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My (our) Ultimate Truck Camper Body Build

RICKIM
Explorer III
Explorer III
Let me start by saying that I wouldn’t have built this without my wife’s blessings.
This is something I’ve wanted to build for a few years, and she was on board with it from the start of the thoughts and designs.
We had a 2008 3500 DRW Cummins and 2008 AF 1140 which we’ve had since new.

We’re avid travelers and had put over 125,000 enjoyable miles of fun with the truck and TC. The truck handled it fine but we wanted something with more capacity and piece of mind.
We had upgraded our TC with the same exact AF 1140, only 11 years newer, so
with the larger tanks and new do-dads the new TC had, the longer trips, and more toys we wanted to bring with us, we felt we should start the process for a bigger truck and body.

Now, I looked at flatbeds, flat beds with boxes, aluminum body’s, service body’s, etc.
I called Douglass Truck Body as we liked that style TC bed, as well as two other builders for a cost on what we were looking for, but they were going to need the truck and camper for a minimum of two months.
That was not going to be an option as we live on the east coast and they’re on the west coast, and she was NOT going to have the new truck and new camper out of her sight for that long.

I brought the subject up with a recently “early retired” certified submarine welder friend of ours who wanted something to do so I asked him if he was willing to work with some designs and ideas I had put down on paper, cad, and pictures.
He was on board with the welding and fabing part, now, to make it happen.

I special ordered a RAM 5500, C&C, 60”CA, 4WD, Cummins, Aisin, 19,500 GVW Laramie with all the fixins....Figured this will be the last truck (hopefully) for quite some time so after 9 weeks this is what showed up:






As soon as the truck was in my hands I started ordering all the “stuff” I had in planning.
I found a company from Alabama that would custom make any box, doors, handles, and metal gauges I was looking for.
I needed 16” boxes as I wanted the body width to stay narrower for the camper “wings” in the rear and not interfere with tie-downs.
Started with 1x3 oak, 2x4x1/4 wall on the chassis, and 3” channel for the cross members.




I incorporated the bed and camper tie-downs to the chassis.
I also put recessed pocket tie-downs in the bed for hold downs when I’m using the truck
for things other than traveling with the TC.













Curb and road sides coming together.





More to come...
2018 AF1140DB, 400W solar, Trimetric, Lifeline GPL-31XT’s, rear deck,
2019 5500 Ram Crew, DRW, 6.7L-CTD, Custom TC bed, on board air, Front Rack
48 REPLIES 48

Annwn
Explorer
Explorer
That looks amazing, thank you for sharing. If I didn't miss it, did you get a final weight?

Looks good enough I wish I could get it for a truck+TC. Would be some real competition for Sherptek & Douglas.

BCnewf
Explorer
Explorer
Wow Fantastic work! Looks great,
I will be stealing some ideas... Waiting my 5500 to get delivered,(hopefully end of July) now that its built, I plan to do similar with aluminum. With removable upper boxes. will likely be asking some questions

RICKIM
Explorer III
Explorer III
Thanks for the kind words guys....
TxGearhead, The shop is the welders, (Dr.Zs) sons shop, who btw is also my business partner.
Building things is easier when you have the proper tools and a good garage is a proper tool.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July everyone!!
Rick
2018 AF1140DB, 400W solar, Trimetric, Lifeline GPL-31XT’s, rear deck,
2019 5500 Ram Crew, DRW, 6.7L-CTD, Custom TC bed, on board air, Front Rack

TxGearhead
Explorer
Explorer
Awesome work. Great craftsmen that should be very proud.
Pretty good looking shop as well. Yours or the welders?
2018 Ram 3500 CC LB DRW 4X4 Cummins Aisin Laramie Pearl White
2018 Landmark Oshkosh
2008 Bigfoot 25C9.4
2014 NauticStar 21 ShallowBay 150HP Yamaha
2016 GoDevil 18X44 35HP Surface Drive

noworries2085
Explorer
Explorer
I'm sure he is plopping an Arctic fox on it, not building the whole ***Link Removed***essay writer camper.

Camper_Jeff___K
Nomad II
Nomad II
That is a thing of beauty, a work of art. Well done.

noteven
Explorer III
Explorer III
.....

RICKIM
Explorer III
Explorer III


yea Bedlam, i’ve seen a few of those, cracks me up every time..

