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2013 Top Mod Contest Winner

TCM announces the Top Truck Camper Modder for 2013 and the winner of the $100 fuel card.  Eighteen more mods bring our mod-rageous contest to a spectacular conclusion.

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Welcome to the fourth and final contest entry article from the 2013 Top Mod Showdown Contest.  The winner of the $100 fuel card and the Top Truck Camper Modder of 2013 is…

Top Modder for 2013: Steve Blackman, High Wycombe, England
2007 Ford Ranger European Version
1991 Shadow Cruiser – Sky Cruiser 1

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“When I discovered the roof of the camper was rotten I didn’t want to spend a lot of money and effort just returning it to the same condition it was in originally.  I wanted to get something better for the effort.

I wanted a new roof, something strong enough to stand on, something that would resist the branches that often scrape along our camper as we squeeze it through narrow lanes, a system of roof rails to ratchet strap stuff down to and protect the giant moon roof, and the ability to mount solar panels.

To tick the first three I decided to replace the old plywood roof with thicker marine ply and more reinforcing.  I would rather that than use epdm rubber roof that is easily damaged.  I bought aluminum diamond plate panels and cut and TiG welded them together (which involved buying an AC TiG welder and teaching myself to weld aluminum).  I also moved the refrigerator vent from the roof to the side to reduce openings and baffled it so the compressor refrigerator’s heat exchanger fan would force external air to flow through rather than simply recycling the warm air.

To achieve a system of roof rails to ratchet strap stuff down to and protect the giant moon roof and the ability to mount solar panels, I welded supports onto the new aluminum roof before screwing and sealing it down.  Then, I bolted square section aluminum tubing to those supports.

Finally I fitted two solar panels which I hinged for maintenance access.  The third picture in the top row above is the roof with the two solar panels in their lifted position giving access to the wiring that I have taken into a junction box.  I built that with watertight glands that funnel the wires down into the old refrigerator vent area toward the charge controller.  I fitted spare glands to the junction box for future applications like powering external LED light strips, digital television / radio antennas, spotlights, etc.   The new roof makes a good photography platform.” – Steve Blackman

2013 Top Mod Contest Entries Part 4

Virgil Apilado, California
2006 Chevy Silverado 2500
2006 Lance 845

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“My truck camper is a weekend warrior since we are still working full time.  We camp mostly during Spring and Fall closer to home.  During winter, I used the truck camper with my hunting buddy since my wife does not hunt.

I did a major renovation in the overcab to suit me for camping with the wife or hunting with a buddy.  The queen bed was discarded and the two corner cabinets removed.

The two twin beds are configured when I go hunting with my buddy.  Notice the reading light is relocated on the side wall.   We zip the two twin beds together so that it is a queen bed when I go camping with my wife.” – Virgil Apilado

Marco Sigala, California
2004 Dodge Ram 2500
2004 Northstar 850SC

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“I have a regular size garage and not enough space around my house to store my camper.  With the camper lowered all the way, it was about two inches too tall to fit inside the garage.

After looking at the Happijacs for a couple of weeks, I realized I could pop off the metal bracket holding the screws, punch another hole equidistant from the other holes to add a fourth screw, and then re-weld the bracket back in place.  This modification allows me to move the Happijacs up and, thus, lower the camper.  I also added heavy duty caster wheels to each Happijac so I can roll the camper in and out of the garage.

As you can see in the picture, the camper fits great in the garage protected from the elements and I can still store our bikes.” – Marco Sigala

Sue and Don Graf, Maine   
2008 Ford F350
2013 Arctic Fox 865

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“We installed a towel rack mounted from the ceiling near the back wall to replace the towel hangers on the door.  We also replaced the OEM shower head with a low flow oxygenated one.  It saves a lot of water and provides an invigorating shower.” – Sue and Don Graf

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