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Step-Side Campers


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#1 HIKEMT

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 04:00 PM

First off, thanks to everyone here for posting so much helpful information for us newbies on the forum. I'm interested in whether any of you have a Hawk or Panther on a step-side / flare-side / style-side pickup. I have an extended-cab flare-side F-150 and I’d like to hear from anyone who can comment on their experience buying, outfitting and using one of these custom-built step-side shells.

I know they must be as rare as hen's teeth, but I’m also interested in buying a step-side unit if anyone has one for sale.
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'07 Tundra DC 4x4 TRD '11 ATC Ocelot shell

#2 pods8

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 05:23 PM

More than likely you're going to have to order one if you want it, since they aren't common as mentioned.

Off the top of my head you'd likely need to bolt it through the floor since the turnbuckles are normally located in the part of the bed you don't have. In the back you'll loose a little space where the camper normally flares out but that shouldn't be that big of a deal on a shell model (keep in mind the furnace normally goes on one side so that would need to find a new location if you wanted one). Finally many folks hard mounted electrical connection is usually inside the bed in the turn buckle port so that would need to be taken into consideration as well.

Other than that there shouldn't be much difference.
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2003 Dodge 1500 quad cab 4x4 5.7L Hemi auto w/ ride rite air springs and 1999(2000?) Hawk

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FYI: I've got a bunch of extra 14ga wire in red and black. Its a thick jacket 41strand wire (likely MTW wire) verse typical 19strand automotive wire. It has good flexibility but factor in the thick jacket. I'll ship out 100' coils for $18 (I can go 50' of ea for that too) if anyone is in need of wire.

#3 HIKEMT

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 09:13 PM

Thanks pods8, although I knew the bed was smaller I hadn't thought of the possible mounting or electrical difference, so that's good to consider. My truck bed does have a small area in front of and behind the wheel wells but they're about half the normal size. I'll have to see whether there's room enough for turnbuckles or electrical.

Because the distance between bed sides is also narrower than usual the step-side shells don't use the double-step floor design that you all have - another reason they have a little less room to mount stuff.

These step-side rigs from the FWC site don't seem to have furnaces

fWC shell stepside.gif
tundra shell.gif

- maybe that's why. If anyone knows the owners of these campers maybe they could comment.
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'07 Tundra DC 4x4 TRD '11 ATC Ocelot shell

#4 pods8

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 10:35 PM

Because the distance between bed sides is also narrower than usual the step-side shells don't use the double-step floor design that you all have - another reason they have a little less room to mount stuff.
Oh yeah, I overlooked that. Well that will cut out a moderate amount of space there as well.

These step-side rigs from the FWC site don't seem to have furnaces

- maybe that's why. If anyone knows the owners of these campers maybe they could comment.


Oh yeah I overlooked the step not fitting either, that will definately cut into your space. The old way FWC did the furnace wouldn't fit in that configuration but they are now putting them up at the bedrail height I believe so they could work something out in a custom rig.

However I personally would just get a different truck if you are really serious about a FWC. A custom rig is going to cost more and have worse resale all of which could easily be offset by swapping trucks (which are more plentiful that these campers) which would then open the market up for used campers as well. I personally found the camper first and then matched it to a truck as I was in the market for a new rig but was open to going with different sized trucks.
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2003 Dodge 1500 quad cab 4x4 5.7L Hemi auto w/ ride rite air springs and 1999(2000?) Hawk

2007 Dodge 2500 quad cab 4x4 5.7L Hemi auto and slowly progressing build.

FYI: I've got a bunch of extra 14ga wire in red and black. Its a thick jacket 41strand wire (likely MTW wire) verse typical 19strand automotive wire. It has good flexibility but factor in the thick jacket. I'll ship out 100' coils for $18 (I can go 50' of ea for that too) if anyone is in need of wire.

#5 CJ8Rockcrawler

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 03:36 AM

I love the look of the sport side trucks, but perhaps looking at finding a used fleetside bed might prove to be cheaper when paired with a used camper vs. the new camper and keeping the sportside bed. Just a thought...
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1984 Jeep $crambler - Lifted/Locked on 35s/Caged/RTT Rack/Etc... 2004 Dodge Ram Quad Cab 4x4 6spd Diesel - Gauges/CB/2M Radio/Lorenz Bilstein 5100 Suspension with DP Leaf Springs/Carli Long Travel Airbags 2002 Hawk FWC - With all the goodies to keep the wife a "happy camper" "Paved Roads... Another example of wasteful government spending."

#6 Barko1

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 03:37 AM

A Wave 3 catalytic could do the heating, very small and efficient.
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#7 ski3pin

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 03:29 PM

HIKEMT, please allow me to add our two cents here. A year ago spring we stopped by the FWC factory in Woodland with our Ford Ranger step side. We were told they did not make a unit to fit our step side truck. This also told us finding something on the used market would be next to impossible. We weighed all our options, considering resale value, future needs, etc. We sold our truck the same day we put it on the market and bought a little newer Ranger with standard bed (and a few more comfortable options). We found a standard sized used FWC, remodeled it, and are happy as can be. I am sure, if the need arises, both the truck and camper are easily marketable.
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2003 Ford Ranger FX4 2013 ATC Bobcat SE "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln http://ski3pin.blogspot.com/


#8 Stan@FourWheel

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Posted 25 August 2010 - 04:40 PM

The "step-side" built campers are going to be just about impossible to find.

We only build 1 a year, at best.

Used trucks are a dime a dozen on Craigslist.

If you really want a camper I think it would be easier to sell the truck, get a truck with a regular truck bed, and then go find a camper to fit.

Or even better, find the camper you want ahead of time, and then go find a truck that works for the camper you like.

Safer to know what camper you like, then get the truck.

All too often people will go out and buy a weird truck and then come in shopping and realize that no camper will fit what they just bought.


Just let us know if you have any questions.

We are always glad to help when we can.

:)


.


.
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e-mail = stan@fourwh.com

#9 HIKEMT

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 05:56 PM

If you really want a camper I think it would be easier to sell the truck, get a truck with a regular truck bed, and then go find a camper to fit.

Or even better, find the camper you want ahead of time, and then go find a truck that works for the camper you like.


We’ve definitely been weighing a truck swap against the new stepside shell as a solution. The main reason we were thinking of keeping the stepside is that it’s been a very reliable truck that we could still get some use out of. Plus, it is nearly impossible to find a FWC in Montana. The good ones are so far away the odds of checking one out before it's gone are long. Ordering a shell would solve this problem.

A stepside shell could also be designed the way we want it, would be available in the reasonably near and certain future - no more waiting for the right used camper at the right price in the right location at the right time - and it would still be useable on the next truck when this one goes. This would also offset the camper purchase, truck purchase and truck sale by a season or two.

Finally - and this seemed important - I wanted to try out the shell on my F-150 to see if I wanted another ½ ton or a 3/4 ton next time around. A number of WTW trucks use upgraded springs or air bags which seems to make buying a used 3/4 ton a good option. Since I haven’t hauled one myself that’s hard to know.

Is there a general consensus with WTW members on 1/2 ton vs 3/4 or is that a new thread of its own?
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#10 ski3pin

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 06:13 PM

Is there a general consensus with WTW members on 1/2 ton vs 3/4 or is that a new thread of its own?


It may be a broad sweep to say "general consensus" but definitely discussion.
http://www.wanderthewest.com/forum/index.php?/topic/3320/
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