Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Camper Tie Down System - HappiJac Tie downs

As you know from one of my previous post, I was deliberating on which tie down camper system to go with.  Since this custom camper build will end up inherently lighter than all other commercial campers on the market, I was looking for a good system but simply did not need the superior Tort System.  I decided on HappiJac tie downs without the stabilizer bar addition.

I have discovered there are some others that have utilized this system without the stabilizer bar in place for hauling much heavier campers.  Although i would highly advise otherwise.  So my thoughts were, they should certainly suffice for a camper that will eventually weigh in at 600-700 lbs, half the weight of the manufactured units.

I totally understand the added benefits of the stabilizer bar and the physics behind it's design.  However, I simply think with the implied weight after construction the HappiJac tie downs and turnbuckles will suffice to meet my requirements. The turnbuckles for the front of the truck bed have an internal spring located within barrel to absorb movement, yaw, roll, etc;

The projected dry weight as of now, without any amenities is approximately 320 pounds.  I am more concerned with air lift and windshear at this moment than I am with other forces.

My projected calculations for the overall gross weight should chime in somewhere in the ballpark of 700-800 total pounds after it is all said and done.  That is significantly lighter than even the lighter slide-ins on the market.  .

There are only a handful of tie down systems on the market that I could find.  There you go for a niche business idea...create a good system and make your millions.

So I found some on Craigslist for $40.00, can you believe that?  The great folks, Walter's Travel RV, that sold them to me actually took electronic payment and were willing to ship, much more than I could say about a bunch of other craigslisters.  "What is it with craigslisters posting items to a national customer base and not wanting to ship, anyway?"

These tie downs were originally 93.99, so i was enthused and they were shipped really fast.

I was wondering prior to their arrival how I would install these brackets in the truck bed without assistance, understanding there are two pieces for each side of the bed.  I was thinking I would need "Go-Go Gadget arms" to hold brackets in place and to install nuts and bolts.  But, to my utter amazement, this system came with plates that have all been tapped and threaded, there are no nuts to install....hooray!  The plates themselves are held momentarily in place by a small self tapping screw while you mark and drill your holes in the front wall of the truck bed.

There was even a hole drilled for this purpose already and the self tapping screws came in the baggie included.  Wowsers! - that was unbelievable.  These HappiJac camper mounts must have been made in America,  they just had to be and apparently designed by engineers that obviously spent some time in the 'field', as they all should. 

So it is a simple install:
  1. measure and locate plate in bed appropriately 
  2. screw backing plate onto bed momentarily using a small self tapping screw which is provided
  3. then drill 4 bolt holes (hands free)
  4. have wife hold the front plate in place
  5. simply thread bolts into tapped holes
   there you go, about a 7-10 minute install, now move to the other side of the bed

As for the rear mounts they get attached to the rear bumper - on the ends.  Looks like a 1/2" hole will have to be drilled through bumper.  The neat thing about these, when not in use, the turnbuckle attach point removes easily from the bolt.  There is a bushing on the bolt shaft that makes this possible.  Simply slip them off when not under a load.

Throughout the years I have constructed and made various structures, mechanical and electrical forms and I must say that for something as simple as a camper tie down system, I was amazed at the fore-thought that went into the design phase of these tie downs.  Most often, engineers design systems that need modifications wrought by the end-user in order to install. That was not the case with these camper mounts, thankfully.

Thanks to HappiJac for creating a stress free install.  Those engineers were sticklers for attention to detail.

I'll see you guys later on for the install. -chris

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