Twin cab ute with slide on

Submitted: Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 14:28
ThreadID: 134718 Views:6414 Replies:12 FollowUps:13
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Hello all,

After long consideration on new travel rig we are thinking to go
twin cab way with slide on.

Im aware the tray will be only 1.8m but 5 seater benefit is great if you use
it as a car between camping trips.

Looking at hilux & dmax...

Would greatly appreciate any recommendations, advice or criticism

Thinking it will be our last rig, so no rush or quick decisions

Thanking all
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 14:58

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 14:58
Jerry, are you sure about 1.8m tray ?
Maybe if sticking out back a bit, my PK Ranger crew cab tub is around 1.5m long internal.
I think a space cab (aka extra cab etc) would be about 1.8m, maybe you meant that ?
If going dual cab, ensure you know the limits and stresses of the design, and lading the back up too much weigh at the rear (on top of off road stresses etc), there are many cases, including with slide ons, where chassis have bent . . . usually where someone has also installed and / or used airbags incorrectly.
If it is indeed a dual cab you are thinking of, I would shy away from extending chassis rails at all to to the rear to gain extra slide on room.
AnswerID: 610499

Follow Up By: Jerry D - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 15:16

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 15:16
Hi Les,

Yes, the biggest problem is the load & chassis bend, agree.

Hilux dual cab tray length 1820, extra cab 2160.
From reputable sources.

Love extra cab setups but wife is worry about future grandchildren& want
it "future proof?"

Sorry, not quiet understand your comment about extending chassis?
Is it good or bad?

Looking at new ute, worry about warranty issues. Harder to get with any type
of mods.

Kind regards
FollowupID: 880420

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 15:28

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 15:28
Ah yeah, mine is tub so room lost there . . .

I would have been much better off with a suicide door Ranger model, but alas when I purchased, needed a year or two for daughter to join us, but as soon as she hit teens, well that was it !!

Some extended the chassis back, usually a foot or so if needed, to work with slide ons or custom canopies, of course this makes forces so much worse.

I'd say if you can suspension upgrade lift needs for weight (no air bags), most slide on makers SHOULD build for dual cabs with weight forward in mind.
That way the weight is taken / spread by 2 rear leaf mounting points . . . I'm hoping for your sake the new 'luxes aren't rear struts / coils or whatever now, rather than leaf sprung ??

Yes, with extra weight, many people mod their engines (tunes etc) to cope with supposed power loss (but really many go for mods / tunes to enable their rigs to keep up with commodores from the lights !!) and in some cases mods can void the manufacturers / dealers obligations of warranty.
I suppose tread carefully with slide on purchase, vehicle chosen, and subsequent mods.

Maybe you are better to look at a second hand, low km dual cab 79 series with bomb proof chassis strength ? (and hmmm, that V8 diesel :))
FollowupID: 880421

Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 16:30

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 16:30
We've been fitting drawers to utes for 11 years. Hilux dual cab takes a unit 1450 long with breathing space and the extra cab goes 1800. 2160 would be a single cab.
FollowupID: 880422

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 17:16

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 17:16
Most single cab utes with slide-ons are over loaded. so it is virtually a certainty with a dual cab.
Do your homework VERY carefully, not only about the total weight, but its distribution.

OKA196 motorhome (and previous owner of a slide-on on an F350 4WD for 12 years).
FollowupID: 880425

Follow Up By: Batt's - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 23:24

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 23:24
Extending the chassis would be a lot better that not extending it for the long term of the vehicle if you plan to carry a heavy load on the tray as the rear axle will be further away from the cab and in a position near the centre of the tray or maybe even a little further back so it can support the load correctly which is what the manufacturer fails to do because all they care about is sales numbers. Doing this will intern greatly reduce the stress that is put on the chassis in front of the spring mounts and the chassis will also be strengthened where it has been cut. This will also make it a lot safer to drive because the vehicle will be more stable because the majority of the slide on won't be hanging out behind the axle and you won't need to run as heavier rated leaf springs to compensate for incorrectly loading the vehicle. The only real downfall is some loss in the turning circle of the vehicle which is a small price to pay for running a safer set up.
FollowupID: 880435

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 23:35

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 23:35
Ah, but most extensions are done by adding say a foot on the REAR of the chassis, making it worse.
Yes, 'cut and shut' on the chassis forward of the axle and adding a foot in there would work well, like a stretch limo conversion, BUT the cost !!!
Wiring, fuel / brake lines, drive shaft, very unviable.
Then there's turning circle, less maneuverable on tight tracks.

