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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > What Is On The Bottom of Your Truck Camper?

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Reddog1

El Dorado, CA

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Posted: 11/13/17 08:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have a Bigfoot molded fiberglas TC. I think I have used everything posted on RV.NET since 2004, and the horse stall mat has worked best for me. No guides, standard tie downs, and also with a Stable Lift. My daughter and son in law also used it with their SixPac TC on their flatbed truck, with no guides.

mountainkowboy

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Posted: 11/13/17 09:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My 1990 S&S had a basement made of 3/4 plywood and was only designed to be used on a truck


Chuck & Ruth with 4-legged Hanna...R.I.P. Dixie we miss you
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roamlab

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Posted: 11/14/17 06:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Kayteg1 wrote:

When I bought my camper I was under assumption that the floor- being main structural component is 1 1/8" plywood. That did not to turn to be truth...I have factory rubber mat on my Ford and it does good job.


Oof! The PO of our camper said "no rot." We didn't believe him as, every version of this camper we had researched needed major fixes to correct rot in the floor and wings. No surprise: there is lots of rot.

We are definitely looking into a friction mat for the truck bed!

Reddog1 wrote:

There is a Avion camper rebuilds - hundreds of photos thread you may find of interest.


Thanks Wayne! Fortunately, we did read that thread before The Great Photobucket Debacle. [emoticon] We did a lot of research before buying the Avion. It really is unfortunate that we don't have the pics, though, for future reference.

SidecarFlip wrote:

Mine is 3/4" plywood overlayed with waterproof paint and I have 3 roll formed steel channels running parallel with the camper and one across the back screwed into the floor every 1 1/2".


That is fascinating! I don't think I've seen anything like that before. Do you have any pictures of the steel channels?

work2much wrote:

I'm not sure I would go fiberglass. Is is flexible enough to handle differential loading when the camper is flexing around on jack stands? The bottom of many wood or aluminum framed campers is just a belly pan and not a structural part of the rv. They are often thin to save weight. If plywood was there before I would consider replacing in kind with high quality plywood. Apply wood sealer before install.


That is a fair point! I definitely wouldn't replace the floor with just fiberglas. Ours, in particular, forms the foundation that holds together the ends of the arching aluminum which forms the walls and ceiling like an Airstream. Fortunately, we are using a fiberglas foam composite that has the structural strength of plywood but lighter weight and rot resistance.

Reddog1 wrote:

SidecarFlip wrote:

Reddog1 wrote:

I would just put everyday plywood or strand board, probably 3/4" thick. Paint it with a good deck paint. I would put 1-1/2" x 1/8" angle iron around the bottom edges, mounted with countersunk screws. This is just to protect the corners. I would caulk the angle iron.


Wayne..

I think I'd use aluminum angle versus iron for the rust factor and miter the corners and caulk with Dicor.
I think that would be over kill. I am sure someone is going to suggest marine plywood and stainless steel screws. More over kill in my opinion. I don't have aluminum, stainless or marine plywood in my home.


All good points! We are, actually, leaning towards overkill, though. After all, we don't have a large store of our own materials, so we buy what is needed, be it stainless steal and aluminum or otherwise. Galvanic corrosion from steel and aluminum has already eaten large holes in the body that we are patching, so we are in favor of putting in the extra effort to give this little lady another 50 years [emoticon]

GoinThisAway wrote:

The bottom of my Bigfoot is fiberglass. I did have an issue with slippage side-to-side until I made a pair of removable plastic boards that both help me align when I load and keep it from slipping.


Are those attached to the bottom of the camper or do you lay those down in the truck bed?

1mtnman wrote:

I bought an older Hallmark truck camper that I rebuilt. The plywood on the bottom was totally rotted out along with some of the super structure. I used 3/4" plywood to replace the bottom. I rolled 3 coats of Flexseal on prior to attaching the plywood to the camper. Flexseal is not cheap but it is a great product. I got mine at Lowes about $75.00 per gallon but have 1/2 can left.


I'll go check that out! Did you add any extra slats / runners / rails to the base to aid drainage or is your bottom completely flat?

Reddog1 wrote:

I have a Bigfoot molded fiberglas TC. I think I have used everything posted on RV.NET since 2004, and the horse stall mat has worked best for me. No guides, standard tie downs, and also with a Stable Lift. My daughter and son in law also used it with their SixPac TC on their flatbed truck, with no guides.


Thanks! I've seen mention of horse stall mats a lot while researching this. Do you have similar experience with generic friction mats?

mountainkowboy wrote:

My 1990 S&S had a basement made of 3/4 plywood and was only designed to be used on a truck


Interesting...Is there anything on the bottom to aid truck bed drainage?

