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FWC Flatbed Discussion

FWC Flatbed Flat Bed

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#1 CamperCamper

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 04:17 PM

There seems to be a good amount of interest in ordering a FWC Flatbed model and I count myself among the interested. I own a 2014 Hawk on a 2015 Tundra and want to replace it with a new flatbed Hawk model.

The purpose of this thread is to create a discussion among those who have purchased or researched buying, fabbing etc. the flatbed itself. Please do not turn this into a lecture about the Tundra as the appropriate platform as I am already confident in that decision.

If you have purchased a flatbed for a FWC Flatbed model (any) or considered it please share the following:
1. Who did you choose for the flatbed- name, location, why you chose them etc.
2. How difficult was the conversation with the fab shop in terms of getting it built to specs.
3. What did you learn from the process and what would you do differently if you started over.
4. How much taller does the top of the camper stand compared to a slide in model.
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.
6. How much did you spend on the flatbed tray.
7. Did you paint, powder coat or rhino line the tray? Why or why not?
8. Did you incorporate a grey water system or diesel appliances?
9. What else did you utilize in the under bed cavity?
10. Any other thoughts or recommendations.
11. How did you overcome the fuel inlet slow filling problem of a flatbed design?
12. Did you incorporate your truck's backup sensors and camera into your flatbed design?

Thank you in advance for your meaningful insight and experiences.

Edited by CamperCamper, 06 December 2016 - 03:33 PM.

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#2 rando

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 07:31 PM

Not sure I can answer all of these, but I have tried below.   I have a 2016 Tacoma with a fleet flatbed.   One thing you may want to consider is putting a Fleet flatbed on your Tundra.   The flatbed has sooo much more room than the slide in that you may be fine with the Fleet which would be a nice snug fit on your Tundra. 

 

1. Ute Bed - ordered via email, delivered to me via freight carrier.   'Off the shelf' solution, relatively inexpensive and light weight.  Two off us can easily lift the bed on and off the truck - didn't weight it, but probably around 100 - 120lb.  Installed myself (easy).  

2.  None required.   I did order the flatbed without the drop sides, and should have ordered without the head board (which I didn't use) but didn't think of it.   

3. Would order without the headboard and use my own LED tail lights.  I might find a better fuel solution than rotopax.  I don't think I would do much else differently.

4. The bed is ~ 4.5" higher than the stock bed,  with the amount of lift I got out of my OME Dakars, I could have mounted it 1" lower for 3.5" above stock. 

5.  No issues so far, but we only have 4,000 miles.   The bed came with two beefy steel cross beam mounts (that pick up four of the six bed mounts) and I added two more aluminium mounts of my own in the middle to pick capture all 6 mounts.   You could order 3 mounts from ute bed, but they didn't think it was necessary.   One thing to note - the bed is all bolted together and does creak a little when you flex things off road, not an issue besides the noise. 

6. $2500 on the bed + lights + mounts + freight.  We got a quote for essentially the same bed installed by a dealer and it was almost 3x that much.    

7. Nope.   It is aluminium and doesn't need to be coated.   Painting it would be just something to flake off and get scratched in the future. 

8. Nope.  I do have a rotopax mount under the bed to carry 2 3 gal gas cans mounted in front of the drivers side wheel.  We are rarely somewhere where we have to capture grey water, and if we are we have a hose and a collapsable jug.  We don't have a diesel truck , so diesel appliances don't really have any benefit for us. 

9. The space under the bed is one of the best parts of a flat bed.  We have two 2' long toll boxes behind each wheel, in front of the wheels we have a rotopax carrier on one side (not sure I would use rotopax again though), and a pull out outdoor kitchen on the other.  Between the frame rails we have a 40" wide by 72" drawer where we can store all sorts of stuff like the entry ladder, shovels, skis etc.  It does get quite dirty under there though. 

10.  Make sure you take advantage of the under bed opportunities!  I have seen several beds where the entire under be area is just skirted in diamond plate, which is a terrible waste.   However keep weight in mind when you do this - we went with Buyers 'light duty' aluminium tool boxes and only put light weight stuff in these tool boxes.   Extra weight behind the axel is never a good thing.   Also think everything through before you install the camper.   It is far easier to work on the flat bed without a camper on it when you can lift it off to make adjustments. 

 

 

There seems to be a good amount of interest in ordering a FWC Flatbed model and I count myself among the interested. I own a 2014 Hawk on a 2015 Tundra and want to replace it with a new flatbed Hawk model.

The purpose of this thread is to create a discussion among those who have purchased or researched buying, fabbing etc. the flatbed itself. Please do not turn this into a lecture about the Tundra as the appropriate platform as I am already confident in that decision.

If you have purchased a flatbed for a FWC Flatbed model (any) or considered it please share the following:
1. Who did you choose for the flatbed- name, location, why you chose them etc.
2. How difficult was the conversation with the fab shop in terms of getting it built to specs.
3. What did you learn from the process and what would you do differently if you started over.
4. How much taller does the top of the camper stand compared to a slide in model.
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.
6. How much did you spend on the flatbed tray.
7. Did you paint, powder coat or rhino line the tray? Why or why not?
8. Did you incorporate a grey water system or diesel appliances?
9. What else did you utilize in the under bed cavity?
10. Any other thoughts or recommendations.

