Thursday, January 24, 2013

Camper meets truck

Finally after several months, I was able to reach a point in the construction phase of the camper whereby I was ready to attempt the install into truck bed.  Everything went fairly well with the help of a friend.

A while back, I had looked both 'high and low' online for a set of the manufactured camper jacks, all to no avail.  It was not that I was unable to find any.  Oh NO!  I found tons of new sets of them with a standard retail price for three camper jacks ranging anywhere from $400-$500.00(+).  I just could not come to grips with the 'whys' in regards to pricing.  Legalized robbery.  Oh yeah, by the way 'a set' is three, not four.. Do not ask me why.  --greed is ringing in my cerebrum again-- 

Well thank God, after some extensive searching and asking around online I met a guy that had an older set that he sold me for a 'GREAT' price.  Not only did I obtain a reasonably priced set of camper jacks but ended up gaining a great friend as well.  Thank God for the cool tool we call the internet.

Anyway, with the help of a friend we managed to elevate the camper enough in order to stack 3-8x16" concrete blocks underneath every corner.  From here we progressed to the camper jacks - triangulation method - 1 on one side and 2 on the other.  Advancing carefully and with ease we had the camper sitting in the bed of the pickup truck in a very short amount of time.

I will need to eventually build me some form of offloading structure that will hold the camper high enough to allow the lowered camper jacks to be placed underneath the camper for the next install.  Haven't gotten there yet but this baby is in the truck bed for now.  

See you on the inside a little later on, Chris

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Air bag helper springs installation

I purchased me a set of 'Ride Control' air bags manufactured by Air Lift to assist with maintaining a level ride and to accommodate the extra weight of the camper.  Although, the dry weight of my camper minus amenities is approximately 380 pounds, by the time a battery, onboard water tank and other goodies are added, these air bags will be needed I am certain.  If not so much needed for the camper weight, i could surely use them when camper is consolidated with boat in tow.  You did not think I was going camping without doing some fishing now did you?  

Ride Control, Model number 59501
by: Air Lift

The installation required a level, concrete working surface to ensure after rear tires were removed I could maintain the proper ride height of axle to frame as if the tires were still in place.  Required measuring center of hub of wheel to wheel well before and after tire removal.  Set jack-stands accordingly to maintain this measurement.  The install was straightforward, somewhat time consuming.  The projected installation time from the manufacturer was 2 hours...Well it took me about 5 hours, it was not that the installation was difficult for it was not, it just required a lot of little things that had to be done.  Those manufacture techs must have installed their initial system on a naked frame with no body, no tires, no fuel tank or anything else for that matter to gain a 2 hour install.  These projections never cease to amaze me.

Well, the system is in place.  Although, I do not have a performance review on the air retention of the bags and the way the vehicle will function under load while bags are inflated, I can say that I am pleased with the overall system.

I ran my air input stems to the rear bumper where they were installed near the license plate.  I will be able to plug up a miniature air pump into my onboard 12 volt DC outlet, reach just outside the entrance door to camper and maintain sufficient air in the bags.

Will keep you posted on the driveability and functionality of the system after some usage.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Painting Interior of camper

Recently applied one coat of Marine Grade, White, Petit Easypoxy paint to the interior of the camper.  I will be completing the painting a little later on after shower walls are up and the storage box is mounted in place.  The storage box will be mounted where the non-painted section is below the sleep loft.  Talk about a bright interior...seemed to bright. I received the wife's thoughts and we collectively came to the conclusion it may not be too bad after the windows are cut-in, shower wall and curtain are added as well as the coverings for the mattress foam.  All of these integrations will tone the brightness down a touch.

Basically used the remaining half gallon left over from the exterior paint job..who wants to allow a $100 can of paint to go to the bad, right?

Working on Entrance Door, creating own

I have decided after much deliberation just to create my own entrance door for the camper.  I had looked for months to find one that would fit the camper that did not have windows, that was narrow enough to use for my required opening and one in which the seller did not desire a small fortune for.  I found neither.

So, I decided to pickup a piece of 3/4" plywood, a sheet of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic and some contact cement.  Stay away from the waterbased Contact Cement if you can, i understand the volatile organic compounds the original formula possesses that are released into the environment, I also understand the amounts of monies I lost on another project by ruining a glue-up by choosing to use the water based Contact Cement.  It simply did not work.

The door was cut to fit my necessary opening and the Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) sheet was cut with aviation snips and glued.  The aviation snips work well on this stuff by the way, no splintering or splitting of the sheet while cutting.

I will be making fiberglass edging that will be mounted to the exterior of the door's edges.  This will serve to seal out the weather hopefully by compressing weatherstrip bulbing to be applied a little later on.  I plan on creating an internal jamb with weather stripping as well.  It is really difficult to locate the appropriate J-channel on the internet that will fit that is not 'gold'...really overrated for what purpose it serves.

I may end up having to retrofit or replace the door with a better invention but for now this will have to work.

In order to make the fiberglass edging to be mounted along door's front edge, I fastened fiberboard strips on the rear of the door.  I covered both the rear of door and these strips in wax paper so the polyester resin would not bond to either.  This setup will be used to lay five layers of fiberglass cloth upon to create my door's exterior edging.  The raised thickness of the high density fiberboard will serve to create an offset in the cured layers which will serve to accommodate the compression of 'bulb' type weatherstripping. 

Door has been hung now and these strips have been installed along the outside edges, which will serve as a means to keep out wind and rain. 

Door is hung, however not complete, has been insulated on the interior and now awaiting paneling.