View Full Version : Ideas for Custom slide in truck Camper?
03-20-2010, 09:03 PM
OK, I've been lurking for a while now and finally want to post. I currently have a 2007 2500HD Diesel short box crew cab PU. I have a 2000 Palamino Maverick 8801 truck camper for it. I had a Pheonix pop up but with limited storage and increase in family size it needed to go. I am not very satisfied with the cost to quality ratio in available truck campers and being that I run a small Welding and fabrication shop I'm considering building a truck camper.
I'm thinking complete frame of 1x1 Al tubing with either Filon or smooth Al sheeting for exterior glued on with Sikaflex. What spacing should I use on the Al "studs"? which siding material would you prefer? Spray foam insulation on entire shell for cold weather camping here in the north.
I'm struggling with what to use on the roof Rubber/EPDM systems that come on most campers or Al Sheeting?
I'm also not very familiar with the trim to cover the seams, any thoughts?
My thoughts are to use hardware available at actual harware stores vs. Specialty RV dealers to aid in on the road repairs.
I'm also toying with the idea of a "pin" on the bottom of the camper that would drop down into my B&W gooseneck turnoverball. I would continue to utilize regular turnbuckles but I thought for some of the "offroad" travel this extra retention device might help out. Any thoughts?
And a picture from our trip to Utah and Arizona last week. Travis
03-20-2010, 09:20 PM
at the very least put something under the aluminum. if not, someone could get in with a folding knife - just like a can opener
03-20-2010, 09:23 PM
I'm trying to avoid all the rot issues that campers have what would you put under the Al? I would sheet the interior as well probably thin plywood as I can't really come up with a better idea anyone have a suggestion?
03-21-2010, 05:44 AM
I believe four wheel campers just uses a thin aluminum skin.
I have been drawing up pop-up ideas for a while, also with the idea of using 1x1" aluminum framing and a flat aluminum skin, but thick enough to not worry about dents and such.
Someone will break a window or lock before they try to cut through the aluminum wall.
03-21-2010, 09:26 PM
I've also been thinking about custom camper design and construction. One of the things I've read is a recommendation to design walls that are insulated, and prevent a "cold bridge" that would conduct heat directly outside. Since aluminum is an excellent conductor, having an aluminum skin tied directly to an aluminum frame would mean that at every wall frame, you would have a spot that is uninsulated.
The idea I've been kicking around is to have a 2" thick wall, constructed with 1" square tube. If you offset the inner and outer ribs, you would have at least 1" of insulation at all points.
I haven't yet figured out corners or edges, or even if my concerns are well founded.
03-22-2010, 02:44 PM
I think your thoughts on the insulation are VERY well founded. I'm not sure that I would be willing to double the weight of my framing to negate the heat transfer of the Al though? I've been thinking of insulating the whole camper with spray in foam including the inside of the tube. Thinking a long "straw" to dispense through a hole into the tubing. Also considering foam board insulation sandwiched between the Al and the interior wallboard. I wonder what type of insulating quality the SikaFlex glue offers as a break between the Al tubing and the skin???
03-22-2010, 04:49 PM
But would it be doubling the weight of the frame? You could use smaller, lighter tubing for each "side." But two things came to mind as I thought about this more after my post:
1) My chemistry-teacher girlfriend noted that there can be no such thing as a "cold bridge." There is, technically speaking, no such thing as cold. Only an absence of heat. So I guess it would be a heat bridge. (Now the technical wonks should be happy.)
2) Why does the inner paneling and wall have to be structural? As long as you had insulation between the frame and the inner skin, my concern would be addressed.
Too bad I didn't think about that earlier.
03-22-2010, 08:37 PM
I thought it would be doubling the weight as I have been thinking of 1" framing.
here is a good link to a RV manufacturer who "bolts" their Al together:
interesting. Don't know that it would be needed on a slide in camper but interesting.
Here are some pics of my 1st expedition rig from 20 years ago! I scanned these to prove my mad fab and design skills to some naysayers over at RV.net! OSB and 2x4's held together for 4000 miles and a month! Travis
03-26-2010, 06:45 PM
after just having spent about 6 days in a four wheel camper, along the california coast in the rain & chill of march, I can say that the thermal bridging isn't as much a concern to me as condensation. I had a ton of it along all the aluminum frames of the windows, door, & wall cap. it even built up on the inside surfaces of the walls just from our breathing (sometimes heavy!)
the bridging thing is easy, what i'm planing to do on the bullet is spray-glue 1" rigid foam insulation to the inside of the FRP panels that are my wall panels (no studs required, just connections at the corners) then spray-glue 1/4" plywood inside of that -viola - no bridging. of course you need to put ledgers behind the interior plywood for certain connections of cabinets etc, but that can be kept to a minimum. you could use fiberglass or another thin interior panel if rotting is a concern, & 1x1 plastic for the ledgers
the condensation thing still bothers me though.. ... these are small spaces & humans intrinsically breathe out water vapor
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