what to look for in a Cabover Camper? - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-04-2008, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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what to look for in a Cabover Camper?

I'm looking to buy a used cabover camper for my 86' F350 longbed regular cab. Money is an issue right now so I want to get an older minimal unit. i've never owned any kind of RV before so I don't know how to check for a leakey roof or a bad heater, etc... I would like atleast a bed that will fit two( me and a lady friend , a sink, a refidgerator, and a small table. I'm finding some that meet these specs in local classified ads for under $1k. Any tips when I go to check these things out would be great. Thanks

95' Jeep Wrangler YJ lifted and locked on GY MTRs
95' Suzuki DR350 bored to 423cc with sleaved cylinder
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 07:49 AM
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Well.... with the lady friend, you will want a bathroom with a toilet
and shower (some minimal ones only have a porta-potty). Also a
heater for the cool mornings. Water heater too...

You will need a cab-over to get a nice bed.

Leaks are hard to detect, but move couch cushions, and the mattress and
look under them for water stains. Look behind cabinets and at shelves where
water collects. Look in the storage buns for signs of water. Also check the
roof for repairs, or attempts to patch the leak. Check for musty smell, if
all the window are open, close them and the door too and let it sit for
15-20 mins while waiting outside. Go back in and check the smell.

Good way to check appliances is to turn them on, if they work then it is
probably OK... Make sure the fridge works, they take almost 5 hours to
really cool down. The seller should have it running to show it works, dont
buy the rig unless the fridge is verified to work.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by punjab View Post
I'm looking to buy a used cabover camper for my 86' F350 longbed regular cab. Money is an issue right now so I want to get an older minimal unit. i've never owned any kind of RV before so I don't know how to check for a leakey roof or a bad heater, etc... I would like atleast a bed that will fit two( me and a lady friend , a sink, a refidgerator, and a small table. I'm finding some that meet these specs in local classified ads for under $1k. Any tips when I go to check these things out would be great. Thanks
That's not really a great truck for a cabover - they get awfully heavy very quickly. Water is going to be a big concern as well. You can get an older unit, but its going to be pretty much a hard sided tent with a "soft" bed. The more stuff you add the heavier it'll get. Another concern is that a SRW is not really stable enough for a cabover, especially in some of the high wind situations around SoCal.

I know you said money is tight, but you might look into a used toy hauler if you want to take the jeep with you. A 5'r or gooseneck will allow you to haul more amenities than a cabover and trailer. Or, you might make a modified one, by putting you camper in the front of a flatbed trailer, with enough room on the back for the jeep. That will allow you to spread the load at a lower center of gravity.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips guys. yeah, a toliet would be nice to have , but I've learned from experience that I really shouldn't take a woman to an undeveloped campsite without flush toliet bathrooms, fire rings and picnic tables. I love the back country, but most of the SoCal chicks I date really can't handle it. I forgot about the wind being an issue, hwy 8 does get pretty windy, I've almost got blown off the hwy. definatley want to tow the jeep too. Can't really afford a toy hauler, ones that are tall enough to put a lifted jeep into are rare and expensive, my buddy that I wheel with spent almost $20k on his that he bought used. Thanks again for the advice guys , it really helped.

95' Jeep Wrangler YJ lifted and locked on GY MTRs
95' Suzuki DR350 bored to 423cc with sleaved cylinder
86' F350 6.9 4x4 regular cab long bed
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 03:12 PM
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I wouldn't worry too much about the wind. I have logged many many miles with my 8" cab over with no problems and if the wind was one then it is time to pull over and stop since it will be a problem no matter what you are towing. Usually leaks come from the top and you will see the water stains around the vents and lights also check the seals around the windows. My camper is 15 years old and is starting to show signs of needing a rebuild but is still fine for what I use it for. If a toilet and a shower isn't needed then you won't find one with a hot water heater, but a 2 or even a 3 way refrigerator is nice. The furnace is where I have most of my problems. Bees and wasp like to build their nest in the fresh air intake and plug it off so every year I need to clean it out. So as long as you know what you have attached to your truck and what you are towing you should have no problems. Yes, a toy hauler would be nice but it depends on where you are going to take it, it won't go all the places that a truck and camper will.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 03:53 PM
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If you want to read a lot, check out the truck camper section of the RV.net forum.

