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New Ford Ranger FWC Fleet Installation

Four wheel camper FWC Fleet shell Ranger

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#11 gkendrick



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Posted 14 May 2019 - 10:04 PM

Here are a couple of pix of our 2019 Ranger with our new FWC Fleet shell installed (not sure how this photo stuff is going to work - please have patience with a newbie.) 


2019 Ranger


2019 Ranger with FWC Fleet shell
2019 Ranger with FWC Fleet shell


Our Ranger is a 2019 XL 4x4 with the FX4 offroad package, and we just upgraded to Falken Wildpeak 265/70-17 E-rated tires to handle the load. 


The Fleet shell was delivered at just over 1100 pounds (not counting jacks), including about 220 lbs of options (thermal pack, dual 6v batteries, batwing awning, propane furnace and tanks, dual roof fans, flush-top stove, 160 watt solar panel, Yakima tracks.)  We'll be adding a 12v fridge and some storage build-out over time.


Including people and minor gear, we will likely be hovering right around our Ranger's stickered payload capacity of 1550 lbs. We'll be adding air bags (probably Firestone) as soon as they become available for the Ranger.


Initial impressions from a quick 200-mile trip are that the Ranger has power to spare, but the suspension definitely needs airbags with this camper for leveling and load management.  Wind buffeting seems quite high since the bottom of the cabover section clears 6.5" above the truck cab, and the Ranger has a low-angle and sleek windshield and cab roof.  FWC custom-added 1.5"-2.0" to our shell's under-floor support structure to make sure it cleared the Ranger's higher fender rails, but FWC did not custom-adjust the shell's walls or pop-up panels, so that has resulted in more clearance over the Ranger's cab than, say, a Tacoma might have.  So we'll likely be adding a cab roof rack with a wind fairing to help address the wind issue.  I guess the good news is there will be room for a roof rack!


Like Tacomas, the Fleet shell overhangs past the rear of the Ranger, with the rear wall extending about 8.5" beyond the taillights and past the bumper.  We're still considering what the best camper-access step option will be, since hitch-mounted steps may not work well with such an overhang.  More research is needed.


The camper load and wind effects on gas mileage are still being evaluated.  Without the camper, we were getting 22-24 mpg on 65 mph paved highway driving.  On our recent 200-mile trip with the camper on, we ranged from 15.5-17.0 depending on headwinds.  We're still in the break-in period, so hopefully that will improve.  Your mileage may vary, indeed. 


Stay tuned for more reports as we figure out how this all works out.





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#12 Casa Escarlata Robles Too

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 11:39 PM

Thanks,looking good.


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#13 jimjxsn


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Posted 15 May 2019 - 03:08 AM

Very nice. It looks like a wind fairing would help and you may be able to add some storage under the bed overhang.

Enjoy the new camper.
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#14 rubberlegs


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Posted 15 May 2019 - 05:07 AM

Let us know about your fairing.

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Tacoma/Fleet 2018.

#15 ETAV8R


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Posted 15 May 2019 - 05:14 PM

Looks good.

I would suggest you look into sliders vs nerf bars. Nerf bars are not made to protect the vehicle from anything other than another car door in a parking lot.

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#16 Jack


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Posted 15 May 2019 - 07:12 PM

gkendrick, what did FWC use to raise the Fleet up 1.5" or so? 2x6's? rubber mat? Whatever does the lift, I think, should keep the camper from moving laterally. If they used 2x6's, did they anchor them to the bed?
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Fleet on 2005 Tacoma

#17 gkendrick



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Posted 18 May 2019 - 05:48 PM

gkendrick, what did FWC use to raise the Fleet up 1.5" or so? 2x6's? rubber mat? Whatever does the lift, I think, should keep the camper from moving laterally. If they used 2x6's, did they anchor them to the bed?

To raise the camper, FWC simply made the camper’s regular bed supports (the black laminated wood framing under the camper floor) about 1.5” thicker than normal. I suspect that added some weight to the shell as well.
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#18 Andy Douglass

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 02:31 AM

gkendrick, nice rig. I am not a FORD fan, and I never really liked the old Rangers, but as far as looks, that thing is way prettier than the new GM midsize trucks. And it sounds like the offroad goodies are pretty nice. I bought a Ram 2500 last year. I really wanted the Power Wagon because it comes with similar goodies, but I went with a diesel because the Wagon's payload is pretty low. 


Never had a truck with a locker, but there's a reason why serious offroaders have been upgrading to them for decades. You might not need it more than a handful of times, but when you do, it is priceless. Kind of like 4wd in general.


I am about 1200 miles into a set of Falken Wildpeaks on my truck. The stock tires were street tires with an E rating, but we were going over Siskiyou Pass early winter and I needed a mountain snowflake AT tire. It was last minute and I could not find the Coopers that I wanted that quickly, so I settled for the Falkens. They are still really new, but I have no complaints. They seem to be a little louder than the BFG KO2s I am used to, but not by much. They were really quiet at first, but they started humming pretty quick, kind of like when KO2 are getting slightly cupped and need to be rotated in the near future. I don't think it is premature wear though, it seems like the tread pattern just makes a little more noise naturally. But I kind of like that noise anyway.


When calculating payload, don't forget to account for water/propane. 26 gal/20 pounds is 215 pounds of weight. Before I got the 2500, we had our 1500 pound dryweight Hawk on my wife's 1500. Never hit the scales loaded but I know we were over the GVRW by a few hundred pounds. I had installed air bags and a sway bar, and the truck handled fine, but braking performance was not great, and even scary once. It was completely doable, but required a little worrying. I installed the ride rites with the remote control compressor. It was really nice to be able to do most of our leveling in camp with just the remote.


For steps, we love the Easy Hitch Step. I think it is about 30 pounds though. If I was concerned about the weight, I would gladly trade 30 pounds of water (3.5 gallons) for the steps. It has several sets of holes for the hitch pin, so there is a decent amount of flexibility in how far out the steps are. The drawbacks are the weight and cost, but it is unbelievable how much convenience and safety it adds to the camper. We regularly walk out of the camper facing forward with both hands occupied. The steps are always in the same place relative to the camper, so exiting is made much more safe. By the time you are dealing with the slight variability between the steps and the ground, you are almost at ground level so any accidents are less serious than if you step out onto a flimsy step ladder and go flying. The steps fold up when driving and you can mount your license plate to them so it is visible when on the road. This means you don't have to put the hitch mounted steps on your nice new camper floor when driving. My wife ordered it and she said that when she called, she found out that it is basically one guy fabricating them and shipping them. You could easily call him and find out details on which step would work for your setup. I added some sticky backed EVA foam to the steps in a few spots to quiet them down when traveling. They have a nice powder coat that is pretty much good as new after around 10k miles.

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#19 Argonaut20


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Posted 21 May 2019 - 03:55 AM

Jack - The 2002 Eagle was raised from the bed by 2 X 4's placed in 4 rows running front to back. I don't see why you couldn't do the same thing to raise your Fleet 1.5". The floor in my Eagle is firm and the tie downs keep the camper from moving side to side.

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#20 Missing Link

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 03:56 AM

X2 on the Easy Hitch Step.  Another feature that Andy did not mention is that the steel gridwork that makes up the surface of the steps provides excellent traction in all weather conditions, and you can use the steps to clean mud from your shoes before entering the camper.  We have the two step version and it does not make any noise at all.  We did add a Quit Hitch from Camping World which is a large square "U" bolt that cinches the step to the receiver and eliminates any rattling in that area.  Pricey, but we could not be happier.

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