I certainly wouldn't do it on a dual or extra cab, maybe on a cruiser single cab.

I do like the idea of starting with bare cab chassis, no tray, custom make the back to suit with heavier items forward.
That could be done with safety / clever design on a dual cab with the right after market suspension upgrade.
FollowupID: 880436

Follow Up By: Batt's - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 23:59

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 23:59
Yeah definitely wouldn't add to the rear creating more problems there have been quite a few dual cab utes that have had cut and shuts done successfully a cruiser or patrol would have a stronger chassis but a general twin cab I expect should be ok within reason if driven sensibly. This is how it should look similar to my patrols extended chassis set up.
FollowupID: 880437

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 at 09:26

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 at 09:26
Landcruisers are one of the makes I'd be reasonably confident with fitting a slide on, maybe even with short rear extension on a dual cab if needed.

Creative Conv work, yeah big $$$, but nice, maybe lotto will come through one day (if I decide to even start buying tickets !! lol).

You'd need to be sure about spending that sort of coin, you would never get it back on a heavy 4WD like cruiser or patrol, doing it on a lesser 4WD crew cab you'd be losing most of it . . . it'd want to be a vehicle you want to (be confident you can) keep for life, and there's not many you can say are going to get that far (well, hopefully !! :)).
FollowupID: 880447

Reply By: RMD - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 16:19

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 16:19
All the dual cab units available have little room for using a slide on camper.
The tray length is erroneous as it can be any length at all.
Unfortunately nearly all, and in some cases ALL the load, Triton the worst there, is behind the rear axle and so everything to do with load carrying is about the chassis integrity.
Unless used on smooth roads and rarely encountering any stress causing terrain, I wouldn't use a dual cab for that purpose.
Maybe a single cab but a dual cab no way.
A slideon weight usually maxes out the carrying ability stated by the manufacturer anyway and all that is well aft with a dual cab.
No amount of suspension mods can change that.
The nose up factor is something I don't think is good either. Lighter steering is not for me.

Regularly on this site ads section there is an earlier white dual cab completely broken in half. That should indicate the limitations I reckon.

A small towed caravan will give you plenty more options.
AnswerID: 610500

Reply By: Member - MIKE.G - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 16:43

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 16:43
Hi Jerry.

Have a look at Trayon Campers.

We have a BT50 Freestyle cab with beefed up suspension and the standard Trayon on the back. What a great unit. We have had it for 8 years now and covered over 100,000 klm and not a single problem.
The slide on weighs only 390 kg. and the vehicle handles it with ease. Trayon also make a unit for dual cab vehicles. Have a look at their website.

Cheers, Mike
AnswerID: 610503

Follow Up By: Rob K (VIC) - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 17:02

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 17:02
Hi Mike,

It works well for you cos the Trayon Camper is mounted on an extra cab ute - less cabin. All the feedback was about the OP wanting a twin cab ute. Puts the Trayon Camper further back and hence all the responses about bent chassis and suspension issues. Good on you for putting forward another point of view though.

Glad to see you've had great use of your rig.

FollowupID: 880424

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 18:05

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 18:05
Why can't they put some of the weight extended over the cabin of a dual cab ?
Obviously would require some design thought, but I bet it could be done to make something more viable / safe for the slide ons.
FollowupID: 880427

Reply By: 9900Eagle - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 17:52

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 17:52
JD, To start with I would go for a run in the back seat of the lux and d-max and see if you think it has enough room or any trip over half an hour. The new utes have far greater chassis strengths than those proceeding them, which is a bonus.

Check out any problems with the new first generation lux as there are some including injectors, auto box and water entering the cab in shallow water. Maybe best to wait till the issues are sorted.

I took a lux for a run and it had plenty of sting but the only thing was it was empty and standard so added weight will take the edge off it when loaded or towing.

The biggest thing to consider with a slide on that is mounted on a dual cab, is the weight of the unit, some slide on manufacturers are lets say, a little untruthful about weights. You will want the lightest slide on available because you then have to add all the gear on it. It would also be best to add up the weight of your load and work out where it is going to be carried.

