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Old 11-19-2010, 09:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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F-700 4x4 Camper

I'm a little premature for a build thread, I was going to wait until I was almost done, but there is some motivation here and I could probably get some great input here, maybe somebody could use a little advice too, who knows, all I know is my truck is being built for my needs and for North American adventure so here goes:

My truck is a 1996 Ford F-700 4x4 crew cab, it came withe a 429 gas, 5 speed, Rockwell T126 transfer case, Marmon MT10 front drive axle with 5.89 gears. The dump bed was removed and the frame extended 4 feet on the tail end, I replaced the outer rail all the way back to the cab to clean things up and get rid of all the holes. Next the 429 came out along with the 5 speed and I dropped a 5.9 Cummins in with a Fuller RTO4606 6 speed trans with overdrive. The transfer case was in good shape but a weakling T126 with the very ugly front output so I bought a rebuilt air shifted Rockwell T136 and mounted it in place, much nicer and less shift linkage. I replaced the front springs with a set of parabolic leafs along with all new hangers and bushed shackles, and to match the front I bought a used Peterbilt low air leaf rear suspension, rebuilt it, fabbed the drop bracketry and mounted all the soft riding stuff.

Now it was time to get the cab cleaned up but I found some hidden rust in really crappy places. So, I bought a mint 1996 F-350 crew cab diesel. I parted the truck out at a profit and now have a mint rust free fully loaded F-700, I even found a set of Lariat leather seats to make it a little sexier and comfy. The 5.9 is equipped with an air compressor so I mounted a 10 gallon air tank for a reservoir for the suspension and air controls, but also ran lines to front rear and center with quick couplers. I then fabbed a battery box to hold 4 Odyssey Group 31 dry cell batteries. It now runs and moves under it's own power, just some clean up left and paint the front end to match the cab.

Now the camper. I have 2 fantastic rugrats that are finding the beauty of the outdoors but they are still kids with a pretty short attention span so there will be some modern entertainment on board, in the cab and in the camper so those were some of my requirements. We built the frame as follows: Main sills are 6" aluminum channel, the crossmembers are 4" aluminum channel on 16" centers, the perimeter at the base and supporting the overhead is 2x4x.188 aluminum tubing, the vertical and roof perimeter is 2x4x.125 aluminum tubing, the wall "studs" are 1.5x.188 aluminum tubing, all the door and window radius's were laser cut from .250 aluminum and the whole works was fully welded, no loose ends. The camper will be mounted with shear plates at the rear and our spring loaded mounts along the remainder of the sill with a rubber insert on top of the frame rail for isolation. The roof and front are sheeted with DiBond composite panels and the rest might get done soon if my shedule permits.

That's all I have for now, here are some pics and I'll post a couple more later.

The finishing plan is to spray foam the entire unit then sheet the inside. I am using a 25 000 BTU propane furnace along with a propane stove, oven, and fridge. I know of the negative aspects of propane but we are using all industrial/oilfield rated fittings and lines rather than typical RV crap. What I do like about propane is the fast cooking, it works great on the permanently mounted swing out and slide out barbeque and side burner for the dinners outside, plus we have a 200 liter frame mounted tank that we can fill by the liter rather than get raped with cylinder fill charges. We have a 30" fullsized fiberglass 1 piece shower along with a toilet inside, along with an outside shower that is turning out really good. The rear is getting a queen sized bed for the wife and I, the kids are bunking in the overhead, all of the window are thermal with 4 of the incorporating escape hatches as well as 2 escape hatches in the overhead just in case.

Now here is something you can all flame me for, I am putting a slide in! There is a 72x36" slide on the driver side. I am building full bearing supported slide mechanisms along with a very substantial structure around the opening, I do not anticipate any other issues other than a huge increase in interior space. We build some pretty warm and cool airtight equipment that works from the Arctic circle and Alaska all the way to to the deep south of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

