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Topic: Tie Down Point - Bed Bolts?

Posted By: E5Zero on 06/30/11 07:28pm

Okay after buying a Starcraft TC for a 1/2 Ton Ford, I am still in a quandary about whether it is too heavy for the pickup. I have used it once, loved it, but then paranoia set in. I would love to go out and plunk down the cash on a 3/4 ton, but that ain't happening!

I was looking at my pickup bed this evening and the front bed mounts tie into the frame. Has anyone ever replaced the bolts holding the bed down with eye bolts to provide a tie down point in the bed? Without taking measurements it sure looks like it would work.

Thoughts anyone?


Posted By: rehoppe on 06/30/11 07:36pm

If the frame is strong enough, why not. You say frame 'mounts' , explain mounts pls.

Normally, tie downs are done to the same area as the jacks. I don't know the structure in the floor of the TC. I'm assuming that you are thinking of going through the floor of the TC?


Hoppe
2011 Dodge 1500 C'boy Caddy
2000 Jayco C 28' Ford chassis w V-10 E450
Doghouse 36' or so Trophy Classic TT


Posted By: rehoppe on 06/30/11 07:47pm

Hmmm, guess I can't read. You said eye bolts. So they must be outboard enough to clear the bottom of the camper. Sure why not, as long as they continue to hold the bed down as well.

How's the suspension on the rear of the truck with the camper on it?


Posted By: E5Zero on 06/30/11 07:58pm

The tie points on the camper are eyebolts, re-enforced with plates on both sides. The bolts in the bed go through a frame mounted bracket, I may try to shoot a pic or two tomorrow. It would essentially be tying the camper to the pickup at roughly the same point as a Torklift or RVE bracket, just not as far outboard of the pickup bed.

As to the suspension, I added Airlift bags, handled the camper well on the one trip so far. I want to pull a boat, but not sure if the 1/2 ton is the correct vehicle for that, may have to wait on the big truck one day!

Thanks for the input.


Posted By: big whitey on 06/30/11 08:14pm

i had a 2008 starcraft pop up on a 2003 chevy Z71 4x4 it squshed it like a bug resting on the bump stops.after adding one leaf spring it came off the bump stops and rode/handled ok.the braking was another matter,it just did not want to stop.got rid of them both.good luck.


Posted By: SoCalDesertRider on 07/01/11 04:57pm

E5Zero wrote:

I was looking at my pickup bed this evening and the front bed mounts tie into the frame. Has anyone ever replaced the bolts holding the bed down with eye bolts to provide a tie down point in the bed? Without taking measurements it sure looks like it would work.
Yes, I have done that on my truck.

I have a pair of channels I welded into the truck bed front wall, standing vertical against the front wall, above the frame rails. Then I bolted a heavy angle across the bottom of the front wall, using the front bed bolts, and welded it to the channels mentioned above. On the outboard ends of the angle, I have heavy eye bolts that bolt through the angle and the bed floor, with large washers under the bed floor.

These are very strong tie down points and I have used them to tie down many things in the bed of my truck.

I built them for my old camper, but never got around to moving the camper's forward eye bolts to an inboard position so I could tie the camper down inside the bed to the eye bolt anchors described above. It would have been rather difficult to access the turnbuckles from inside the camper's truck bed storage access door, but still possible.

This camper tie down method could have worked, giving a very clean look to the outside of the truck, although not a very convenient way to go about tying down a camper.

In the pics below you can see the 2 channels I talked about on the front bed wall. The 2x4 wood covers most of the lower angle I talked about, but you can see the ends of it and the eye bolts on each side of the bed.

The plywood is there to level the bed floor and raise my utility body up enough to clear the bed rails and for the rack to clear the cab. The gooseneck hitch's safety chain tie down loops stick up above bed floor height a little, so the plywood with cut-outs was necessary to level the bed floor.

The 2x6's stacked up on either side of the plywood are my system for keeping the utility body or camper from shifting side to side. They are bolted through the bed floor and work excellent at their task. The front 2x4 is to space the utility body off the front bed wall a bit.

My utility body loads by jacking it up on corner jacks and rests in the pickup bed just like a slide in camper, with tie down brackets that clamp to the bed rails. You can see the bed rail clamps brackets in the pics too.