Get the vehicle specs for the front and rear axle loads and see if you can keep your weight under those with the loaded camper. You will most likely need a heavier suspension as the manufacturers like to put suspensions in that gives a good ride unloaded.

Do a lot of homework and all the best with your decision

AnswerID: 610506

Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 18:22

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 18:22

The Hilux or Dmax would be the way to go but putting a camper on the back of a twin cab or to a lesser degree a extra cab may be problematic .

There are problems with the chassis cracking .

There is plenty of info on the net about this issue .

The most sensible Ute would be a cab chassis ,for better weight distribution .

AnswerID: 610508

Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 18:59

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 18:59
Have been wondering about the issue of sleeping in the car and still carrying 4 people and so far the best new solution seems to be the NP300 Nissan navara King cab St .

Our Nissan patrol can take a double bed and this arrangement has been hard to beat.
The Navara second row seats are of course small but adequate for the rare time we have more than 2 people. They fold right out of the way meaning some camping stuff could normally sit there and be placed in the slide on for those odd times.
Took one for a test and the new 450nm engine really seemed to go and it handled quite well.

I wanted coil springs but this is only on the full dual cab.

4wd ability is very important to us, but also is the ease of getting into and out of the bed. Had I good look at the Navara tub and floor height and I think a custom slide on would be able to be made with significantly lower floor height than normal aftermarket stuff.

The basic car is able to take a tilt angle of up to 50 degrees which makes for a very stable base platform well ahead of some others.

Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 610511

Reply By: splits - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 21:13

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 21:13
It is not easy to put a slide on camper onto a dual cab without overloading the rear end. If I was to try doing that the first thing I would do is remove the tray and have a camper custom built that bolts directly to the chassis. It would be as light as possible and contain only the features I consider to be absolutely essential. All heavy items would be as far forward as possible.

Most professionally built campers are designed to cater for as wide a range of buyers as possible resulting in them having every conceivable feature and a weight that is through the roof.

The big problem with a dual cab is weight distribution. Get it wrong and the chassis is at risk as the others have already pointed out. The main reason for incorrect weight distribution is they are a five seat car and very few people have enough weight in those seats when they load the car up near its maximum.

There is no point in the manufacturer designing the car to carry no more than the weight of an average weight mum and dad with three primary school age children then five rugby forwards or five large tradesmen get into it. The cabin must be designed to carry the weight of five large adults and all the things like winter clothing, brief cases, books, camera bags, water bottles etc. that people put in the front with them. That means close to 500 kg up front before you start loading the rear if you want to fully load the car.

If you can't do that then you can't fully load it without overloading the rear end.

The chassis bending problem comes from leverage. The distance between the rear axle and the end of the tray is a lever. The further back you put each item, the more the leverage on the end of the chassis. If you push the end of the car down, the springs compress but the whole car tilts on the rear axle and the front goes up. If you install heavier springs or air bags, the car still tilts on the axle and the front still goes up.

That is what weight will do but the real killer is mass and the forces it generates when put into motion. Mass is the amount of material in something.

When you put a loaded slide on onto the tray, the back will go down a certain amount and the front will lift a little. Now imagine lifting the slide on about 200 mm above the tray and dropping it. It will hit with a hell of an impact that thumps the back down and throws the front up.

Its weight has not changed but the material in it has fallen, built up momentum, and has been brought to a sudden stop by the end of the car.

I have never heard of a chassis bending while the car is stationery but it all changes when the car moves. As wheels rise and fall, sometimes rapidly, in accordance with the road surface, whatever material is behind the rear axle is constantly being heaved up instantly or caught when it falls.

That is what bends chassis, particularly in off road conditions, and heavier springs, GVM upgrades or air bags can not stop it.

Here is a few bent chassis photos. BENT PHOTOS

One more point to consider is the off road carrying and towing capacity. The maximums specified are usually for good sealed roads only and should be reduced as conditions deteriorate. There are far too many variables for manufacturers to attempt to list loads for all conditions but they will usually advise you if you ask.