* This post was edited 11/14/17 06:39am by roamlab *


ROAM LAB
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ticki2

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Posted: 11/14/17 06:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Reddog1 wrote:

There is a Avion camper rebuilds - hundreds of photos thread you may find of interest. Unfortunately many of the photo links are broken. If you read something there, you can post on the thread or send the poster a PM requesting more info or photos. This is assuming you are after information on your Avion.

Wayne
This is probably your best resource for replacing the floor in your Avion . The original floor was a composite of 3/8ply , 1" Styrofoam , 3/8 ply , glued together . Several on the Avion thread have replaced the floor , some as original and some with 2 layers of 3/4 ply. It's a long thread , look more towards the beginning . If you find something you need you can PM the the poster for more info and probably pictures . Good luck


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roamlab

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Posted: 11/14/17 06:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ticki2 wrote:

Reddog1 wrote:

There is a Avion camper rebuilds - hundreds of photos thread you may find of interest. Unfortunately many of the photo links are broken. If you read something there, you can post on the thread or send the poster a PM requesting more info or photos. This is assuming you are after information on your Avion.

Wayne
This is probably your best resource for replacing the floor in your Avion . The original floor was a composite of 3/8ply , 1" Styrofoam , 3/8 ply , glued together . Several on the Avion thread have replaced the floor , some as original and some with 2 layers of 3/4 ply. It's a long thread , look more towards the beginning . If you find something you need you can PM the the poster for more info and probably pictures . Good luck


Thanks, Reddog1! We have based a lot of this build on the original Avion specs but are curious also what alternative (possibly better?) techniques and materials are applied to other campers as well. When the build is complete (or close enough) we intend to live in the Avion full time. So we want to increase durability wherever is reasonable.

ab257

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Posted: 11/14/17 07:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Most of the weight of our Host is carried by the vertical walls of our basement, as evidenced by the wear on our bed rubber mat. I bought some rolls of adhesive stair tread non slip material and ran it around the bottom perimeter of the basement. That stopped almost all of the bed movement.


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mkirsch

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Posted: 11/14/17 07:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It should not surprise anybody that a 47 year old camper (1970 Avion) would have rot.

Whatever the floor is made of now has lasted 47 years, so going back with the same should last just as long. Most likely it will outlast you. If you are still using it and loving it 47 years from now, God bless ya.

BTW, the bottom of my camper is OSB and fence posts.


Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since 2017.

Reddog1

El Dorado, CA

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Posted: 11/14/17 09:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

roamlab wrote:

Reddog1 wrote:

I have a Bigfoot molded fiberglas TC. I think I have used everything posted on RV.NET since 2004, and the horse stall mat has worked best for me. No guides, standard tie downs, and also with a Stable Lift. My daughter and son in law also used it with their SixPac TC on their flatbed truck, with no guides.


Thanks! I've seen mention of horse stall mats a lot while researching this. Do you have similar experience with generic friction mats?

Interesting...Is there anything on the bottom to aid truck bed drainage?
I have tried several different friction mats, from 1/8" to 1/4". They offered some resistance to sliding, but nothing compared to the stall mats. The surface was slicker (smoother), and being thin they had no cush to allow the TC bottom to imbed in as well wrap into the ribs of the truck bed. They are too rigid to completely form to the truck bed ribs and closings off the drainage.

On my present setup, I needed to raise the TC high enough to clear the 5th wheel rails in my truck. I also needed to raise the TC so I could open the back doors on the truck Quad cab. I wanted something simple, clean and light enough for me to remove. I also wanted it to not blow out of the truck if I left it in without the TC. The two 3/4" Horse Stall Mats did the job. I cut them in strips approximately 12" to 14" wide. They must extend outside the bottom of the TC floor, more is better. That is where most of the TC weight is concentrated. The mat strips work great.

Times past, I have fabricated risers from 2"x 4"s, plywood, foam, and 4"x4". Each were covered top and bottom with something to help prevent sliding. Each were heavy, bulky, or too light and really not very pretty.

This is what I have now. There are four strips of mat under the aluminum box. Two of them move toward the 5th wheel rail.

[image]

mountainkowboy

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Posted: 11/14/17 02:37pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

roamlab wrote:



mountainkowboy wrote:

My 1990 S&S had a basement made of 3/4 plywood and was only designed to be used on a truck


Interesting...Is there anything on the bottom to aid truck bed drainage?


It was just painted from the factory. I built a platform that I attached to the bottom to add structural strength to the floor so it could be used off truck like the newer T/C's. I attached it with 5 straps like the one in the side view pic. The sides and bottom I sprayed with rubberized undercoating to seal it and prevent water intrusion. I ended up rebuilding most of that T/C and modified it to suit our needs, there's a thread here documenting it somewhere. Wish I kept it.

[image]

[image]

Reddog1

El Dorado, CA

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Posted: 11/14/17 06:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mountainkowboy, nice post. Post like yours is what I really enjoy on the forums. There are so many things we can do to out TCs. Many members do not have the time, skills, tools or facilities. It is great to see the creativity.

Wayne

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