Monday, June 18, 2012

Deciding on Camper Tie Down System

I have been brainstorming on the methods and means whereby I would mount my custom cabover truck camper in the bed of my pickup.  I had thought of engineering some type of custom connection however I understood all too well that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  And to be quite honest I simply do not have the time at present to delve into great depths on the engineering concepts regarding designing my own.

I know my camper dry weight is going to be significantly lighter than any manufactured unit one could find on the market today but I still needed to account for yaw, roll, lateral and longitudinal movements of the camper and began looking for different systems that have already been designed.

Some systems I ran across:
  1. Torklift system
  2. Happi Jac tie downs
  3. Brophy Stake Pocket tie downs 
I really like the Torklift system for it's engineering design concept, usage of pre-existing factory drilled bolt holes in chassis, ease of mounting and the overall understanding of implied forces that develop when truck marries camper.  But this is just overkill for my camper build that without amenities cashes in at approximately 400lbs.  The Torklift excels in its field of camper tie downs but the entire system is just a bit overkill and unsightly for what i am trying to achieve.

There is even an amazing story (when on page - scroll down, story w/ pics) of a guy that was hunting in sheep in Washington that had an accident and his camper remained in the pickup during a rollover, which was using Torklift tie downs.  The camper was even used as a leverage point to retrieve truck by wrecker crew.

Happi Jac camper tie downs seem to fit the bill for what the weight that i am dealing with, although you have to drill through the bed and bumper to mount the brackets, i believe it is more along the lines of the system that will work for me.

Heck, i even discovered Truck Stake Pocket Tie Downs for lighter versions of truck campers, mostly used with the lighter pop up truck style campers.  I had never even seen these on the market until just recently stumbling across them online.  "Wonder how they respond to the force incurred during movement of a camper?"

I really do not feel comfortable with just the Happi Jac tie downs usage without the torsion bar installed but the fact that so many claim they have used them successfully for much heavier campers with much success makes me a believer in their system.

I did however run across some individual camper owners online that had some truck bed damage when their attach points for the turnbuckles were bent.  I am not sure if these attachment points were of some given brand or were custom made but I should not have any issues with the given weight.  These individuals were loaded with copious amounts of weight I am certain.

I do worry about wind shear however due to the lighter weight of my camper design, this has long been the big issue with the Indy cars given their relatively lighter weights.  I plan on designing my camper with the cabover portion hugging relatively close to the top of the cab to minimize lift and design the nose of the camper with slant to increase downward pressure on the camper.  

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