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Yeah my ARE cap leaks. I was disappointed to find this out when it first rained. Do you have any photos of what you did to shore it up? Hope this isn't hijacking your thread OP, may be pertinent info in there for you too!
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Yeah my ARE cap leaks. I was disappointed to find this out when it first rained. Do you have any photos of what you did to shore it up? Hope this isn't hijacking your thread OP, may be pertinent info in there for you too!
No problem at all. As you suggest I might learn something as well.
 

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Yeah my ARE cap leaks. I was disappointed to find this out when it first rained. Do you have any photos of what you did to shore it up? Hope this isn't hijacking your thread OP, may be pertinent info in there for you too!
Several layers of the wide weatherstripping foam when the cap goes on, then 3M Flexiclear body seam sealer to fill any remaining gaps. I also use it to seal the interface between the skin the the tube frame, as that can be a leak source.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Maybe take some cues from:



All of those include a floor and are sealed units so they are different when it comes to sealing on the bad rails. On the anchoring to the truck they use the turnbuckles and most attach them to a bar that attaches to the frame under the bed. I could do that but I am hoping for something more discreet. I will review their sites a bit more though and see if I may have overlooked something. Thanks for the suggestion.
 

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Oh, one other thought... I run a Bedrug in the bed, under the topper. When I need to crawl up in the bed (or take a nap), it makes things way more comfy. We've experimented with a carpeted plywood false floor in the past, but the Bedrug is way better.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Anyone have any information on how much weight bed rails can support? I am thinking I will be about 500 pounds, maybe 600. Not sure the aluminum bed can support that. I may have to create some reinforcement or distribute some of the weight to the bed or even frame.
 

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Discussion Starter #28 (Edited)
Not much has happened since my injury but I did work a few hours on it this past weekend. Unfortunately it was all rework to account for how much this 16 gauge tubing bends when it gets hot. The piece below, with the two angled tubes going to the top has been cut out because it made that top bar sag. A LOT! I have it clamped in place and you can see on each end how it sagged. On the right it is about a 1/4" and the left is about 7/16". Thus it was cut out and replaced with a new straight piece on top. I haven't welded in new angled bracing yet. BTW, when I was cutting the right angled bar is when I hurt myself. I also had to repair the bottom bar on the two sides. The middle run on each side was bowing up in the middle. Thus I cut the two vertical bars off and rewelded to eliminate the bow.
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I also had problems with the cabover section dropping about 1/4". I could have left it but it annoyed me so I cut the bottom bar on each side. In the first pic you can see the cut and to get the cabover section straight there is about a 1/4" gap. I will fill this with weld and hopefully eliminate the drooping.
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Discussion Starter #29 (Edited)
It was a very productive weekend. I completed all of my rework and finished most of the bracing. In fact, what you see on the truck is complete minus a flip up part of the bed and the part that will hang down off of the back that ties the camper into the bed of the truck. When that part is complete the tailgate will be removed as it will be in the way. Right before putting it on the truck I weighed it. It is currently at 314 pounds. I think I will at least be at 500 pounds when done.
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I have 1 7/8" of clearance between the top of the cab and the bed platform of the camper. It will raise a little, maybe 1/16", once I put a seal between the truck bed rails and the bottom of the camper. I am also thinking about putting angle iron on the bottom of the camper. I haven't done that because it will add 50 pounds to the camper weight. The angle I plan to use is 3/16". So I am undecided at the moment. It would help me anchor it to the truck though.
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The wide part in the center here will be where the door goes. Once I get the bottom part built I will cut the bottom horizontal bar for the door.
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The front vertical brace was designed to match the angle of the cab. I think I got pretty close. The angle it creates with the next brace is going to make it hard to put the skin on, given it is a rigid skin. I tried it with cardboard and even that was difficult. The purpose of the angle is to help with wind resistance. An angle like this will push the air out, instead of it meeting a blunt wall.
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Determining how to anchor the camper to the truck and prevent having too much weight on the truck bed rails has been difficult. I have thought of numerous different options and not sure what would be best. The most direct option would be to drill holes through the bed rail cap, three each side. However I prefer to not drill holes in the bed rail caps. I have talked to a few people that did that with bed racks for RTT's and the metal started to crack. So right now I am leaning towards using the front bed bolts and the bolt that is for the tailgate straps. Both can be seen in the two pictures below circled in green. In the first picture there is a red dot on the bottom rail of the truck camper. This is the approximate horizontal center of gravity. This is without the rear bottom section of the camper. Therefore the true CG will be further back, which means I want to reduce the weight on the bed rails both in the front and the back.
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For the front I plan to put a 18" wide piece of steel plate across the floor of the truck. I plant to use the flat plate to help disperse the weight across the front part of the bed. It will have two braces coming down from the truck camper rails on each side. For the back it will be a single piece of steel flat plate on both sides of the truck camper and tie it into the tailgate strap anchor. I may bolt it to the truck bed where the hole can be seen as well.
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Discussion Starter #30 (Edited)
The more I think about the connection at the back it will need the weight distributed on the floor as well. so I will extend it all the way down to the bed of the truck or to the bumper.

