Project "UHAULER"

UHAULER

Explorer
Here is the start of my project. My goal is to have an inexpensive camper and dirtbike hauler.

Some of the vehicles/campers considered were:

Fourwheel popup. I really like the pop top and light weight. I actually had an 86 grandby last year that needed some work that I picked up for $100 and was planning to buy a cheap truck to put it on but that never happened so I sold it. I eventually ruled out the popup because I wanted to be able to put the dirtbike in the back.

Four wheel drive van with popup or bubbletop. These are very cool rigs but are hard to find in the configuation I wanted for the money I wanted to spend.

Cutaway box van with a 10' box and single rear axle. $2,000-3,000 would only get me an old 2wd w/gas engine.

I finally decided on a 3/4 ton 4wd pickup with either a cab over camper or a very large utility shell. I ruled out th older cab overs, too big, not the layout I wanted, build quality,unable to put bike in the back.

In the end I decided it was going to be a big camper shell/box.

I saw the truck on craigslist, 1993 ford f250,4wd,diesel,5 speed,decent condition,new tires,$2,000. I went to look at it and after checking it out I handed over $1,800 and brought it home.

About a week later I was deciding on what to to do for a camper box.My starting budget for the project was $5,000 so any new custom camper shell was out of the budget. I then made some rough drawings and and figued out a materials list to build my own. I went to the local aluminum sales/ rv parts shop and nearly fainted, the aluminum skin alone would be $800-1,000. Add in the frame materials, trim,labor,parts, etc. and it was back to the drawing board.

A used pre made box was next on the list. I took the tape measure and went looking for the right one. Too big, too small, too expensive, too ugly, until I saw it!.... The box on the back of a Toyota Uhaul ! After measuring, remeasuring, second guessing myself and mulling it over I decided I must have one. Finding one was harder than I thought it would be. I Was obsessed for two weeks looking for one, Uhaul had running trucks for around $2,000, ones with blown motors or trannys were $1,000-1,500. They wouldn't sell just the box. I found a complete truck with a blown motor on craislist for $1,000. I called and the sellers had just sold it to a wrecking yard, there was hope. I got the # of the wrecking yard and a deal was made for $450 for the box.

The plan was set in motion, take friday off from work, drive 145 miles to get box, drive home and figure out how to make it work.

And that is how the start of UHAULER began.

Will post pics soon.

Sean
 
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frgtwn

Adventurer
Wow, Sean, this is a project I will be following. You may know this, but the sale of your Ford bed, tailgate and bumper will go a long way toward paying for your box.

What is the CA of the box? (Cab to Axle dimension. Does it fit?) That is where a good bit of the work is. You'll be able to put gas in the right side for bikes, and diesel in the left side for the Ford. How cool is that?

One thing that U-haul has done right for years and years is use really good boxes. They are so well made, and heavy, that few of that quality are made for or used by us regular folks. They are not budget boxes.

I cannot tell, is there a loading ramp? That may be tough to work into the install, but instant bike elevator! If you end up needing a ramp, these folks have/make just about everything. And, the ramp can be used for a bridging ladder if you buy for that purpose, too. http://www.tntramps.com/Trailer.htm

Good Luck, and keep teaching us!
Dale
 

02TahoeMD

Explorer
Wow, great idea! Please keep us posted as you work on this, very interesting concept. Yet another reason I love this forum.....
 

eljefe640

New member
I have actually considered the same thing. I drive past a U-Haul store daily and have noticed how nice the boxes are on their trucks. I bought my first truck camper this year and love it, but after one trip i decided that i will not be happy with a slide in. Too much space is wasted with the bed. Anyways, looks like you got a great deal on the truck as well as the box. Get to work and take some pictures!
 

bronconite

Observer
I'll be following this very closely. I'm currently using this with a ground tent.


I'd like to make something more self contained and can't figure out how to utilize the utility body. My current thinking is a flatbed with a box like yours that is removable so I can continue to use it for hauling.
Do you have any idea what that box weighs?
 

UHAULER

Explorer
Today I had to get the box off of the trailer. I went to harbor freight and bought some casters and welded some 1x2 tubing to them, I then bolted those to the corners of the box. My brother and a friend came over and helped me push the box off and put it next to the garage. Did I mention that I hate living in the suburbs? everything is a pain in the A** My driveway is sloped, the garage is too small,there is no room to roam,the neighbors are looking at me funny. At least I have about 9' on the side yard to work with, most of the newer stucco shacks around here have about 4'.

Before I bought the box I was not sure if I was going to use the complete box or make it into a camper shell. After looking at my options I have decided to make a shell. Using the comlete box would be neat but the reality is it would be a lot more work to put it on for very little, if any benefit. I would have to move the axle back 10", brake lines , shock mounts, driveline,move rear gas tank, and a bunch of other little things in addition to hoisting the box over the truck to make mounts to mate them up.All the while I would be trying to do this on the sloped driveway without an overhead hoist. Also the inside height of the box is 5'11" and i'm almost 6'3".

Making it into a shell makes sense for me. I can raise the inside height to about 6'4" and the overhead portion will be about 4" over the cab.

As far as dimensions go, the outside width is 73", the exact same as the outside top of the bed. The length is 10' so it will overhang the back by about 18"- the bed is about 8'6" past the taillights.Picture a 9.5-10' cabover camper hanging off the back, it should turn out similar. As far as weight, i'm not sure. our best guess is 800-1,000# of course I will be eliminating a lot of that. I would like to get it weighed eventually. I'll keep updating as I make progress.

Sean

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pete.wilson

Adventurer
Hey

This should be an interesting build. Just plan twice before getting started.

Pete Wilson




P.S. Bronconite,

If I was you, I would just mount a RTT onto your construction rack,and store all of your camping gear in your lockers and then build a cover for the area between the side boxes.

P.W.
 

bronconite

Observer
pete.wilson said:
P.S. Bronconite,

If I was you, I would just mount a RTT onto your construction rack,and store all of your camping gear in your lockers and then build a cover for the area between the side boxes.

P.W.
I'm considering that. The rack could easily handle it. The body needs some rust work though. It already has a cool custom bed cover. I'll have to start my own thread and post some more pics.
 

Sport-Trac 01

Adventurer
I will be watching this build very definitively. What's that truck got for a drivetrain, YOUHAULER?

Bronconite, I'm voting in favor of the RTT on the ladder rack.
 

UHAULER

Explorer
Sport-Trac 01 said:
I will be watching this build very definitively. What's that truck got for a drivetrain, YOUHAULER?
It has the 7.3 non turbo diesel, 5 speed, i'm pretty sure it's a ZF, Sterling FF rear w/4.11 posi, dana 50 ttb front, 8600 gvw.
 
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