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Old 10-30-2010, 04:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Pics/Ideas of homemade living quarters on front of flatbed

Well seems as if the lift kit on my truck is possibly gonna keep me from buying anything that is already built. I have seen some folks take a flatbed and trailer.....30 footer give or take and build living quarters on it. Like this. If you got any pics of anything related post them up.


You guys that have done this can you give me some building advice to build my own? What kinda of floor is under all this....do you just leave the wood there and start a new floor? Or pull up the trailer floor and build off the beams and crossmembers? I assume walls made out of lightweight square tubing.....possibly aluminum and skinned with .030 or so sheeting. The main thing Im worried about is the roof. How do you make it water proof? Like at the edges.....bend them over the side and rivet it down with a sealant underneath? Just got a lot of questions. I dont wanna go the slide in camper route or popup on the front. Thanks
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Old 10-30-2010, 05:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well there is no right or wrong way to do the roof. You just need to consider what you want the roof to weigh and support along with cost and figure it out from there. Lots of sealant at any hole or seam is common. Some like to go the rubber roof rolled out over the edges and secured with aluminum or stainless steel trim (and sealant of course).

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Old 10-30-2010, 05:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Only thing going on the roof is an AC unit.
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Subscribed.. I've been pondering a lot of the same questions lately. We've got a 40' gooseneck for our 2 Jeeps, which leaves us 10' up front for a camper. I'm not real psyched on putting a truck camper up there though, the notches in the sides for the pickup bed doesn't seem a real good use of the space, and I haven't found a floor plan I really like in a camper anyway (most are set up to sleep up to 4, we'll never need anything but 2). I've been doing a lot of googling and reading on custom camper builds, but a lot of them are either too rinky dink (painted plywood) or crazy over the top (nidacore).
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Old 10-30-2010, 06:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah, my buddy had a 40' triple axle gooseneck and he put an Arctic Fox slide in on the front of his gooseneck and it was a LOT of tongue weight. I dont like the idea of those either. I just want a place to get out of the elements and sleep on a air mattress at the worse.
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Old 10-31-2010, 09:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm looking to build something pretty nice, but I think I can shift some of the weight rearward if I build it myself. Like putting the propane, batteries, and maybe even fresh/gray water tanks at the back of the trailer as a counter weight.

I need to break out Sketchup sometime and start drawing.. My big hangup is the construction of the shell, I can't decide if I can just build a frame with some thin wall steel (or aluminum) and skin it with some of the FRP sheets RV makers use with corner trim, if that'll be strong enough. Mainly I'm worried about the "cabover" part since that's got to hold 2 people plus a mattress.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I will give my idea. After about 1.5 years worth of looking reading and checking out campers. I was about to build my own, but came across something else already built. To some they might not like it, but it fits what I wanted. it has a full size bed, bathroom w/shower, hot water heater, I will install ac from the camper in the background to my sleeper. I have a few things to finish, electrical, plumbing. I remodeled the inside and seen that it is pretty well insulated and constructed very well.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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the sleeper is 8wx8.5lx7h. weighs about 1200lbs. I can still crank up the trailer by hand. I will add stabilizing jacks to it, for when it is parked. I will have dual deepcycles to run the camper and when I am parked at a campground with electricity, I can plug into 110v for the a/c, hot water, and coffee maker.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=shadowgamesxj;12062197]QUOTE]

Is it a sleeper off a semi? Whats a good source to score one of those?
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I need to break out Sketchup sometime and start drawing.. My big hangup is the construction of the shell, I can't decide if I can just build a frame with some thin wall steel (or aluminum) and skin it with some of the FRP sheets RV makers use with corner trim, if that'll be strong enough. Mainly I'm worried about the "cabover" part since that's got to hold 2 people plus a mattress.
Build the shell with very thin wall steel tubing, or even steel (building) framing studs. A ton of your strength can come from some steel strap x-bracing instead of trying to use heavier-wall framing and rigid connections.

FRP skins will look great--just make sure you put those x-braces in.

Can't the gooseneck frame support the cabover part? Even if you frame over your gooseneck, you wouldn't need more than 1.5" x 0.090 wall with some minor gussets to support 2 adults. Definitely put your bed up there--you can keep it made all the time, and free up the floor for storage when you're traveling to your wheelin' spot. It's nice to have a bed made where you can pull over alongside the road and just sleep without having to re-organize.

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the sleeper is 8wx8.5lx7h. weighs about 1200lbs. I can still crank up the trailer by hand. I will add stabilizing jacks to it, for when it is parked. I will have dual deepcycles to run the camper and when I am parked at a campground with electricity, I can plug into 110v for the a/c, hot water, and coffee maker.
The part over the gooseneck seems like a little excess space without a bed there--maybe put a big toolbox there to store straps, chains, tire, etc.? I'd love to see interior pics of your sleeper.

