Ford Transit Cab Chassis with Composite Camper

dags

Adventurer
It was Batari that did this several times.


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All great resources for ideas. The photo up above that I copied from another thread, I now realize this is from Batari.

Would Total Composites ever contemplate putting something like that together as a kit? I'm asking asking as myself and the wife are going to live in the camper so wanting a little bit more room.
 

luthj

Engineer In Residence
Personally I would focus on getting a well optioned and trimmed shell for the expos. Most of your customers would be custom camper DIY types, or outfitters/builders. They will be well informed enough to know what interior options are available. The important part is what you can offer that's unique. This type of platform offers a very good combination of living space, isolation from the environment, and easy build out. All combined with good fuel economy, a small easily parked footprint, and good on-road manners.

When our current van build reaches its end of life (another 100k miles and 5-6 years). I believe this is the route we will go. Van Cab-chassis with modest sized composite box. A custom interior buildout to finish it off.

I am not sure what your business plan/capabilities are. But it may be worthwhile considering selling some flat-pack style cabinets made from pre-finished plywood. Its basically all CNC work, so low labor overhead. The designs can be parameterized, so they are easily adjusted for each builds specific needs. Being able to quickly assemble the core cabinets (galley, overhead, closet etc) dramatically reduces the time/labor for a DIY or outfitter.
 
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redthies

Renaissance Redneck
This is exactly the point. After having sold my Transit because I finished my Panamericana trip I currently only have a Crew Cab F 150 with a pop up camper. I like the truck but my wife wants a proper bathroom and shower like we had in our Transit. I don't want anything longer than 20ft because it still fits in standard parking spot. I really tried but I just can't design a 20ft camper with a usable wetbath and 4 safe and legal seats on a pick up truck chassis.
If you want a proper wetbath camper on a shorter footprint, you can buy an 8’6” camper (Hallmark Ute for example), mount it to a shortbed 3/4 ton or 1 ton cc and be done.

Everyone is in this for different reasons and has different perspectives on what is important. If fitting your “Expedition Vehicle” in a standard parking spot at the mall is one of your priorities, then so be it. Personally, I just park a bit further from the door and take two spots if need be. Again, priorities vary.
 

luthj

Engineer In Residence
Even the most "expo" rig will spend significant amount of time in cities. Either transiting them, looking for supplies etc. Parking in a standard spot is sort of a benchmark. But the shorter wheelbase (and/or overall length) means U turns, tight access camping spots, etc, are all available. It's also somewhat obvious that you have some disdain for people that visit "malls" (sacrifice perceived off road toughness/capability). Many travelers split their time between things that interest them. If you are full-timing you will inevitably need to visit cities for many reasons. To visit family, to see the many interesting and fun things that are not available in the remote places. Hell, just being able to drop into town to see a movie, or have a meal with a friend is important to many. Being able to do so without hunting for parking, or needing to park and ride is a big stress reducer.

There is a reason that the majority of live-aboard type vehicles built for long term travel use cab-over or van style chassis. There is a significant improvement in living space for the same footprint. The long hood favored by american pickup trucks isn't a free lunch, so to speak. They inevitably have much less usable cabin space than the OPs build.

Having the ability to walk through to the cab, and in the case of single cab van style, use the cab as living space is a big plus (swivel seats).

All that being said, there is advantages to a drop in style truck-bed camper. They are easier to remove when not needed, and can be fitted to a vehicle you already own, and can be purchased in a wide variety of sizes, weights, and options.
 
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sg1

Adventurer
I couldn't agree more. For the last 9 years we have been traveling for about 7 months per year in Africa, Europe and North and South America and had exactly that experience. In North America you can get away with big if you compromise. The rest of the world is different. Depending on where and how you travel you have to decide where you see your priorities.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
Even the most "expo" rig will spend significant amount of time in cities.
Very true. Moreover, even if you were spending 100% of your time off-road, there are places, even in North America, where a fullsize truck with a shell simply can't go.

I have a friend who went hard into six-figures on a 1-ton truck with a flatbed FWC Hawk. Beautiful rig. Then his job took him to the midwest. Land of trees, tight-trails, and overhangs. He sold the rig inside a year because it was too big to fit on any of the interesting trails. If it had been a full-height hard-side? Scratch off another 10-20% of trails, at a minimum.

There is no one-perfect rig for everyone.

That said, I'm partial to van-based builds.
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
It’s pretty crazy how much a regular pick up plus slide in camper usually goes for. It’s very easy to reach the 90.000$ range ..
I’m expecting to have this fully kitted out for less than that. In return I’m getting a true four season rig that will offer tons of interior space and storage.
As you said, there is no perfect rig. But I believe that this will hit the mark with many.
 

Van Meel Bob

New member

the building is the link above but in french .i did also the same on a sprinter 4x4 V6 diesel and a small box for an old toyota and few on land rover 130
face book try to find https://www.facebook.com/pg/Fredy-Marine-783117878429040/photos/?ref=page_internal
I try to build light as possible the camper for the ford is 480 kg empty and about 680 in charge with empty tanks in CH ( swiss) we must stay under 3500kg with the car driving license
 

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Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites

the building is the link above but in french .i did also the same on a sprinter 4x4 V6 diesel and a small box for an old toyota and few on land rover 130
face book try to find https://www.facebook.com/pg/Fredy-Marine-783117878429040/photos/?ref=page_internal
I try to build light as possible the camper for the ford is 480 kg empty and about 680 in charge with empty tanks in CH ( swiss) we must stay under 3500kg with the car driving license
Welcome here! Your campers look great.
 

brian94ht

Chateau spotter

the building is the link above but in french .i did also the same on a sprinter 4x4 V6 diesel and a small box for an old toyota and few on land rover 130
face book try to find https://www.facebook.com/pg/Fredy-Marine-783117878429040/photos/?ref=page_internal
I try to build light as possible the camper for the ford is 480 kg empty and about 680 in charge with empty tanks in CH ( swiss) we must stay under 3500kg with the car driving license
Thanks for stopping by. Some excellent craft work on the Fredy Marine page.
I have been playing with fiberglass/epoxy projects for a couple years now with the ultimate goal of building a camper (similar to the Transit design of yours and the OP's) with an infused floor and roof such as you have done.
If you or anyone else has any sources you can point to regarding this process, material, and equipment used it would be appreciated. (bonus if its mobile based) What foam product are you using?

It doesn't look like you have a cab to cabin pass through on the Transit.
Have you done any testing with chassis flexing? Any data to share?
 

Van Meel Bob

New member
No ,no access to the cabin i do not need it . but the sprinter have one for the chassis no worry but it to tricky to explain im english... as a boat builder i know how to build strong and light also some common sense help.
I use infusion high density foam from airex but it need a special cutting for the infusion prosess and it is also a fiber glass and carbon specialy design for infusion the epoxy resin is from sicomin.
 
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