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Bigfoot 2500 Underbelly, Thoughts and Pics

adamis
Nomad
Nomad
Starting on a project on the camper (Bigfoot 2500, 10.6) and as part of it, I needed to remove the bottom panels of the camper to see where the tanks are. I took some pics and stitched them together to give a rough idea of what the tanks and layout look like for anyone else that might want to know. The stitching isn't perfect, just working with the quick pics I could take.

Anyway, here are some thoughts...

1. The tanks are hung from the floor. This is a Bigfoot 2500 basement model. When the camper is sitting in the bed of the truck one would think the tanks would settle onto the bottom of the camper which would in turn be on the floor of the truck but that isn't really the case.

2. The tanks are actually suspended via the straps. The insulating foam (removed for pics) that was used is a low density foam and would compress easily with weight. This means, more than likely, your tanks are always being supported by the straps and not resting on the floor of your truck.

3. The straps, especially for the larger tank was insufficient. They also stretch it appears from years in service. The result is the tanks will bulge down where not supported thus leaving sections of the tank lower than the water outlet.

4. My fresh water tank and the way it was supported left ~20% of the water unusable due to first the straps sagging leaving the rear (where the hose connects) at a higher angle than the front of the tank. Also, the placement of the hose bib fitting means the tank will never be empty.

5. There is a LOT of unused tank volume available if one was to make their own tanks from aluminum or something. The tank height might be able to increase at least an 1" (maybe more if you weren't worried about having insulation between the tank and the fiberglass body). The front portion of the tank (L shape) could be widened maybe four more inches.

6. The grey tank (middle tank) could also be increased substantially. Additional strapping should be added and for some reason, the back strap actually goes over the sending unit wiring and fittings so it's compromised.

7. The black tank could also substantially be increased in size as well. Both in height and width.

For my current project, (and the amount of time I have) I'm just going to try to add more straps, address the budging and angles of the fresh tank so I get more usable capacity out of it.

For future projects, should I find myself with way more time, custom tanks could be made to increase the holding capacity for each of these by at least 15% if not 20%. I don't think I will ever get there myself but it certainly would be an interesting project.


1999 F350 Dually with 7.3 Diesel
2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Camper
20 REPLIES 20

StirCrazy
Navigator
Navigator
stevenal wrote:
StirCrazy wrote:


I think that it is more of a matter of them not wanting the liability. I have been to ford dealerships, lube change places and such and none had a problem with my camper being on the truck


I can assure you the bays are not tall enough. Even if it was simply a liability issue, that would be reason enough to keep jacks on.


oh ya I always keep my jacks on mine. That's weird that a dealership doesn't have full 14 foot doors.
2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

stevenal
Nomad
Nomad
StirCrazy wrote:


I think that it is more of a matter of them not wanting the liability. I have been to ford dealerships, lube change places and such and none had a problem with my camper being on the truck


I can assure you the bays are not tall enough. Even if it was simply a liability issue, that would be reason enough to keep jacks on.
'18 Bigfoot 1500 Torklifts and Fastguns
'17 F350 Powerstroke Supercab SRW LB 4X4

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
Yeah, removing the jacks off a TC is like hooking up a trailer and locking the hitch on and throwing away the key.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

StirCrazy
Navigator
Navigator
stevenal wrote:
My local Ford dealership service bays cannot accommodate my truck with the camper on board. I'd hate to get stuck on the road somewhere with a similar situation and no jacks.


I think that it is more of a matter of them not wanting the liability. I have been to ford dealerships, lube change places and such and none had a problem with my camper being on the truck
2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

adamis
Nomad
Nomad
stevenal wrote:
My local Ford dealership service bays cannot accommodate my truck with the camper on board. I'd hate to get stuck on the road somewhere with a similar situation and no jacks.


Valid concern but my truck being older than 20 years won't be visiting any Ford dealerships for service anytime soon. The times that I have needed work done, it's been a small independent shop and they just wrenched on it outside. Not ideal but got the job done.

I'm still debating removing the jacks entirely. I do need to remove them to service them. Whether they go back on or not will just depend on how comfortable I am after a few short trips without.

1999 F350 Dually with 7.3 Diesel
2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Camper

stevenal
Nomad
Nomad
My local Ford dealership service bays cannot accommodate my truck with the camper on board. I'd hate to get stuck on the road somewhere with a similar situation and no jacks.
'18 Bigfoot 1500 Torklifts and Fastguns
'17 F350 Powerstroke Supercab SRW LB 4X4

StirCrazy
Navigator
Navigator
mike/kellie wrote:
With the likelihood of being jackless, make sure you carry a bottle jack rated to lift more than the OEM in the event of a rear tire change.


