Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Super Camper: Rebuilding continues...

Quite a few people have asked about the costs associated with the camper buildling project. From the first purchase we made (the truck itself) we put every receipt into a shoebox that after more than two years is now overflowing with bits of paper. We have been curious about the final cost tally as well and finally got around to adding everything up. So, here it is:

Original price of New Truck in 2004: $25,000

Nida-core: $3,638
Metal: $789
Fiberglassing supply: $531
Windows: $1,024
Refrigerator: $500
Mattress and cushions: $800
Wood: $160
Solar Panel and controller: $1,022
Tools, supplies: $879
Paint, adhesives: $417
misc items from Boater's World: $300
misc hardware items from McMaster Carr: $1,852
Carpet: $50
Towing Mirrors: $86
Truck upgrades (sway bar, lights, etc.): $950
Total not including truck: $12,838

This is a rough estimate. It would definitely be cheaper if we made a second Super Camper as we learned quite a bit in the process.

It took quite a while to get the truck back from repairs. On first inspection it looked pretty good.
Then we looked closer....
Ryan filled up the gas tank and it only took 14 gallons while the previous tank held 18. So, he took the truck back and demanded the proper tank.
Of course our main concern was the straightness of the frame. Ryan had me hose down the alley until a big puddle formed and then he drove the truck through to make sure the tracks were perfectly straight.

We each had our own style of claiming the straightness, but as you can see, the frame seemed pretty good.

Next, while we had plenty of room to work without the camper on the truck, Ryan wanted to strengthen the frame so that it would be less likely to twist in case of another impact. He decided to box the frame where possible and "double the web of the C" -- add a stiffening plate to the outside of the frame.

Ryan enlisted the help of his friend Sergio for the welding:

Sometimes there were sparks flying in both directions with Sergio welding one side, while Ryan used the grinder to prepare for welding on the other.

Ever since seeing this photo online of someone else's misfortune

Ryan has been worried about the strength of the bed mounts. Prior to the accident, he had installed mount supports which helped quite a bit but still the mounts caved slightly.

So, Ryan decided to weld a plate to box the bed mounts as well.

After welding there was grinding...

mmmm.......Liberty Ale!
then there was priming...

then it was painted!

Finally, he installed a metal "strap" that Xs in the middle to help prevent any twisting of the frame.

At last, he could sit on the porch and enjoy the last few sips of his Liberty Ale along with the last few moments of sunshine.

In case you were wondering, it is gardening season once again....which means it is time for my favorite thing in the world (note sarcasm) indoor planting!

Check back next time for the reunion of truck and camper!