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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Centering Guides on the Camper

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radarcody

CT

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Posted: 01/22/07 11:18am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have been reading two of the truck camper projects on this forum Guide LINK 1 Guide LINK 2 and finding a great wealth of information and ideas on installing centering guides on a truck. I especially like the use of UHMW plastic for guides. But I have a question… Has anyone tried installing the guides on the lower edge of the camper's tub instead? It would seem there would be some advantages to placing them on the camper vice the truck. Such as, you don't have to drill into your truck's bed, and they won't be in the way or need to be removed when you are using the truck when the camper is off. You could attach a strip of UHMW board (with a 45-60 degree bevel pointed down) along the camper's tub lower edges. This would possibly eliminate installing a metal angle to protect the tub's edge. A beveled edge would also be on the leading edges of the "guides". I think it would be easier to install and less materials would be required.

Do you see anything wrong or good with this idea? Comments PRO and CON are welcomed because I am planning to make and install some sort of centering guides in the near future... Thanks.

FredAr

Arizona

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Posted: 01/22/07 12:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

radar:

This is precisely what I did with my camper - added two redwood strips along the very bottom edge (painted black) which leaves only 1/4 inch of free play (space) between the camper and the side of the wheel wells when it is lowered. I have no idea why I did this, but at the time seemed logical.

Three of my TC friends also have done the same thing as a result, and also has worked equally as well for them.


2006 Dodge RAM 2500 Mega Cab
2007 TC (Pastime 880ST) / 2005 TT (Montana 335 RLBS)

Super_Dave

Harrisville, UT

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Posted: 01/22/07 12:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The side bunks on my boat trailer have ABS plastic on them to guide the boat when I driving the boat on the trailer. The stuff wears like iron and doesn't hurt the boat finish. It might be a good material for the camper edges too. One can get it in many widths and thicknesses at TAPS Plastics.

My other thought was the trex composite decking materail.


Truck: 2006 Dodge 3500 Dually
Rig: 2018 Big Country 3155 RLK
Boat: 2003 Jetcraft 2125 - Yamaha 150 HP & 8 HP Kicker


wellsdesigned

Above the Sacramento Fog, CA

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Posted: 01/22/07 01:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm curious to know how these ideas work in the real world. It looks to me like you would be putting stress on the jack legs if you lower a camper into the truck off center. That might be o.k. the first few times, but are you putting undo pressure on the legs and the screws that hold them to the camper every time you nudge the camper into position with the beveled edges?


2002 2500HD 4X4 Ext. Cab 6.0L V8
2004 Eagle Cap 850 Camper w/slide-out

Visit my Truck Camper Travels site.


hilandfrog

Montana

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Posted: 01/22/07 01:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If I were I smart guy, a great design for a TC would have a leaver, like on a pop-up, only at the bottom of TC, levering out not up.
Lever goes under a metal lip w/ spring tension and twists for greater spring tension, preventing side to side and possibly hold the whole darn thing onto the truck.

VR
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Super_Dave

Harrisville, UT

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Posted: 01/22/07 01:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

wellsdesigned wrote:

I'm curious to know how these ideas work in the real world. It looks to me like you would be putting stress on the jack legs if you lower a camper into the truck off center. That might be o.k. the first few times, but are you putting undo pressure on the legs and the screws that hold them to the camper every time you nudge the camper into position with the beveled edges?


How do you view the stress as any different than the same pin ball method with the guides bolted the bottom of the truck bed?

wellsdesigned

Above the Sacramento Fog, CA

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Posted: 01/22/07 02:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I worry about guides on the camper or in the bed equally. In practice it may not put as much strain as my imagination gives the set up, but unless the camper legs are on rollers, I just imagine more stress on the legs than I would be comfortable with. What would be sweet is if Atwood or Hapijac introduced stands that allowed 1 or 2 inches of powered side to side adjustment with the up and down ability of their units.

If anyone invents jack stand pads that can be cranked from side to side, they'll be instantly popular with the Camper crowd. [emoticon]

okeehandyman

south florida

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Posted: 01/22/07 02:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Does everyone find it necessary to have such precision centering? It seems that when I put my Lance into the bed of the Chevy dually, I only have an inch or so on each side between the wheel wells. Perhaps I'm missing something but I don't see how one could be very far off from side to side and get the camper into the truck.

Matthew_B

The boonies near Dallas, Oregon

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Posted: 01/22/07 02:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If the centering guides were attached to the bottom of the tub of the camper, the front ones wouldn't clear the wheel wells unless the camper was raised WAY up. The rear ones would work just fine.

That gives me an idea: How about putting it on the bottom of the wing up front. It could center against the bed rails. Right by the front of the bed, the bed rails should fairly strong against spreading open because of the front wall. The rear ones could be down low just like you propose. The rear ones could push against the side of the bed wall that the tailgate closes against. That's also a fairly strong part of the bed. The rear ones could engage by the backing instead of lowering. The front ones would center when the camper lowers.

As far as jack stress - I can make my camper move 2" easily just by pushing on the side. Part of the slop may be due to the dually swing out brackets.





Lowgroundpressure

north west of dallas

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Posted: 01/22/07 02:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I use a roller system to guide, not force my camper onto the truck. Just as you would use a guide line to line up, you do not try to force the camper over 3 inches to line up.

I back under and if I see one of the rollers start to turn, I steer so that the truck moves towards the other rollers.

If you are worried about the stress on jack when the camper is moved sideways, then you better never leave the camper up on the jacks.

As to centering being critical, a high center load such as a camper will respond very unfavorably to a very small off center weight distribution. In other words, 1 inch off to the left, in a hard right turn makes a big force difference.

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