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84 Fleet - 09 Tacoma - Project

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#1 Living The Dream

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 07:29 AM

Hello and welcome to my build page.


This page covers the complete rebuild of a 1984 Four Wheel Camper - Fleet.  I purchased this camper in Fall 2016 and spent the next ~2 years completely rebuilding almost every part.  Another member recently suggested a make a table of content to help navigate the many topics I cover so this edit reflects that.  Also, since starting the build I have gotten into making videos, you will see a transition from written to video build reports.  I hope you enjoy both.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with many questions.  I hope more story is both informative to your build, but more importantly, motivational to create something yourself!.


Thanks for following along. -


Tim - November 2017




%%%%%%% %%%%%%  Table of Contents %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%


Last updated Nov 2017.


Introduction and before shots - Post 1 (scroll down)

Four Wheel Camper tie down brackets for Tacoma - Post 3

Floorpack support to fit old fleet into new Tacoma - Post 3

Installing Ride rite airbags on Tacoma - Post 3

Mounting Four Wheel camper on Tacoma - Post 3

Installing Roof vent and painting roof - Post 4

EMT Lifter Panel - Post 12, Post 31, Post 92

Plumbing propane - Post 13

Tearing down roof - Post 18

Gutting interior - Post 20, Post 23

Exterior paint - Post 19, Post 38, Post 48

Exterior trim - Post 49, Post 72

Painting floorpack - Post 36

Interior overhead bed - Post 37, Post 93

Porch Light - Post 49

Third brake light - Post 49

Interior flooring - Post 50

Insulation - Post 50

Interior sketches and panels - Post 55, Post 58, Post 59, Post 60, Post 61, Post 73

Interior carpets - Post 73

Passrough lids - Post 56, Post 91

Painting windows - Post 66

Solar install - Post 73, Post 89

Rebuilding roof - Post 89, Post 90, Post 99 (lights)

Rebuilding door - Post 94

Sewing pop-up material - Post 102, Post 147, Video 1Post 158, Video 2 (most important)

Rebuilding Interior - Post 122, Video 1, Post 132, Video 2  


Actually using the camper :)

Above Winter Park Colorado - Post 111, Video

Poudre Canyon  - Post 140, Video



%%%%%%% %%%%%%  Oringial 1st post below %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%





Hello All,

This past Fall I became the proud owner of a Four Wheel Camper - Fleet, ce 1984.  I have been wanting a pop up truck camper for a few years now, but always waiting for one reason or another.  As a student. new is out of the question, so I was on the hunt for a nice used project.  I want a FWC the same reason everyone wants one, their awesome, capable campers that can get to a lot of places.  But my main desire is as a base camp for skiing.  Front range traffic is a beast and the camper is way to avoid all that.  Wife and I drive up at night when everyone else is drinking or whatever, and a quick comfy nap and we get fresh tracks.
This page will act as my build page to document for myself but also hopefully for others.  Wander the west has been indispensable as I have been fixing up the FWC.  I will continue to rely on this site as my project continues and hope my contribution provides answer to others too.
Maybe this project should be called - Three Fours
Four cylinders
Four wheel drive
Four wheel camper
A bit about me:  Tim- PhD student in mechanical engineering/material science.  I'm not too much of a motor head but like wrenching and projects.  Like I said I really want a FWC for ski base camp but also for adventures all year round.  Something that is comfortable the night before heading deeper into the wilderness.
Truck:  2009 Toyota Tacoma, 4 cylinder, 4 wheel drive, base model, access cab.  Simple but capable.  I love my truck because it is modest but useful.  I bike commute so it is not my daily driver, pretty low miles and very well maintained.  
Camper: It is the old 7 foot fleet.  Stan thinks it should be  about a 1984.  I picked it up from my new friend, Jose, in Denver not too far from where it was built.  It certainly needs some work, but the price was right, far south of $1000.  I don't think Jose really knew what he had.  Or maybe I was just blinded by how awesome it was and didn't see the imperfections.  Either way I was extremely excited to be its new owner.
I picked it up labor day weekend, 2016. 
Here is a photo of it on its old owner truck:
And here it is mounted for the first time on the tacoma.  Notice the amateur hour single strap to the tailgate bracket.  I took it nice and slow to start:
And back at home, really exploring the camper for the first time:
The good:
no major exterior or interior damage
canvas intact
deep cell battery
solar panal
rear lifter panel in good shape
came with two old school jacks
no water damage
new wood at cabover
The bad:
no front lifting panel (old owner was using 2x4)
no roof vent (not sure how no water damage but their wasn't)
very dirty
electrical was a mess
on second through, canvas is a bit tough
I don't know quite how far this project will go.  The camper needs to more or less remain on my truck at all times (HOA).  Plus all work is done in a parking lot.  I am somewhat capable with a wrench but have limited tools.  Although work does have access to almost every tool, still not the same.  My goal is to get it looking on par with the truck (so just not like a piece of junk) and for it to be comfortable, clean, and generally fun to be in.  Warmth in the winter is ultimate goal.  But after I got it in the fall there were some inital projects that needed taken care of before anything else.
Here are the before photos:
Made in CO:
Dreaming about the possibilities:
Ill update as regularly as possible.  I don't have much time or money for this, but i do enjoy working on the camper almost as much as using it so hopefully it cleans up pretty nice.
An initial thank you too all those that have helped me already, and I hope this is helpful to those that come after.
- Tim

