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Centering Guides for Slide-In Campers

Centering guides can be just the ticket to avoid truck bed dings, get a truck camper truly centered and keep a loaded camper from moving.  Here are four clever centering guide solutions every truck camper owner should consider.

Removable Alignment Guides In Truck Bed

Submitted by: Mark Joslin, 2006 Ram 3500, 2005 Lance 1181

In previous truck camper rigs, I have installed commercial alignment blocks as well as homemade alignment blocks.  For this truck camper rig I wanted something better.

Removable Blocks For Truck Camper Alignment

I wanted easily removable, yet fully functional alignment blocks for the bed of my truck.

Rear Alignment Blocks For Slidein Camper

I also wanted a way to secure the blocks to the bed without having to crawl under the bed to secure them.  In previous designs I drilled holes in the bed and secured wooden alignment blocks via a wing nut on a threaded rod into each block.  That was a pain.

Four Alignment Blocks

For this iteration of my alignment block journey, I built each of the four alignment blocks out of three pieces of 2×6.  I cut them at a 45-degree angle.  When they are bolted together, the 45-degree angle would form the face for the camper to slide on while aligning itself into the bed of the truck.

Alignment Blocks Remove Easily

Since the cross grain of a 2×6 isn’t all that slippery, I added Kydex to the face of each alignment block.  To secure each block to the bed, I used the existing tie-down points and made the inner 2×6 shorter than the outer two.

Then I drilled holes in the outer blocks to accept a framing nail to pass through one outer 2×6, then the bed mounted tie down, and then the other outer 2×6.

Alignment Block Build

I used carriage bolts to hold each assembly of three 2x6s together.  Once assembled, the wood was polyurethaned.

Removable Alignment Blocks In Truck

While not commercially made, these look and function great for my nearly 5,000-pound truck camper, and they’re totally removable.  They do not interfere with the bed mat and no new holes needed to be drilled in the bed of the truck.

The guides work perfectly.  The anchor method is fantastic as it holds each alignment block to the bed.  This is important.  When the camper is removed, if the blocks can move they’ll jam themselves between the bed wall and the camper.  Usually they release in spectacular fashion with the camper moving much more than expected.

Blocks Store In Camper Storage Area Easily

It took me four hours to complete this modification and cost me $6.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is medium.

Truck Bed Camper Guides

Submitted by: Marc Cuslidge, 2006 Chevy 3500HD, 1994 Weekender 1010

When loading my truck camper, I sometimes hit the wheel wells inside the truck bed and dent or scratch the bed liner.

Truck Bed Camper Guides

To prevent this from happening, I made guides to engage the camper earlier and act as skid plates for the wheel wells and bed liner.  I also installed a skid at the rear of the truck bed where the camper frame was scraping off additional bed liner.

Truck Bed Guides For Camper

For this modification, I purchased a marine-grade composite material called Starboard and cut it to shape with a skill and jig saw.  Then I drilled and counter-sunk flat-head bolts and bolted them to the wheel wells.  I also drilled and inserted nutserts at the rear for the small skid located there.

The modification has worked great.  The camper starts in between the guides before driving over my Stable-Lift bar.  Once I’m between the guides, I just back up until the camper is completely in.  The guides also keep the camper centered.

It took me three hours to complete this modification and cost me $80.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is hard.

Bed Rail Center Guides

Submitted by: Steven Sternberg, 2013 Chevrolet 2500HD, 2012 Palomino Maverick 8801

bed-rail-centering-guides-1

I did this bed rail modification to keep the camper centered in the box.  I originally made this mod for hauling bicycles.

bed-rail-centering-guides-3

When I got a camper I decided to put plastic slides on the truck to center the camper when loading.

bed-rail-centering-guides-2

The GM pickups are wider in the front of the box than in the back.  The mod makes it a little more difficult to load because I made it one inch wider on both sides.

bed-rail-centering-guides-4bed-rail-centering-guides-5

It took me four hours to complete this modification and cost me $50.  In my opinion, the skill level of this modification is medium.

Wood and Carpeted Centering Blocks

Submitted by: Art and Mabel Davidson, 2007 Chevrolet 3500, 2003 Bigfoot 30c10.11SL

Centering Guides For Truck Camper

I use centering blocks for easier loading of the camper and it keeps the camper from shifting while traveling.

Wooded And Carpeted Guide For Camper

I made the blocks from some scrap wood and covered them with carpet.  They work exceptionally well and were easy and inexpensive to make.

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