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Truck Camper on a 5 1/2' bed F150

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  #1  
Old 05-01-2012, 01:45 PM
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Red face Truck Camper on a 5 1/2' bed F150

I own a F250 diesel but it's too high (4" lift with 37's). My husband owns a 2011 F150 with the short 5 1/2' truck bed. We purchased a used 1999 2200lb truck camper with the idea of pulling it on a trailer.

We purchased a single axle trailer with a 3500lb load capacity. The center of gravity was too far back and we could not scoot up the camper because of the gray water tank hanging too low. (picture below) We simply pulled it out of the stall and we knew it wasn't going to work.

I've been searching like crazy online how to make this happen SAFELY without having to sell our camper and trailer.

#1. Can our F150 handle the camper with that short of a bed? I'm thinking no way.

#2. I know this sounds hillbilly but has anyone heard of pulling a truck camper on a trailer, and if so how did they center it/support it safely? We were thinking of getting 10 x 10 blocks of wood and putting them under the camper so we could scoot it up the trailer and the back end would then clear the back of the trailer. This has turned into a headache and we don't want to kill ourselves or anyone else.

If we are talking about MAJOR modifications to the truck forget it, we'll sell the camper first.

Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.




****EDITED*****

Sold that single axle trailer and bought a tandem one instead. Better?
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:08 PM
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I don't think your trailer has enough capacity. I know you say it has a 3500 lb load capacity. Are you absolutely sure, because I don't think that's right. My guess is that the trailer is 6 x 12 and at the most has a 3500 lb GVWR, which leaves you with somehere around a 2400 lb payload.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:16 PM
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The answer to question #1 is...no way...no how. That truck is not designed for a slide in camper.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by BIGKEN View Post
The answer to question #1 is...no way...no how. That truck is not designed for a slide in camper.
I forgot about that question. I agree that truck is not designed for a slide in camper.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:35 PM
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I would agree with your answer regarding the trailer idea...that trailer is not substantial enough for that camper...especially with only a single axle.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:03 PM
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if it were me, I'd find a way to get the camper up on the f250. some blocks under the legs to get the camper on the truck, then a little set of steps for the camper. the f150/trailer thing is an accident waiting to happen. my .02
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:50 PM
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I guess I am wondering why you didn't just purchase a pop up camping trailer instead? I have definitely never heard of someone doing this before. Do the posts on the camping trailer not raise it high enough to allow you to put the trailer under it centered?
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by longboxlover View Post
if it were me, I'd find a way to get the camper up on the f250. some blocks under the legs to get the camper on the truck, then a little set of steps for the camper. the f150/trailer thing is an accident waiting to happen. my .02
Yeah, always remember. It's a lot more fun to read Darwin Awards than to win a Darwin Award.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:16 PM
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couple thoughts come to mind ...

trading the toper camper for a pop up ... that'd be my first choice, being a happy owner of a popup, i'm a little jaided.

if you're intent on making the trailer thing work, my advice would be to have the axle slid back. A buddy of mine had to replace the axle on his boat trailer, and for 350 bucks, the guys cut the old mounts off, welded up the new mounts, and instaled the axle. this included the purchase price of a new 3500lb axle.

figgure a good welder would have a couple hours into the job, at around 75/hr ... it is in the reach of "doable"

i do think i would get a dry weight on the trailer, then add the wet weight of the topper and make sure you arent over your GVWR of the trailer.

if you are over the 3500lb capacity of the axle, you could have a 5200lb axle installed in a location mounted further back.

You'd have to know where the center of gravity on the topper is, and slide the axle back 10 to 15% beyond that ... 20 would be better so long as you dont go over 500lbs on the tounge of the truck. Keep in mind that the topper is going to want to catch a LOT of air when you tow, and that will want to remove tonuge weight as you drive, and could cause instability. shoot high on tounge weight, too much is always better than not enough.

but for all that work .... and the money involved, you might beable to make a reasonable trade and be a lot safer about it.

worst come to worst, go to your local trailer manufacturer and contract them to make you a custom ... most will if you ask. but for that kind of cash layout ... i'd make a trade.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by meborder View Post
couple thoughts come to mind ...

trading the toper camper for a pop up ... that'd be my first choice, being a happy owner of a popup, i'm a little jaided.

if you're intent on making the trailer thing work, my advice would be to have the axle slid back. A buddy of mine had to replace the axle on his boat trailer, and for 350 bucks, the guys cut the old mounts off, welded up the new mounts, and instaled the axle. this included the purchase price of a new 3500lb axle.

figgure a good welder would have a couple hours into the job, at around 75/hr ... it is in the reach of "doable"

i do think i would get a dry weight on the trailer, then add the wet weight of the topper and make sure you aren't over your GIVER of the trailer.

if you are over the lb capacity of the axle, you could have a lb axle installed in a location mounted further back.

