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Trucks, Trailers and Hauling for Shows

Slide in truck campers


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  #1  
Old 04-21-2013, 01:30:42 AM
Tamper84 Tamper84 is offline
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Default Slide in truck campers

Well me and the fiancée are considering purchasing a slide in truck camper. Used of course. Are there any things I should watch out for on them? Also when pulling a trailer with a slide in, how big of a hitch extender would I have to purchase?

The truck, well that's on the list as well. Traded in my diesel for her 1/2 ton. Now it looks like I will have to get a bigger truck again lol.

If you guys would like to post pictures of your set ups, that would be ok as well

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:12:08 AM
Bill Feasal Bill Feasal is offline
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

Small slide in's will work with a 1/2 pick if you keep your speed down to around 55. Had an aunt & uncle that wandered all over the u.s. with a slide in camper on a 1/2 ton ford. If the camper hangs over 2 ft. you need a 2 foot ext. on your hitch, or what ever the over hang is. when buying a used camper look at it when it is off of the pickup and supported on the jacks and look for wrinkling in the sidding or outer skin, this will indicate structurall failure. I have owned several old campers from a small slide in that I could close the tail gate on to a 3 story Del Ray with a basement. All with varying degrees of problems. The neatest one was an old Amerigo with about 4 ft of overhang and a fold out back bedroom for the kids. It had a side door and lots of room.
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:41:41 AM
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

Truck campers are heavy and expensive. If you are pulling anything more than a small boat, consider just getting a camper that is the same length of the box so you don't have to use an extension. I wouldn't pull a trailer with a 1/2 ton and camper. The pop up style is lighter and handles better as well.
Most campers either already have rot or will rot soon. Water gets in around the lights, windows, and of course, any roof problems. I had to rebuild parts of the cabover on mine when water got in through a clearance light. The sealant just pulled away a tiny bit from the light and it let in literally gallons of water. It was only 7 years old when I had to do that. I scrapped my old camper because the rot in the corners got so bad it wasn't safe to load it anymore.

My camper weighs about 3500 lbs when it is packed. It is a 9.5' on a 8' bed and I use a 1' extension, so I do have to be careful about hitting the camper corners with the trailer. I replaced the receiver hitch on my truck with a 2 1/2" hitch to handle the load. When I scaled it, there was 8000 lbs on the rear axle and 3500 on the front, and that wasn't with some of the heaviest loads that I pull so I wouldn't think of using anything smaller than a 1 ton dually.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:22:48 AM
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

I've had a slide in camper for many years. It works out very well for me as I can chose the type of trailer and toys that I take along or can go with the camper itself.

There are several things to consider such as;

Short box trucks and campers don't scale as well as long box trucks and need a longer extension to use a trailer and put too much weight on the rear axle.

Crew cab and extended cab models are heavy by themselves and they will limit the camper size and tongue weight you can safely carry. Heck some of the 1/2 ton crew cab models have a full load before you even put a camper on them Also Heavy diesel engines and 4 wheel drive add weight and the GVW rating is the same as most Gas 2 wheel drive models.

Most of the campers now have eliminated the front window and one big source of leaks.

I have Diesel and 4 WD but that puts most of the weight on the front axle. I don't even have a current Pic but this one from several years ago will have to do. Camper is different and trailer is now 2 feet shorter. I never have used any extension as the camper ends at the back bumper.

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Old 04-21-2013, 11:53:27 AM
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

Between my father and I, we have had 20 or so different box campers ranging in length from 8' to 13'. My favorite that I've had was my Northland (aka Northstar)Polar 8', it was insulated for year around use. My 3/4 didn't even know it was there. I built a 26' 5th wheel trailer that it could sit on the front of so we had open deck on the back to haul the ATV and SxS or bikes, we called it our red neck toy hauler. It was great because it could easily come off the trailer for separate use of either. We sold it last spring because we had our 3rd child and ran out of room. We've gone back to tents, but once the kid's are big enough to sleep in tents without us, we'll be going back to the same set up

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Old 04-21-2013, 12:50:04 PM
wagswitte wagswitte is offline
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

Make sure if you buy a used one that it doesn't have any leaks check it over real well once they get wet on the inside of the walls you will have problems just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 04-21-2013, 01:15:02 PM
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

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Originally Posted by wagswitte View Post
Make sure if you buy a used one that it doesn't have any leaks check it over real well once they get wet on the inside of the walls you will have problems just my 2 cents worth.
Very good point!
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Old 04-21-2013, 01:49:20 PM
Jim Tremble Jim Tremble is offline
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

The most important thing to check on a used camper is the hold down eye bolts for keeping the camper in the pickup bed.