Edited by Living The Dream, 19 November 2017 - 04:34 AM.

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My youtube channel about my Four Wheel Camper - https://www.youtube.com/c/timmorrissey

All about my camper - https://www.tgmorrissey.com/camper

Item I used in my build- http://bit.ly/TGMorrisseyParts

#2 Timothy McGowen

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 07:51 AM

Congrats. Looking forward to following your progress.

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#3 Living The Dream

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Posted 07 March 2016 - 03:06 PM

One of the first projects I wanted to tackle was securing the camper properly to the truck.  The last thing I want to have happen is for this thing to fall off and kill someone.  So I went with the real deal and got the special made brackets from four wheel camper.  Luckily for me, Chris at Rocky Mountain - FWC has the exact piece I needed, used.  Gave me a great deal on the tacoma brackets, plus he let me pick his brain for near an hour on how to fix the camper up.  He even helped me out with the roof vent issues.  

Thank you Chris!  Down the road when it is time to upgrade, ill be sure to get in touch with Chris again.
Tie Down Bracket
and the brackets were looking quite nice.  
To remove the bed bolt you need a T-55 which is at any autoparts store. A big breaker bar and I got them free, some claim you need an impact but I managed without.   I also used some big metal square washers underneath the bracket to take up space between bed and the brackets. Buck a piece at my local hardware





Floorpack support
Also, the old style Fleets don't fit the new Tacoma 100%.  The wings of the camper will rest on the bed rails if not supported.  I had some 2X3 lumber lying around that just about perfect fill the void between the camper floor and truck bed. 
Plus, I followed FWC advice and used some rubber mat as anti slip.  Rubber can be pricey, I found a large mat at Home Depot for ~$30, can't find the link now, sorry.  I sliced the rubber up to get the most bang for my buck. In hindsight I would probably just buy two sheets of this rubber and call it a day, but making the wood runners was a fun little warm up project.
Riderite Airbags
Lastly, if the camper is now bolted to the truck, I need the truck to be safe too.  Safety first for me.  To help the truck handle the weight I went with the Firestone riderite airbags.  I have read all the pros and cons of airbags vs. leafsprings, etc.  I went with airbags.  Got them used off Tacomaworld with 1in raiser blocks and a front lift spacers too.  Was able to sell the front lift and the airbags hardly cost me much.   This does leave me a little high in the rear, so maybe down the road I can upgrade the front struts too.  
Remove the bumpstops (didn't need to cut them since I took everything out for spacers later, didn't realize that when I started).  If using saw, be careful of your lines (Brake or fuel)
Remove ubolts, use Jack to bend leaf springs up off the axel, spacer block slides right in.
Most things put in place, need to bolt the bracket to the leafspring and the top to the frame.
More or less everything in their, apparently I got frustrated with turning rusty bolts as I don't have a photo of the fished setup.  But generally ride rites are easy to install.  Just need to bath in PB blaster for a little while.  The push to fit air fittings are some of the easiest things to work with.  Love that style hose.
I do not have an on board compressor but manual fill with a bike pump and the schrader valves next to the rear licenses plate.  I know my leafspring and struts will probably fail on me sooner that later and I will upgrade then.  But for now the airbags work great.  
 Here is a photo of the truck with about 30 lbs of air in each bag and no load.  This is my old cap, I sold the cap for more than I bought the camper  :D and more then I bought the cap for 4 years ago.  Colorado is a sellers market for all things Tacoma.  The cap served me well and I hope to get another down the road when the FWC does not have to be full time on the truck.

With airbags and mounting hardware installed, it was time to get the camper on the truck.  