Thank you in advance for your meaningful insight and experiences.


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2016 Fleet Flatbed

2016 Toyota Tacoma


#3 CamperCamper

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Posted 04 December 2016 - 10:12 PM

Thank you for such a thorough review of your setup Rando. This is the type of information I am looking for. Do you have any photos of your installation process and especially your finished rig?
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#4 rando

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 02:08 AM

I haven't posted many photos, but RMFWC has a bunch of mine and some other flatbeds they have done here:

https://www.facebook...032434680140181

 

Mine is the silver Tacoma towards the end.


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2016 Fleet Flatbed

2016 Toyota Tacoma


#5 Durango1

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 04:05 AM

We picked up our Hawk Flatbed from Denny Saunders in Jackson Hole in October, 2015. It is mounted on our 4WD 2012 Ram 2500.

 

If you have purchased a flatbed for a FWC Flatbed model (any) or considered it please share the following:

1. Who did you choose for the flatbed- name, location, why you chose them etc. We used a company called Largo Tank 50 miles away from us in Farmington, NM. I looked (and flirted with) some of the big flatbed makers but shied away with possible problems involving a third party installation, etc. 

2. How difficult was the conversation with the fab shop in terms of getting it built to specs. I was very happy with Largo Tank since they designed the flat bed from the ground up with me. However, don't under-estimate installation issues on a normal pickup. They can be considerable.

3. What did you learn from the process and what would you do differently if you started over. I was surprised at the difficulty of getting anyone to fab up an aluminum bed. (there are many manufacturers who work in steel.) So line up a bed builder before you order a flat bed. Also Largo Tank had a buyer for the bed of my Ram. Many builders don't.

4. How much taller does the top of the camper stand compared to a slide in model. About 5"-6" higher than my previous slide-in hawk on the same truck.

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. No problems and we've taken the Flatbed Hawk on some pretty tough trails.

6. How much did you spend on the flatbed tray. Including the four under bed boxes and installation about 4,500.00. Well worth it.

7. Did you paint, powder coat or rhino line the tray? Why or why not? No. Leaving the aluminum natural lets me beat it up as I wish and not worry.

8. Did you incorporate a grey water system or diesel appliances? No. My Ram is a gasser and we're happy with the hose and a 5 gallon collapsible bottle.

9. What else did you utilize in the under bed cavity? Four aluminum boxes where we store tools, extraction gear, hoses, a chain saw, fuel, leveling plates, etc. VERY useful.

10. Any other thoughts or recommendations. Even with the underbed boxes our truck weighed 200# less with the aluminum bed versus the steel body. For my next build (even saying it around her irritates my wife!) I'll seriously look at a 1 ton SRW chassis cab model. These make mounting a flatbed a real breeze and open up even more possibilities for "between rail" storage.

 

Even after 1 1/2 years we're still amazed at how much more livable and spacious our FB Hawk is compared to our previous slide-in Hawk.

 

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#6 CamperCamper

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 06:08 AM

Thank you very much for your insight Durango. Do you find much difference in the ride characteristics of the Flat Bed vs the slide in with the additional 5-6 inches in height or does the center of gravity seem to be even lower than with the slide in?
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#7 Durango1

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Posted 05 December 2016 - 12:15 PM

Thank you very much for your insight Durango. Do you find much difference in the ride characteristics of the Flat Bed vs the slide in with the additional 5-6 inches in height or does the center of gravity seem to be even lower than with the slide in?

No real difference. The under bed boxes keep our weight low and we've always been at or over the GVWR even though the Ram is a 3/4 ton. So the truck handles fine for me. (The only suspension change we've made is air bags.)


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#8 Durango1

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 01:29 AM

One warning. Flatbeds usually have their gas filler neck mounted high up on the headache rack. We deleted the headache rack so Largo Tank just installed the filler neck on the side of the actual flatbed. Looked great BUT didn't work due to not enough fall of the hose to the tank. It was an agonizing 15 minute process to fill the truck. 

 

However, I took it back and they engineered a fix where they mounted the filler sout high up in the camper and done. Just one advantage of dealing with a reputable local company.


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#9 elmo_4_vt

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 02:10 PM

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.
 
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Don
 
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Edited by elmo_4_vt, 06 December 2016 - 08:41 PM.

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#10 CamperCamper

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Posted 06 December 2016 - 03:38 PM

Thanks again to the respondents! I am gathering some good information and I am sure someone else down the line will find this info useful. Because of some replies and additional observations on my part, I have edited the original post to include two additional questions about fuel inlet and bumper sensors/ cameras?

In looking at Elmo's box behind the rear window I am wondering if you miss your rear window. I did notice that the rear window of the camper is too high to see through the camper and out of while driving so what the heck.
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