If they are loose, check for dry rot in the wood.

How do I know!!!!

Jim
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:57:56 PM
Tamper84 Tamper84 is offline
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

Thank you all for the advice and the pictures!! I don't plan on using the f-150 to haul it. I'm driving an old Chevy 1/2 ton and I am looking for an older 70s-80s 3/4 or one ton to fix up and use. My plan is to find a older truck and fix it up. That way I know the truck and with it still having a carb on it instead of fuel injection, it should be pretty easy to work on. Gas milage will suck, but it beats a truck payment lol.

My reason for wanting a slide in camper is that, I still have another oh 40 plus years until I retire. So it will not get used too awful much. Just the weekends and the like. Plus with me getting into these old engines, I would have a way to camp at a show. Along with pull a trailer.

Again thank you all for the great advice, the hunt is on. Oh one more question, is there any particular brand I should avoid all together?

Thanks,
Chris
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:30:01 PM
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

Palomino and Starcraft are probably the most Low End campers but still can give good service to someone with common sense.

Lots of Camper companies have went belly up in the last few years. The Sun Valley company that made mine did also. I bought one anyway.

When looking at a camper a Moldy smell is a tip off as far as leaks are concerned. Also check under the mattress and below the windows for water stains ect. Even the Best ones can leak. Jack attachment points like mentioned are a problem also. Try to find one thats been kept inside and redo all the caulking.

8 foot ones are kinda hard to find as anybody that wants to pull a trailer wants them.

Many of the newer 10 and 11 foot ones with slides are almost to heavy for a 1 ton dually
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:24:34 PM
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Majeski View Post

Many of the newer 10 and 11 foot ones with slides are almost to heavy for a 1 ton dually
Absolutely correct. I would avoid slides and anything over 10' if you want to pull a trailer. Mine is 9.5' and I wouldn't want anything bigger. Some of the campers out there are stupidly large size and best suited for a medium duty truck, even if you aren't towing. My camper is an accessory to my hobby. Camping is not my hobby (although I do camp for fun too). I don't need every bell and whistle and all that space. The camper is for sleeping mostly. I don't normally hang out in it.

Lance and Big Foot are regarded as the top of the line. I have a Northstar and I would rank it as just as good or better. If I ever have to buy another one, it will be a Northstar.
They used to offer a larger one, but the 9.5 is their largest camper now. The scary part is that base price on that camper is now $24,500!
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:20:31 PM
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

The best camper built (imho), and the difficulty in obtaining them new or used will only testify to this is a "S&S" out of Montana, they are amazing, but difficult to find because they are almost always on back order and used ones are rarely available.
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Old 04-21-2013, 10:15:00 PM
Weezer Weezer is offline
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

Man, you gotta check for water leaks! I bought a "C" motor home. Didn't smell, no obvious signs. Tried to remove the upper bunk mattress. It wouldn't move. I thought it was snapped down or something. It was SOAKED. Must have weighed 300#! All green & nasty inside. All the wood over the cab was rotted. I tore it all out and replaced it with unistrut, over built yes, but never a problem again. BTW, those foam mattresses are $$$$$. Had to have one custom made. Be careful!
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:05:31 PM
dalmatiangirl61 dalmatiangirl61 is offline
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

My recommendation would be to look for a "Silver Streak" slide in camper, and it would look perfect on a 70's to 80's truck. I do not have any experience with the slide in's, but the travel trailers were the highest quality camper made, all aluminum exterior, aluminum framing in the walls, only thing wood is the cabinetry and the floor. This pic is of a 10.5 footer, I think they made an 8 footer, but I'm not sure. http://www.thewallacecollection.net/...er_streak.html

I have a '72 Silver Streak 28' Continental Rocket, it is still all original (except for the roof top solar panels), has never leaked, and pulls like a dream.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:21:14 PM
sdepies sdepies is offline
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Default Re: Slide in truck campers

I used a slide in for a few years. We had a 92 10ft Fleetwood. Overall it was a good camper but was kinda a pain. (not enough storage for chairs, coolers, grill, ect.) I did pull a 4 place 4 wheeler trailer with no problems I had to use two extensions but the camper had a large rear bumper with a support bracket for the extensions. (So the truck did the towing while the camper held the wieght.) Loaded it was heavy (aprox 5k lbs) I used a 2500 dodge with a cummins. I did put rear air bags in and that helped tons. Two years ago i Purchased a 5th wheel toy hauler with and 8 foot "toybox" That has been by far the best investment i have ever made. We take aprox 14 trips a year so we use our investment well. Any other questions dont be afraid to ask.
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