Go Back   Team-BHP > Under the Hood > Modifications & Accessories


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 8th April 2010, 22:57   #1
DKG
Senior - BHPian
 
DKG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 3,706
Thanked: 928 Times
Default Building a truck camper : Home away from home

I must confess I am a bit of a "Tim the Toolman" ! Not exactly a gadget freak but one who loves doing things like overhauling cars or fabricating something, basically anything to do with mechanics. And I deeply enjoy doing things myself.

So when I decided to acquire a camper for my 207 truck and realised none exist in the Indian market the only option was to build one myself, singlehandedly (that's the fun part!!)

It was easy deciding on the choice of material for the fabrication. It had to be aluminium, specifically bus structrurals as they are designed keeping in mind the kind of hammering the buses take.

So I went to the wholesale supplier of aluminium bus sructurals and picked up the raw material

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0001_8.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0002_8.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0003_8.jpg

Last edited by DKG : 8th April 2010 at 22:59.
DKG is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th April 2010, 23:05   #2
DKG
Senior - BHPian
 
DKG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 3,706
Thanked: 928 Times
Default

Time for some planning. Loads of it. How to design it all. What goes into it. How I use it when its done. Where does one sit, where does one sleep. Space utilisation, efficiently.

Very early on I decided I was not going to bother about looks but focus purely on comfort within. So it had to be a particular height. I felt I would let function dictate form. And slowly things began to fall in place. The bed had to be a cantilever extention over the cabin of the truck.

Measurements and measurements. I don't think I ever used a tape as much !! My old american friends with whom I worked on the campus maintenance team during my college days always said, "measure twice cut once" !! words of wisdom

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0002_9.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0003_9.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0004_11.jpg

During the design stage I felt I must incorporate the option of travelling with my bike should I feel like it. After all India has some awesome Ferrari country roads, well my two wheeled Ferrari would do justice. So in she went to ensure she had sufficient room

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0005_11.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0006_11.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0007_11.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0008_11.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0009_11.jpg

Four adults should be able to sit comfortably even with the bike in the cargo bay, so some garden chairs prove handy in sizing things up from a reality check perspective
Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0016_10.jpg

Last edited by DKG : 8th April 2010 at 23:13.
DKG is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th April 2010, 23:24   #3
DKG
Senior - BHPian
 
DKG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 3,706
Thanked: 928 Times
Default

My onsite consultants and approvers were a pair of great dane pups. I don't think even the engineers at ARAI inspect a vehicle so closely and with so much interest. I got the thumbs up as they simply refused to leave!!

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0033.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0035.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0037.jpg

Who said education has no value. All the physics I learnt in school went into this project. The greatest challenge was to brace the cantilever bed to withstand the weight of two adults. I actually had to visualise myself as each member to undertand the kinds of stresses it would encounter. In the end I was able to build in all the rigidity required. I invited a professor of mechanical engineering to check out the end result. After careful deliberation he cleared the work as "robust and over engineered". I was kicked I remained true to my reputation as a good student.
DKG is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th April 2010, 23:37   #4
DKG
Senior - BHPian
 
DKG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 3,706
Thanked: 928 Times
Default

As the skeleton got completed and the outer skin riveted in I realised this was not going to be something I could haul onto the truck easily. It would take atleast 15 people to lift it. What about possibility of damage while doing this exercise. Big time !!

So I had to figure out a way of loading and unloading this camper alone. With minimal effort and fuss.

Once again the brain had to be racked, loads of questions asked. I considered the hydraulics of earth moving equipement. It was over kill. The camper with everything in wouldn't weigh more than a ton. I needed jacks for 250 kg at each end.

Finally I tracked a supplier who also did some specialised application work. Sat with him and designed the jacks. He was really amused at my enthusiasm and determination to do it this way and readily agreed to make a set of legs for me which would lift well over 250 kgs but not be too large and cumbersome. They were to be pneumatic. Something that can work off my compressor.

Here they are installed at each end. It was a mindblowing sight to see it work the first time. I wanted it just like this and it came out just right. It looks a lot like some weird spaceship as it goes up or down

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0045.jpg

Once it rises I simply need to reverse the truck under and with a flick of a lever it gently sets itself down onto the bed

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0041.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0048.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0038.jpg
DKG is offline   (4) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th April 2010, 23:47   #5
DKG
Senior - BHPian
 
DKG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 3,706
Thanked: 928 Times
Default

The time had come for a testdrive to get a feel for how the truck would behave with all this weight on its back. Since I didn't want to bugger up the Dunlops I put on the original load carrier tyres that came with the truck.

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0053.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0054.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0055.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0056.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0057.jpg

Building a truck camper : Home away from home-img_0060.jpg

My expectations were met. The truck behaved just as expected. Infact the load is way below what this vehicle is designed to be used for. So I'm glad the choice of aluminium paid off in terms of weight saving.

The reason why I designed it to be removeable was that once I reach a camp site I would lift it off the truck and set it down on the ground making the truck once again the thoroughly enjoyable and flingable drive it is. With the camper you simply drive like an 80 year old !

Last edited by DKG : 8th April 2010 at 23:52.
DKG is offline   (8) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 8th April 2010, 23:52   #6
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NAMMA BENGALURU
Posts: 5,613
Thanked: 2,459 Times
Default

Wow, thats a great project.

congrats sir, its coming out well.

But.! for all your present needs, there was one 1980 VW Camper available for sale at Hyderabad.
PAVAN KADAM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2010, 00:08   #7
DKG
Senior - BHPian
 
DKG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 3,706
Thanked: 928 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PAVAN KADAM View Post
But.! for all your present needs, there was one 1980 VW Camper available for sale at Hyderabad.
Minus the sheer joy and sense of involvement this entails. Its my pet project Pavan. I enjoy all the challenges this poses and still does as it goes into the finishing stages. I want to build in a toilet. You would be astounded as to how many hours I've spent trying to figure out how to efficiently clear it of waste without it getting messy. Breaking your head takes on a whole new meaning when you have to design things. But I love the challenge.

I could have bought a Tempo Traveller and created a RV very easily. But who needs a RV which cannot be used as anything else. With the camper off its back my truck is a riot to drive around town. I love its handling, corners flat like a sports car and when needed for this job its an efficient load carrier. Multiple uses in multiple guise

Last edited by DKG : 9th April 2010 at 00:12.
DKG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2010, 01:34   #8
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Mpower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 10,432
Thanked: 1,682 Times
Default

Turning out pretty good DKG. I've seen tow-behind campers but none that lifts off like this.

Are they open section aluminum channels. Are you welding or bolting them to each other?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DKG View Post
The reason why I designed it to be removeable was that once I reach a camp site I would lift it off the truck and set it down on the ground making the truck once again the thoroughly enjoyable and flingable drive it is. With the camper you simply drive like an 80 year old !
Do you have an onboard air compressor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DKG View Post
I want to build in a toilet. You would be astounded as to how many hours I've spent trying to figure out how to efficiently clear it of
Seen the guys at the RV park hook up to something. Easiest if you can buy those components and fit it.
Mpower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2010, 03:36   #9
BHPian
 
ATL_BOY's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 80
Thanked: 9 Times
Default

Great project DKG. If you paint it white, it might actually blend in more with the truck.
ATL_BOY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2010, 04:24   #10
BHPian
 
krishnathanthri's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Mysore <---> Bangalore
Posts: 299
Thanked: 41 Times
Default Dkg

Wow really cool DKG.

Never seen something like this. All the best for your project.


krishna
krishnathanthri is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2010, 04:43   #11
lsp
BHPian
 
lsp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 381
Thanked: 180 Times
Default

It looks great DKG.

Did you explore the possibility of the camper going a little wider than the body of your truck thus giving it little more room on the inside?
lsp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2010, 06:55   #12
Distinguished - BHPian
 
phamilyman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 5,601
Thanked: 3,451 Times
Default

Very very interesting. Me likes.

How do you manage to find so much time? Us cubicle slaves can't imagine that!!
phamilyman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2010, 07:44   #13
Senior - BHPian
 
vivekiny2k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: cincinnati, jabalpur,chennai
Posts: 1,241
Thanked: 163 Times
Default

Another trick is to make roof collapsible/telescopic, because when you are traveling, you probably need no headroom at back. once camped, you can lift it up. This will reduce wind resistance.

for toilet, you are better off using public facilities IMO. the other option would be to have a portable potty that needs to be drained periodically, a compact chemical potty (expensive), or a potty with connection to sewage (not possible to find a connection everywhere)

Have you ensured there are no loose parts? truck bed sides that you have folded down, the camper itself, things within the camper? if you go through a rough patch/speedbreaker, things might unsettle/clunk.

EDIT: one more quick addition you can do is add a handmade front spoiler on the camper, which will increase you traction on the road as well keep the camper down to the truck at high speeds.

Last edited by vivekiny2k : 9th April 2010 at 07:56.
vivekiny2k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2010, 07:48   #14
BHPian
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Kochi, Bangalore
Posts: 203
Thanked: 69 Times
Default

Interesting project DKG...

A few questions
How is the camper fixed to the truck?
How do you plan to load the bike in the camper? Is it possible to take the bike out even when the camper is on the truck.
ArunV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 9th April 2010, 08:36   #15
Senior - BHPian
 
aargee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: KATN
Posts: 4,694
Thanked: 2,115 Times
Default

Simply superb sir; blew my mind & makes me think of several other application into which this idea can be extended.
I see the number plates on VFR still on the old format of white in black. As per law, shouldn't you change it to black in white? Sorry, couldn't resist posting this (this is the problem when you're addicted to TBHP )

Last edited by aargee : 9th April 2010 at 08:37.
aargee is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
An indian camper anyone? superavi The Indian Car Scene 64 18th May 2017 15:47
Tata Motors completes 60 years of truck building at Jamshedpur Aditya Commercial Vehicles 4 23rd November 2014 11:41
Goodbye to old faithful (MM540) hello to a new friend (Bolero Camper) desigNation 4x4 Vehicles 110 20th August 2014 12:38
French travelers need help in Bombay - Trying to bring camper in to India juva marc Route / Travel Queries 2 10th June 2010 12:46
Truck bumped into my car and ran away! rajushank84 Street Experiences 57 26th March 2010 11:30


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 17:19.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks