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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking to buy an in bed camper and install it in my 2000 F350, (full size bed no running boards or dually...)

Budget dictates a used unit. I have a few questions.
- If anyone knows someone with a nice full size camper for 10k or under let me know.
- How difficult is it to install the frame mounts and wiring harness myself? It doesn't seem that difficult unless there's something I'm missing.
- Thinking about going with Torklift gear. All the reviews and word of mouth is steering me in that direction.
- Don't think I'll ever tow anything over 1k pounds behind the camper. Is there any reason to go for the super-hitch and upgraded rear tie-downs?
- How important/necessary is any sort of suspension upgrade. (My truck is sprung tighter than a cheap watch. It rides like an 8,000 lb roller skate.) I'm thinking of belaying air-bags, or leaf spring devices until I get the camper on the truck and see how it rolls down the highway.
- Finally, what sorts of things should I be looking for when checking out used campers? I have a regular checklist for buying used cars. I'd like to put something together similar for campers.

Lots of questions lately. Hope I'm not wearing out my welcome.
 

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Lance will be the most common one out there for used.. Slide outs are nice but add weight.
Torklifts are the way to go and depending on the make /model not too bad to install
Wiring harness is super easy usually buy a harness that adapts into your 7-way plug and go from there depending on what you want to do.
Never felt the need for the super hitch or upgraded rear tie downs and i tow 1500 pounds
When i had my Lance camper on my 3/4 ton Duramax never felt the need for suspension upgrade or bags
Check all appliances ,heat, water heater, stove thermostat . Check for plumbing leaks while pressurized...
Roof leaks are an issue if possible check the inside walls....
Get out and enjoy they can be a lot of fun....

 

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Harnesses are not all that difficult if you have a bit of electrical knowlege. I've not owned a slide in since the frame mounts became popular, so no help there, other than saying a good frame mounting system is what you want. Used campers check for water damage (leaks) everywhere. Especially inside of cabinets and on the overhead around the windows etc. Lift the mattress and examine the floor on the overhead. Make sure all systems are functioning. RV fridges for example are very expensive to replace. Crawl under and check the floor. Look at the plumbing for signs of problems. Check the electrical panel for corrosion etc. If you go offroad, be mindful of size, the lighter you can get away with, the better. I've done some vintage trailer restoration and one thing I do that would apply to a slide in as well, providing it is wood framed, (I'd always opt for metal framing for a newer rig) is to stand outside the camper and place your hand on various places of the side walls and push slightly, if the rig sways much while the base stays steady, that's an indication of possible water damage in the frame. It should feel solid on all points. For a slide in, this test is probably best done while it's on the truck as opposed to the Jack stands for obvious reasons. Again, in a newer rig with metal framing, this test is somewhat void.
 

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I'm buying a new Northern Lite truck camper I'm May, my first truck camper, and putting it on my 2011 F-350 dually.

I'm going to buy Torklift Talon tie-downs, with Torklift Fastguns, and will try to install them myself (I've looked at a video or 2 on the installation, and I understand Torklift is great on providing support, if needed) but if I run into problems, my dealer has just quoted $270.00 for them to do the install, so that won't break the bank in any case.

I've also just purchased a Titan 24"-36" receiver extension on EBay for a bit over $100.00, and plan on using this with my factory receiver to tow my drift boat mostly, which is probably just under 1,000#, and if that works as well as I expect will periodically tow my Polaris Ranger which probably weighs close to 2,500#. I can always add side support chains if I feel it is needed. I got some feedback on that from truck camper owners on another forum before going in that direction, and no one there recommended a more expensive hitch set-up.

Also, everyone on that forum suggested getting the camper on my truck first and seeing how it handles before getting any suspension upgrades. (I expect my truck camper, fully loaded, will be well within my truck's weight limits in any case.)
 

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MT Fly fisher made a solid point that I forgot. Make sure the camper, loaded, falls within your trucks weight requirements. Should you have an accident determined to be a result of overloading and they find you exceeded the weight limit on the vehicle, most insurance companies will leave you out in the wind.....
 

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I have the torklif mounts on my chevy 2500. I installed them in about 90 minutes with just a ratchet & a wrench. I bought the fast guns and am glad I did. Worth every penny. If you're going to tow you'll need to install a plug in the bed. They make plugs with a 90 degree bend for this. Pretty easy job.
 

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I have owned both StarCraft and Palomino pop-up truck campers. The first on a Ford Ranger, the latter on my 2500 CTD. Both were very good performing. The StarCraft did develop a small roof leak, but easily repaired. The Palomino only weighed 1100 lbs, and it's low profile made travel in high wind areas easy. I averaged almost 15 mpg even with my Bucks Bronco lashed on top. I had the Dodge set-up with the Torque Lift frame mounts and Fastgun tie downs. They worked great -- very secure and I highly recommend that route if you plan to take your rig over rough terrain.

I looked at full side TC's, but really liked the low profile of the pop-up's. Not liking to have to put on and take off repeatedly, this allowed the camper to stay on all season. It was kind of like having a big canopy on the truck. The Bronco 1255 could be used with the top down which came in handy for nasty wind conditions or for just a quick stop lunch, rest, etc. (sleep on the lower bed). I never used the eating table and instead just left that area as a big flat cushioned storage/sitting space. The tent sides allowed for lots of cross ventilation during hot weather. You can find used Bronco's in good condition for about $4-7K.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have owned both StarCraft and Palomino pop-up truck campers. The first on a Ford Ranger, the latter on my 2500 CTD. Both were very good performing. The StarCraft did develop a small roof leak, but easily repaired. The Palomino only weighed 1100 lbs, and it's low profile made travel in high wind areas easy. I averaged almost 15 mpg even with my Bucks Bronco lashed on top. I had the Dodge set-up with the Torque Lift frame mounts and Fastgun tie downs. They worked great -- very secure and I highly recommend that route if you plan to take your rig over rough terrain.