All in all this thing should give us all the room we need, we tow a Jeep along with a couple of bikes and sometimes a boat, depending on what we are up to so it will be nice to have the proper chassis to handle the load and get us a little ways off the beaten path. We have been off road camping for over 20 years and have a lot of experience there, we also spend a lot of time in remote locations on very rough roads for a living so there is quite a lot of experience being applied to the build. [IMG][IMG][IMG][/IMG][/IMG]http://i1097.photobucket.com/albums/g341/markcymbaluk/P1010012.jpg[/IMG]
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The beginning, only 20 000 miles on it
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Going to fix some rust, it was really hard to part this beauty out but everything went to keep a bunch more of these trucks on the road so really, it's all running around somewhere.
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Last edited by Rocky; 11-19-2010 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Rust fixed, you can see the battery box and air tank in this pic along with the running board. The running board will have cable stepps as well to help get in and out.
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Another shot of the frame
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Interior shot
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Nuther interior you can see where the slide will be going
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Shitty outside pic but you get the idea
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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A little bit of progress, insulation! A buddy pulled his foam unit into the shop and applied 1" of high density polyurethane foam and then shot another inch of low density foam over top. The first inch of high density is extremely strong and helps accomplish furthe panel adhesion. The top inch of low density provides very good insulation and is much easier to shape than the high density stuff. Flattening the foam was easy witha special air tool that rides on the studs and a rotating drum shaves the surface flush with the studs. I have the roof sheeted inside and every thing fit very well. The rest of the sheeting should be done this weekend. As a side note the roof is 21' front to back and the structure was only out 1/16" diagonally, I did expect morre distortion when welding it out but we placed a lot of diagonal supports in before welding and cut them out a day after welding, looks to be a pretty good process for keeping big boxes straight
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Same kind of mounts I will be using along the frame rails and camper frame
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Old 11-19-2010, 10:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Bad ass
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[QUOTE=ffdustyw;13449095]I've been pepper sprayed so many times by women it doesn't effect me anymore.
The bear spray idea is retarded. Trip wires with claymores are more effective. Plus it will keep the hippy squatters like Chris McCandless out of your cabin.[/QUOTE]
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Old 11-20-2010, 01:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Looks to be a great setup.
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:27 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Awesome build. Can't wait to see more.
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:41 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Subscribed.. Love it.

How did you mount the dibond panels to the frame? And what are your plans for trimming the corners/seams on the outside?
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The Dibond is held on with 3M tape, I used Sika flex 252 on the roof. I used Sika for years on other stuff so I started with it but when a 3M rep dropped off some tape samples and we did some destructive testing we found it was stronger than the Sika so I switched. All the panels are arranged so I can rivet the skin if the bonding ever fails.
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Old 11-20-2010, 05:04 PM   #16 (permalink)
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The 3M held when the panel actually broke. The Sikaflex was 50/50 some samples broke while some just separated from the base material.
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Old 11-20-2010, 10:17 PM   #17 (permalink)
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The corners will be capped with formed aluminum, and bonded as well as riveted, hopefully it will look as good as the structure it adds.
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Old 11-21-2010, 06:42 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Any concerns with thermal bridging from the skin through the aluminum studs?

We're pondering building some living quarters for the front of our gooseneck flatbed, doing all the reading I can, thanks..
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:40 AM   #19 (permalink)
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There will be some thermal bridging. But, the Dibond has a poly core with a R2 rating so there will be some initial insulation from bridging, the interior is sheeted with 3/8 plywood which will provide a bit of a buffer as well. The only way to eliminate bridging would be with composites, but after I talked to a few guys with some pretty pricy rigs built with composites that had issues that would make me drive the rig off a cliff I decided a little thermal bridging is tolerable.

I spoke with Gary Wescott a few years back when he built the Turtle 5 and he had mentioned that even with a composite, everywhere that had a metal reinforcing plate installed on the outside (bonded) that there was a patch of frost inside which lets me believe that an air cored composite is not that shit hot for insulation value (I do like a lot of things about composites). Now in Canada we have 4 season RV's with aluminum frames that show minimal signs of bridging, they do however have issues with "sweating" between the walls when staying in them for long periods at -30 to -40, spray foam has been proven to eliminate the sweating. I think for what I am building and my intended uses that the construction will suit my needs and I'll never have to deal with any major issues, I know for sure that there is not a more structurally sound better insulated RV on the market.

Cheers,
Mark.
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:42 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Any concerns with thermal bridging from the skin through the aluminum studs?

We're pondering building some living quarters for the front of our gooseneck flatbed, doing all the reading I can, thanks..
I missed the living quaters part, we have guys doing that all the time up here for horses, snowmobiling, etc. It works good, just spend the money to spray foam your walls, it is that effective.
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:54 AM   #21 (permalink)
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This is what I want to build when I retire. I'm only 25 now, but this is EXACTLY what I want when the time comes. Build that and travel the country would be so awesome.

Awesome, bad ass build.
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Old 11-21-2010, 01:04 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Bad ass build. Can you post up some pictures of the trucks interior and the motor?
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Old 11-21-2010, 01:17 PM   #23 (permalink)
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badass man. x2 on interior and motor
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Old 11-21-2010, 01:46 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Old 11-21-2010, 03:36 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I missed the living quaters part, we have guys doing that all the time up here for horses, snowmobiling, etc. It works good, just spend the money to spray foam your walls, it is that effective.
I shouldn't of said living quarters, but truck camper isn't the right description either. It'll be like yours, but smaller, sitting on the front of our 40' gooseneck flatbed.

Thanks for the great info and tech, looking forward to seeing more..
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