I would love to get peoples thoughts on the current plan and if you can think of a different, or better option.
 

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Something to consider... once your frame is skinned and becomes rigid, it will tend to distribute its weight much better than the RTT frame your buddy has. The RTT frame is a series of point loads that coincide with a bolted connection. Any flexing or rocking around would put extra stress at one or more of the bolt locations... your camper should bear it’s weight evenly around the bed if you build it flat/level/square. The bolts are just there to hold it down.

I see nothing wrong with overkilling it, but I believe that you may be overthinking it... and you’ve heard that old saying, “it takes one to know one!”

Nicely done so far!

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I'd love to oblige your request for feedback.

But.......... I'm kinda in awe of the thought and effort you have already put into it. So how could I? Lol

I am surprised it already weighs as much as you say though. I mean it's nothing for a truck to carry, of course, but my eyeballs tell my brain that me and a buddy could just pick that frame up and effortlessly carry it. But I guess not.

Still, it's so cool. Enjoying watching it unfold

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Discussion Starter #33
Something to consider... once your frame is skinned and becomes rigid, it will tend to distribute its weight much better than the RTT frame your buddy has. The RTT frame is a series of point loads that coincide with a bolted connection. Any flexing or rocking around would put extra stress at one or more of the bolt locations... your camper should bear it’s weight evenly around the bed if you build it flat/level/square. The bolts are just there to hold it down.

I see nothing wrong with overkilling it, but I believe that you may be overthinking it... and you’ve heard that old saying, “it takes one to know one!”

Nicely done so far!

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You have a good point that I haven't thought of. I could easily wait on building the floor supports and then weigh the camper at the four corners and in between once it is skinned. This should give me a decent idea of how it is distributing the weight. Then, if there are any points with excessive weight, probably the front due to the cabover, I could build the additional support there. But the skin may alleviate the need for support at the back, which would be very nice.

Even with the weight distributed I can't ignore it. I read and saw pictures of the bed rails of a F250 being crushed with a 800 pound load on them. This occurred while off-roading where the stresses would be much higher than on road. This was an early 2000's model so I assume it had steel instead of aluminum.


I'd love to oblige your request for feedback.

But.......... I'm kinda in awe of the thought and effort you have already put into it. So how could I? Lol

I am surprised it already weighs as much as you say though. I mean it's nothing for a truck to carry, of course, but my eyeballs tell my brain that me and a buddy could just pick that frame up and effortlessly carry it. But I guess not.

Still, it's so cool. Enjoying watching it unfold

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The more feedback I get the better. So thanks for the input.

My son, he is 17, and I, decrepit mid-lifer, can easily lift it and move it around. We put it on the truck and remove it. No lifts at this point. It would be nice if we could do that when done. For some reason I don't want the expense or hassle of lifts. Besides, they are expensive.
 

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... if there are any points with excessive weight, probably the front due to the cabover, I could build the additional support there...

Even with the weight distributed I can't ignore it. I read and saw pictures of the bed rails of a F250 being crushed with a 800 pound load on them. This occurred while off-roading where the stresses would be much higher than on road.
The cab over cantilever could lead to some actual stress at the attachment points, so good call on that one.

