Monday, January 08, 2007

A Little Help From Our Friends

It's been a depressing holiday season. Not only is The Super Camper in need of intensive care, but we missed out on a much needed surf vacation. Coming back in time for Christmas and all the "what happened?"s was painful.

You can't go on depressed forever. At some point, you just have to take a step forward and start rebuilding. After the insurance appraiser finally paid us a visit and lightly inspected the damage, we finally decided to remove the camper from the truck so that we could get a better look at the damage.

Getting the camper on the truck was quite an ordeal in the first place. At that point, the camper consisted of just the fiberglass shell. Now, it has a 60 lb battery, a refrigerator, a heavy bed mattress, wooden cabinets, and a few other things that make it much heavier. Fortunately we have good strong friends that were happy to lend some lifting power.

The first step was removing everything tying the camper to the frame. Ryan and I went around and disconnected the tail lights, the bumper lights, the air lift system, the funnel drain, the extra water tank, and finally the bumper itself.

Soon friends began arriving.

We had help from a bartender, a surfboard sander, a tugboat operator, a longshoreman, a contractor, and with Ryan and I as an engineer and a pro surfer, there were a lot of theories coming from varying backgrounds on the best way to lift the camper from the truck and onto the sawhorses.

First we slid a long 4"x4" with a 2"x4" nailed to it to add strength, under the front part of the camper, and rested it on two saw horses. Then we cut up some 2"x4"s and nailed them to one of the sawhorses to lift up the back end.

Then the boys lifted the camper from the front, as Greg and I slid 2"x4's under the front end, one by one, to lift the front end. After a few lifts, the camper was raised enough to pull the truck out from underneath. The truck still didn't clear completely, so I hung onto the back end of the frame to lower it just enough while we slowly pushed the truck out from under the camper.

The next step was removing the 2"x4"s so that the camper rested safely on just the sawhorses.

Finally, Ryan could really see everything without having to be underneath the truck.

Thank you so much to Greg, Butch, Fuj, Scott, and Charlie. We couldn't have done it without you!
The next step, is taking it to a frame shop for estimates...


JoeChiOhki said...

Since you guys have got it off the truck, you might want to consider designing a tubular steel frame that bolts to the underside of the floor so that if need warrants it at another time you can set it so you can simply attatch a set of mechanical jacks like the ones used on regular campers and raise the unit up off the truck. It wouldn't take much to make a craddle that bolted underneath the camper floor and stayed in place.

Feel free to join us pickup camper folks over at NATCOA we'd love to have ya with us :)

zimm said...

You guys rule! I have trouble just taking my normal shell of my tacoma. Keep up the good work!

truck lift pip said...

That was a very hard task! It's a good thing you were able to successfuly lift the camper off your truck.

Anonymous said...

I just wandered in here from the net searching for a different camper... but this is one cool project!

Thanks a bunch for taking all the build photos and sharing it with the rest of us. This is very inspiring!

The trip photos I've seen so far make it all seem worth it.

Take care and I wish you both the best...

O.K., now, where did I leave off reading...