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Old 11-28-2012, 05:59 PM
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Arrow Home Made Cabover Campers? Pics?



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So I have decided to build a cab over camper for my F250. It's a 2001 extended cab with a shortbed and a 7.3l. Unfortunately the used market for a short bed camper with a shower and bathroom without bed hangover is in the high range, 7-8k, in my area and I simply don't have that much money. I have built a teardrop trailer before and used to tow it with my Jeep but now that I have this truck and I tow my Jeep on a flatbed I need a place for my girlfriend and dog and I to sleep. It will be my primary BOV as the Jeep doesn't have the range that the truck does. I'm going to use square steel tubing to frame it, one double sized bed over the cab, a 2 burner stove top, small 3 way fridge, sink and a small shower. The toilet will be a 5 gallon porta potty as I don't think I will have room for a black water tank as well as a grey water tank. I'm looking for pictures of some cab over campers people here have built. Pictures of the construction phase would be great as well. The teardrop I built was from a set of plans but I will be designing this one on my own. There are a lot of used parts on craigslist so finding the expensive stuff will be easy and ebay is crawling with deals on windows and such. From what I have added up on paper it should cost somewhere around 2k to build depending on what thickness steel I use on the frame and how I side it. Any input on this would be great. Thanks!
Old 11-28-2012, 06:31 PM
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The Pirate4x4 forum has some cool stuff guys have done. You could probably get some ideas here

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/30-tow-rigs-trailers/
Old 11-28-2012, 06:36 PM
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A few years ago, The builder showed me the cabover camper he made for him and his wife, for his Ford Ranger. He used 1" box steel tubing for the frame, glued 1" of foam in between the steel tubing, and epoxed 3/4" sq. wood strips about 18" apart running from front to rear, tapered to nothing at the ends, and covered it with Aircraft Fabric, ( Poly-Fiber) The fabric is heat shrinkable with an iron and painted with Poly-Fiber paint. Water proof, and will last for 25+ years setting outside. He covered the inside with light weight 1/8" wood paneling. He put used camper windows and door in it. Looked great and was light weight and low cost. Pops
Old 11-28-2012, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpledger03 View Post
The Pirate4x4 forum has some cool stuff guys have done. You could probably get some ideas here

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/30-tow-rigs-trailers/

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearhawk View Post
A few years ago, The builder showed me the cabover camper he made for him and his wife, for his Ford Ranger. He used 1" box steel tubing for the frame, glued 1" of foam in between the steel tubing, and epoxed 3/4" sq. wood strips about 18" apart running from front to rear, tapered to nothing at the ends, and covered it with Aircraft Fabric, ( Poly-Fiber) The fabric is heat shrinkable with an iron and painted with Poly-Fiber paint. Water proof, and will last for 25+ years setting outside. He covered the inside with light weight 1/8" wood paneling. He put used camper windows and door in it. Looked great and was light weight and low cost. Pops
I hope I quoted these right. I have checked out some of the rigs on pirate but they're usually geared towards the offroad trailer types.

Bearhawk that's what I'm talking about. I would probably opt for aluminum siding over the fabric because I have a lot more experience with it however I am really looking for ideas on the frame portion. I am dead set on using steel for the frame because I have the tools to do it and it's the material I prefer to work with but after hours of searching I am yet to find the average wall thickness and OD of the steel people are using. 1 inch seems a little small to me but I could be wrong. I also plan on using 1/8 wood paneling on the interior as I used it on my previous trailer I built. Thanks for the input!
Old 11-28-2012, 11:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearhawk View Post
A few years ago, The builder showed me the cabover camper he made for him and his wife, for his Ford Ranger. He used 1" box steel tubing for the frame, glued 1" of foam in between the steel tubing, and epoxed 3/4" sq. wood strips about 18" apart running from front to rear, tapered to nothing at the ends, and covered it with Aircraft Fabric, ( Poly-Fiber) The fabric is heat shrinkable with an iron and painted with Poly-Fiber paint. Water proof, and will last for 25+ years setting outside. He covered the inside with light weight 1/8" wood paneling. He put used camper windows and door in it. Looked great and was light weight and low cost. Pops
I'm an A&P mechanic so I've worked with that stuff before - one time, 10 years ago... So I never would have though but that's a great idea - treat it like an airplane.

Don't know how well it would be security wise... But it should be really light...
Old 11-29-2012, 06:59 AM
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Here is a link to plans for just such things. They aren't free but, they are good plans.
http://www.glen-l.com/campers/glenlrv.html

Check this one out: http://www.glen-l.com/campers/fairhaven.html

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Old 11-30-2012, 09:15 PM
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The camper that I was talking about was at the old Piper factory at Lock Haven, Pa. The annual Piper J-3 Cub flyin back to the factory.
He welded the frame from 1" box tubing X 1/8"wall . A shotgun will take care of securty. Light and does a good job. Pops


Quote:
Originally Posted by cobra2411 View Post
I'm an A&P mechanic so I've worked with that stuff before - one time, 10 years ago... So I never would have though but that's a great idea - treat it like an airplane.

Don't know how well it would be security wise... But it should be really light...
Old 11-30-2012, 09:44 PM
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I would keep looking for a cabover camper. We had one a few years ago that we bought used. We found it at a fantastic deal that was cheaper than the cost of materials. It was the base model and didn't even have air conditioning. I found a Coleman roof unit on a wrecked camper at a junk yard and ran a separate circuit for that. Once you figure in the cost of setting it up with all the stuff you want and need you could probably have found a good deal on used.

