The TARDIS - A Four Wheel Camper Build

Overland Hadley

on a journey
Want just the facts, and none of the chat? See links at the bottom of this post.



I think a Four Wheel Camper shell is in my future. And while I do not have the camper yet, I have started putting together plans for the build. I thought I would start a build thread now to share what I am planning. If you have any ideas please let me know. And if you are planning a similar project, I hope you can learn from my research.


From Stan@FourWheel:
Our customer base varies quite a bit, but we seem to hear the same comments from most of our customers interested in our camper line, “We are looking for a very light weight truck camper that is well built, simple, and affordable”.

We wanted to treat the truck like our canoe and use it to go places most people don't. - The camper is a place to carry our gear, hang out in comfort when the weather is bad and to get a good night's sleep.

Here are some photos of rigs that have inspired me to go with a Four Wheel Camper.




Interior Measurements - Lighting - Step - Storage and Furniture - Outside Wall Steps - Heater - Heater v2 - Water Tank - Stereo System - Roof Lifter Gas Springs - Teak Floor - Interior Blueprint - Water Pump - Cabinetry - Underside Insulation - Battery Bank, or Lack There Of - Trash Can - Rear Mounted Jerry Can - Water Tanks v2 - Shower - Lighting, Part II - SMEV sink - Lagun Table - Outside Light - Cabover Storage - Froli Sleep Systems - SMEV Hob - Weather Station - Aluminum V. Fiberglass - Storage Containers v2 - FWC V. FlipPac - Bigger Bird - Eagle Interior Blueprint - Cabover Length - Toilet System - Galley Faucet - Lift Panel Storage - Exterior Trash Storage - Flooring v2 - Exterior Camper Lights - Grey Water Bucket - 360 of the FWC shell model interior - Water Filter - Lightweight Load Bars -

FWC Purchased - Fuel Economy - Tacoma (Gen2) Suspension - Weight - Options List - Pop-up and the Soft Sides -


Blue Performance cabin bags - Door Handrail - 120v Power (Gen2 Tacoma) - Fantastic Fan - Hitch Step - Interior Dome Light - Tung Oil - Rear Bike Rack - Under Cabinet Motion Sensor LEDs - Vinyl Lettering - Christened - Aluminum Yakima Bars - Water Tank - Heater Mount - Fabric Treatment - Interior LED's - GoLight - USB Outlet - Master 12v Switch - Rear Flood Lights - Chart Table Light - Propane Regulator - Electrical Panel - 12v Power - Door Holder - Door Awning - Paper Towel Holders - L Track - FWC v ATC - New Stereo - Propane Systems - Under Mattress Air Circulation System - Bed Slat System - Clothes Line - AT Awning - Cab-Over Chart Light - "Cassette" Toilet - Wind Fairing - Roof Rack - Speaker Shelf - Lifting Strut Rigging - Upholstery - Turnbuckle Carabiner - In Cab RAM Mounts - Shower Inclosure - Max Trax Cabover Mount - Fire Extinguisher Rack - Lifting Panel Trim - Bottle Jack - Chaco Hooks - Wood Care - COG



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Overland Hadley

on a journey
Interior Measurements

Here are the interior measurements of the Finch shell. Time to cook up some interior ideas. :chef:


 
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Overland Hadley

on a journey
Lighting

I will be changing all the interior (and exterior) lighting to LED. Each light will be split between a white light and a red light. I have used the white/red light system on boats, and it is good when working at night. It might not be as useful in a camper, but it is where I would like to start and if I need to I can change some lights back to all white.

I have ordered and installed white and red LEDs from v-leds.com in the cab of the truck to test them out before ordering the full set for the camper. I am very happy with them. 100 lumens is a lot of light. And 5000K is a good working spectrum of light.

Link
 
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Overland Hadley

on a journey
Step

I really like hanging out on the trucks tailgate, it's a comfy place to relax in good weather. So I would like to leave the tailgate on and use it as a back porch. (I know some people have tried this and have ended up removing the tailgate because of it being hard to enter through the short door. I will not know if it will work for me until I have tried it. Possibly I will remove it after grating my back across the door.)

If I am able to leave the tailgate on I will need a step. After a couple emails to helpful members I found this. Lightweight, and thin when folded.

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Plastics-105-4BK-Black-Foldz-Two-Step/dp/B000VZRW3W"]Link[/ame]
 
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Overland Hadley

on a journey
Storage and Furniture

I have thought a lot about storage. I need room to store enough gear for two to three months on the road, two to three weeks away from grocery stores, for one or two people.

I am a backpacker, so I consider canoe camping luxurious for all the stuff one can bring. But when traveling in the truck I do end up with a lot of big camera gear, in addition to the gear needed to travel away from the rig. So space is at a premium.

This is where the shell model is nice, no furniture to take up space!

I wanted to find a storage solution that would create a flat surface even with the 17" wheel wells, providing a sleeping option while stealth camping. I looked into using Pelican cases, but the cost and weight of them did not make sense. Unless I find a better option, I have decided to use Action Packer cases. Three 35 gallon size cases will almost perfectly cover the floor area, and can be stacked at the back end of the camper when camped. Using the small bed cushions I hope to be able to make a nice place to sit across the wheel well/action packers.

