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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Time to Develop a Solution for Scissor Stairs (Bigfoots)

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adamis

Northern California

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Posted: 10/31/20 10:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Having just returned from a nice weeklong camping trip, the Mrs. has declared that the stairs on our Bigfoot 2500 10.6 camper have got to go. They are just too dangerous when carrying our twin girls up and down the steps and they are never level save for the middle step. When parked on any type of a slope it makes for precarious sitations as the top step tilts at a 20 degree angle.

It is time to fix this deficiency but how to do it is the question. What surprises me the most is that Brophey (what I currently have) and Torquelift seem to think their stairs are gold plated. The top of the line units come to nearly $700 and they appear to only be marginally better. I am shocked that these stairs are even considered safe enough to sell but that is a different topic.

I have seen a couple of other solutions to this problem all with elements that I like but I want to go a bit further. Here are my "ideal" list of parameters (help me refine if you are interested in this project).

1. Landing Platform of some type outside of door.
2. Platform must be able to stow in a position that doesn't add substantial length to the camper.
3. Easy access to basement storage compartment
4. If scissor steps can't be eliminated, reduce number of steps from 5 to 3 or 4.
5. Most be deployed in seconds preferably with just 1 hand.
6. Must be more cost effective than Brophy or TorqueLift solutions


I roughly modeled the back end of the Bigfoot camper and will be working on a design as I think through the problem. If you have suggestions / pictures of solutions you think are worth incorporating please feel free to post.

[image]


1999 F350 Dually with 7.3 Diesel
2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Camper


kohldad

Goose Creek, SC

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Posted: 10/31/20 10:50pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The problem is the angle stays the same as the steps are expanded/contracted and is totally independent of the angle in relationship to the platform. I've tried to think of a solution that would keep the angle the same but haven't figured out one that would still allow the steps to be expanded/contracted.

My solution was a 2-step flip down design which I later changed to a 3-step design. The 2 step was 11" each step but allowed the rear door to be opened with the steps flipped up and was held up by it's own weight. The 3 step design was necessary with a newer truck which was 3" taller and held up with two springs, only problem being that it blocks the door so must be flipped down to enter the camper. Both were mounted on a simple 18" hitch extension because my camper stops at the back of my bumper. However, I wouldn't have a hesitation to put it on a slightly longer extension for a 9-6" camper.

Here are the pics of the 2 step design. I can post pics of the 3 step design if you would like.
[image]

[image]


2015 Ram 3500 4x4 Crew Cab SRW 6.4 Hemi LB 3.73 (12.4 hand calc avg mpg after 92,000 miles with camper)
2004 Lance 815 (prev: 2004 FW 35'; 1994 TT 30'; Tents)


adamis

Northern California

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Posted: 10/31/20 11:07pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the pics and the comments. This is exactly the type of info I'm looking for. Ideally I would like to get rid of the scissor stairs completely if possible. I want something solid but I will have to be creative to make it work.

Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 10/31/20 11:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is how we brainstormed the issue in the past.
Final design approved by dogs is equivalent to your 2nd picture.
I improved it even farther by adding long shaft in the gap between bumper and steps and than leveling the steps better.
You just missed the $350 set I sold on ebay after I parted the camper.
[image]





kohldad

Goose Creek, SC

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Posted: 11/01/20 09:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here is the 3 step design. With a wobble stopper, the steps are very sturdy. If I was going to extend them out or remake them, I would do so with a 2-1/2" tube since I have a Class V hitch.

[image]

[image]

Note that the vertical tube for the folding portion uses the top step as the stop when folded up. The design could be better implemented for the fixed portion, but it was the scrap laying around which made the hieght work out the same. Each step is only about 8-3/4" so easy to go up and down.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 11/01/20 09:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Kids will not see to be carried up the steps by next summer. If you procrastinate just a bit, the “problem” will solve itself!

I’ve found it helps to pretend like you’re making progress on it. Go cut some stuff up make some noise, etc. Professionals do this and actually get a different project accomplished under the guise of a honey-do item!


2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
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JimK-NY

NY

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Posted: 11/01/20 10:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is one of the downsides of buying a camper with a basement design. It is a long way from the ground to the floor of the camper. I don't think any redesign of the stairs is going to fix that.

valhalla360

No paticular place.

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Posted: 11/01/20 10:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What's the ground to door bottom height?

Would the taller moryde steps work? They fold in and out pretty quick and easy and are quite stable once deployed. Our friends have a new 5th wheel with them and the bottom of the door is almost chest high on me and I'm 6'2".


Tammy & Mike
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Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 11/01/20 10:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would stay away from steps mounted on camper only.
My wife slip on original camper steps during rain and hurt herself pretty bad.
Other time I observed neighbors at campground where energetic man was jumping the steps down form his light weight camper.
His wife inside was trying to hold the cup on the table and was getting airborne with cup in her hand.
The 4 Torklift steps we had pictured above were good and with added traction tape we never feel a need for additional handrail.

thedavidzoo

Tucson, AZ

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Posted: 11/01/20 10:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have been trying to come up with a better solution to our steps also. We have a large overhang and a side entry. Our standard fold out 3-step contraption hangs too low and seriously cuts into our offroad clearance. They have now been disassembled after becoming non-functional. Otherwise, we liked the wide-width, simplicity of operation, quick and one-handed. We make frequent stops along the road. There was no ground support, but the slight wobble didn't really bother us or our dog.

So, we really liked this basic step idea which seems to be on the vast majority of european overland vehicles.
[image]

or this https://www.pinterest.com/pin/250160954281528407/

Then, here is the Victory Step
https://www.etrailer.com/RV-and-Camper-Steps/Lippert-Components/LC726895.html

Stores flat (4-5") and "scissors" open, but not like Brophy or Torklift. Very pricey though. We thought about fabricating a L- or C-channel rail system or box under our rear overhang. The step would store flat, we could pull it out (drawer style), lower it, fold out and lock it in place with small modification, have adjustable feet for uneven terrain. Lift and shove the steps back under. Theoretically easy to do.

We also thought about fabricating such steps from scratch, perhaps reusing our old treads and a bunch of aluminum rails, bolts, etc., but weren't quite ready for that level of dedication.

For much less money, various DIY versions using stripped down Little Giant step ladders are floating around. We almost went this route, again stored flat underneath to be pulled out, but didn't like the narrow 14" step width.
Example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4hd8lxjPZA

So, we have now ordered the cheaper Torklift Glowsteps with 4-steps which will stow inside our door. We will modify the area where our current step box is with some attachement points. Unfortunately, this in not really ideal either as it adds several steps to the whole deployment and securing process. We just haven't found the optimal solution without serious $$ or serious aluminum fabrication.

You have us a bit worried about the Torklift system now. We figure if we don't like them we will resell and go with our original pullout idea somehow.

Anyway, just thought since you have an overhang, perhaps you could mount one of the flat-folding steps underneath drawer-style, maybe with an integrated platform, pull out and enter parallel to the back of the camper instead of perpendicular.

Don't know if this helps you at all....

We looked at the Moryde steps also, but I don't like the idea of dumping all the water and dirt from your treads into your camper. People seem to not be too happy with them.


2014 Ram 3500 CrewCab Diesel DRW 4x4 4.10 Aisin, Torklift Fastguns, Upper Stableloads, Timbrens
2017 Northstar 12' STC
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