Camper pod on Land Cruiser Ute.

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 15:05
ThreadID: 105772 Views:7469 Replies:5 FollowUps:7
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Hi, This is my first post on here, not exactly sure as to how this site operates but hoping to get some advice, ideas, C&C.
I Currently Live in a troop Carrier that I have fit out as a Camper with a small amount of bench space, sink with hand pump, cupboards, bed and under bed storage, and have been doing so for about a year now just traveling around Australia with my partner, so I have a half decent idea on what you need/want, what works/doesn't work (to my personal preference), while living in a small vehicle on the road.
Looking at buying a Land Cruiser Ute and building a pop top camper pod type thing on the back of that as I would like a bit more room and standing space. Not long ago I built a trailer Canopy out of 40x40x1.6mm RHS (25x25x1.6 for the doors and door recesses) and sheeted it with 0.55mm gal steel sheet, so was thinking of using a similar construction method for the camper pod, also was intending on building the base of it out of 70x50x3mm rhs joist style construction or similar and bolting that to the chassis where the tray would usually bolt on, as I doesn't bother me that I wouldn't be able to remove it easily like a slide on. and not having a tray might make steel frame construction more weight affordable due to not having the added weight of a tray that you do with a slide on camper? is this possible/legal?
Also I'm going to need to find a lighter alternative to GAL steel sheet? looked at aluminium clad but it seems that is like a million dollars a m2? is there any sites that people know of that sell aluminium clad for a reasonable price because I couldn't find much. also the camper wouldn't have a fridge in it because I tow a small trailer with solar, batteries and fridge in it. but would like to put solar on the camper with maybe a 100ah deep cycle in the ute for charging phones/laptop etc, but looking at putting gas struts on the pop top anyways.
Haven been doing allot of 4WDing since I've been in Tasmania, but wouldn't be taking the new rig on anything to rough or corrugated.
any thoughts or ideas, or is this possible would be greatly appreciated, Thanks.
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Reply By: Mick O - Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 16:21

Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 16:21
Plenty of good ideas about George but again it depends on budget and knowing exactly what you want.

I've spent a lot of time designing and building mine so you may pick up a few ideas here;

Building the dream off-roader

Cheers Mick

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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AnswerID: 524279

Follow Up By: GeorgeClooney - Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 20:56

Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 20:56
Thanks heaps for the reply, that truck looks pretty amazing, I had a quick look though it then, Ill read through it properly a bit later, my budget disagrees with any kind of chassis strengthening and/or extension though.
FollowupID: 805894

Reply By: Member - wicket - Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 16:43

Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 16:43
There is a bloke at expedition portal doing exactly what you propose can check it out here

ultimate aussie camper
AnswerID: 524280

Follow Up By: GeorgeClooney - Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 21:01

Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 21:01
Thanks for the reply! Really appreciate the Link and info!
FollowupID: 805895

Reply By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 17:16

Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 17:16
G'day George,

I have a Landcruiser ute that has a RHS framed lockable camper that I built myself many years ago using much the same construction methods that sound very similar to what you used for your trailer mounted unit. I was originally going to make it a slide on setup until I weighed the steel tray and although it was way too long ago for me to remember the exact weight I know it was a fair bit over the 200 kg mark. I then added mounting feet to a RHS frame, attached the camper to that and bolted the lot to the ute chassis in place of the tray. Not sure about the legality side but I don't see why it should not. Anyway, mine has been like that for many a trip and never been questioned, well not so Mine does not pop up but we have a full canvas annex that attaches to the side and that provides us with stand up room for cooking, eating if the flys are bad, general lazing about and getting dressed. When we did the CSR many years ago the wife and I could have our lot down and stowed long before the mate with a roof top tent was half done.
As you noted aluminium sheeting seems to be priced as if it was gold plated. I used gal sheeting for mine but would not use as heavy a gauge next time. You live and learn. I have replaced the sheeting on the doors with an aluminium sandwich style product that is used for street signs. It comes in from memory 3, 4, and I think 5 mm thicknesses. Less than half the weight of the galv sheeting I used and about a quarter (literally) of the price of standard normal aluminium sheeting of much thinner gauge. The one problem is that it doesn't lend itself to being bent like galv does, however you can buy aluminium extrusion sections of whatever length you like to join the sheets at an angle. I haven't tried it but I think you might be able to get away with a bend by cutting through the inner part of the sandwich along the line you want to bend and only bend the outer layer. Maybe, not sure??
I have a full roof rack on mine for spare wheels and other stuff we didn't want to be packing and unpacking all the time. I had the cab extended on my ute enough so that my 40 lt Engel and a 100 AH deep cycle AGM battery plus extra storage is behind the seats. The battery and fridge are very well secured to the floor for obvious reasons. I have an 80 watt solar panel that I recently acquired but haven't rigged up yet.
That rig that Mick O has is the stuff of dreams to me but the bank balance, in my case anyway, says "dream on" (:-)))