I am sure this will be something that will evolve with each trip. But to start with I have a plan for lots of storage, stealth camping, and relaxing inside.

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-1172-ActionPacker-Storage-24-Gallon/dp/B00002N6SQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1278859482&sr=8-1"]Link[/ame]
 
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eugene

Explorer
To get more storage why not get a longer model camper that hangs out on the tailgate?
I've been toying with the idea though of having a longer camper then remving the tailgate and drop that portion of the camper floor lower to sit on the bumper to make it lower, that would give a taller door and a step in.
 

epaddler

New member
Why the shell model?

Overland, I'm glad you began this thread, because after trying a sleeping platform inside a truck cap last summer, I've decided I want to upgrade to a 2005 or so Tacoma access cab and a 4Wheel Eagle in back. I have been curious why people are choosing to go the shell route and build their own interior. As I look at the design of the completed Eagle campers, I think I would have a tough time doing better with the space. From taking several Oregon coast trips with a popup in the back of an old Nissan years ago, I really enjoyed the stove, sink and fridge options, and I don't think I could improve on their placement. You mentioned stealth camping. I assume you are talking about pulling over at rest areas, motel parking lots, etc., with the top remaining down where you can get a couple hours of shuteye where it isn't exactly legal. Can you not do that with the couch-bed setup in the finished Eagle?
 

eugene

Explorer
I want to do a shell model myself because I want to make the sink/stove area removable. Taking ideas from the chuckbox/camp kitchens then build one that has extendable legs so it can set outside the camper or be latched down inside.
 

Overland Hadley

on a journey
To get more storage why not get a longer model camper that hangs out on the tailgate?
I like the Finch because I can use the tailgate as a back porch.

Also I want to have the option of using my hitch mounted bike rack, and at some point I would like to get a swing out back bumper. And while I want form to follow function, I do not like the look of a camper hanging off the back.

So it is something I have considered, (I have a list of pros and cons) but I think a camper that is truck bed length is best for me.
 
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Overland Hadley

on a journey
Overland, I'm glad you began this thread, because after trying a sleeping platform inside a truck cap last summer, I've decided I want to upgrade to a 2005 or so Tacoma access cab and a 4Wheel Eagle in back.
Thanks.

I have been curious why people are choosing to go the shell route and build their own interior. As I look at the design of the completed Eagle campers, I think I would have a tough time doing better with the space. From taking several Oregon coast trips with a popup in the back of an old Nissan years ago, I really enjoyed the stove, sink and fridge options, and I don't think I could improve on their placement. You mentioned stealth camping. I assume you are talking about pulling over at rest areas, motel parking lots, etc., with the top remaining down where you can get a couple hours of shuteye where it isn't exactly legal. Can you not do that with the couch-bed setup in the finished Eagle?
I guess it is part personal preference and part the need for storage space. Northern Explorer has talked to me about the lack of storage in his camper, and I feel that a shell will offer better storage for the way I travel.

And I have to say that I was not interested in a FWC until I found out that I could order just a shell. The factory interior just does not do it for me, not totally sure why. I am working on a small lightweight sink/counter top. I do not need a fridge. I like to have a stove that I can use outside, as nothing makes a camper hotter than a pot of boiling pasta. Additionally the shell is lighter weight, and on a small truck it is all about weight.

The roll over couch does look comfy, and I like the way it converts into a bed. Just not sure if it is what I want in my camper.

Cost also plays a big part, the shell model costs $4,300 less than the regular model.
 
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eugene

Explorer
I like the Finch because I can use the tailgate as a back porch.

Also I want to have the option of using my hitch mounted bike rack, and at some point I would like to get a swing out back bumper. And while I want form to follow function, I do not like the look of a camper hanging off the back.

So it is something I have considered, (I have a list of pros and cons) but I think a camper that is truck bed length is best for me.
I'm looking at doing something like that too. I have a 2" square tube my father gave me from his scrap pile so I'm thinking one of the 1&1/4" bike racks could fit inside it using it like a hitch extension. I made and bolted on a small step but thought about getting/making one of those hitch mounted cargo carriers then I could toss all the camp chairs and such there under the tailgate.
 

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Overland Hadley

on a journey
I'm looking at doing something like that too. I have a 2" square tube my father gave me from his scrap pile so I'm thinking one of the 1&1/4" bike racks could fit inside it using it like a hitch extension. I made and bolted on a small step but thought about getting/making one of those hitch mounted cargo carriers then I could toss all the camp chairs and such there under the tailgate.
Here is my Thule hitch mounted bike rack. It might sit far enough out to work with an Eagle on a Gen 2 Tacoma. But I would need to do some measurements.

It has been a few years since I have made a trip with the bikes, but I would like to keep my options open.

 

eugene

Explorer
I'm talking about something like this [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Hitch-80305-Receiver-Extension/dp/B000CO8RVS"]Amazon.com: Hidden Hitch 80305 Receiver Extension: Automotive[/ame]

so when the tailgate is down you put in an ~18" extension then your thule bike rack
 
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