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DIY Over Cab Shell or Slide in ?
#1
Hi Folks,
 Im pondering to build a over cab shell camper on a budget similiar to what Mr Wells made or just throw a little bit more effort and expense and make a slide in? Im a short guy, while Im in decent heath for now I would like to be able to walk in without bending over....getting older and the commercial shorter shells are not really getting my attention other than the taller belairs.


If I do one or the other, Im not looking to build the Taj Mahal of truck campers but something that is functional and easy on the wallet ( around 500 dollars to build)

My plans are somewhat Spartan on the interior, a coleman camp stove, a mr buddy heater and a "cheap as I can find" small 5000 btu AC to run off a quite 2k generator and cassette toilet.


The weight of the camper is not too much of a big deal since it will be going on a one ton DRW.

I like the idea of probably insulating a slide in a little bit better and it having a little more room but I also like the idea of a shell being lighter and more manageable if I need to take it off.

Any personal experiences out there in which some said "I wished I had done this"?
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#2
are you planning on driving off road? what are you planning on for building materials? highdesertranger
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The following 2 users say Thank You to highdesertranger for this post:
thatdarncat (11-19-2017), bullfrog (11-19-2017)
#3
What ever you build I have had really good luck using PMF (poor man's fiberglass, glued canvas that is painted with house paint) over the exterior surface using the sock principle as described at the Teardrops and Tiny Trailers forum to make it really strong, durable and water tight for very little money. I used interior doors filled with spray foam and completely enclosed in PMF, wooden dowel and glue, with 2x2 and 2x4 wood at joints that is amazingly strong and cheap. Do you have a stock bed or flat bed? Over hangs on sides make jacking easier but are not good for going off road especially in woods with trees. I ended up mounting mine on a trailer as my wife and I wanted more space.
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thatdarncat (11-19-2017)
#4
Hi  It is a stock bed duallly. It will mostly be on the road but I will probably go on somewhat maintained National Forest roads.
I was thinking of 3/8 beaded plywood for the exterior which could take a good paint or waterproof stain...the reason I was thinking of the 3/8 beaded plywood because it has a lap joint similar to T1-11 siding and would not be a butt-to butt joint as in two sheets of regular plywood.

I do like that idea of poor mans fiberglass, how well does it hold up?

The big box stores only had the beaded plywood with a lap joint;  I did not see any smooth sided plywood with a lap joint (which probably would  have been perfect).... they also had the T1-11 but that stuff looked too thick for truck camper siding.

A bed rail configuration would be a lot easier to build but I did read that Mr Wells did have a problem with his bed rails bending over time, so now Im wondering if a over cab is even a possibility?
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#5
The PMF on mine has held up great for over two years. I backed into a large tree limb that was blunt from being trimmed about 3" in diameter which dented it but did not tear the fabric. I punctured it by dropping a large steel platform from about 6' which hit on its corner cutting the canvas about an inch wide by 3 inches. I simply pushed it out from the inside, glued on a new piece of over lapping canvas, let it dry and painted it. No leaks and as I use white paint after a few coats not really noticeable. Almost any oops can just be fixed with paint. Cab over is possible by building a torsion box on a cantilevered rail but cannot be anchored to the cab as it moves separate from the bed.
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thatdarncat (11-19-2017)
#6
A recent video I came across of a self-built truck camper -- might give some helpful ideas: https://youtu.be/nMTIxlwSDIQ

You can see more videos on his channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/toddtaylor914/videos
Exclamation And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. — Abraham Lincoln
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The following 1 user says Thank You to CautionToTheWind for this post:
thatdarncat (11-19-2017)
#7
I have often thought about using a steel ladder rack with an over cab section for a camper frame but I always have built too heavy and am trying to change that. If you just need storage a separate cab box could be built on some roof racks.
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thatdarncat (11-19-2017)
#8
How about something like this? It's built for a Ford Ranger but I'm sure with some slight adjustment it could be built to fit a full size truck bed.

http://fordrangercabover.blogspot.com.au/?view=classic
If we were meant to stay in one place, we'd have roots instead of feet. My little place on the interweb - Cyberian Radio 

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The following 1 user says Thank You to Motrukdriver for this post:
thatdarncat (11-19-2017)
#9
If you go to the truck cap camper page on facebook you will find some pics of a nice simply constructed Vardo (no cabover) bolted to the top of the bed, you can built yours wider for it's going on a dually.

You take two 4x8 plywood sheets for the front and back with 4'H and 8"l with a radius top curve, two 4x8 sides and an 8" long metal roof.
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thatdarncat (11-19-2017)
#10
(11-19-2017, 09:50 AM)bullfrog Wrote: What ever you build I have had really good luck using PMF (poor man's fiberglass, glued canvas that is painted with house paint) over the exterior surface using the sock principle as described at the Teardrops and Tiny Trailers forum to make it really strong, durable and water tight for very little money.  I used interior doors filled with spray foam and completely enclosed in PMF, wooden dowel and glue, with 2x2 and 2x4 wood at joints that is amazingly strong and cheap.  Do you have a stock bed or flat bed?  Over hangs on sides make jacking easier but are not good for going off road especially in woods with trees.  I ended up mounting mine on a trailer as my wife and I wanted more space.

Hi Bullfrog,  I went to that web site and checked out teardrops and tiny trailers and saw a PMF job a fellow did and it looked darn good!
I will probably return the 3/8 beaded plywood and skin it with something else...do you think that thin luan would be ok and what did you use as a filler when two pieces of plywood butted together....lots of sanding?
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