AnswerID: 524283

Follow Up By: GeorgeClooney - Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 21:30

Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 21:30
Its good to hear there is someone with a similar idea that works. Does yours overhang the cab at the front at all? I have done a little bit of research and on the weight of slide on campers and the weight of steel trays, most of the steel trays I can see weigh about 240Kgs, not sure if that's including sides on not, assume it would. Im not going to be able to build the setup I want for the same weight as most of the slide ons on the market, (I've pretty much been using the weight of these as a guide for mine, with the weight advantage I have of not having the added extra weight of the tray, because I can't seem to find the Kerb Weight and GVM for a landcruiser ute, only wagon and troopy which im sitting in right now) do you have any Idea how much your setup Weighs?
Also, where abouts did you get the Aluminium sandwich sheeting? or do you know of sites that would have more info on it? because that sounds like it could possibly solve the biggest Issue I have at the moment, the weight, I have drawn up the frame and worked out that that will weigh about 165Kgs which sounds heavy, but is still under the weight of an empty steel tray, but as soon as I sheet it with GAL sheet its just over 300Kgs before I put anything inside at as far as storage cupboards, interior sheeting, bedding and general supplies. so that pretty well shoots that idea down.
My bank account agrees with yours on that Dream Rig of Mick O's
Thanks heaps For the reply and info! Really Appreciate it.
FollowupID: 805901

Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 at 00:48

Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 at 00:48
Hi George,

Yes my camper overhangs the cab by almost a meter. I use that space to store two spare wheels and tyres plus my solar panel. It's just high enough for that.
Not sure of the GVM of my ute, but the Kerb or Tare weight is 2040 kg from memory. I can double check tomorrow. I believe the GVM is 3000 kg but not 100% sure. Because these units were brought into Australia as a cab chassis and the trays were sourced and fitted locally I am not sure if the tray weight gets deducted as part of the payload.
As to whether I weighed my tray with or without the sides, sorry far too long ago to remember.
My son in law works from a shed that is the business premises for one of his mates. This bloke put me on to this paneling. He uses it for a similar purpose to what we are doing. I will try and find the name of the type of paneling from this guy but the name of mob I bought mine from may not be much help to you if you are in Tassie. I am on the other side of the country in WA.

FollowupID: 805909

Follow Up By: GeorgeClooney - Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014 at 13:52

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014 at 13:52
ok, cool, I was planning on having about a 900, 1000 cab overhand in mine with the bed up there. I actually looked for aluminium sheet on ebay and found businesses in the Melbourne area (which is where Im looking to live for a while as I build this thing), doing it for $60-$80 a sheet which is more affordable. and I think I also found the aluminum sandwich sheet you are talking about with 2 sheets of aluminium and some sort of nylon in between? I saw you could get that in all sorts of nice finishes which would be good, aesthetically. how does it last? and did you just rivet yours on?

Thanks for the ideas and help.
FollowupID: 806133

Reply By: GeorgeClooney - Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 21:40

Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 21:40
I have drawn up what I would like to build, Obviously its not going to be very off road capable and quite top heavy, but I live in my Troopy for long periods of time and intend on doing the same with this design, just more comfortably. so its not going to be something I just use on long weekends, so I don't mind the sacrifice.
AnswerID: 524311

Follow Up By: GeorgeClooney - Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 21:41

Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 at 21:41
and, somewhere along the line I lost concentration and Ended up drawing everything on the wrong side, so the design is pretty much mirrored.
FollowupID: 805904

Reply By: Echucan Bob - Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 at 08:11

Sunday, Jan 12, 2014 at 08:11
Hey George, did that s
heila in the coffee ad crack on to you?
AnswerID: 524325

Follow Up By: GeorgeClooney - Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014 at 13:53

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2014 at 13:53
Nah, she was a bitch anyways, De-caffinato' what the bleep ! my names George!
FollowupID: 806134

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