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Readers Respond Part 2: Truck Bed Rant Anyone?

Here are more responses to last Friday’s Question of the Moment, “Have you ever had a challenge with your truck camper related to the length, height, or width of your truck bed?”.  Again I want to stress the importance of measuring a truck and camper as outlined in the article, “Matching a Truck and Camper”. 

Measure twice, match a truck and camper once.

 “I had a Ford F-350, crew cab, dually, 4X4, long bed, diesel, which is my dream truck, but it’s not for me.  The bed required an elevated platform for the camper to clear my clearance lights and truck cab.  The platform had to be removed to access the ball for my fifth wheel connection.  The rear width of bed was approximately six plus inches wider than my camper, which was easy to load but was more room to misalign the camper in the truck’s bed.  I replaced my Ford with a Dodge and no platform is required.  The bed width is two inches wider than camper.  If you can get under camper without rubbing the sides, it’s square enough.” – Pete Clark

“Guys, I am just at the point of jumping into the truck camper world and the differing truck sizes and bed lengths makes it even harder to match up a camper with a truck.  I may have only one shot at this match-up and a moving target makes it more difficult.  Thanks for all your efforts, I enjoy TCM a lot.” – George Kepler, Grumpy Too

“Maybe Gordon is grumpy, but his rant may have more to do with his position of information gatherer and publisher than any impact the situation may have on his readership.

When I first acquired my truck camper twelve or so years ago, there was a concern that the then modern pick-ups had higher bed rails than earlier models.  Some camper manufacturers hadn’t yet caught up, so at times it was necessary to space the camper up for clearance purposes. 

But any concern for length width or height consistency is really moot as far as we single unit owners are concerned.  As long as we properly match truck-to-camper or camper-to-truck, as the case may be, it’s not of concern is it?  I have to admit, of course, that in the course of subsequently replacing the camper (or the truck) a discrepancy might intrude… but I’ll drive off that bridge when I get to it.” – Mark Obert, Huntington Beach, California

“Yes!  The day before we left for a five month stay in Florida, I found out our brand new truck would not allow the eleven foot Lance to fit through the tailgate opening without placing it on pallets.  The next spring, it was a total make over for the Lance.  Luckily the narrowing of the dinette and the bathroom sink area combined allows us to continue the truck camper way of life as we have done since 1962.” – Gordie, Old and Grumpy

“When I changed my 2006 Ford F-250 to a 2006 Ford F-350 dually, I had a truck bed issue.  My camper overcab touched the lights on the roof.  I had gone from an extended cab to a crew cab.  I added a quarter inch plywood and a rubber mat and the problem was solved.  Have a nice day.” – Rob Landman

“Gordon, I think you’re right on.  They should standardize truck beds.  After all, what else are trucks for?  Really, the sad part is manufacturers have to allow extra clearance for the variations and that wastes space and can increase the overcab height.  I found out the hard way that the bed of my 2005 Dodge 3500 is three-quarters of an inch taller in back than it is in the front!” – Charles Phy

“I am fed up with ‘They do not make that anymore’ or ‘It’s a custom order’ or ‘You can’t get twenty plus miles to the gallon from a pick-up’.  Ford has addressed that last one, so the rest of the manufacturers need to step up.

I need a club cab style, four wheel drive, thirty mile per gallon highway camper truck.  It has to have an eight foot bed, and I must try it on before we buy.  I am six foot seven, 350 pounds, and folks are not designing vehicles for me.  I want to haul a four by eight foot plywood sheet inside away from the weather.  I want to haul railroad ties inside the bed with the tailgate up!  I want to sleep in a camper bed that my feet do not hang off.  I want this in a vehicle I can purchase without a special order or from a fleet sale.

What happened to the eight Foot Bed?  Was there some rule that trucks could only be a certain length, so the eight foot bed had to disappear?  Remember the camper special with the club cab and the long bed?  It sometimes had three feet extending beyond the bed.  Thanks for letting me rant a little.” – David Campbell, Middleton, Idaho

“My challenges have not come from bed design, but suspension design relating to the height of the bed floor from the ground or the bed rails.  Dodge has the highest rail heights in the industry and this usually goes along with bed floor height being taller too.

Plastic dually fenders are a pet gripe of mine.  They do not take much to break them and they are god awful expensive to replace, especially Ford. Cheers.” – Rob Blesse

“Hi folks.  I have a 2003 GMC Sierra short bed that I use to haul my 2003 Fleetwood Elkhorn 8R.  It’s a nice rig although the truck bed is narrower at the rear than at the front.  My camper has a bump out that fills the space behind the left wheel well which just fits.  Adding to the problem is the clamps holding my tonneau cover rails to the top of the bed, they stick in about two inches.  The curb side of my camper came with a sheet metal cover running the length of the camper that encloses a gas pipe for the generator which I do not have.  I removed this gas pipe and plugged the tee and re-fabricated the sheet metal cover so it was narrower, but it only gained me an inch.  It helped, but it is still a cozy fit.  I have gotten good at backing under my camper at a slight angle then straightening up in the last foot or so.  What I wouldn’t give for a two inch wider bed!  Happy camping!” – Mike Herring, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

“Yes!  I have had my 2001 9.5 Fleetwood Elkhorn camper for a while.  I had it on a 2001 Dodge 2500.  The fit was good; no modifications were required.  Then I bought a 2011 Ford F-350 and the camper actually rested up against the tail lights.  So I had to modify lumber to the front of the camper to adjust the fit.  So, I have to ask, “Do the truck camper manufacturers communicate at all with the truck manufacturers?” – Tom Warren

“Hi Angela.  We all have issues, though some may be slightly different.  We got a deal on our current camper, so it was purchased before we had a truck.  I was planning to use a flatbed and, with the camper on hand, we could place the camper on a ten foot deck and still clear the sewer drain.  So our camper is supported on the bottom by an extra two feet in length.  Other campers will not fit on flat decks due to the side skirts that hang down.  Being that the deck is wood with a steel frame, I would have considered cutting a hole in the deck to access the drain if needed.” – Rick Law

“Out of the four campers I’ve had, three have needed modifications to fit the bed.  Number #1, a 1974 Caveman on a 1996 Chevy.  I had to cut a section out of the porta-potti closet and narrow it to fit between the sides.  Number #2, a 2004 Alpenlite Saratoga on a 2004 Dodge short bed.  No issues.  Number #3, a 2006 Northern Lite on a 2004 Dodge.  I had to add two inches of Owens Corning pink high density foam in the bed to clear the roof with the cabover.  Number #4, a 1994 Snowbird on a 2005 Dodge long bed. I had to add three inches of high density foam to clear the cabover.” – Ron Berry

“This topic doesn’t seem all that difficult to solve.  You measure each one, look at each one and then buy the one that fits.  At least that is what I did and it worked out perfectly.  I have a Lance 855 and a 2006 Ford F-350, short bed, 4×4, crew cab, diesel pick-up.” – Larry Lindenberg

 

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American RV Dealership Grand Rapids, Michigan

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