Welcome to the fourth entry in November’s Mini Mod Contest. One Mini Mod will be published in every Email Alert in November. At the end of the month, we’ll hold a reader vote to determine November’s winner. Click here for information about the 2022 Mod Contest, including how to enter.
Ted Werner, somewhere between Arizona and New Hampshire
Shaving Mirror To The Rescue
2011 Ford F-550
2019 Northstar 12STC
For the past three years, I have been trying to find the best procedure for loading my Northstar truck camper onto my truck. I have observed in-person demonstrations, YouTube videos, and illustrated descriptions on Truck Camper Magazine’s website. Rollers, lasers, cameras, and human spotters were considered.
I have recorded exhaustive measurements and fabricated angled “cheek blocks” fastened to the bed of my truck. I have tried the method of reclining the driver’s seat and trying to look through the back window of the truck while moving underneath the camper.
I even tried clamping angled brackets to the sidewall of the truck figuring that I could use them and the truck’s side mirror to accurately align the truck with the camper (see photo above). This was a complicated failure.
Finally, I attached duct tape targets vertically on the nearest and furthest surfaces of the camper corresponding to the final resting place of the sidewalls of the truck.
Then I taped vertical guides on the sidewalls of the truck (above and below). It is now just a matter of keeping the guides lined up with the targets.
If I try to look down the side of the truck while loading, I not only resemble a pretzel, but I end up awkwardly controlling the movement of the truck with the heel of my foot. I know where the camper needs to be, but I just could not see it properly while the event is taking place.
Enter the, “aha” moment. I must not use the truck’s mirror. The problem is one of parallax; the position of an object changes when viewed from different angles (above and below).
I was never looking straight down the side of the truck unless I assumed the shape of a pretzel.
Grabbing the shaving mirror from the camper’s medicine cabinet and holding it alongside the truck, I could now see both my targets and guides while comfortably seated in the cab of the truck (above and below).
The picture below shows what I am seeing with the shaving mirror looking right down the side of the truck.
After a dozen loading events, I am confident that I can back the truck under the camper and maintain proper alignment. I still need my wife, Jan to say, “That’s far enough!”
The cost to me was zero as I had the duct tape, paint sticks, and mirror on hand. The level of difficulty was easy. Now, let’s try it at night in the rain on sloping terrain.
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.
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