Alaskan Camper Build Up

Carlyle

Explorer
Hi folks,

I'm a refugee from the Expedition Camper forum who has been forcibly transferred over to this forum...Just joking!

I had a thread going on over there that was about the build up of my new camper. I will bring over pertinent parts of the thread to bring you up to date and look forward to your opinions and help:

Well here we go again... Our old slide in camper is trashing another vacation. We were on our way to the Oregon coast for two weeks of fishing and relaxation when our camper decided to shed a portion of its roof. Apparently after 3.5 years it is full of rot despite meticulous maintenance.

After much deliberation and talk to Bryan at Alaskan Campers we mailed a check off yesterday to secure a build time to start late October on a custom ten foot camper. We were planning on waiting one or two more years when we would have purchased an F550 to match, but I need my camper for work as well as play.

We are going to drop the pick up bed off our F350 and bolt it directly to a flat bed that we've not decided on yet other than length and width.

It's not a Hackney rig, but we have neither that time, expertise or money to invest in a camper of that magnitude at this time.


With that base we are going to add the following to start with:

Ten foot full-sided camper suitable for a flat bed truck. Standard flat beds are 82” wide with the camper being 82.5” wide.
Over cab queen size bed with extra insulation under the bed.
Rubber rub rail around outside of camper.
Standard 27 gallon fresh water, unless you can do a little larger with mechanical level indicator. Access hatch in top for cleaning would be nice.
Use Thetford cassette with handle for grey water. Shut off valve above cassette with hose attachment for dumping in sewer or boonies.
Extra Cassette with handle and wheels built into side storage with outside access.
We like the Thetford C-250 CWE model can you install it instead of your current model.
Standard propane furnace and catalytic heater plumbed and ready to hang. Please include and I’ll just attach when it arrives with camper to keep you legal.
Three way 5 cubic foot Dometic fridge with extra 12 volt fan for cooling. Must stay shut when bouncing around.
All double pane windows, including the over cab and cab pass through slide window.
12 volt/24 volt ac such as the DC Airco 8500 split unit: http://www.sunpowertech.com/commercial.htm or http://www.sunpowertech.com/commercial.htm
Electronic thermostat, Atwood or Dometic that controls both furnace and ac.
Two or three ICP solar fans in roof, one over stove and another in toilet area. http://www.solarcharger.com/s.nl/it.A/id.82/.f?sc=2&category=114
Built in 1500 to 2000 watt inverter to run microwave etc.
Battery status monitor such as: Sunsei Charge Controller CC-20000D for later solar add on.
Darkening blinds on windows such as: http://www.vehiclespecialty.com/pleated.html
Sirius antenna mounted to roof, I’ll send the antenna along.
Single large stainless kitchen sink with sprayer for faucet.
Propane hot water tank
Dometic CC05 Ceramic cook top stove with oven under. Built in low wattage microwave under oven if possible.
Three 110 and 12 volt receptacles inside and one of each outside. Additional outlet for future solar install.
36” chairs/couch facing each other in your front dinette model.
Spot to mount flat LCD TV facing one couch. Current LCD is 27” wide on articulated arm mount.
Reinforcement to attach our Carefree of Colorado Awning.
Camper outside corner reinforcement and plates to mount jacks if we decide to later.
Insulated inside battery compartment for four 6 volt gel cells. Warm batteries work better.
Outside hot/cold shower with marine quality fittings, our current one on the Hallmark is cheap and leaks.
Cabinets for cookware that hold plates and cutlery in place on rough roads. Smooth handles on all cabinetry.
High wattage back up lights on rear of camper.
Space to mount our car stereo style DVD player and Sirius player with 12 volt access near dinette.
Muffled or quiet water pump.
Propane and CO detectors running off 9 volt batteries if possible
 
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Carlyle

Explorer
Haven, who is on this forum found this beauty:


I have this flatbed coming from the US dealer at an awesome price and should be here next week. The bed is sans the side rails and headache rack.

Thanks Haven!
 

Carlyle

Explorer
Charlie, another member of this forum advised the following:

If you are planning long trips, especially out of the country, I'd consider diesel powered heat/hot water, leaving propane for just the stove.