You'd have to know where the center of gravity on the topper is, and slide the axle back 10 to 15% beyond that ... 20 would be better so long as you dint go over lbs on the tonger of the truck. Keep in mind that the topper is going to want to catch a LOT of air when you tow, and that will want to remove tongue weight as you drive, and could cause instability. shoot high on tonger weight, too much is always better than not enough.

but for all that work .... and the money involved, you might Babel to make a reasonable trade and be a lot safer about it.

worst come to worst, go to your local trailer manufacturer and contract them to make you a custom ... most will if you ask. but for that kind of cash layout ... I'd make a trade.
trailers are set up at a 60/40 % witch is that 60% of the weight of the trailer are in the front of the trailer's axial and the 40% remaining hangs out the rear if you change that your in for a bad towing experience! so to move the axial is the wrong answer. ever see a trailer waggen back and forth it becuse thers to much weight up front or behind of the axial! this will also cause tire wear and add wear on leaf springs, shocks, hitch and break parts that could lead to an accident. if it where mine i would sale the camper and trailer and use the cas to buy a nice pop up!
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:20 PM
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I'd say find yourself a different trailer as well. But if you're really hard over on keeping that unit, here's a really outside the box thought for you. I've seen a number of truck bed/rear frame combinations that have been converted to trailers over the years. With a little bit of welding, a straight axle, and a trailer jack, you'd still be pulling less than 4000 lbs. Something either of your trucks will handle quite easily. And hydraulic trailer brake controls are available. The camper is already designed to work with a truck bed. The axle will be pretty much where you want it to be with heavy springs. And once you get it set up you'll never have to take the camper out of the bed. Doesn't have to be a new truck. Even a dentside or bullnose would work. They're a dime a dozen in boneyards.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by blueovelboy View Post
trailers are set up at a 60/40 % witch is that 60% of the weight of the trailer are in the front of the trailer's axial and the 40% remaining hangs out the rear if you change that your in for a bad towing experience! so to move the axial is the wrong answer. ever see a trailer waggen back and forth it becuse thers to much weight up front or behind of the axial! this will also cause tire wear and add wear on leaf springs, shocks, hitch and break parts that could lead to an accident. if it where mine i would sale the camper and trailer and use the cas to buy a nice pop up!
all right ... i'll bite.

trailers follow poorly due to poor load distribution, that is true. but it is never caused by too much weight up front. it is always caused by too much weight in front of the axle. shift it too far forward and you run the risk of overloading the hitch, and by way of that removing too much weight from the tow vehicles front axle causing it to become unstable.

perhaps this is what you are referring to, but that is the tow vehicle's instability causing the trailer to sway, not the trailer swaying causing the tow vehicle to become unstable. On most vehicles though, by the time you transfer this much weight from the front axle to the rear, it is quite obvious that you have a problem and most people wouldnt attempt to drive a vehicle that out of shape.

your 60/40 rule makes for a good guideline. if you have 60% up front, your Center of Gravity (CG) will be in front of the axle far enough to provide adequate tounge weight.

the physics here are quite simple. if you want 10% of the load carried by the tow vehicle, make sure your CG is ahead of the axle by 10% of the distance between the tounge and the center of the axle (or axle group if more than one). simple as that. want more like 20%, move your CG ahead by 20% of the distance.

bottom line, whether you shift the axle or shift the load, the goal is to get the CG ahead of the axle by *at least* 10% of distance between the two. on most trailers, this will be sufficient. if you have a huge aero load on the trailer, the dynamic wind load will effectively remove tounge weight and shift your CG back toward the trailer axle ... if it shifts too much, you become unstable.

now ... all of that being said ... the trailer in the picture is marginal for a 3500 GVWR. putting a heavier axle under it will likely result in an overloaded trailer frame.... and i wouldnt advise it. nor would i advise moving the axle, because in this case the distance between the axle and tounge would likely become far enough that it would flex and become unstable in that regard.

i'd say ... shift the load foward, and try it out .... or get a custom trailer built if you are sold on the camper topper ..... or trade it on a pull type trailer ... or go get a beater truck to haul the topper, ... i'd recommed a 73-79 ford .. but i'm a little jaded
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:06 PM
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Funny you mention that. Last night we sold our single axle trailer and purchase a tandem trailer at 3500lbs per axle (brand new). Now we shouldn't have a problem with weight but we are still having to lift the darn thing to clear the gray water tank. Every other truck camper I have seen on a trailer didn't have a problem with the gray water tank hanging down so darn low. Ughhh what a pain.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:14 PM
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I don't think your trailer has enough capacity. I know you say it has a 3500 lb load capacity. Are you absolutely sure, because I don't think that's right. My guess is that the trailer is 6 x 12 and at the most has a 3500 lb GVWR, which leaves you with somehere around a 2400 lb payload.
You were right, so we sold our single axle and purchase a 6X16' tandem at 7000lb capacity.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:39 AM
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Wink

What about this guys?



Now THAT'S more like it!
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