Silverado Slide-in

jh504

Explorer
I just purchased a 2004 Chevy Silverado 1500 4x4 reg cab long bed. My former rigs have been Jeeps and Toyotas so I have decided that I am going to take advantage of the 8' bed that I have available now. I am going to build a slide-in camper and outfit the rest of the truck to be a little more capable. I plan on replacing the leaf springs and torsion bars with parts from a 2500HD. This should give me a couple inches of lift while beefing up the rear suspension for the slide-in. I will also add a 1"-2" body lift and go up in tire size to 315s.


I will be installing a winch next week. It will be hidden behind the stock bumper. It fits perfectly between the frame rails and will be totally hidden from view. I wont be upgrading the bumpers because this is not intended to be a trail rig. Just a fairly capable camper.


For the camper I will be building a slide-in with a pop-up top. It will not be an "over the cab style" because my bed is long enough to offer the space that I need. I will be using plywood/fiberglass construction. I chose this type of construction because I have experience with it and it is in my budget. I used to work for a composite surface company and I have looked at composite panels for construction but the cost is just too high for my budget. I have also looked at a sheet metal exterior but I would rather be able to repair the fiberglass than be stuck with a damaged metal side. Any and all input is welcome. Here are some Sketchup pics of the camper.

Front


Rear
 
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James86004

Expedition Leader
I would also loose the black plastic front air dam. I took mine off a couple of years ago, and I noticed 0 difference in fuel economy or cooling or high speed handling.
 

eugene

Explorer
You don't need to beef up the rear springs to carry a popup, mine handels one just fine with the stock springs, I have a 8' camper on the 6.5' bed with the tailgate open.
 

jh504

Explorer
jh504

what kind of interior design are you think about. i.e. bed layout, cooking, or bath.

Breakinstuffzfun
I dont have anything drawn out yet but the way I am thinking is it will have a fold down bed on the front wall. The rear of the camper will have a sink, stove, and small fold down table. I will also put a small refrigerator in a cabinet under the table. The square you see by the door is an opening for an air conditioner. I havnt decided if I will try to incorporate a toilet into the camper or not. I will use an exterior canvas setup for the shower.
The 4x8 floor can also be used as a sleeping area, so it will be able to sleep 4 adults.

Its good to hear that the stock springs will handle the weight. I will still upgrade to the HD springs though as I'm sure I will be hard on them.
 

eugene

Explorer
Wouldn't you want the softer springs for more flex? My thought was to put a larger block between the spring and axel, replacing the one thats there now to compensate for the inch drop from the camper weight.
 

jh504

Explorer
Wouldn't you want the softer springs for more flex? My thought was to put a larger block between the spring and axel, replacing the one thats there now to compensate for the inch drop from the camper weight.
Yes I hear you on the flex. That is the mind set I have always had with my trail rigs. I plan on loading this truck down though, and it wont be going on hardcore trails. Just fire roads and that sort of thing. It will be stiff when unloaded but I think loaded it will be fine.
 

jh504

Explorer
Check this out! Looks like exactly what you are wanting to do.

http://trustbreaker.freehostia.com/homemade_pop_top_camper.htm
Nice, I havnt seen that one before. The popup is kind of the same idea I had in mind. Fold up hard sides instead of canvas.

I am rethinking the shower idea now. A lot of this build is so my wife will be comfortable while in the backcountry and she would much rather have an indoor shower. Anyone have any experience with homemade showers inside their rigs?
 
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jh504

Explorer
Here are a couple of shots with a possible shower enclosure. The first is with the bed folded up, and the second is with the bed folded down.



 

eugene

Explorer
I've toyed with shower designs but haven't built anything yet. My thought it remove the tailgate then the part of camper that sticks out of the bed (most campers for 8' bed trucks are up to 11' long) can sit lower on the bumper to give the depth for a drain.
 

jh504

Explorer
I've toyed with shower designs but haven't built anything yet. My thought it remove the tailgate then the part of camper that sticks out of the bed (most campers for 8' bed trucks are up to 11' long) can sit lower on the bumper to give the depth for a drain.
That would be a good place for it. I was reading a post from Randman http://63.229.236.62/camper.htm that included his write up on a shower drain. He ran the pipes under in a space under the floor.
 

eugene

Explorer
That does look nice in the front, but I was leaning toward a hardsided shower so I wanted it in the back, since its just going to be mostly empty weight.
 

jh504

Explorer
That does look nice in the front, but I was leaning toward a hardsided shower so I wanted it in the back, since its just going to be mostly empty weight.
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Hard sided and in the back corner. The interior shot on my earlier post shows the shower in the back, and the bed in the front.
 

jh504

Explorer
Another idea I am kicking around for the construction is to make structurally insulated panel style walls. Using something like 2" thick foam insulation and sandwiching it between 2 pieces of 1/4" plywood. Then fiberglass the exterior surface. Most of the 2" foam I have been looking at has an R-value of around 7.0-8.0. The 1" foam has around a 3.5-4.5 R-value. I was thinking that with 2" foam and a fiberglass exterior I wouldnt have to worry about really framing anything. Maybe just installing 2"x2" connectors in the corners.

(EDIT) I also just located 3 1/2" thick Styrofoam insulation here on craigslist for $5.00 a square. The R-Value on it is 27. I am not sure if that will be a little too wide for what I want to do though.
 
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