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Cabover Campers & Camper Trailers (pickups)



  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    Made a quick round trip to CA pulling the travel trailer and three dirtbikes on board of a F350 SD V10 CC 4x4 Auto 3.73 last weekend.

    Got mostly 8 mpg or so running 65. Hurrying back to Flagstaff, during my driving stint, over the course of 150 miles I burned like 23 gallons of gas for a whopping 6mpg running mostly 77mph.

    Hoping my new 6.0L CC 2500HD 5 speed 4.10 does as good if not better.

    New truck is on a railcar headed for AZ. Hope to be driving by the end of the month.
  • Have you tried using Edmunds' used vehicle appraiser? Here's a direct
    link. Good luck. ;-)

    Pickups Message Board

  • vince4vince4 Posts: 1,272
    If you read the Edmunds Taurus board you will quickly learn that 3.8L = blown head gasket. You should pose your question there. I'd say you would be lucky to get over $1000 for it now. Unfortunately American cars have lousy resale value and low demand. My dad just sold a similar age Taurus (excellent cond) with 70k miles for $4000. He ended up selling it to an accquatance after getting no response to a newspaper add.
  • saarisaari Posts: 11
    Are there any cab overs that will go on a 6ft.Extended cab Ranger4x4?
  • I have been researching truck campers for over a year now and have come up with a method that I think is very close. If you deduct 600 lbs from the rated payload this is close to what you can carry. (30gal. gas; 2 people @ 150 lbs.) Then add 700 lbs to the dry weight of the camper. (water, lp,AC,battery,and other options.) I know gas doesn't weigh 10 # per gal but most of us don't only weigh 150#. My air bags prob. weigh 40 # and this has to be added in. These are not exact weights but they will get you real close.
  • outbakoutbak Posts: 10
    This is in reply to Volkej's post 327 on Feb 19 about a clear film you can put on the front of your vehicle to protect against rock chips. There is a company in Littleton CO. that produces just such a product.

    Automotive Protection
    3690 Norwood Dr.
    Littleton, CO 80125
  • n75v111n75v111 Posts: 243
    Just traveled Casa Grande, Phoenix, Flagstaff to Denver last Thur. Then had to hold up in North Platte because of the ice on Friday. on way back to IA.

    No response necessary.

  • vince4vince4 Posts: 1,272
    Some companies make campers for small trucks but a cabover hardside is a bit much for your truck. You should be looking at popups. See my next post for ideas.
  • mledtjemledtje Posts: 1,123
    Hi Vince,

    Here are a couple of sites to add to your list:



    And here is a site that lists manufacturers. Most are RV or trailer manufacturers, but some make campers. I haven't take the time to cross check your list against the possible camper manufacturers in this list.

    RV Manufacturers index:

    Mike L

  • vince4vince4 Posts: 1,272
    Thanks for the additions Mike. Who ever heard of Summer Wind campers?
  • erikf2erikf2 Posts: 100
    Visit their Web site; these are nice campers. My final choice was between Summer Wind and Northern Lite.
  • vince4vince4 Posts: 1,272
    I did take a quick look at the site. The alum frame looks nice (although I've never had any problem with wood) but expensive. Do you know how much they cost?
  • Hello,

    I am in the market for a slide-in camper. Before I make the leap, thought I might look for ideas on how people have modified their truck beds and truck caps into "comfortable" campers. Of primary concern is how to keep warm in the colder Fall months. Last time I woke up, my dog's water bowl and I were frozen solid. Never again!!!

    Any suggestions or ideas would be appreciated. I currently have a Dodge Ram 1500 short bed with a cab high Snug Top Cap.
  • vince4vince4 Posts: 1,272
    If you're interested in a light weight camper, check out the popup link list a few posts back.
  • mledtjemledtje Posts: 1,123
    I don't think it is possible to modify a camper shell into a comfortable cold weather camper.

    A good alternative is to buy a 4 Wheel camper shell model. It is a small popup camper that has some insulation, a good sized bed, and an optional heater.

    When the camper is down, it has about the same internal size as a camper shell. When it is up, you have enough room to stand. I think it weighs about 7-800lbs.

    Check it out at:

    Mike L

  • markbuckmarkbuck Posts: 1,021
    Bought my 2500HD with camper wiring. Figured go ahead and put an outlet in the front left side of the bed. Is there a standard Camper type connector/recepticle? and a standard location? Also figured on adding Happijack tiedowns.... any good mail order places? Our local trailer sho went outta business since I last did this for my ol '89 F350....

    Buddy has a new Lance, gonna check his truck for the connector type.

