Slide-in truck camper - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-24-2015, 07:16 PM   #1
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Name: Larry
Trailer: 1999 Kustom Koach-Westwind
Alberta
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Slide-in truck camper

Hi everyone.

Well I'm a recent novice slide-in truck camper owner and have not so far had to raise my camper to get my truck out. The reason I have to do this is that my rear lights require new bulbs to which I have no access due to the size of the camper (11 foot).

It looks straight forward but thought I would ask if there is anything I should look out for or be aware of as I raise the camper. My jacks are on the sides and swing down to a tripod footing.

Any information would be appreciated.

Happy camping

Larry
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Old 09-24-2015, 07:59 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by cruizin View Post
Hi everyone.

Well I'm a recent novice slide-in truck camper owner and have not so far had to raise my camper to get my truck out. The reason I have to do this is that my rear lights require new bulbs to which I have no access due to the size of the camper (11 foot).
It looks straight forward but thought I would ask if there is anything I should look out for or be aware of as I raise the camper. My jacks are on the sides and swing down to a tripod footing.
Any information would be appreciated.
Happy campingLarry
Hi Larry, I'm a little fuzzy here, is it your truck bulbs or the campers? If it's the trucks the rear of the camper covers them anyway. Back when I had a cabover I never worried about those, only the ones on the camper. Those bulbs were accessed by removing the lens. Lifting the camper is a piece of cake and you don't need to remove it. Make sure any electrical connections are disconnected. Also, some slide ins have storage doors inside that use the space in front and behind the tire wells. Be sure to clear those areas too. Jack it up evenly in small lifts. I always started with the front so the overhead didn't hit the roof. To move the truck enough to get at your bulbs I'd stop the lift when I had 1/2 inch clearance off the bed. As you say, it is a pretty much straight forward process.
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Old 09-24-2015, 08:08 PM   #3
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Name: Harvey
Trailer: '84 Scamp 13' & 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
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Not too sure about forum rules on this but, if it ain't a 'no no' check out the Truck Camper Forum at Truck Camper Forum - Truck Camper Community - I've been a member there for several years & some good info available.

I've also owned a number of truck campers from small 8' pop-up types to a Real-Lite with a 12.5' 'box' & side entry that weighed in the neighborhood of 3K pounds (they make much bigger ones now). I carried it on a 3/4 ton Ford Diesel P/U to which I added Air Lift air bags (for stability only, the truck had 8600# GVWR). For taking that one on/off I used a pair of huge, homemade, cable lift, camper jacks that took 2 people to 'wrestle' into position. On my other campers I've had both camper mounted hydraulic & mechanical (screw type) jacks, both 3-jack & 4-jack systems. The 4-jack systems are easier (IMO) to use than the 3-jack but the primary thing with each system is to have a nice level spot to work, & prepare a solid base for the camper to sit on after removal. Lots of folks just use the jacks to support the camper after it has been removed but I always used either a heavy duty trailer (for the Real-Lite) or several stacks of (3-high) concrete blocks & 2x4 lumber to provide a stable support for the camper (along with the jacks). Whether you have a 3-jack or 4-jack system you must raise the camper a sufficient amount to 'clear' the truck bed (I'd say at least 3 or 4 inches) when driving out from under the camper. Go very slowly & check your position/progress often. DO NOT allow the camper to contact any part of the truck bed while moving out; that may be 'ticklish' between the truck wheel wells but you can do it (remember, the camper had to go in there so it'll come out too). Once the truck is out from under the camper, carefully place your support system under the camper & lower the jacks a sufficient amount so it rests on the support base.The main trick in either loading or unloading is to go slow & check often. When unloading be sure to drive straight out from under the camper (have your steering tires oriented directly away along the centerline of the camper. Do the opposite when loading, just make sure you have your truck aligned with the camper before you begin to back under it.
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Old 09-24-2015, 10:01 PM   #4
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Name: Larry
Trailer: 1999 Kustom Koach-Westwind
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Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
Hi Larry, I'm a little fuzzy here, is it your truck bulbs or the campers? If it's the trucks the rear of the camper covers them anyway. Back when I had a cabover I never worried about those, only the ones on the camper. Those bulbs were accessed by removing the lens. Lifting the camper is a piece of cake and you don't need to remove it. Make sure any electrical connections are disconnected. Also, some slide ins have storage doors inside that use the space in front and behind the tire wells. Be sure to clear those areas too. Jack it up evenly in small lifts. I always started with the front so the overhead didn't hit the roof. To move the truck enough to get at your bulbs I'd stop the lift when I had 1/2 inch clearance off the bed. As you say, it is a pretty much straight forward process.
Hi Dave.

Its the lights of my truck and your right of course my camper covers them. That's why I was going to raise the camper and move the truck out to check the bulbs at the rear light.
Don't the truck lights affect the camper lights as well? Or are they two different wiring hookups?
Are you suggesting it might just be the camper light bulb that may be gone?

The lights are on the passenger side-rear, brake and turn signal doesn't work. I will check that camper light tomorrow and see if it is the problem. Boy I will be happy if I don't have to raise the camper. LOL
Oh and thanks for the reply much appreciated.

Larry
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Old 09-24-2015, 10:08 PM   #5
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Name: Larry
Trailer: 1999 Kustom Koach-Westwind
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harvey View Post
Not too sure about forum rules on this but, if it ain't a 'no no' check out the Truck Camper Forum at Truck Camper Forum - Truck Camper Community - I've been a member there for several years & some good info available.

I've also owned a number of truck campers from small 8' pop-up types to a Real-Lite with a 12.5' 'box' & side entry that weighed in the neighborhood of 3K pounds (they make much bigger ones now). I carried it on a 3/4 ton Ford Diesel P/U to which I added Air Lift air bags (for stability only, the truck had 8600# GVWR). For taking that one on/off I used a pair of huge, homemade, cable lift, camper jacks that took 2 people to 'wrestle' into position. On my other campers I've had both camper mounted hydraulic & mechanical (screw type) jacks, both 3-jack & 4-jack systems. The 4-jack systems are easier (IMO) to use than the 3-jack but the primary thing with each system is to have a nice level spot to work, & prepare a solid base for the camper to sit on after removal. Lots of folks just use the jacks to support the camper after it has been removed but I always used either a heavy duty trailer (for the Real-Lite) or several stacks of (3-high) concrete blocks & 2x4 lumber to provide a stable support for the camper (along with the jacks). Whether you have a 3-jack or 4-jack system you must raise the camper a sufficient amount to 'clear' the truck bed (I'd say at least 3 or 4 inches) when driving out from under the camper. Go very slowly & check your position/progress often. DO NOT allow the camper to contact any part of the truck bed while moving out; that may be 'ticklish' between the truck wheel wells but you can do it (remember, the camper had to go in there so it'll come out too). Once the truck is out from under the camper, carefully place your support system under the camper & lower the jacks a sufficient amount so it rests on the support base.The main trick in either loading or unloading is to go slow & check often. When unloading be sure to drive straight out from under the camper (have your steering tires oriented directly away along the centerline of the camper. Do the opposite when loading, just make sure you have your truck aligned with the camper before you begin to back under it.
Hi Harvey

Thanks for the info-much appreciated.

Larry
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Old 09-24-2015, 10:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Harvey View Post
you must raise the camper a sufficient amount to 'clear' the truck bed (I'd say at least 3 or 4 inches) when driving out from under the camper. Go very slowly & check your position/progress often. DO NOT allow the camper to contact any part of the truck bed while moving out;
Flash backs to scary moments of the past ...... which is why I now have a trailer.
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Old 09-24-2015, 11:25 PM   #7
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Larry, the wiring for the camper tail/brake lights should be spliced into the trucks wiring at some point. A bad truck bulb shouldn't make any difference to the camper. If you do find after checking the campers rear lights that something is out, I would be shining up the socket and replace the bulb. Wondering though, are you planning on leaving the rig on the truck 24/7? I used to take mine off and on every month during the desert season as I used the truck for work. I made up a pair of saw horses out of 4x4s for storage. They were just an inch or so shorter than I needed to lift the camper to clear the truck bed. Sure saved a lot of lifting too . Not sure now but I think it was about 4 inches of total lifting and drop to reload the camper, about 45 minutes. One other thing I want to add. If you do take the cabover off, do not put a cup of hot coffee between your legs . Without the added weight the rear end gets kind of stiff. You can fill in the blanks.......
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Old 09-27-2015, 10:42 AM   #8
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Name: Larry
Trailer: 1999 Kustom Koach-Westwind
Alberta
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Hi Dave