OEM, at least my ford, is rated to jack up a rear tire with the truck loaded to its full capacity. I tested that last summer and it worked great, although a nice hydraulic bottle jack would probably be faster....
2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

mike_kellie
Explorer II
Explorer II
With the likelihood of being jackless, make sure you carry a bottle jack rated to lift more than the OEM in the event of a rear tire change.
2015 Host Mammoth triple slide w/ TorkLift Fastguns
2015 Ram 5500 SLT cab & chassis with Douglass 9' utility body

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
Awesome! My bad. I didn’t know you had the camper padded up that high in the bed. Perfect solution.
And operation saggy tanks looks solid too! Nice work.
I think it’s almost a long term maintenance item on TCs. Our old one was great and then a little saggy when full tanks off the truck and then one day. Pop. Lost a tanks strap. Similar deal. Braced them all up.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

adamis
Nomad
Nomad
Grit dog wrote:
What’s the cradle for and what does it have to do with the jacks? :h


The cradle serves two functions. First, it raises the camper 3" so the camper will clear the roof of the truck. Second, it prevents it from sliding side to side in the bed of the truck. Previously I used a combination of Foam sandwiched between plywood coupled with rubber mats. This all worked well enough but since the weight of the camper is along the perimeter of the camper, the foam on the outside edge of the platform was starting to get more compressed than the inside. This also was leading to some additional movement in the camper on rough roads because of the compressive nature of the foam. The platform addresses both of these issues.

As far as removing the jacks, the camper stays on the truck full time. The only need for the jacks was to either realign if the camper moved around in the bed or to stabilize in windy conditions. With the cradle in place, the camper has very little room to move in the bed of the truck so that eliminates that issue. As far as the stability is concerned, I've put the jacks down maybe twice in 5 years and while nice, I can partially get the same stability by inflating the airbags on the truck to provide some rigidity to the springs.

I want to remove the jacks for two reasons. The first is to service them as they are very tired and barely lift the camper as it is. The second, is to reduce weight since they just aren't needed at this time. My plan is to remove for a couple of local trips to figure out first if I'm happy and don't notice any issues I didn't foresee. If no problems are encountered, I will keep them off and start my winter project of rebuilding them.

1999 F350 Dually with 7.3 Diesel
2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Camper

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
What’s the cradle for and what does it have to do with the jacks? :h
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

adamis
Nomad
Nomad
Well, stage one of the camper project is complete. Added a bunch of additional strapping to get the tanks hanging in the right direction. Water tank now empties to about 90% empty which I'm going to call a win. I think the hose connection would have to be rerouted to underneath the tank to get another 5% drainage.

The grey tank which is the middle tank was hanging completely in the wrong direction. Hard to see from pics but the rear strap on it was nearly useless. I'm not sure what they were thinking but now that I have it orientated correctly, I probably picked up another 15% capacity, maybe even more.

The black holding tank was the only tank that the straps were actually tight on and was not hanging or sagging at all. I still added one brace to it but doing fine.

One thing I found surprising, I always thought the bottom footprint was 1" or 3/4" plywood behind the fiberglass. Nope, it's 1/4", then 1" of foam and then 1/8" plywood on the inside. The weight rests on a wood bottom rail that goes around the perimeter. This made finding solid wood a bit more challenging than I would have liked. In the end, a lot of screws and a few lucky hits but I don't think anything is going anywhere now.

Tomorrow is phase two (see last pic). We will be building a cradle out of aluminum. This will be secured to be bed and the camper will sit inside of it. The plan is to remove the jacks (they need to be serviced and painted in addition to the actual mounting brackets. I may end up leaving the jacks off, haven't decided just yet but it's been rolling around in my mind. A little bit of weight reduction. Then again, when it's windy, always nice to have jacks. Might just remove the fronts and leave the rears in place or just them cleaned, painted and put back on. Who knows.

Anyway, the whole idea is that once the cradle is built the camper won't move around at all. Aluminum tubing for those wondering is 3"x5" with .25" wall. Way overkill, something I didn't really realize until it was being loaded onto my truck after being cut. The 3"x5" was a result of them not having 3"x4". Had I done a little more homework before picking up the tubing, I would have gone with maybe 3"x3" with 3/16" wall thickness. But, it's paid for now so it is what I'm rolling with.

Before: Grey Tank was actually hanging in the wrong direction so it would never fully drain.


Front facing aft. Finished bracing water tank. You can see grey tank behind it. hard to tell but it's sagging in the corner so it would never drain.


I had to use a lot of screws because it was hit or miss on finding solid wood.


Full stitched underbelly shot.


Tomorrow's project:

1999 F350 Dually with 7.3 Diesel
2000 Bigfoot 10.6 Camper

StirCrazy
Navigator
Navigator
adamis wrote:
Tomorrow I will be working to add additional strapping. I have a bunch of angled metal that is pre-punched with holes, can't remember what it is called. This should provide the support for the middle of the tank to avoid the sagging at least. How much I accomplish we shall see as I'm fully expecting a miserable experience of it with being on my back on gravel with no space for my hands or tools to secure anything.

Anyway, my plan is to raise the forward portion of the tank completely so the top of the tank touches the bottom of the floor. Then, I'll leave the angle so that the back portion of the tank (where it connects to the hose) is the low point. This hopefully will result in me recovering about 20% of the water that would not drain otherwise.

I will try to take some pics to show what the end result is.


be careful how high you move it also, when the tanks fill, they deform and if your vent is plugged and you over fill it that could raise the top also a bit. don't want it confined or it will break something (either the support or thr floor)
2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
If you read this before installing, I doubt hardware store holy angle (that’s what we call it) will span the 4’ or however wide and not bend under full tank of water unless you install more pieces than you think is necessary.
Depending on the vertical space you’re working with and the ledger or side attachment points, lumber or heavier gauge angle would be mo betta.
I redid my tank supports when one strap finally bit the dust (using camper off the truck, full of water) with scrap around the house which happened to be leftover 1x4 yellow cedar deck boards. I did re attach the straps just because and I did provide for airflow from to back even though I’d have never needed it.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold