Truck camper build.

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  • Truck camper build.

    This sounds a LOT fanicer than it is, but here goes...

    My '04 F150 is getting an engine rebuild done by a VERY particular tech.... Me, with the help of my brother in law... The teardown has begun and we should be sending the heads and block out to be hot tanked and inspected shortly, but that doesn't involve wood...

    The truck has the 6.5 foot bed, that will fit an RV short queen mattress, so the idea here is to use a hi top cap, either something like a Leer 122, or better yet, an uluminum contractors cap with side doors, and build a sleeping platform and stowage drawers. Assuming a contractor cap with side access doors, I will set up a bolt in panel to allow mounting of a small 5K BTU window unit AC. The one I have is an older LG mechanical and at max pulls 4 amps so my little 1k generator will have no problems with it... 3/4" plywood reinforcements for roof rack crossbars will be fitted, and the entire cap will be insulated with sheet foam, and interior paneled with 1/4" T&G cedar closet liner. Need advise on how to finish it. I want the aromatic cedar bug resistance. So I am pretty sure poly isn't a good option...

    The sleeping platform will be based around 1/2" and 3/4" ply, with 2x2s glued and screwed as reinforcements. There will be a bulkhead at the front far enough back to restrain 4 Reliance 7 gallon Aqua Tainers. There should be 2 drawers set up, a left and a right, with the left being general gear stowage, and the right being the kitchen / cooler / fuel stowage.

    The idea here is the kitchen side, I want to be able to pull the drawer out, drop support legs down, and flip the stove open, get to cooking... The Port o potty, generator, gray water tank will be carried in a lockable box on the hitch haul. The hitch haul lock box needs to be able to be broken down though. The idea is to empty it, break it down or take it off, then fold the tailgate down and get access to everything in the bottom of the bed without having to lift...

    Needless to say, I am glad lumber prices have been dropping!
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  • #2
    I would suggest building a mock up truck bed in the garage out of cardboard boxes, milk crates or whatever. A 4x6.5 area gets small real quick and all the features you mentioned might not be easily fitted.

    for insulation consider spray foam, small quantities are sold in froth packs. This will eleminate a lot of creaking a movement and doesn’t have to have fasteners.

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    • #3
      If you want cedar aromatic benefits, I think you simply don't finish it at all.
      I suppose anything that seals it is going to defeat the aromatic stuff. Not sure about a rubbed oil finish.

      Loring in Katy, TX USA
      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
      BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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      • #4
        Yep, Red Cedar, don’t finish for aromatic. Just sand to whatever finish you want. Paste wax will also seal in the aromatics.

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        • #5
          I believe finishing Cedar will block the aroma, but doesn't take away its weather or bug-resistance abilities in the wood itself.

          So you need to decide whether you want Cedar for its aroma, or to prevent rot/insects within the wood. Its aroma does not stay long and you have to sand it afresh; so you are better of spraying cedar oil when you miss it.
          But even if you finish Cedar with poly, insects will not bore into it because they hate cedar wood, period.

          If this were furniture I would recommend you use Cedar for its intrinsic property of resisting rot and bugs, but finish it nice and strong to retain its looks. Unfinished cedar exposed to the weather becomes silver colored that many like ( I don't).

          But since you are planning to use it as inner lining, the exposure to the elements might be less, so you could let it be unfinished, and refresh the aroma with a cedar oil spray. Or sand it every year.
          It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
          - Aristotle

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          • #6
            Cedar closets - interior closets with red cedar wood panelled wood is left unfinished for the aroma which smells nice and has some bug repellent properties.
            It won't rot because its dry, and because its cedar.
            Loring in Katy, TX USA
            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
            BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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            • #7
              Originally posted by capncarl View Post
              I would suggest building a mock up truck bed in the garage out of cardboard boxes, milk crates or whatever. A 4x6.5 area gets small real quick and all the features you mentioned might not be easily fitted.

              for insulation consider spray foam, small quantities are sold in froth packs. This will eleminate a lot of creaking a movement and doesn’t have to have fasteners.
              The truck bed will fit an RV short queen mattress. And not everything will fit inside. The idea is to reinforce the contractor cap for a 10x10 awning, and yes I know that would extend beyond the length of the cap, the awning will make up the roof of a kitchen enclosure, and a separate ensuite / shower tent will be set up

              My plan is to get the crud out of the truck bed soonest possible, and start dry fitting what I intend to stow under the bed, in the back seat etc...

              and then start making my measurements for organizers.

              Spray foam probably isn't a bad idea, but then again, rigid foam with Liquid Nails as a bonding agent, and spray foam for the gaps would be a LOT less effort in getting it level before the cladding on the interior goes on. I used the spray packs of spray foam in insulating my shop. They are really nice, but expensive and make some unrpredictable foam thicknesses.

              Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

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