Went and purchased new bulbs for rear light on camper and got same
result-nothing. Looks like I will have
to raise the camper after all.
A question-you mentioned when raising the camper not to touch the sides when
pulling the truck away
It sounds like you had experience with that happening.What resulted from
doing that?

Thanks

Larry
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Old 09-27-2015, 10:56 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Flash backs to scary moments of the past ...... which is why I now have a trailer.
Somehow I can relate to that.
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Old 09-27-2015, 01:32 PM   #10
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Name: Larry
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Flash backs to scary moments of the past ...... which is why I now have a trailer.
Hi Carol

What exactly happened when you touched the sides of your truck camper?

Larry
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Old 09-27-2015, 01:53 PM   #11
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Trailer: '84 Scamp 13' & 2001 Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruizin View Post
Hi Dave

Went and purchased new bulbs for rear light on camper and got same
result-nothing. Looks like I will have
to raise the camper after all.
A question-you mentioned when raising the camper not to touch the sides when
pulling the truck away
It sounds like you had experience with that happening.What resulted from
doing that?


Thanks

Larry
Nuthin' much happened 'cause I wuz following my own advice & going very slowly. The camper had apparently 'twisted' slightly in the bed of the truck after mounting & when I started to pull away it was in a slight 'bind' against the truck wheel wells & began to put pressure on the jacks, just a little askew. I immediately stopped, backed up & straightened the truck in relation to the camper, then pulled out with no problem. If I had continued without correcting it might (probably would) have resulted in twisting of the jacks or even dislocating at least one...

As for the bulbs in in your camper lights, I'm not very optimistic that the problem is in your truck tail lights (could very well be in the truck wiring tho). Pretty sure that if it is wired correctly the truck light bulbs will have no effect on camper lights. You should be able to see if your truck signal/brake lights are working by looking from underneath or maybe even using a mirror, especially at night, just from a reflection of their operation. If the truck lights are not working, you may have a wiring/fuse problem which will affect both the truck & camper. Remove a lens from the camper lights & use a circuit tester to see if there's power to the light sockets when the truck lights are tested. If no power then trace the circuits back as far as necessary to find a break (either in positive [hot] or ground...

In my experience (50yrs of hauling/using truck campers) a majority of vehicle lighting problems are result of faulty ground.
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Old 09-27-2015, 06:44 PM   #12
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on Harvey's comments.....ground.
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Old 09-27-2015, 07:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cruizin View Post
Hi Carol

What exactly happened when you touched the sides of your truck camper?

Larry
Well in my case it was a full sized Bigfoot camper with Basement and although on a 3/4 ton truck it was a very snug fit. Use to camp a lot on the west coast and would like if possible to take the camper off the truck once at camping spot if staying for more than a day or two as the area we explore goes better without the camper on the truck due to the rough roads.

It was not to bad taking the camper off if it was on the flat pad in the driveway - could get a little scary though when on uneven ground & one side having to have the supports raised fairly high to get the truck clear and the slightest nudge against the box could have not so good consequences.

My experience was pretty well the same as Harvey's nothing major ever actually happened but that was only due to having gone VERY slowly and stopping the process backing up again and making some adjustments to make it a cleaner exit from the camper.

The whole process of taking it on and off always increased my heart rate just a touch One of the big reasons I now have a trailer.
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