Be willing to drive to get within the price range you want. We have done that to get our motorhome on the cheap and last summer I bought my wife a Harley sportster for half what it was worth but, I had to ride it home 300 miles, which was a good way to make sure it was a good bike. For a good deal on a cabover, were I looking for one, I'd be willing to go probably 800+ miles.

I have a friend that is one heck of a mechanic and buys his cars from ebay. He always has to drive them home a long way. But, both his daughters are in college and one drives a Jaguar (with a Chevy 350) and the other a Mercedes. They needed some serious work when he bought them so he got them for a song. He drives a 1999 BMW 740IL that he bought for $4,000.00 bucks.

Point is, I have seen a few home built cabover campers. Very few of them were decent. Also, homebuilts tend to be heavier than the factory jobs. An F-250 is already doing a lot of work to haul these things. I'll bet you can find a used one that needs some TLC for less than the cost of materials. The only warning I would give is watch for mold if the roof has been leaking. I'm not opposed to a little water damage. But, when it crosses a certain thresh hold it's a really bad thing. You know how water creeps and sits and rots. Just know that you need to check for that if you find a used one.

lastly, we loved our old cabover. We camped year round in that thing and had a ball. The cabover bed was really cold up next to the single pane window. The propane heater worked really well but, that one spot was cold. The water closet was basically just a toilet but, when in need.. Get one of those steering wheel locks or some way to make sure no one drives off in your truck while you're sleeping in the cabover camper.
Old 11-30-2012, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by falconbrother View Post
I would keep looking for a cabover camper. We had one a few years ago that we bought used. We found it at a fantastic deal that was cheaper than the cost of materials. It was the base model and didn't even have air conditioning. I found a Coleman roof unit on a wrecked camper at a junk yard and ran a separate circuit for that. Once you figure in the cost of setting it up with all the stuff you want and need you could probably have found a good deal on used.

Be willing to drive to get within the price range you want. We have done that to get our motorhome on the cheap and last summer I bought my wife a Harley sportster for half what it was worth but, I had to ride it home 300 miles, which was a good way to make sure it was a good bike. For a good deal on a cabover, were I looking for one, I'd be willing to go probably 800+ miles.

I have a friend that is one heck of a mechanic and buys his cars from ebay. He always has to drive them home a long way. But, both his daughters are in college and one drives a Jaguar (with a Chevy 350) and the other a Mercedes. They needed some serious work when he bought them so he got them for a song. He drives a 1999 BMW 740IL that he bought for $4,000.00 bucks.

Point is, I have seen a few home built cabover campers. Very few of them were decent. Also, homebuilts tend to be heavier than the factory jobs. An F-250 is already doing a lot of work to haul these things. I'll bet you can find a used one that needs some TLC for less than the cost of materials. The only warning I would give is watch for mold if the roof has been leaking. I'm not opposed to a little water damage. But, when it crosses a certain thresh hold it's a really bad thing. You know how water creeps and sits and rots. Just know that you need to check for that if you find a used one.

lastly, we loved our old cabover. We camped year round in that thing and had a ball. The cabover bed was really cold up next to the single pane window. The propane heater worked really well but, that one spot was cold. The water closet was basically just a toilet but, when in need.. Get one of those steering wheel locks or some way to make sure no one drives off in your truck while you're sleeping in the cabover camper.
I see what you're saying and I don't disagree. I have driven quite a long distance to buy certain things but the problem is finding a camper with an interior shower and toilet that is made for a shortbed truck with no overhang. There wasn't really a market for them in the past because most people had a long bed truck. Also, I'm not adding most of the amenities that most new campers have. I am not going to use a/c, no heater and no oven. The interior will include a shower, portapotty, 2 burner stove top, small sink, the smallest (2'x2') norcold fridge made, and a double size mattress pad. I cannot have any overhang past the bed because I tow my Jeep with my truck and I am not going to use one of those hitch extenders. I have seen what happens when they brake and I don't trust them. I will be adding heavier leafs in the back of my truck along with airbags. Also, the entire outside will be skinned in aluminum and the insulation will be styrofoam panels with either hardboard or vinyl interior walls. I am certain that it will not weigh more than 1600 pounds dry when done. I am simply looking for someone who has built a steel frame camper so they can tell me what size and wall thickness the tubing was that they used. While I have built a lot of roll cages and done a lot of vehicle fabrication I have never used metal in this application which is why I would like to know these things so I don't use too small or too big of tubing.
Old 11-30-2012, 11:22 PM
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Callen Camper out of San Diego makes steel (and aluminum) framed campers.
http://www.callencamper.com/index.htm

Pretty sure it's one inch steel. They are very strong and really heavy.

I see them on Craigslist all the time between $1000 and $2000(Shell model)
You might be able to get a good deal on a nice one then spend your time on customizing it.

Here's a non cab over model with an unfinished interior to give you more of an idea of the construction.
Old 12-01-2012, 12:47 AM
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Nice thanks Ryno I looked em up and I think I'll take a drive over and ask em some questions and try and get a look at how they build em. I've been searchin for quite a while for gutted shells but nothing seems to come up in a good price range and the right size.
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