In addition to the good advice on places to check for leaks that others have provided, check the soundness of the mounting of the jacks. It is possible for water to enter around the mounting plates and cause problems.

If a camper you look at has 'wings' , parts hanging down behind the truck tailights, on some campers these are prone to water entry from road spray. Water will find it's way down to the lowest part and rot.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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interesting. Speaking of the jacks, is there much of a difference between hydralic jacks and manual jacks? What I mean to ask is can I get away with manual jacks? I'll definatley check out RV.net forum. I tried for a while trying to find a website with that info after about 30 minutes of looking last night.

95' Jeep Wrangler YJ lifted and locked on GY MTRs
95' Suzuki DR350 bored to 423cc with sleaved cylinder
86' F350 6.9 4x4 regular cab long bed
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 09:38 PM
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Look for an old 8 foot 4 Wheel pop up. Probably the best built pop up ever made. They are basic but have what you need. They are all aluminum and very light. Probably in the 5 to 6 hundred pound area. Most hard side campers will shake apart in the back country. Ask me how I know. The 4 Wheel was designed for the back country.

If you do go with a used hardside, your 350 should handle a 9 to 91/2 foot fully self contained unit with no problem. I carry one on my OBS 250 and it handles better in wind than my wife's Super Duty mini motorhome. The advice you have received on what to watch for is right on but also check the tie down points carefully. Don't skimp on tie downs. You should spend close to 500 bucks for complete adequate tie downs. Losing a camper due to tie down failure is not a thing you want to experience, I have. BTW: the 4 Wheel can be bolted to the floor of your old 350's bed. At least that is how I've seen it done.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-06-2008, 11:34 AM
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I owned a 4 wheel popup for 9 years, very good camper. They do hold their resale, I sold mine for $6K , it was $10K new.

I guess the manual jack question means jackstands that aren't attached to the camper, a tripod foot with a cable/crank setup? If so, those are what I bought with my fourwheel camper and used to remove it - once- when I sold it 9 years later. I didn't like them, at all, but they were all I had. I guess if those are what is provided with your 'new-to-you' camper, then you don't have to worry about leaks at the jack mount points.

I just found them to be unstable, and near-impossible to use without having the rear tires contact the support legs when driving out from underneath. They cost about as much as hydraulic jacks that are mounted to the camper. Since I never removed the camper, they were no problem for 9 years. I just can't imagine having to use them regularly to load/unload a camper.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-06-2008, 03:22 PM
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There are manual jacks that do attach to the camper both crank style and a regular jack type. My brother in law has some hydraulic ones on his camper and has replaced them 3 times in the 12 years that he has owned his camper, for some reason the seals keep failing. I have the manual ones and besides having to replace one cog that keeps the legs straight I have had no problem in 15 years other than one jack pulling the screws out of the camper causing it to tilt over. I fixed that by building my own attachments for the jacks to the camper.

Jim

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-07-2008, 08:53 PM
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Make sure everything works. RV stuff is very expensive to replace. If you buy one with an onboard water tank/holding tanks, verify that they are not cracked by filling them up and looking for leaks. Replacing them can be very costly. Also, you probably want to make sure that the roof vent above the cabover bed is the escape hatch type. Roof seams should have a good coating of the white sealer used on mobile homes. Go over the outside skins very carefully as they are also expensive to have replaced.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Escape hatch? Can I actually climb through it and relax on the roof? Can a racoon come in at night? I'll try and go with the manual jacks, sounds like it'll save me money both in the long run and from the start. Thanks guys

95' Jeep Wrangler YJ lifted and locked on GY MTRs
95' Suzuki DR350 bored to 423cc with sleaved cylinder
86' F350 6.9 4x4 regular cab long bed
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 04:33 PM
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The escape hatch is what it says it is. You have to figure that if you are in the bunk while all the propane accessories are down below you and between you and the only door. You need somewhere to get out just in case there is a fire. Also unless the top is rated for a "deck" I wouldn't do too much lounging on it.

Jim

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