Hi, I'm new to TC's so please bear with me. Have a 99 Dodge dually with 5.9 Cummins with lots of goodies on/in it. Airbags, overloads, etc. Very happy with the truck.
9'9 Frontier camper sits nice on the truck. Hardly notice it's there. No leaning in the corners, although the ride is really choppy. Not so bad w/o the camper but still rough.
There is a sheet of 3/4" plywood in the box of the truck that the camper sits on. That sorta surprised me. It's kinda slippery, I'd think? I notice the tie down tension changes quite a bit. I guess that's normal, but I'm not sure how much. I don't over tighten them but sometimes one or two will be pretty tight.
A little advice from some experienced TC'ers would be appreciated.
When I had plywood in my truckbed years ago, the TC did move around a little. To cure that, I bought a bed-liner (NAPA or some auto parts will have it), just the drop in flat rubber liner, it just rolls in, no corners no sidewall, for about $70 - there's a thin one and a thick on, get the think one, and it has ridges to wick the water away. Work's fine, no more movement.
Just make sure you are tight to the front with the TC when you load it. Tension is not heavy, I leave about an inch release on the tie-downs, then snap the buckle down. Or, if you have hand-loads, then tighten by hand, don't use a wrench. They're not designed to need tightening like a tork-tight bolt. Hand tight will work best. Although, I added a double-nut so they won't loosen off-roading - lost one in Big Bend Park once, and entire tie-down just flipped off and I never did find it.
I can't fathom as to why the campers is sitting on top of a 3/4" sheet of plywood. A lot of the Ford folks have to raise the camper in the bed of the truck to clear the tall cab of the Ford, but I'm guessing 3/4" isn't enough for them.
I'd ditch the plywood. If you don't already have a spray in bed liner, not the plastic one, you will probably be fine. If you have a plastic one...you seriously want to consider what you want to do with it. Some folks will tell you that a plastic bed liner and a rubber bed mat are okay (works for me). Some will tell you flat out no way in the world is it safe for you or for me to run anything on top of a plastic bed liner. Like I said, it works for me, for almost 5 years now. Though, I have it in my mind to rip out the plastic and do a spray in application.
If you have a spray in...some will say you are okay with just that. Others, and I suspect most, will say that you still want the rubber bed mat. Certainly can't go wrong with the combo of a spray in bed liner and the rubber bed mat. That will stop most of the movement.
However, it is always a good idea to stop and adjust tension on your tiedowns after the first couple miles of driving after you attach the camper to the truck.
Unless you need the plywood for clearance somewhere get rid of it. If you have a plastic bed liner get rid of that too. You need a spray in liner or you can use a rubber bed mat. Stall mats made for horses work well and you can get them at farm supply stores but they are heavy.
The tie downs are a bit of a misnamed part. They keep the camper from moving around, not really from flying our of the bed. You shouldn't have to tighten them very much, just gently snug. It never hurts to check them periodically during a long drive.
I have always bumped my TCs against the front of the bed, snug the tiedowns by hand, and do not worry about it moving. I have used this method with just a steel floor in the bed, plywood in the bed, 2"x4"s in the bed, 4"x4" in the bed, rubber horse mats in the bed, foam sheets in the bed, aluminum sheet in the bed, flat beds, and pick-up box. I have never had a problem with any of these methods. I prefer not to use a plastic liner (factory type). If I did, I would use some type of rubber mat between it and the TC. The rubber mat is probably not earth shattering in importance, just my preference.
It takes very little to prevent the TC from moving, and almost always will move a little. Simple turnbuckles with eye bolts screwed into the wood frame of the TCs have worked (and still work) for years. Get the TC tight enough to absolutely not move, is not a good idea in my opinion. I believe it puts unnecessary stress on the TC.
I put two sheets of plywood in my last truck bed. I needed to raise the camper to clear the side of the bed. (camper jack mount)
On all my beds I put a stop on the front and guides on the sides. If you don't put the stop on the front, and your mounts pull the camper forward, you will bend the front of the bed. The bed's sheet metal isn't very strong.
Ford F-350 4x4 Diesel
1988 Avion Triple Axle Trailer
1969 Avion C-11 Camper