1. Who did you choose for the flatbed- name, location, why you chose them etc. - Alum-Line, delivered to the Mainline Overland shop. Picked it up from their shop and brought it back to my house to install. From the 4 quotes I got, they were the best price for the custom size I wanted.
2. How difficult was the conversation with the fab shop in terms of getting it built to specs. - The was the worst part by far. I handed them a dimensioned engineering drawing with specs, and it took three times before the quote matched the drawings. Fast forward 3 months, and it came in wrong (only one part though). Spent the better part of 3 months getting them to fix it, which they did in the end, but it took a lot of phone calls and coordination on my end.
3. What did you learn from the process and what would you do differently if you started over. - If I had the money, I'd go custom fab. If I had the time, I'd have made Mainline take it back until it was correct per my drawings/quote/order. In the end, it really wasn't that big deal, and issue was mainly cosmetic. I would still probably chose the Alum-line over most others due to pricing. The bed is pretty good quality and as they've done more, I think they're probably getting better. My only advice is to get the specifics down on paper before the order so you have adequate recourse if something is delivered wrong. Always a good idea when you can't just "send it back" via UPS.
4. How much taller does the top of the camper stand compared to a slide in model. - Can't comment much on that, but it's basically just the height of the underbed storage. The gap between the cab and the bottom of the bed on mine is only about 1.5".
5. Have you experienced any failures in the frame to bed mount. Was the mount welded to the tray and then bolted to the truck frame or was the mount bolted to both the frame and the tray. - I welded flat plate to my trucks frame rails to make a square edge for the aluminum flatbed to sit on, and to make sure that the frame rivets didn't interfere. The flatbed then was bolted down to the truck frame with 6 large 9/16" u-bolts. The camper is bolted through the flatbed with 4 (soon to be 8) bolts. No issues with movement so far. I have gone back and checked the tightness of all fasteners every couple of trips and have found some looser than I left them. I plan on installing additional locking nuts/pinch nuts on each of the connections for both the flatbed and the camper.
6. How much did you spend on the flatbed tray. - Like $6k with all the options, undermount boxes front and rear, 2' box on top behind the cab (for the spare)
7. Did you paint, powder coat or rhino line the tray? Why or why not? - Left the main body natural. Used a rubber mat between the camper and alum. flatbed. The oxidized alum. matches pretty close to the color of the gray alum exterior of the camper.
8. Did you incorporate a grey water system or diesel appliances? - Grey water tank will be added to where the stock spare was on my truck. Not sure about internal plumbing, but that would be the ultimate goal. Initially, I'll probably just run a small hose from the camper output to the tank input on the drivers side when stopped. Measuring, I can fit up to a 10 gallon tank in that location, but will probably settle on a 5 gallon container to keep cost down as a 10 gallon unit would have to be completely custom to fit into all the open cavities.
9. What else did you utilize in the under bed cavity? - The only other thing I have up there is an air compressor and tank for OBA.
10. Any other thoughts or recommendations. - Just do it! Obviously, it's a big purchase, and we even had to finance part of the camper to do it now versus waiting a few more years. For us though, we feel it was completely worth it. The ease of camping is very important to us as it allows us (family with kids/pets) to go out a lot more. Even if we just went on our big 10 day trip this year, it would have been worth it for us. Being comfortable and able to go almost anywhere was huge for my family. Other than that... a 3/4 ton truck is very nice. Even with the diesel, I can feel the weight of the camper up hills, and towing a trailer with the families toys makes it even more noticeable. No direct experience, but I feel that it would be pushing a smaller truck's limits. YMMV.
11. How did you overcome the fuel inlet slow filling problem of a flatbed design?
- For my truck, the new inlet is about 3" lower and about 24" more to the rear than the stock location. I purchased two, 2in stainless 90 deg exhaust pipe sections on-line, then connected them with boat flexible fuel line (also 2") using hose clamps to tighten. With respect to the fuel flow, it's hit or miss for me. Usually I don't have any issues, and have even used the larger truck stop type nozzles that have a higher flow rate. However, once in a while, usually at a new station, I will have issues and have to pump very slow or usually I will just go to a different station. Because of this, I will usually try and not let my tank get below 1/4. I do carry a 5 gallon gas can with me for the motorcycle, and have tested using that for diesel and it works fine, but that would mean I'd also have to give away the gas in the can.
12. Did you incorporate your truck's backup sensors and camera into your flatbed design? - The truck is a 2003, so no rear view camera. It did have sensors. In the end, a backup camera was easier to install and wire to a switch in the dash and the new stereo then to try and re-attach the back up sensors. With a camera, you don't need sensors.
Any other questions, just ask.
Edited by elmo_4_vt, 06 December 2016 - 08:41 PM.