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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Custom truck camper tie down mounts?

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New2Rv's

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Posted: 07/20/21 09:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I wanted to ask if anyone has employed any "custom" mounting points to secure their truck camper to the bed of their truck?

Of the 2 typical options, Happijac and the Torklift frame mounts I feel like I'd like something more low profile than the Torklifts and stronger than Happijac bumper mount.

I realize I could combine both.

I was wondering if anyone has seen a different set up? I know Phoenix pop-up campers that are hidden.

My truck is a 2018 Ram 3500, SRW, 4wd, diesel, double cab. The camper I'm buying is Northstar Liberty, dry weight 1775.

Are there angles of attachment that I am not considering? Four wheel campers attach within the bed of the truck. Lighter goes without saying but still.

Would it be reasonable to create attachment points within the bed that run through the bed with significant reinforcement on the underside. Use turnbuckles, heavy duty ratchet straps (like HEAVY DUTY), to attach the camper to bed?

With something like E-track used in moving vans etc. you could create multiple attachment points. Say 6 attachment points spreading the load.

This would be low profile, secure and strong.

joerg68

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Posted: 07/21/21 02:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Most truck campers here in Europe are held down inside the box.

But:
- they are smaller and lighter (like your FWC example)
- the campers are designed for this type of application - the anchor points may need to be in a different location for this approach to work
- the tiedown anchors are usually bolted to the frame through the truck bed floor, the floor sheetmetal is not strong enough
- you need to be able to access the space between camper and truck bed in order to set the tiedown straps. For many (most? all?) bigger campers, this will be impossible. It always means some gymnastics.

It would not work for our Northstar Arrow. The front wells are somewhat accessible as the camper has no basement and there are access doors on both sides from inside the camper. The rear anchor points would be inaccessible, and on the side with the bathroom there is no useful space between camper and bed sides.


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mkirsch

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Posted: 07/21/21 07:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We don't have access to the "blueprints" for any of these campers, so even if we had an engineer with the expertise to look at those drawings and say, "Yeah, you can attach here and not rip the camper apart," there is nothing for that engineer to look at.

That's what it would take: An engineer. The plans/drawings/blueprints for the camper.

Without those things the only truly "safe" thing to conclude is that the camper should be secured at the provided tiedown points, and ONLY the provided tiedown points. In fact that is probably part of the documentation that comes with any new camper.

Most likely, the camper is designed around those tiedown points.

Attach anywhere but the provided tiedown points, you're on your own. Rip the camper apart, not "our" (the manufacturer's) problem.


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Siletzspey

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Posted: 07/21/21 11:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great replies. And if I think about my tall NorthernLite truck camper and side to side rocking alone, the current tie-downs have a side-to-side stance of ~8 feet wide, while a floor-based stance would be at best ~4 feet wide. The tugging and leveraging forces on any tie downs set at 4 feet apart would be *many times greater* than with an 8 foot stance. Truck beds also flex, and I suspect the truck camper companies and Torklift also take that into account, and have decades worth of failed setups they've learned from.

burningman

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Posted: 07/21/21 10:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All it takes is a little fabrication skill.
You could build L-shaped brackets from square stock that attach inside the bed if you want, that reach over the sides and grab the factory camper attachment points.
Bed floor strength isn’t an issue, you can add mounts below like they do on fifth wheel hitch mounts.
I mean, how do you guys think those attach to bed floors?
You can also just build your brackets so they attach at the same points as the bed does.
But really it’s a lot easier to just use conventional tie-downs.
I didn’t like any that are available so I built my own, but the usual Tork-Lifts look pretty stout.
Then it’s super easy to access the turnbuckles to set the tension.
There are good reasons it’s usually done the way it’s done.


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JimK-NY

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Posted: 07/22/21 05:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Torklifts are well made, heavy duty and make it easy to attach or remove the camper. In addition the fastguns are spring loaded to allow some give while retaining a strong connection.

With a new camper there are plenty of other things to set up and modify. I think you are going to just complicate your life trying to design a different mounting system that works properly.

silverbullet555

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Posted: 07/22/21 06:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

One option are older brophy mounts. I am not speaking to the quality or engineering of the system, but we used them on our old camper until I got torklifts.

They clamp to the bed rail and you can run turnbuckles and chains to them. They are visible though because the tongue of it hangs over the outside of the bed. Of course, when your camper is on they are hidden better than the others. When your camper is off, torklift win for the lack of being seen once you pull the inserts.

In the case of my camper, I prefer better tiedowns over appearance.


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moonlightrunner

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Posted: 08/04/21 05:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Have the 3 jack version of the Stable Lift. No turn buckles. No chains. https://www.stablelift.com

markowwes

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Posted: 08/05/21 10:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Take some pics of the tie down brackets on the camper and post them, Has anyone actually looked at how those brackets are attached to the camper? Mine were screwed to the bottom with 4 #8 wood screws, I have seen some that are attached with a couple ¼” lag bolts.
I am also guilty of over doing the tie down process, welded brackets out of 1 ½” X ¼” wall square tubbing on ½” flat iron, bolded to the truck frame.
If that camper is going to get knocked out or off of your truck, you don’t want it tied down to the point where it’s going to take your frame or bumper with it. (Let it go)
I have been hauling an 11.5 camper for 17 years now with just the front tied down (nothing on the back). Never had a problem with is moving in the box, I’m pretty sure the weight of the camper itself with a non-skid mat in the box it isn’t going anywhere.
Ya one of these days the cops are going to give me sh&&, I have gone through Montana with no problems, just that my plate is on the truck not the back of the camper.
Maybe with the lighter models, but as I said, look at how the brackets are attached to the camper itself. (4 #8 wood screws wouldn’t hold sh&& ) That will tell me how well it needs to be secured.

Just saying

Bedlam

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Posted: 08/06/21 07:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I feel getting the attachment points out to the widest part of the camper helps stability and reduces leverage when making turns. This is easily accomplished with a utility or flat bed due to the width usually matching the camper, but hard to do with a narrower formed bed.


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