Thanks K Mac, Kim already has her sights on the empty boxes. I better hurry and find something to shove in them. Lots of good ideas coming in from others now!

mike, i liked that spare tire box feature when i was looking at the Douglas body’s. I was toying with the idea to get a box made for that rough dimension but the lead time was going to be a hassle, and it would’ve thrown my other ideas for a loop.
Douglas makes a good looking product, they look well made from the pics i’ve seen.
2018 AF1140DB, 400W solar, Trimetric, Lifeline GPL-31XT’s, rear deck,
2019 5500 Ram Crew, DRW, 6.7L-CTD, Custom TC bed, on board air, Front Rack

Bedlam
Moderator
Moderator
It kind reminds of the yard sales you see on the side of road when people need to access the spare tire inside of their car but they have the rear of car filled past the windows...

Host Mammoth 11.5 on Ram 5500 HD

noteven
Explorer III
Explorer III
RICKIM wrote:
PastorCharlie, thank you.
The camper doesn’t have to be removed from the truck, just raised up enough to pull the tire out from in front of the TCs bulkhead.....lets just hope it doesn’t ever come to that.

Rick


That is a good looking truck body.

RE: the spare if I tried that yes I would have a flat, slip and fall in the ditch trying to wrassle the spare out, that would be me with the 19.5 track over the face trying to wrassle it up out of the mosquito infested duck pasture...

mike_kellie
Explorer II
Explorer II
I have a few cheapo camp chairs for visiting others along with fly rods and kayak paddles in a long and narrow box accessible from the drivers side (9' box with 8' bed) so this cubby is 10" wide and a few feet tall.
Forward box drivers side 3 shelves has leveling blocks, fittings for dumping in a tub, another tub with small tools, ratchet clamps, misc small extra parts and fittings in another tub. Middle box over wheels has an inflatable kayak with pump, life jackets and room for cases of waters. Drivers rear, 2 more 6 volt batteries in series, 120v compressor, water hoses, 30 amp cord, extension cords, surge protector, misc adapters for both water and electrical.
Passenger front box has the spare tire and wheel, bottle jack, lug wrench, breaker bar, tarp, reflectors, saw, shovel, straps, chains and knee pads.
Middle box over wheels has fastguns, extra hitch pins, hitch and all gear for towing the Jeep. Back box has Honda 2000 with a tool box on a shelf.
2015 Host Mammoth triple slide w/ TorkLift Fastguns
2015 Ram 5500 SLT cab & chassis with Douglass 9' utility body

K_Mac
Explorer
Explorer
"WOW" I mean "WOW" super cala fragalistic...... my hats off to Dr.Z,you n Kim. I love seeing great work, skill & planning come all together. I think Kim gets the rest of the room left in boxes, lol.

Bedlam
Moderator
Moderator
My two lower boxes carry battery banks. The two upper boxes on the passenger side carry outdoor kitchen and outdoor furniture. The two upper boxes on the driver side carry RV hookup and wash supplies and tools/maintenance items.

Host Mammoth 11.5 on Ram 5500 HD

RICKIM
Explorer III
Explorer III
zb39, Thank You!

TC dude,
I still have some empty space in some of the boxes, but the ones with stuff in them are:
Curb-side lower front is full slide drawer with air compressor, inverter, everyday usage service tools and drills/chargers.
Six foot top box has 13’ foldable canopy, broom, shovel, ratchet straps/tie-downs and tow straps in the bottom of it and I have empty tray/bins on the six foot shelf above.
Rear curb-side box is camp chairs, stools, tarps, portable folding fire pit and folding tables.
Road side front lower box is stuffed with 4x4 oak pallet wood.
Top two three footers are virtually empty with all storage bins in the bottom of the box, and also on the shelf’s above with the exception of some cleaning supplies, hand rags, gloves and towels.
Rear road side has two shelfs with storage for 18, 1 gallon bottles of drinking water and some room for roughly two cases of wine or some other beverages and of course my 20 ton bottle jacks.
Hope this helps with some storage ideas for you. I’m still in the “moving in” stage and still relocating shelf’s and stuff around.
Good luck,
Rick
2018 AF1140DB, 400W solar, Trimetric, Lifeline GPL-31XT’s, rear deck,
2019 5500 Ram Crew, DRW, 6.7L-CTD, Custom TC bed, on board air, Front Rack