I have a passion for camping and love camping projects. I have decided to build a slide on camper for my 4wd ute.
Made all from aluminium to keep it light, when it’s completed it’s going to have a pop up double bed up top, canvas wrap around side awning, full kitchen with gas stove, gas hot water with water storage, triple gel batteries with solar to name a few. I have until Anzac Day 2015 to finish it so here we go!
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From here i will have to draw it again in AutoCAD with accurate dimensions and cross-sections for each piece i need to make. More on that later.
Now to build the stainless steel water tank. I have designed this to be mid-mounted and also act as a divider from the kitchen to the storage area, also keeping the weight over the axle. It will be 155 L.
Devider wall goes in. This is a shot from the storage (drivers) side. When completed this will store the beer esky, camping chairs, clothes compartment and a tool box for 4wd recovery gear and what ever else.
Sorry for the shit night shot but here’s a bit of the plumbing done. Water heater on the left, up top is a 3way valve to direct the hot water to either the external shower compartment (right box) or the kitchen sink/tap. More on that later.
This serves multiple reasons. First is while driving, the fans will force fresh air into the camper so it positively pressurizes the cabin making it impossible for dust to enter through any door seals.
Second is the hot water heater. Like any household, they are meant to be mounted outside due to the carbon monoxide produced from the gas burner. The water heater i am using has an exhaust flu on top of the unit. I am going to duct this vent to the dirty air side of the filter unit using a one-way valve so when the unit is running the flap opens exhausting the carbon monoxide to the outside of the camper bypassing the filter. But when the heater is not in use, the flap shuts again keeping the dust out.
So here is my brainchild after birth. Not much to look at yet but its beginning to take shape. The bigger box will house the fans, the hole you can see is for the heater exhaust, the big square hole is for the filter and the other box goes over the filter. Hope this makes sense. The white thing is a water excess drain should the fans suck in rain water.
Plumbing for the hot water heater is complete. Just need to connect the exhaust to the top to the filter box and its ready to rock. Note all this plumbing will be covered by the kitchen sink draw slide.
Here’s a screenshot of me designing the pop top on AutoCAD. I’m pretty much starting from scratch with no prior knowledge on how to make it, I’m just going to have a crack and hope for the best. I have tried a few different designs and the only way I can come up with to have the lid lift 1800mm high to stand upstairs is this way.
Here is a shot of me designing the adjustable sidewinder jacks which will lift the camper off my ute tray. This will enable me to level the camper, set it to the desired height and also free up my ute for 4wding, hunting , collecting firewood and more beer. Because my ute tray is so high (1200 off ground) I am having to go to great lengths to get the jacks to function at this height. More on that later. Here you can see the stainless steel machined shaft I have welded to the top of the jack which will insert into the opposing machined receiver welded to the camper.
Another problem I have came across is the hot water heater’s ignition source. Its normally powdered by two ‘D’ size batteries which are inserted under unit but where I have mounted the unit I won’t be able to access the batteries, not to mention the hassle should the batteries go flat out in the bush somewhere. So I came up with this:
My latest invention to overcome the battery problem. The concept is to make two replica batteries, same dimensions out of nylon which will have button head screws for terminals which will be wired through a 12 to 3v DC regulator and then I can connect the power to the campers battery system. Sounds good in theory, time to give it a crack!
Here is the finished product! Worked out exactly how I wanted. The top end is tapped M6 then the screw inserted, then the electrical terminal is connected to the base of the screw and fixed with a nut. There is a larger hole in the bottom for the wire and machined out to the size of the insulation i will be adding later. Very happy!
Now its time to start thinking about the electrical system. There are a few circuits to run and I want to know how its going to work, and where the wires are going to go before i even start. I have found it much neater and professional by mapping out what goes where before I hit the tools.
Here is a little alloy box I fabbed up to house the water level sender unit, and also the switches for the kitchen.
Here it is installed. (below the fire extinguisher) Happy as a pig in shit.
Here is the dash semi-installed. This dash will display the battery management and power consumption and charge state. Behind the dash will be the fuse box and solar regulator unit. I have also installed an hour meter to know how long the camper has been used for, mostly for resale use i guess. For example I might own it for 2 years but only use it several times.
Here are the main switches located at the batteries under the stairs. Here you can see the switch on the left which can isolate the power from the solar panels. the right switch isolates the batteries from basically everything for when the camper is not in use, The anderson plug is for external charging from a car charger for example via the dash which displays the rate of charge etc.
Here’s a few photos of where i’m at now (march 2015)
That’s the kitchen basically finished.
Now for the big trip. Heading up to Forster for 4-5 days then over the Barrington Tops heading West. No real plans just more of an NSW exploration with no deadlines or destination, just see where we end up and test out the rig.
Next i have just added a few photos of our trip and some of the beautiful places we visited.
As soon as we left Forster we made it our mission to stay off the tar and experience the road less traveled.
Its been a fun journey keeping me out of trouble and my weekends busy. Id hate to add up the hours I’ve spent over the last 9 months it taken me to build. I will be adding up the expenses later on but for now its time to put this project to rest and hang up the boots for a while.
I will continue with it later on and finish the legs and give it a paint job but i need a break and to concentrate on work.
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Click on the photos for a better look.!