AnswerID: 610519

Reply By: Idler Chris - Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 22:27

Monday, Apr 24, 2017 at 22:27
I have a Gecko Camper on a D-Max king/space cab. I go to very remote locations and usually very rough tracks. I did a lot of research and found out about all the possible problems, most of which are mentioned here before buying this setup.
This is what I did.
My Gecko Camper is actually designed for a single cab ute but I wanted the king/space cab. Because of where I go and the tracks I travel the whole rig had to be very robust. Talking with the guys at Gecko we came up with this solution, They custom made a very rigid steel framed tray with aluminium floor, side boxes, and very long under tray draw. This was then mounted to the chassis using GU engine mounts, the idea being to cushion any shocks to the chassis. The Camper was then bolted to the tray with high tensile bolts making the camper/tray combination very rigid and strong. I am very much against using over centre catches to attach a camper to the ute tray, they allow to much twisting, and in the event of a roll over are unlikely to hold.
I chose a D-Max for reliability, not as flash as some, but tried and proven. Had a GVM upgrade with the rear springs rated for a 800kg constant load. Last year did over 20,000 km's off-road including the CSR and are very happy with it. If someone pinched my setup I would replace it with exactly the same.
I do not know what other slide-on manufactures do, but Gecko make a slide-on specifically for a twin cab. What they do is cut 300mm out of the centre of the camper except for the bed part which then protrudes forward over the cab.
Very important is the thicknesss of the ute's chassis rails. They are not all the same and if you plan having a trayback camper get a ute with the thickest chassis rails.
I hope all this helps and PM me if you want any further info.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

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AnswerID: 610523

Reply By: lizard - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 at 10:07

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 at 10:07
Have a look at these , some of weight well forward
AnswerID: 610532

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 at 10:13

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 at 10:13
Our OKA motorhome has 2 seats (approved with seat belts) in the camper section.
That gets the camper much further forward and saves a pile of weight.
I would still start with a Landcruiser or something with even higher load capacity though.
Probably not a possibility with a slide-on though.

OKA196 motorhome
AnswerID: 610533

Reply By: tuck - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 at 13:58

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 at 13:58
Check out Jacksons slide on campers - has a variety of slide ons to suit various vehicles
AnswerID: 610543

Follow Up By: Jerry D - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 at 19:51

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 at 19:51
Thank you all for great feed back.

To summarize it all, I am more undecided than before.

Just scared, that single cab chassis will not be practical with just 2 seats.
It will be to hard & nearly impassible to change, once decision was made.
This complicate things even further.

Well, maybe back to "drawing board" & keep thinking.

All feedback appreciated.
FollowupID: 880480

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Apr 26, 2017 at 09:20

Wednesday, Apr 26, 2017 at 09:20
Jerry, check out the space cabs a bit, MAY have reasonably comfy fold down seating, suitable for younger children.
I guess you would have to take a look and see what these fold down seats are like, and how easily removable.

Later, or with just 2 of you on trips, remove seats and this space is excellent for fridge behind pax seat, storage other side.
The suicide doors where the whole side opens is probably better, full access !
Think there might be the Ranger, Dmax / Colorado, with this, maybe others, think Hilux is fixed ?

No ! Just found Hilux is now full opening !!
Navara too.

See here Google images for > space extra cab suicide doors
FollowupID: 880500

Reply By: lkyphl - Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 at 21:40

Tuesday, Apr 25, 2017 at 21:40

speaking as a previous owner of an extra-cab Dmax fitted with a slide on, there are only two things to consider ; do not trust the manufacturer's quoted weight of the slide-on, and you MUST have the centre of balance of the slide-on as near as possible to directly over the rear axle.
Been there, cost me $6500 to have the chassis lengthened on a new vehicle to stop the chassis flex.

AnswerID: 610559

Follow Up By: Tomdej - Thursday, Apr 27, 2017 at 22:06

Thursday, Apr 27, 2017 at 22:06
Chassis extension on a dual cab can be had for around $4000. Puts the wheels under the centre of an 1800 long tray, and is perfect for a slide on. Lots of people seem to like dismissing dual cabs but I find mine great. Very good with a slide on camper for touring and handy without the csmper at home as a ute. By extending the chassis and having it reinforced it won't bend, the weight is over both axles so steering remains good. Downsides are cost, larger turning circle, and slightly worse rampover.
FollowupID: 880561

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