The more attachment points you have at the bed rail, the less stress there will be at any one point... this also would potentially allow you to use smaller fasteners.

Another thing to consider... where and how the weight is transferred to the bed rails is just as important as how much total weight you have... think of an aluminum can. If careful, you can stand on one without crushing it but a simple poke to the sides and the thing will collapse.


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As far as stake pockets go, relying on them exclusively wouldn't be my first choice. I have rails mounted to the stake pockets for my kayak rack using modified bullring parts. First, they are a b!tch to get to from under the truck if you want to add bolts/nuts and second, they are not particularly strong. If you pull up the plastic bed side pieces you will see other possible holes and whatnot you might use. They just unclip and aren't really expensive if you have to replace them.


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Discussion Starter #36 (Edited)
As far as stake pockets go, relying on them exclusively wouldn't be my first choice. I have rails mounted to the stake pockets for my kayak rack using modified bullring parts. First, they are a b!tch to get to from under the truck if you want to add bolts/nuts and second, they are not particularly strong. If you pull up the plastic bed side pieces you will see other possible holes and whatnot you might use. They just unclip and aren't really expensive if you have to replace them.


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After looking at the pockets I abandoned that option. It doesn't appear to be pockets in the front and the way the camper straddled the pockets I would have to weld a vertical post to the camper and I didn't want to do that. In a post above you can see I switched to attaching to the floor of the bed. I think that will be much more secure.

I started to remove the plastic rail cap but quickly noticed I wouldn't be able to reach all the plastic tabs to squeeze them for removal. Thus I quit looking at that option. I wasn't sure if they would pull out okay without being squeezed or break.

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Discussion Starter #37 (Edited)
I was able to work on the rear wedge of the camper over the weekend for a few hours. Before starting I wanted to ensure the truck was level so my wedge is straight. The offroad levels on the dash are helpful to get you close. Then I put a level in the bed to fine tune it.
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Lots of clamping before welding. It always seems to take twice as long to do a task than it should. I guess if I didn't care if it was square it would be quicker.
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My design was to angle up from the end of the bed to the end of the camper. However, as I was mocking it up I decided to increased the length of the floor of the truck/camper by 1'. Thus I will have a 6.5' floor and the angle will go about 17" more horizontally and 20" vertically.
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Discussion Starter #39
Before I could create the wedge frame that goes across the back I had to cut the frame piece from the top that is in the doorway. It was a bit heavy but I got my band saw attached and was able to make a square cut using it.
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It wasn't long until I had the four angled parts of the wedge cut. I was tired of getting scratches in the paint so I took the time to tape the area. Not too concerned about the scratches but why make it worse when simple measures can protect it.
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The outside part of the wedge has been tack welded and here I am working on aligning the center part of the frame to ensure I have a square door.
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I bought this tab off of Amazon. I am using it to attach the wedge to the truck.
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It will connect to the bolt pictured. It is used to attached the tailgate straps. If you look closely you can barely see the tab peeking through.
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A few glamour shots after getting everything tacked in place. I have a lot of welding and grinding to do given the entire wedge is only tack welded and the back part of the frame is tack welded as well. After that is finished I will start placing my weather stripping where the frame sets on the truck bed rails and between the frame and the wedge so I can finalize the fitment/positions of my connection points to the truck.
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I took the time to remove the plastic cap off of the bed rail to see what it looks like underneath. I didn't really find any benefit to removing the cap versus leaving it attached. Not to mention it was a pain in the but to remove. So I am leaning towards leaving the caps on. The camper will be attached to the forward bed bolts and using the tailgate support bolts. I will also either use clamps or bolts along the edges for additional support. I am planning at least eight attachment points. This should be more than enough. I will also have weight relief for the bed rails in the front and in the back. With Independence day coming up it is time for a break in the build but I am excited to get it completed. Getting close.
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Looks awesome! Disappointing to see how puny the stake pockets are. I was thinking there'd be more meat there under the plastic. I guess the plastic is there for a reason!

How much weight are you planning on that cantilever portion? Is this going to have a pop-up on it?
 
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