My response:

Thanks for the diesel advice, but after pondering and reading and many articles and peoples' discussions on the forums I decided to go with propane.

1. Sounds like propane is available down south even if you have to use a small local tank. widely available in Canada and the US. In addition, less used in warmer climates

2. Water heater and stove will be propane, with a forced air propane furnace and catalytic heater.

3. Diesel heat is expensive and not set up easily.

Hopefully this is not a mistake...
 

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Carlyle

Explorer
Fisher29er, not on this forum advised me to go 12 volt on the fridge and have gone with a Novacool 5.7 liter fridge/freezer with the Danfoss compressor:



This is being mounted by Alaskan with extra insulation around the whole thing for greater efficiency.
 

Carlyle

Explorer
Why are we switching campers, here is the response I posted on Expedition Campers:

After touring the Alaskan factory last year and viewing the Alaskan campers compared to the Hallmark I would have to say that there is a significant difference in the quality and workmanship that goes into each. The old camper is simply not holding up the way I expected it would. I have had major problems with the lift system from day one and believe that it is simply not doing a good job. I have a longer Hallmark and the rear of the camper needs to be supported by 2x2's in the inside rear corners to keep it from drooping when in the up position. The rear of the camper goes up slower than the front and the edging of the roof seems to catch and that is probably the reason the water got into the roof. Every time the roof goes up and down it bends the front edging and eventually broke the plastic corners, twice now in fact. In addition the side fabric has been ripped in several places by the twisting as it goes up and down. The lift bars on my camper have been replaced twice now and I'm sure it is just a matter of time before they fail again. We had Yakima tracks put on at the factory so that we could put our tandem cycle and ocean kayak on top with Hallmark fully knowing and supporting this. The additional weight caused catastrophic problems and I feel we are now paying the price.

I have considered replacing the roof at $4k, but hesitate to put any more money in this camper as it does not meet our needs.
 
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Carlyle

Explorer
Extras just sent to Alaskan to fit on during the build:

Satellite Radio Antenna


Wifi Antenna


I'm having Alaskan build three of these solar fans into the roof:


AC is a must in hot climates, but I want it off the roof and low consumption that can run off the batteries when driving down the road. Recent anti-idling laws for semi trucks has expanded the AC market. We really like this unit from DC Airco that mounts on the rear of the camper:
 

Carlyle

Explorer
The propane for the camper will run off a tank mounted below the deck and will look something like this:


Joaquin Suave added this tip about propane tank mounting:
If you are planning some 3rd world latin America travel, I'd opt for removable aluminum "forklift" tanks (plumbed for vapor) over fixed tanks for 2 reasons.
#1: There are more fill stations that are designed for walk up over drive up.
#2: We have found that when "hanging out" at a remote surfspot / beach, it is not un-common that another camper will be taking the looooooong trek into town to resupply & will gladly fill your propane tank (for a case of beer), thus making it able for you NOT to break camp.

I made this modification on Casa a few years ago and am uber-glad i did! Here is the 4wd link to the Casa remodel.

http://www.4wdtrips.net/forum/showthread.php?t=3520&highlight=casa+azul

I'm still up for debate and may try a Casa-Azul style tank yet.
 

Carlyle

Explorer
Another tip added by Joaquin Suave

I wanted to share this idea with you, it a little "out of the box" so hold onto your chair...

since your are having your flat bed built for you, why don't you build the flat bed so that it is aprox. 16" from the back of the cab. in the gap between the cab and camper you can build a swing down tire carrier like on the military LMTV's on one side, a rack to hold a vertical propane tank in the middle, & storage on the other side for pioneer tools, buckets, mud boots, & other "need to be stored outside" stuff (like dirty laundry).

If your were planning to do a rack over the cab, the stuff I was talking about could be incorporated nicely into the back of the exo-frame. If it were me, I'd have the rack / tire carrier fab'ed out of oval aluminum and powder-coated to match the shape / profile / color of the camper.

The down side of this idea is:

*reduces your departure angle.
*makes it hard to have a crawl through.
*it will look a little odd.

