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Aluminum Camper Cradle

adamis
Nomad
Nomad
I teased this in another thread but thought I would start a new one completely. My Bigfoot Camper is not tall enough to clear the roof of my cab and needs to be lifted about 3". For several years, I ran high density foam sandwiched between pressure treated plywood. While this worked well enough, it was clear the foam was beginning to compress under the load. I also think it added some bounce / movement to the camper more than necessary.

I've had it on my mind to build a cradle for the camper for some time now. I finally got the chance to execute it. I used 3"x5"x0.25" Box tubing for the frame and the sides are 0.25"x6"x12". The box tubing used was way overkill but I didn't notice it until after I had it loaded at the supply depot. Also, we had initially planned to go with 3"x4"x0.25" tubing but they didn't have any so the 3"x5" was forced on us. If I where to do this again, I would go with 3"x3" by 3/16" thickness which I think would provide ample strength where it is needed but not be way overkill.

All of this was fully welded up. Foam was cut to go in the center to support the center of the camper. A rubber mat when on the floor of the bed, the cradle on top and then another rubber mat on top. I also added rubber padding to the sides that support the camper from moving around. There is about 0.25" to 0.5" between the cradle and the base of the camper. Later on I will be adding additional rubber on the support arms to close this gap so camper will stay completely centered (ran out of time and rubber material adhesive).

Prior to all of this work, I opened up the belly of the camper and re-supported all of my holding tanks, making sure they all were tilted and support correctly (both fresh and grey tank were sagging in the wrong direction leaving only 75% usable capacity available.

Overall, very happy with the project. I have my friend Jay to thank for helping with the welding and fabrication plus his yard to do the work. Heck of a great guy. I didn't take a ton of pics but hopefully these will suffice for the curious.

My next project will be to service all of my very tired jacks. They just barely lift the camper these days, I think the motors are just about shot. At least I won't be needing them for a while now and can likely remove them indefinitely to work on them!










1999 F350 Dually with 7.3 Diesel
2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Camper
3 REPLIES 3

deserteagle56
Explorer II
Explorer II
adamis wrote:

My next project will be to service all of my very tired jacks. They just barely lift the camper these days, I think the motors are just about shot. At least I won't be needing them for a while now and can likely remove them indefinitely to work on them!


Let me know the results of this. I'm in the same situation...jacks barely able to lift the camper off the truck. A month ago I completely disassembled each jack, thinking perhaps the screws in the jacks were dry or dirty, making it hard for the motors to turn them. But they were all very clean, all lubed. Gearbox gears were fine also. Checking around, I don't see replacement motors for my jacks (1996 model Bigfoot, Reico-Titan jacks) available so I'm not sure where to go from here. And I don't know if these little motors can be rebuilt. Brushes on the one motor I pulled apart were in good shape.
1996 Bigfoot 2500 9.5 on a 2004 Dodge/Cummins dually

adamis
Nomad
Nomad
opnspaces wrote:
Never had a truck camper. But shouldn't there be support across the whole bed and not just at the edges?


The fink foam is actually quite dense and was what I supported the entire camper on prior to this project. It will support the middle just fine. Most of the weight is on the perimeter of the camper but support does need to be in the center to help support the holding tanks. The pink foam is more than sufficient for the task.

1999 F350 Dually with 7.3 Diesel
2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Camper

opnspaces
Navigator
Navigator
Never had a truck camper. But shouldn't there be support across the whole bed and not just at the edges?
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2001 Suburban 4x4. 6.0L, 4.10 3/4 ton **** 2005 Jayco Jay Flight 27BH **** 1986 Coleman Columbia Popup