    Figuring on pony'ing up for a new Lance this summer....
  • vince4vince4 Posts: 1,272
    There is no standard for connectors. I replaced the plastic Lance connector with a nice metal weather-tight version because the former owner had goofed it up. I don't know what type of receptacle Lance supplies.

    I was talking with the manager at the rv parts store here about Lance. He said they don't sell their mating connector to anyone but Lance dealers, but he had recently talked with the owner of Lance and made an agreement to begin selling it.

    By coincidence, that store is also the best rv parts source I've found on the web. If they don't list the connector, send them an e-mail. It's a small place, I assume they will be happy to answer.

  • kingfishguskingfishgus Posts: 112
    I've camped in cool weather in an empty van and a pickup with a shell in a campground. All I did was to add a full size bed mattress from the house, electric blanket and a electric coffee pot. Sort of worked OK, at least I lived. Beat the heck out of the night I spend wet/frozen in a tent with ice forming outside. Of course if you don't have electricity I'd reccomend either 3 dogs or a big companion.
  • erikf2erikf2 Posts: 100
    I must be following too many forums; I **meant** to post this here, but actually posted it in the Pickup Trurk Accessories forum. Anyway, some info and a question...

    A gentleman over on the PickupTruck.Com Aftermarket Parts Forum was kind enough post some information on a very intriguing product. The product is an extendable towing mirror which is available with both power control and **heat**. The mirrors are manufactured by Lucerix in Brazil ( and are available in the U.S. from AutoMirror Source.Com ( Here's the link to the message thread over on PickupTruck.Com -

    Does anybody else have any experience with Lucerix products? It appears that they do quite a bit of business in the Class A and commercial-truck markets.

  • Anyone familiar with Lofty Shelters? These are the hard shell tents that are mounted on top of you pickup shell. As I continue to ponder the alternatives, I thought about the idea of configuring the truck bed as a galley and storage area, and utilize the top of the shell for a bedroom. Not perfect, but another idea.

    Also...does anyone have any experience with the Australian company that manufactures Ultimate Off-Road Campers?
  • vince4vince4 Posts: 1,272
    I've never heard of X-Mount mirrors but they look pretty good on the web. One thing I don't like, they use flat glass on both sides. There is another brand available that looks more like a car mirror but has a power telescoping feature with a bellows type of mount. I think Camping World sells them as well as other common outlets.

    If you have a 99+ GM you can get factory "camper mirrors" which extend but are not power. They were actually a negative cost option on my truck. I would have been happy to pay hundreds for power though, at least on the hard to reach side.

    If GM ever changes the camper mirrors to power please post the news here. I'd be interested in converting one of mine.
  • vince4vince4 Posts: 1,272
    What is it that you are looking for other than a warm nights rest? If you had a camper would you leave it on? Do you carry cargo or go off road? What is the motivation to keep the shell, cost?
  • Excellent questions! I'm looking for a comfortable place to be when I'm in the great outdoors. I have to quintessential examples. The first was a cold night in early fall in the sierras, when I slept in the back of the truck and the dog bowl froze. I tried to cuddle with Jake my black lab to stay warm, but he wanted nothing to do with me. The second was last year when I was in the mountains with my tent all setup...and along came the thunder showers. I ended up packing my tent and finding a motel. How great it would have been to sit at the edge of this mountain lake and watch the storm come in. I too am a waterfowler, and would like to take it to refuges for overnights during the hunting season. If I had a camper, I'd take it off between trips. I do carry, canoe, hunting & fishing gear, sail for my canoe, etc. Probably no more than anyone else. Oh yeah, my wife comes sometimes too;) The money isn't really a problem, and I was pretty set to go for a Four Wheel Camper. Then I got excited about the Phoenix Campers. When I found this site and started reading about everyone's difficulties and dissatisfaction with the various campers, I became somewhat discouraged. For $10 grand, I'd like be happy with the quality of my camper. That's been my motivation for finding an alternative. Anyway, that's my long winded story. Hope it's helpful in providing guidance. Much obliged. David
  • mledtjemledtje Posts: 1,123
    I don't think everyone is dissatisfied with the Phoenix or 4Wheel campers.

    Admittedly, they are not perfect, but they do what we want them to do. I still think the 4Wheel camper probably has better quality than the Phoenix. But, we still like our Phoenix. We have over 25,000 miles on it and it is holding up well. We did have some initial problems, but these are low volume, hand built products and you will not get the quality you expect from a new car without paying much more than I did.

    My wife could put up the top on the 4Wheel camper without difficulty. She cannot put up the top on our Phoenix, it is too heavy for her to lift. Maybe that is because we got a custom sized product (custom width, height and different lift height) and the leverages for the lifting mechanisms have not been optimized.