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My youtube channel about my Four Wheel Camper - https://www.youtube.com/c/timmorrissey

All about my camper - https://www.tgmorrissey.com/camper

Item I used in my build- http://bit.ly/TGMorrisseyParts

#4 longhorn1


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Posted 07 March 2016 - 04:05 PM

Congrats.  Nice start.  There have been a number of posts of the re-building of lift panels.  Also, Rocky Mountain FWC and the main FWC  might be able to help with some things.  Good luck and keep the photos coming.  jd

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#5 Living The Dream

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 06:59 AM

Mounting Camper on Truck:


To my HOA's dismay my camper had been siting in carport since I purchased it.  I thought it looked pretty nice there. And even offered to buy a cover, but they did not agree.  See:http://www.wanderthe.../11317-storage/
Although I am now pretty happy with having the camper on full time, just means I need to use it more to make it worth it.
Before I put it on I figured I would take the opportunity of having it off the truck to paint and protect the cabover wood.  Using rustoleum glossy white (will become a theme)  I did a couple quick coats. No pics of the final coat but I was pretty happy in the end.  Notice before I did this how there are plenty of screws missing. Not sure whos project this was before hand....
I put new eye bolts and square washers on all four corner.  I moved the front eyelets to a more appropriate spot (want your chain to have an angle, not be straight down).  Plus these old models only had three eyelets. I added the fourth (under the water tank) but still need to cut a pass through in the base to actaully utilize it.  I have been manage just fine for now but keep this on the todo list for when I do a more with the interior.  
Here is the hardware I am using to keep the camper secure.
With the new truck suspension, it did not fit in the carport like it did before.  
Not to worry, I improvised and went ahead and removed the old vent, I need to be replaced anyways.  
Here you can see the new vent in background
That and 5PSI in the tires and she was out no problem.

Edited by Living The Dream, 08 March 2016 - 07:04 AM.

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My youtube channel about my Four Wheel Camper - https://www.youtube.com/c/timmorrissey

All about my camper - https://www.tgmorrissey.com/camper

Item I used in my build- http://bit.ly/TGMorrisseyParts

#6 Living The Dream

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 07:21 AM

New Vent and Roof Repair:


The new vent, compliments of Chris at RMFWC, fit perfectly.  The smoked plastic is perfect.  I do not have a fan but will at least run the wires when I redo the roof.  Ill test it out this summer and if the heat gets too much, ill put the fantastic in.  To mount the new vent I used this product underneath the vent  http://www.amazon.co...ailpage_o00_s00
Flash forward a few months and I have also painted the roof.  I figured I would paint that before installing the the solar panels.  Plus before I painted I found a few holes up top.  In a few places the screws had ripped out. Strange because the camper seemed more or less water tight.  I have had it in the rain with no problems.  Still I used more of the putty tape and some JB weld on top and it made a very nice seal.  



For the paint I again went with the trusty Rustoleum Gloss white.  And if you are going to paint the roof, might as well get the sides too.  It certainly is a slippery slope.  I am going to work my way around over the next many weekend.  


The paint brushed on relatively well.  It is all about the thin easy coats.  I taped off the wood panel as I want to save that.  That and five coats and I am really happy with how it turned out.  The color scheme will be white and brown.  Now just need to find the time for the rest.  But this allows me to put a cap on the roof for a bit so I can focus on getting the simple solar panel run.










Will need to get in touch with FWC about new stickers once I am done.  In the mean time the propane door will be the lunch box sticker spot.





Next up is the solar panel, and general electrical.  Plus I still need to write up my propane system.

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My youtube channel about my Four Wheel Camper - https://www.youtube.com/c/timmorrissey

All about my camper - https://www.tgmorrissey.com/camper

Item I used in my build- http://bit.ly/TGMorrisseyParts

#7 Mickey Bitsko

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Posted 08 March 2016 - 02:32 PM

Nice... great enthusiasm = fun 

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#8 rotti


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Posted 08 March 2016 - 03:23 PM

In addition to your perimeter wood riser I would add rigid foam board to support/insulate the entire floor base.
Easy, cheap, light and adds R value.

Many threads about doing this, here is one:

Edited by rotti, 08 March 2016 - 04:45 PM.

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#9 billharr


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Posted 08 March 2016 - 05:26 PM

Nice job, looking forward to how you finish it out. One item I would correct is the E-bolt you used, see picture below. The eye will open up as it is just bent in shape. I would use a solid ring or weld the ring to keep it from opening. I could not find a solid ring when I did my first install on my old 2002 Hawk, use the style you used and they started to open. I welded mine and they are fine. The new style made from angle are better if you want to go to the work to change them.




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#10 Jordan



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Posted 08 March 2016 - 10:49 PM

Awesome! That's my old camper. Unloaded it about 5 years ago now.

Glad you are going to breath some new life into her. I had many great adventures in that thing!

Edited by Jordan, 08 March 2016 - 10:50 PM.

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