I looked at full side TC's, but really liked the low profile of the pop-up's. Not liking to have to put on and take off repeatedly, this allowed the camper to stay on all season. It was kind of like having a big canopy on the truck. The Bronco 1255 could be used with the top down which came in handy for nasty wind conditions or for just a quick stop lunch, rest, etc. (sleep on the lower bed). I never used the eating table and instead just left that area as a big flat cushioned storage/sitting space. The tent sides allowed for lots of cross ventilation during hot weather. You can find used Bronco's in good condition for about $4-7K.

View attachment 136621
My preference would be a pop up. But there's a negotiation process involved with the better half... I think we need to see a pop-up. She has visions of our old Coleman tent trailer that had zero amenities
 

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My preference would be a pop up. But there's a negotiation process involved with the better half... I think we need to see a pop-up. She has visions of our old Coleman tent trailer that had zero amenities
They make them with all the same level of comforts as the hard sides. My wife loved ours and used that lower dinette area as a lounge to read/nap. If you plan on using for early and late season in cold climates, then the hard side has the insulation advantage. But I will tell you that even with the tent side, the heater will drive you out of there on cold nights. The photo was on Rock Creek this past November and it got down to 24F both nights. It did cycle on quite a bit, but kept the inside about 55F.
 

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I love my Four Wheel Pop Up Camper. We use it all year round for skiing and camping. It's light but has a lot of room for 3 of us. I have the Hawk model on my F-150. I added the airbags so I can keep it level. There is a new dealer in Portland if you want to see new models. Finding a used one can be a challenge.
 

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I love my Four Wheel Pop Up Camper. We use it all year round for skiing and camping. It's light but has a lot of room for 3 of us. I have the Hawk model on my F-150. I added the airbags so I can keep it level. There is a new dealer in Portland if you want to see new models. Finding a used one can be a challenge. View attachment 136663
That looks like an awning on the side? If so, that is a great option and one I'd want.
 

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My preference would be a pop up. But there's a negotiation process involved with the better half... I think we need to see a pop-up. She has visions of our old Coleman tent trailer that had zero amenities
I had the same compromising "challenge" with the other half - we ended up with a relatively lightweight (2,390 lbs dry) Northern Lite 8-11 hard side as a compromise. We really like it. I use torquelift mounts with the fast guns as well. They're the only way to go.

You might want to take a look at the Alaskan pop-up campers. They're kind of a hybrid in that it has hard sides that "pop-up" with hydraulics, and they have a really nice wood finish inside - very well built camper made here in Washington. We would have gotten one, but they have no shower (like I said - compromises!). Used Alaskans are hard to come by even though they've been making them for decades. New ones are not cheap, but you might get lucky and find a nice used one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I had the same compromising "challenge" with the other half - we ended up with a relatively lightweight (2,390 lbs dry) Northern Lite 8-11 hard side as a compromise. We really like it. I use torquelift mounts with the fast guns as well. They're the only way to go.

You might want to take a look at the Alaskan pop-up campers. They're kind of a hybrid in that it has hard sides that "pop-up" with hydraulics, and they have a really nice wood finish inside - very well built camper made here in Washington. We would have gotten one, but they have no shower (like I said - compromises!). Used Alaskans are hard to come by even though they've been making them for decades. New ones are not cheap, but you might get lucky and find a nice used one.
Ha, was just looking at this on CL when I came back to this site/thread

https://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/rvs/6040217625.html

Sweet looking unit. A bit disappointing that there's no place for a propane tank. Says it has a cassette toilet. Does that mean there's no blackwater holding tank, you just pump out jonnie b crapper? I never wanted to be one of those guys with rubber gloves on connecting the poopoo hose to a dump site tank. But at some point you gotta get rid of that sh*t, one way or the other.
 

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That looks like an awning on the side? If so, that is a great option and one I'd want.
Yes, that is an awning on the side. There is a small removable one on the back as well. They just changed the option to an awning that goes out the side and wraps around the back as well. I like the setup I have because it sheds the snow. I don't think their new version would work as well in the winter. You can see a video of it at www.fourwh.com.
I also added an insulating liner on the inside which works great in the winter.
 

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Yes, that is an awning on the side. There is a small removable one on the back as well. They just changed the option to an awning that goes out the side and wraps around the back as well. I like the setup I have because it sheds the snow. I don't think their new version would work as well in the winter. You can see a video of it at www.fourwh.com.
I also added an insulating liner on the inside which works great in the winter.
Looks good! I honestly think truck campers (of either type) are the most versatile option for a off the beat and path fish/camping rig. The one downside to the way most companies mount there Titan jack is this :(.




Note not so straight attitude of the front jack. This is what a good size deer can do to them (also note dent in rear bed). This happened on the way back from Rock Creek about a mile from Sheridan. My StarCraft camper jacks were mounted to a heavy duty formed and welded angle bracket - that allowed them to be positioned horizontally and out of harms way.
 
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I had a very similar pop up for years . Never had problems with the jacks ,just remove them once its on the truck.
Don't I wish I'd have done so. I thought about that a couple times but always figured if I ever got into a situation somewhere and needed to take the camper off I'd be screwed.
 
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