C5500 TopKick 4x4 Crew Cab Build

Fierokid

New member
I saw this driving around Saturday on mirror lake highway, somewhere between Wyoming and kamas.. That thing is big flying past a minivan.. Is it still yours or have you moved to a new project? Found any issues with it yet, or things you wish you did differently?
 

NeverEnough

Adventurer
Still mine, still a great rig for family trips. It's a one-off, so there's always something needing maintenance or tweaking, and my Norcold 1095 fridge cooling unit just failed and needed to be replaced. But it's way more reliable than any of the RVs I've owned over the years. Lots I would've done different but that list is too long for a quick post-except 1- I should've kept it 3" shorter. Almost impossible to find a self serve car wash that can accommodate!
 

Christian

Adventurer
Hi!

Just re-read the entire thread for the third time, it took a week...
Still an amazing build and log, with excellent info, thanks!

Are you still using it, or have you moved forward on your new designs?

Any update on long term use of different components and durability would be highly appreciated, like did the brush seals hold up? are the slides still as good? all your thoughts on cabinet doors, are you still satisfied with your choices? what is your biggest mistake or regret in your design?

Thanks again for sharing your adventure in both build and use!
 

NeverEnough

Adventurer
Hi!

Just re-read the entire thread for the third time, it took a week...
Still an amazing build and log, with excellent info, thanks!

Are you still using it, or have you moved forward on your new designs?

Any update on long term use of different components and durability would be highly appreciated, like did the brush seals hold up? are the slides still as good? all your thoughts on cabinet doors, are you still satisfied with your choices? what is your biggest mistake or regret in your design?

Thanks again for sharing your adventure in both build and use!
Thanks Christian, glad it's still worthwhile reading. I still use it frequently, and overall it's held up very well. The brush seals have done OK, but I should've chosen a finer fiber so it would have less memory. I have to "fluff" the fibers at camp sometimes. The slides have held up decent as well. The side slides, which use the LCI mechanisms have jammed a few times, I think from getting off track when bouncing down super rough roads. Some prodding gets the teeth back in the tracks. The big custom rams that drive the big slide room continue to work just fine, but I'm probably going to take them apart this winter and check the acme drive components.

I used Reico Titan motors for those rams, as well as for the corner lifting jacks, and I've had to replace three of the six units in 6 years. I'll also be rebuilding the corner lifting jacks this winter, with beefier screws with less pitch (will require less lifting force with more revolutions, slower lift).

The cabinets have done fine, a few of the plastic catches from the locking knobs have either worn down from use and vibration or cracked, but they're easy to replace.

I've repaired cracks in my black water tank three times, so I finally just had a new one built using 3/8" material with more internal baffles and support, as well as several external support ribs to remove stress on the area where it kept failing.

As for the biggest mistake in my design? Probably just a bit too tall. But from a design perspective, I'm still very happy with the rig and its super functional. My mistakes were more on the engineering and construction side, but that just lends to the "personality" of a one-off!

My next rig has been built in CAD, I'm finalizing infrastructure component decisions and hoping to get the work started on the chassis in October. The body is designed to fit on a flat bed. The big difference in the new build is size and maneuverability- My needs are way different now, so I need something that can travel fast and light, yet still be comfortable in camp. In travel mode, the "camper" box is 7.5' wide, 6' tall, and 12' long. It expands to almost 200 sqft of living space with 6'10" ceiling height in about 45 seconds using a single actuator. On a NPR crew cab (converted to 4x4) chassis, curb weight will be just about 5 tons fully loaded. Should be a fun project, looking forward to starting a new build thread soon.

16? Kid has a career!

Bravo! (Oh, and the camper ain't too shabby either.)
Thanks! He's now 18 and doing amazing work. Hopefully he can support me one day!
 
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Christian

Adventurer
Thanks Christian, glad it's still worthwhile reading. I still use it frequently, and overall it's held up very well. The brush seals have done OK, but I should've chosen a finer fiber so it would have less memory. I have to "fluff" the fibers at camp sometimes. The slides have held up decent as well. The side slides, which use the LCI mechanisms have jammed a few times, I think from getting off track when bouncing down super rough roads. Some prodding gets the teeth back in the tracks. The big custom rams that drive the big slide room continue to work just fine, but I'm probably going to take them apart this winter and check the acme drive components.

I used Reico Titan motors for those rams, as well as for the corner lifting jacks, and I've had to replace three of the six units in 6 years. I'll also be rebuilding the corner lifting jacks this winter, with beefier screws with less pitch (will require less lifting force with more revolutions, slower lift).

The cabinets have done fine, a few of the plastic catches from the locking knobs have either worn down from use and vibration or cracked, but they're easy to replace.

I've repaired cracks in my black water tank three times, so I finally just had a new one built using 3/8" material with more internal baffles and support, as well as several external support ribs to remove stress on the area where it kept failing.

As for the biggest mistake in my design? Probably just a bit too tall. But from a design perspective, I'm still very happy with the rig and its super functional. My mistakes were more on the engineering and construction side, but that just lends to the "personality" of a one-off!

My next rig has been built in CAD, I'm finalizing infrastructure component decisions and hoping to get the work started on the chassis in October. The body is designed to fit on a flat bed. The big difference in the new build is size and maneuverability- My needs are way different now, so I need something that can travel fast and light, yet still be comfortable in camp. In travel mode, the "camper" box is 7.5' wide, 6' tall, and 12' long. It expands to almost 200 sqft of living space with 6'10" ceiling height in about 45 seconds using a single actuator. On a NPR crew cab (converted to 4x4) chassis, curb weight will be just about 5 tons fully loaded. Should be a fun project, looking forward to starting a new build thread soon.



Thanks! He's now 18 and doing amazing work. Hopefully he can support me one day!
Thanks for the reply, and great to hear your are still using it.
It seems your attention to detail and reluctance to cut corners in the build has payed of big time. Kind of ironic that the bought items has a bigger tendence to fail than your custom work, but I suppose that of-the-shelf stuff for RV's are not meant for off-roading, and I could suspect not even meant to have that long a life anyway... It would be interesting to have an actual count on how many circulations the Titans have gone through before failing, all in all it can't be that many times. a $/lift calculation could be downright scary!

Your build has been a big inspiration. And like you, my own needs and plans have changed since I read it the first time. I read it first when it was just the wife and me, and our needs and dreams were more in the good old Supercamper category. We have two kids now, a pair of girls, 4 and 8. So It's time to get going, if we want to get them interested in this lifestyle. So I have bought an old Mercedes Bullnose 4X4 I'll start a build on this winter. It's a double cab with a flat floor, so the cab reminds me of a Great Banks yacht trawler (reminds me, not even close in reality ;-))

So your new plan must be a two person rig? Any chance of sharing a sneak peek? The NPR's are great, but too expensive here, and registration would be a very costly pain here, but a great base vehicle! I hope you will let us follow your build a progress again, it's still one of the best build threads both here and compared to other forums!

Thanks again for sharing!
 

Ramdough

Adventurer
I am curious how you are achieving the square footage increase from driving to camping. Please elaborate.

Loved the last build. Looking forward to the next one.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

NeverEnough

Adventurer
I am curious how you are achieving the square footage increase from driving to camping. Please elaborate.

Loved the last build. Looking forward to the next one.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Nested volumes are the key, like in my previous build, but I've come up with some fun new methods. It'll be clear once once the build thread starts. I've done a couple of 3D prints, including all the moving parts, to test the concept, so far so good. Design accommodates up to four, but really focusing on something that can be comfortable for extended trips for two.
 
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