    Our camper is comfortable for cold weather camping down to the teens. Probably much lower if we use the heater.

    I've camped in a tent in the mid teens, in torrential downpours, in snow, and found it acceptable with the right equipment and preparation. The pop up camper takes care of most of those concerns. I think you will still have most of the tent issues with a 'Lofty Shelter'.

    You might also condidre a used trailer. I've seen 16' Casita's and other small campers for under $5K.

    Mike L
  • asarlesasarles Posts: 1
    I bought a 2001 chevy silverado 3500 diesel dualy with the 5 speed automatic transmition.I am in the process of picking up a 11&1/2 foot Lance camper the biggest they make.I will be getting air bags and what ever else it takes to make it as safe as I can get it. The truck is smooth as can be as far as driving and having the power to haul.It's the weight of the camper in the truck I am concerned about. Is someone out there running around with my future setup? I would like to know about the handling and what to look out for. You know how the salesmen are.You can have a volkswagon and they will tell you it can haul a 30 footer. Anyway,what ever info I recieve would be greatly appreciated. Thank , Art
  • vince4vince4 Posts: 1,272
    You need a camper. No doubt, no hesitation, start choosing a model. From the description of your needs a camper fits perfectly and you'll enjoy it more than you think. I love being out in the wilderness during stormy weather and having a warm and cozy refuge when needed. Rain, snow, freeze, whatever. No problem. I sit inside in a tee shirt and read a book, cook dinner, listen to music etc. During the El Nino winter here in CA we had some tremendous storms. I was standing on the beach in the middle of one and it was a sight to see. I've never seen the ocean like that. Very exciting and exelerating, for 15 minutes, then run back to the camper to get warm and dry! Of course I enjoy summer camping too, but I appreciate the camper more in the winter.

    I also have a lab (chocolate) and she likes the camper as much as I do. It's a good way to travel with a dog because I can leave her in the camper without worry or guilt when I wish to go do something.

    So it sounds like you are wanting a pop-up rather than a hardside camper. Are you past that decision point now and ready to start talking brand etc.?
  • vince4vince4 Posts: 1,272
    Take a look at the various pictures on my web site

    There are many camper shots of my Lance and Mike's popup.

  • vince4vince4 Posts: 1,272
    With such a beefy truck I'd say you wouldn't need any additions, except for the size of your camper. Our only participant with a similar rig is Brutus, you can see some pictures of his F350 dually w/Bigfoot on my site mentioned above. He added air bags and I think that's all. Our favorite additions are: air bags, rear stabilizer bar, Bilstien or Rancho 9000 shocks. If your truck doesn't have a rear bar, get one. Other than that the truck may be good as is. I have air bags on my 2500 but could get away without (2500lb camper). I use them to restore normal ride height to keep the headlights pointing down and I assume to improve handling. I say assume because I've never carried the camper without the air bags in place. I also use them to help level out in the campsite.

    So to answer your question, after the bar I'd install air bags next. They aren't very expensive and do give you added flexibility.
  • volkejvolkej Posts: 108
    David - You may have been reading more into the problems that have been reported than were actually there. Mike L. is correct when he says these campers are not perfect, but what is?
    I purchased a Four Wheel Camper shell model and then added the stuff I wanted. The only big option I purchased with the camper was a furnace and I'm not sure I would do that again. On several occasions, instead of using the furnace, I've used one of those little Coleman catalytic heaters that use the small propane bottles and have been very comfortable. The only problem is you don't have a thermostat to control the heat, but the furnace is like $700 and you can buy a lot of propane bottles for that kind of money.
    I've installed cabinets, water tank & sink, couch, porta pottie, etc., to make the camper very comfortable, and for a lot less money than I would have been charged for the same things from the factory. I've also installed those things so they can be easily removed if I want to use the shell to haul stuff. Best of both worlds. You can also get an extra wide door for the shell model that makes it easier to load large items. I think the shell model is a good way to go.
    I've had a few problems with the camper that were annoying, but easily corrected. I had to use seam sealer on the popup portion of the camper to weather seal it. Although it wasn't difficult to do it was particularly aggravating because I thought the factory should have done it. How can you sell a supposed all weather camper that has not been seam sealed?
    Overall I'm satisfied with the camper, but with the advantage of hindsight wonder if I wouldn't have been happier with a small travel trailer. I don't like carrying the camper all the time, but I don't have any place convenient to store it, so I have to leave it on my truck. If I do take it off I have to store it in one of those storage yards and if I have to do that I might as well have gotten a trailer. That's something to think about.

    "I have got no further than this: Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has the right to knock him down for it." - Johnson
This discussion has been closed.