not hearing and feeling it bang around??? Man, that's tough. I did add dock bumpers to the front of my camper so it doesn't push on the top of the box... Perhaps that would also help keep it from bouncing around so much.

As for lock nuts on the turnbuckles, they'd be hard to deal with going through the access pockets... I added wing nuts to the turnbuckles on the back of my camper, and they seem to do the trick to prevent the buckle from backing off, without needing wrenches to loosen. I should add that over the first few days of a trip, they chains still lose tension as the camper finds it's "home". The ones under the front of the camper, through access holes like FWC uses, also loosen up, but I generally don't go four wheeling with my camper, so I don't worry so much about those ones. I kinda consider them "safety" buckles at this point.

I will say that for a while, I was using shortened ratchet straps on the front rather than turnbuckle and chains. Worked much better, just wasn't as easy to connect, and I had to be careful not to over-do the tightening. I have two points in the front of the box to tie down to also, so the straps were able to hit both, as an upside down V.
 

moveinon

New member
Using torque lift derringers also solves the problem. Takes a little work to get them dialed in but then they are easier to install and have never had my loosen even over some long rough trails. I also reinforced the attach points with small aluminum plates on the inside of the camper.
 

tk421

New member
My FWC sees lot of twisty trails and rough gravel roads, I eventually through-bolted the camper to the bed with (4) 3/8 x 3.75" grade 8 bolts with large washers and nylocks. If you don't remove/replace often this is an option. I've tightened the nuts once after a few hundred miles and have no shifting whatsoever.

BTW this was recommended to me by FWC
 

Trikebubble

Adventurer
I put one jam nut on each turnbuckle. Just pick them up at the hardware store. We've put some serious miles on our truck/camper in the last year and half. Thousands of km's of gravel and washboard roads, our fair share of off-roading and many miles of twisty mountain highways. No loosening of a single turnbuckle at all.

Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk
 

bimmeryota

Observer
This issue appears to vary from vehicle to vehicle because you need to take in to account how much the truck bed and frame is flexing during articulation movements in relation to how much the camper is flexing under the same stress. More secure turnbuckles is one potential solution but it depends on the truck. The older fords have a c channel frame that is designed to flex which will also flex the bed attached to it then the camper. There’s always a failure point so as you explore the right solution for your rig don’t forget where you move the failure point to. I can’t tell if the damage is from impact repeatedly or flexing or both I personally don’t mind checking turnbuckles regularly but I don’t see loosening very often. I’ve always thought about adding lock nuts but I always had asked myself where I’m moving the failure point to. A turnbuckle is cheap but a camper frame is not. I now carry an extra couple of turnbuckles in case I break or lose one.
 

Dirt Rider

Member
Make sure and add some shim material between your fender well and the side of the camper, I used some scrap wood, it keeps it tight and wont allow the movement.
 
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