Know what would be bitchin'? Build a small fiberglass or frame/shell pod up there for beds. Put a small window in the back (like a rear sliding pickup window). Then put a matching slider in the front opening (that used to connect to the truck cab) where you've got that small crank open window. It would be like a crawl-through on a pickup bed camper--great spot for kids to sleep, or a great (tiny) camp space for 1-2 people if you were hauling 3 rigs on the trailer without the sleeper.

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Old 10-31-2010, 10:50 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Yes it is a semi sleeper.(I cleaned it up real good, hence the remodel). I have a friend that works as a salesmen for one of the truck lots. He talked to their body shop. I could get 70" sleepers all day, they take them off to put day cabs on. The bigger 100" sleepers are harder to come by. He said most of them are serious over the road truckersand they don't come across those very often. I just stumbled across this one, it was cheap, cheaper than the materials to build a camper. I would start by checking the big rig sale lots or the big rig wrecking yards.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:54 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The part over the gooseneck seems like a little excess space without a bed there--maybe put a big toolbox there to store straps, chains, tire, etc.? I'd love to see interior pics of your sleeper.

Know what would be bitchin'? Build a small fiberglass or frame/shell pod up there for beds. Put a small window in the back (like a rear sliding pickup window). Then put a matching slider in the front opening (that used to connect to the truck cab) where you've got that small crank open window. It would be like a crawl-through on a pickup bed camper--great spot for kids to sleep, or a great (tiny) camp space for 1-2 people if you were hauling 3 rigs on the trailer without the sleeper.

I am going to see how it goes with the sleeper first, but I will eventually add space up over the gooseneck, make a framework than skin it, for storage or adding a bed. Currently it will have an adjustable spoiler to move the air up and over the camper for less resistance.
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:07 AM   #13 (permalink)
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the sleeper is 8wx8.5lx7h. weighs about 1200lbs.
For what you've got, I'm super impressed by the weight, too! That seems like it's lighter than an equivalent size pickup camper--but if you'd have used a pickup camper, you would also not have use of the narrow slots where the camper fits over the wheel well. I assume yours is full width across the floor.
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:18 AM   #14 (permalink)
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don't mean to hijack the thread, but it is a full 8' across has 2" thick walls, fits great on the trailer, a lot of storage room in it. I will post more pictures when I get it done, and I will start a build thread. still looking for gray/black water tanks. It is super light, the guy used a smaller forklift to pick it up. he said it was nothing to lift. all aluminum construction. For the money spent on this thing, I also couldn't begin to find a slide in camper that didn't leak or had everything I was looking for.
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:19 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Those big sleepers are very hard to come across. There are only a couple of outfitters that even make them. Double Eagle is one manufacturer. I found a company on Racing Junk dot com that make hybrid trailers. Its only 20' long but has a 10' box on the front and 10' of flatbed in the back. I got an email into them to see if they would make a bigger one.
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Old 10-31-2010, 04:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Can't the gooseneck frame support the cabover part? Even if you frame over your gooseneck, you wouldn't need more than 1.5" x 0.090 wall with some minor gussets to support 2 adults. Definitely put your bed up there--you can keep it made all the time, and free up the floor for storage when you're traveling to your wheelin' spot. It's nice to have a bed made where you can pull over alongside the road and just sleep without having to re-organize.
That's a good point - for some reason I've got it in my head that I shouldn't tie into the gooseneck because it might move a little bit independent of the deck. But looking at my trailer, if the neck is flexing independent of the first 10' or so on the trailer I've got bigger problems.

Still pondering. Finding a source for large sheets of FRP, figuring out what sort of layers to make the wall from (thinking FRP, foam between the studs, plywood), and in general not being familiar with adhesives on this scale are all issues.. I also found a local motorcoach builder, I'm half tempted to see what they'd charge to do an empty shell...
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Old 10-31-2010, 05:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Look for used or scrapped out U-haul trucks. A guy on Expeditionportal.com made a nice truck camper out of one.

The boxes are built heavy enough to support a roof A/C or whatever else you want.
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Old 10-31-2010, 09:19 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Still pondering. Finding a source for large sheets of FRP, figuring out what sort of layers to make the wall from (thinking FRP, foam between the studs, plywood), and in general not being familiar with adhesives on this scale are all issues.. I also found a local motorcoach builder, I'm half tempted to see what they'd charge to do an empty shell...
Something like a good polyurethane---Sonneborne NP-1, or the like.

FRP and foam between the studs. Use steel strip for x-bracing, and you could go thin (lightweight) on the interior skin--lauan plywood or door skins--instead of needing plywood for shear strength.

Hit the coach builder for the FRP panels, and they might give you a free tour and get some insight on building the shell. They'll charge you a ton more than you can do it by yourself--unless you're long on $$ and short on time.

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Look for used or scrapped out U-haul trucks. A guy on Expeditionportal.com made a nice truck camper out of one.
The FRP-plywood-FRP boxes are tough, but heavy. The aluminum framed ones with aluminum skins would just be heavy, and you'd still have a lot of work to skin and insulate them. If it's the right size, then consider it...but that's a lot of box weight to tow behind a regular pickup.
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