* This post was edited 07/01/11 05:05pm by SoCalDesertRider *


05E350 6.0PSD
97F350DRW 7.3PSD 4x4 4.10 11' flatbed
98Ranger
69Bronco ATC250R CR500
20' BigTex flatbed carhauler
Callen Camper

92F350 CrewCab 4x4 351/C6
B&W TurnoverBall, Curt Magnum V
HD Springs Bilsteins,
285/75-16E BFG AT on 16x8 Stocktons
4.56's & LockRite rear


Posted By: SoCalDesertRider on 07/01/11 06:11pm

To elaborate further, the angle across the front of the bed was needed to move the eye bolts to a location outboard of the bottom of the truck camper, which are usually about 48" wide. The eye bolts in my pics above are spaced about 60" apart. Without the heavy angle adding strength, the eye bolts in those locations would just be bolted through the sheet metal bed floor, not having much strength and no tie-in to the truck frame. The heavy angle is an 'outrigger', of sorts, for the eye bolts to mount through and transfer their load to the truck frame, as well as the bed.

A typical full size pickup has the frame rails spaced about 37" apart. If you were to simply replace the bed bolts with eye bolts, the eye bolts would be under the floor of the truck camper, instead of outboard of it. The eye bolts would be completely useless for tying down a camper and actually be in the way of loading the camper in the bed of the truck, since they would stick up above bed floor level right where the front of the camper floor would want occupy the same space.


Posted By: E5Zero on 07/01/11 06:25pm

On my F150 the front bolts are actually outside of the frame rail, they attach to a bracket welded to the frame. Tomorrow I am going to measure the distance apart.

Thanks for the pics and info.


Posted By: rehoppe on 07/01/11 07:12pm

I wouldn't depend on bolting to the bed by itself. But if you are secure to the frame that's as good as it gets.

If the frame lets go, You'd better push the button that says 'ejection seat'.

On a lighter note, I once rode in a PU with an old TC. Buddy got into a speed contest with a kid in a hotrod. After we pulled of the highway, I asked Les if he'd tied it down cause I didn't. He response was "if it comes off I'm not stopping'. We were in excess of 90 mph and it wasn't tied down, And it was still with us when we got to the farm. ' The speedo only went to 90mph!' ooops


Posted By: ticki2 on 07/02/11 04:43am

SCDR , I see you have blocks under the jacks for your utility body . What is the max height those jacks raise the bottom of the utility body ? I am contemplating a similar jack system with sleeves for my old TC .


'68 Avion C-11
'02 GMC DRW D/A


Posted By: sirdrakejr on 07/01/11 09:20pm

My question for all this is, "How do you reach in between the TC and the bed rails to attach and tighten the tied downs to the eye bolts?" I know I have a little room between the rails and the TC but not enough to get my arms in to rief on anything.
Frank


2011 Palomino Maverick 1000SLLB on a 2004 Dodge Quadcab CTD Ram3500 SRW long bed equipped with Timbren springs, Stable Load bump stops, Rickson 19.5" wheels/"G" range tires and a Helwig "Big Wig" rear anti sway bar.



Posted By: SoCalDesertRider on 07/02/11 10:14am

ticki2 wrote:

SCDR , I see you have blocks under the jacks for your utility body . What is the max height those jacks raise the bottom of the utility body ? I am contemplating a similar jack system with sleeves for my old TC .
I forget the measurement.

The lower legs are collapsible/extendable, with multiple height settings, located by hitch pins. The lower legs are also easily replaced by longer tubes, if needed.

If you don't intend to set the camper down low on the ground, these jacks would be great. You could put longer lower legs in them to lift the camper off a tall 4wd truck without blocks under the feet, then set the camper on saw horses.

The max/min range of motion of my jacks is not nearly as much as with normal camper jacks. My jacks are essentially 5th wheel or gooseneck trailer landing gear jacks with an extra tube welded to them at a 90 degree angle so they can slide into the side pockets of the utility body.

If I ever build a truck camper myself, I will build it with 2x2 pocket tubes in the corners and use these same jacks to lift the camper. I like that they are easily removable, for decreasing weight carried on the truck, as well as less stuff hanging off the side of the truck. I'm not the type to remove a camper while camping, so not having jacks on the camper during the trip wouldn't be a big deal to me.


Posted By: SoCalDesertRider on 07/02/11 10:23am

sirdrakejr wrote:

My question for all this is, "How do you reach in between the TC and the bed rails to attach and tighten the tied downs to the eye bolts?" I know I have a little room between the rails and the TC but not enough to get my arms in to rief on anything.
Frank
When I came up with the idea of tying my camper down in this manner, my thought was to reach into the truck bed to access the tie downs through the camper's lower front bed storage access doors that my camper had on each side beneath the kitchen cabinets and dinette seat, just behind the water tank cabinet. The door openings were maybe a little bigger than one square foot, just big enough to reach through and operate a tie down turnbuckle. Not too convenient, but possible. Fastguns, or some other easy, quick operating tie down would be nice in this situation.


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