Four Wheel Camper Flatbed Conversion

#1
I am currently gutting my 1985 FWC Grandby to modify the frame to fit onto a flatbed truck. I have been dreaming of this conversion, but never actually thought I would do it. I bought the camper last year in Utah for $500.

Here is a pic from the day we got it.



The main reason I am doing this conversion is to move the camper entry door on to the passanger side of the camper. With the door located on the side I can store bicycles and a spare tire on the rear of the truck out of the way. Currently I have 37" tires on my truck and I have no where to store a spare when the camper is mounted.

Here is the truck the camper goes on.



There is going to be a lot of aluminum welding with this project. I have never welded aluminum before. I have a Miller 211 and I just ordered the Spoolmate 100 to use for this project. I have been told it is difficult to weld thin aluminum with spoolguns. The original aluminum in the camper is 18g. We will see what happens.









I was having issues here with my jack wiggling. Notice how there is no aluminum bar accross the bottom of the propane storage area.

 
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#3
Floor Pack removed





Looks like the previous owner used a .22 pistol to install the hydraulic jacks. This will need to be repaired. I also found two cracked welds around the door frame and one near the rear corner.

 
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#6
Your project looks great, the extra room you gain by making the camper fit the flatbed will be worth it. I'm close to finishing up a complete teardown and rebuild of an 87 Fleet. I took it all the way down to the frame as well and I'm close to having a brand new camper. I'm surprised to see your camper was missing the frame where the propane tank was, mine was as well. I hope they didn't do that at the factory?

The searched around for windows and there are a couple venders on ebay that seem to be the best deal. Just search for RV window.

Looking forward to following your build.
 
#7
Scheefdog

I have been following your thread on WTW. Honestly seeing your thread is what made me commit on my project. Thanks for the info from your thread, I really appreciate it.
 
#8
Pods8 and Scheefdog

Thanks for the ebay recomendation on windows. I found just what I need.
I only need one window for the back of the camper where the door was.

Window I want to buy

Where can I get marine grade plywood? I have found it online, but I don't want to pay shipping. Are there any stores that sell this? May be tough since I live in the desert.
 
#9
floor pack plywood

When I built my camper 7 yrs ago I checked the FWK plywood, at that time it was 5/8". I couldn't find marine grade plywood at local lumber yards and I think it is expensive anyway so I used 3/4" ACX which worked fine. I used Gorrilla type polyurethane glue and lapped the joints at the bottom peripery with runner strips of plywood. Solid as a rock.

Are you going to build the pack straight down from the sides since you have a flatbed?

As a novice welder I found MIG welding aluminum too difficult so I built my fram using .040 and .062 square steel tube. Good luck with the aluminum.
 
#11
Are you going to build the pack straight down from the sides since you have a flatbed?
The sides will go straight down.

The entire camper will have an aluminum frame including the floor.

My plan is to only use plywood for the bottom of the camper. I should only have one seam in the plywood. I have never really worked with wood before so the plywood will be a learning experience for me.

What is the best way to butt joint two pieces of plywood?
 
#13
Where can I get marine grade plywood? I have found it online, but I don't want to pay shipping. Are there any stores that sell this? May be tough since I live in the desert.
Look/call around to the local lumber places I bet someone carries some. However keep in mind marine grade plywood does cost some coin.

What is the best way to butt joint two pieces of plywood?
Technically a scarf joint is the "best" way but it takes a little more effort. Ultimately the goal is just to make the joint stronger than the surrounding wood. Some folks router out a piece from each to make a lap joint, not the strongest route but may work depending on how you'll be stressing the wood. If you are doubling up plywood thickness in the floor then you can get away with that easier by staggering joints. Also you can always reinforce a single lap joint with some fiberglass/epoxy across the joint.
 
#14
What is the best way to butt joint two pieces of plywood?

The floor of my camper has two seams where the floor is wider behind the wheel wells. Since I ran runner strips under the floor (3" or 4" strips of the 3/4" plywood) I just ran strips under the joint, used the polyurethane glue and stapled from the bottom of the runner. I don't recall the staple length, maybe they come in 1 1/4" length but in any case I made sure that the staples didn't poke thru. I have two short seams in the rear sides of the floor pack with a runner on the inside covering the seam in the same fashion. The seams have never shown any sign of cracking.

It is a simple joint, maybe it would work for your floor seam if you ran the seam along the long length of the floor and ran runner strips under the floor. I think FWC has runner strips also and I recall mention somewhere that it is good to have an air space under the floor.
 
#15
Great project!
I had an older 4WC years ago and did a re-skin. I found cracks in the alum around the doors like you did, but I paid someone to replace the alum and do the welding.

Keep up the good work and please....post progress pics!
 
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