The up side:
* It will buy you WADS of storage space.
* It will make managing a tire change a dream.
* It will make it able to have a removable propane tank (but fillable when mounted)
*It will provide cab protection in the case of a roll-over (especially if you did the exo-frame cab rack)
*It would provide very good protection for the propane tank.
*It would look VERY Expedition Camper-esque.

After much deliberation I'm going to pass on this idea, for now...
The F-350 chassis is just not heavy enough to mount that style of extra storage on safely. Our next truck will be a F-550 that will be more than adequate for this style system. The current camper and bed should transfer over nicely with limited modification.
 

OutbacKamper

Supporting Sponsor
Hi Carlyle;
I am really interested in this thread. As you may recall from our previous discussions, I plan to do something similar myself eventually.
Here are a few questions, if you don't mind:

Are you definitely going with the DC Airco a/c? If so I will be eagerly awaiting more info.

Are you going to install storage boxes under the flatbed?

Since your flatbead does not have a headache rack, what prevents the camper from hitting the truck cab when loading ?

How is the camper going to be attached to the flatbed, and are you allowing for any flex?

And lastly (ok you knew this was coming !) how much is the complete rig (truck, camper, flatbed) going to WEIGH?:cow:

Cheers
Mark
 

Carlyle

Explorer
Hi Mark,

I hope all is well with you, your family and the build on your home.

I have asked Bryan at Alaskan to use the DC Airco as first choice and the DV Breeze as second choice. I am really hoping they can find a way to make it work as it will be just the right size for a truck camper and draws so little power compared to a regular ac that it could run off a 1k generator in a pinch. Our current generator is a 3k Yamaha propane and it is simply too heavy and cumbersome to be used day to day use.

We are putting a box under the flat bed on one side and the propane tank under as well on the other side, if room allows, a box in front of the propane tank.

The camper will be pretty much permanently mounted to the flatbed. The current camper we are using has only come off twice and that was to have the camper worked on. I am planning on using some sort of elastomers with the U-bolts to attach the camper to the flatbed to allow for the slight flex of the bed.

Lastly, the Ute bed is aluminum and weighs in at 300 lbs (less than the current bed, the camper will be around 2100 lbs. So not much heavier than the current camper. Fresh water will be larger, but gray and black less because we are using cassettes for both of those. Not much more weight as far as I can figure, but still a lot for a one ton truck. One of the reasons a F550 is in our future.
 

OutbacKamper

Supporting Sponsor
Joaquin Suave said:
...Maybe the best thing for you to do is finding a way to snuggle in a...

Wait AN F'EN Minute!!!!!!!

PM me! I prefer to share me suggestions in private!
Now that's just cruel:(
 

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Carlyle

Explorer
Hi Klahanie,

The Ute bed is not 8'6", but 9' according to the US dealer, with the headache rack gone it will be closer to 9' 6" and thus the camper will have some overhang. This I will live with until I get a new truck in a few years. Soon as I find an F550 Supercab with a 12-14' bed that is not ULSD and a 6.4 liter. That will be another thread down the road... BTW, most of the flatbed makers and resistant to making a custom 10' bed as they are concerned about overhang and being sued.

A standard model 2004 Ford F350 has a curb weight of 5,415 pounds.
2004 Ford F-350 Specs and Data
URL: http://www.internetautoguide.com/car-specifications/09-int/2004/ford/f-350/
Quote: "Weights: gross vehicle weight rating (lbs) 9,900, curb weight
(lbs) 5,415, gross trailer weight braked (lbs) 7,800 and max payload
(lbs) 4,485#

Minus 40 gallons/400 lbs for fuel
Minus two adults and an over sized Airedale 400lbs
Minus 30 gallons of water/300 lbs
16.5 Warn Winch and Buckstop bumper 500 lbs
Tire Chains and recovery gear 200 lbs
:cow:

And the list goes on, yes I'm close to the loaded weight and you can tell by the feel of the truck. When the camper came off, it felt like a bucking bronco under my feet!

As far as the propane tank, yes I'm going to try and squeeze in a big one.

Thanks and please forward any ideas.
 
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