A rear has been rebuilt, exterior storage constructed, recliner love seat installed, roof lift created, jack bracing system built, and a custom porch added. It’s time to vote!
Welcome to the December 2015 Monthly Mod Contest. Please review the following six Mega Mods and vote for your favorite December 2015 mod. We will announce the Mega Mod Contest winner next week. For more information about the Monthly Mod Contest, including how to enter, click here.
December 2015 Mod Contest Entries:
1. Thomas Wilson, Walkertown, North Carolina
2015 Chevy 3500
2015 Adventurer 89RB
Above: The empty space that was in the overhang – click to enlarge
I purchased a 2015 Adventurer 89RB, which is designed to match long or short bed trucks. I matched the camper to a 2015 Chevy 3500 short bed and wanted to make use of the space behind my truck’s tail lights.
First, I made a template out of plywood. The template gave me the sizing for my inside metal and provided a pattern for the rough cut-outs for the doors. Placing the template against the inside wall on each wing, I cut out the door openings using a sabre saw. I changed blades for each door. Then, I installed storage boxes on each side of my camper.
The doors are quite similar to factory doors and it has provided about 3.8 cubic feet of space on each side of camper. The result has more than met my expectations and just fits perfectly with camper loaded and unloaded.
Above: The overhang doors are now on both sides of the back of the camper – click to enlarge
It took me eight to ten hours to complete and cost approximately $225. In my opinion, the skill level of this mod is hard and that’s only because I had to locate a supplier for the doors.
2. Boyd and Marsha Pettitt, Stockbridge, Georgia
2007 Dodge 3500
2007 Arctic Fox 811
We use our truck camper to travel a lot. Since retiring in 2011, we have traveled to all but three states, and all but three or four of the Canadian provinces. The only problem we have had with camping in our 2007 Arctic Fox 811 is the uncomfortable dinette seating. We wanted to stretch out and rest at the end of the day.
I removed the heater, dinette, and lower storage drawer in the slide. We never used the built-in propane heater. Instead we carry a small electric heater for when we have shore power, and a Mr. Buddy portable propane heater for when we are boondocking. As a general rule, we don’t travel during the winter.
Above: New LazyBoy leather reclining love seat replaced the dinette – click to enlarge
Then I found a like new LazyBoy leather reclining love seat for $150. This particular model was the correct width and and was easy to disassemble and fit through the rear camper door. Once inside, the love seat was simply screwed down to the camper floor. We also installed outlet strips for charging phones, cameras, and computers.
In total, it took two days to complete this mod. We love it. We’ve had the reclining love seat installed for three years. In that time we have traveled over 15,000 miles. I wish I had done this mod first day I bought the camper in 2008.
It took me twelve hours to complete and cost $160. In my opinion, the skill level of this mod is medium.
3. TJ and Kelly Kretschmar, Kansas City, Kansas
2006 Nissan Titan and 1970 Chevy C10
1994 Hallmark Ute LTD
Above: Before the modification, the rear of the camper – click to enlarge
Our Hallmark Ute LTD was severely damaged when the previous owner hit something with the rear jacks. The accident almost ripped off the rear panel and destroyed the welds on the door frame and some of the wood framing. The previous owner put a band-aid fix on it.
Above: The left side is cut, before the pipe is removed, and after the plumbing was done – click to enlarge
We repaired the damage by cutting the tail light wings off and exposing the truck’s tail lights. I also removed the crossover plumbing, added a new drain valve and cap for the grey water, and plumbed the shower into the black tank with an isolation valve. When all that was complete, I re-skinned the back of the camper with diamond plate and added new trim.
Above: The new diamond plate on the back of the camper – click to enlarge
Once completed, I field tested the camper down some rough dirt roads in Arkansas. It works and looks great and we were able to reduce weight in the rear. The sheet metal reinforced the damaged framing. The reworked plumbing works fantastic. The only complaint on the plumbing is the black water knife gate valve can be stubborn to pull open in the tiny space it’s in.
It took me fifteen hours to complete and cost $150. In my opinion, the skill level of this mod is hard.
4. Manfred Klement, Ziemetshausen, Germany, Bavaria
2000 Ford F-250
1992 Jayco Sportster
While renovating our 1992 Jayco Sportster 8-foot pop-up camper, we had the idea to do a little luxury renovation. We added flat solar panels, a modern charging system and battery monitor, and a Truma 2400 propane heater. But the highlight of the mods is our winch-based power roof lift system.
Above: The original pop-up winch needed replacement – click to enlarge
The original winch we used was strongly bent so we needed a replacement. I added an ATV-style winch from Dragon-winch, Poland. It works perfectly! The amp-draw is 50 amps on 12 Volts, but we only use it for a few seconds.
Above: The original winch was replaced with an ATV-style winch – click to enlarge
Above: The winch is screwed through the floor, 9 mm phenolic resin coated plywood, with 3mm aluminium below and big washers and machine screws. The above picture is from the front corner.
You can see it in action in this video.
It took me four hours to complete and cost $150 including cables and the required fuses. In my opinion, the skill level of this mod is medium.
5. Tom Adams, Spokane Valley, Washington
2001 GMC Sierra 2500HD Duramax
1998 Northland 10-foot
Loading a truck camper into a pickup bed requires precise alignment. If you’re not lined up correctly, it’s possible to bump the camper and potentially damage the camper jacks and their mounting brackets. To prevent this from happening on my camper, I improved the rear jack mounts to better distribute the forces that could occur during such a situation.
Above: The jack brace installation, front to back – click to enlarge
The components I used include two lengths of 3/4″ steel pipe threaded on both ends, four end caps for the pipe with holes drilled for 3/8″ bolts, four 3/8″ lock nuts, and four 2 1/4″ pipe straps (as shown). You’ll find the pipe straps near the pipes at the hardware store. You’ll have to modify the ends of the pipe straps to accommodate the 3/8″ bolts and adjust to reach overall length between the jacks.
Above: The jack brace installation close-up – click to enlarge
The addition of these braces has worked perfectly. If I should bump the camper, I’m able to stop to correct my position without any damage to the front jack mounting or the rear jack mounting.
Above: The brace in the front (left) and rear (right) – click to enlarge
It took me three hours to complete and cost $40. In my opinion, the skill level of this mod is medium.
6. Bryan Malone, Port Jefferson Station, New York
1999 Ford F250
1997 Shadow Cruiser 851
I began the build of my rear porch due to the shear height of the camper and the unattainable way of entering and exiting without almost hurting yourself.
Above: Before the step and stain was applied – click to enlarge
I constructed an 6-foot by 3-foot steel rear porch with cedar decking and a retractable step. It has 3/8-inch bolts welded to the underside to connect eye hooks for hauling various things.
Above: The finished porch – click to enlarge
The porch has worked out great with the ability to strap down most anything that I would like to carry including a generator, firewood, bikes, etc.
It took me eight hours to complete and cost $250. In my opinion, the skill level of this mod is medium.
Disclaimer: The modifications above are submitted by Truck Camper Magazine readers. It is your responsibility to make sure that any do-it-yourself modification project you undertake is safe, effective, and legal for your situation.