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choosing a flatbed

flatbed grandby dodge ram customizing a flatbed flatbed construction

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#1 nico

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Posted 07 January 2021 - 10:02 PM

HI,

I am a newbie to start. I am zeroing in on a purchase for a four wheel camper this year. I have a dodge ram 2500 diesel tquad cab longbed that will double as a work truck and my families recreational vehicle. I currently have the stock bed on it but I am looking into options for a flatbed. I will likely go with either a hawk or grandby flatbed model and leaning towards the grandby flatbed model(wife, 2 kids, dog). The norweld beds are too far out of my price range... I have been puzzled by all the different options for the flatbed and the prices seem to be all over the place. I am really looking for a thread/resource where people talk about their same experience in buying/fabricating a flatbed(tried to find through search functions but was unable). The first thought/question I have is steel vs aluminum. I know this subject has been beat to heck and back but my welding buddy says we should build a custom bed out of thing gauge steel. He claims the weight of this proposed bed with not be significantly different than the aluminum beds and will offer the ability to easily customize the bed in the future. I am planning on going with a wood deck to cut down on weight and cost. I have read a few others have ordered flatbeds from companies online for under 3k and I am curios of the quality and the availability of those. 

 

I apologize for my scattered thoughts here I wish I could of written up a more organized post. The options I am looking for in the flatbed are: ability to add under boxes by the wheel wells on both sides and potentially adding some sort of slide out box underneath the bed in the future, and I am truing to configure a way to have a removable lumber rack for work that would have the main body attached to the flatbed and run on the outside of where the flatbed sits. This would have removable crossbars for lumber and such. The front portion of this rack that goes forward of the campers bed area could also have a cage welded in for storage.

 

Anyhow Thats what I have and I appreciate everyones thougths and guidance. This is going to be a huge investment for me and hoping I can make this happen for my 2 boys who are 2 and a newborn.

 

Thanks!


Edited by nico, 07 January 2021 - 10:05 PM.

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#2 W6USA

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 01:59 AM

Just some thoughts...if you have a welding buddy that will work for food and beer, that would probably be an inexpensive way to go.  A concern I would have with a wood floor (if you use, say, 2x6's) would be the gaps in between the 2x's would allow road spray to constantly come up and soak the bottom of the camper when you are driving in wet conditions.  May or may not be an issue in your area, IDK.

 

Not sure what you mean by "The front portion of this rack that goes forward of the campers bed area could also have a cage welded in for storage."  You won't be leaving this rack on when the camper is on, right?


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#3 Wango

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 02:23 AM

Flatbeds can be awesome, i have one under my camper and have also used it for work in the past.

If i keep my current work truck i will put the same bed on this truck as well.

That being said, i spent a fair amount for mine, and it was not tricked out like what has become popular now.

If you have skills, or a friend who does, this could work within your budget.

Wood scares me, weight, and how it will hold up.

Aluminum vs steel, yep lots of opinions. Both have merits.

I was hoping to find a way to barter for mine, didn't happen and spent a chunk of change.

Good luck, please post as you go along.


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#4 nico

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 03:10 AM

Ok first attempt at attaching a photo. Here is a rough napkin sketch of what I was talking about for the rack. Ideally I’d like to have a permanent rack frame with removable crossbars. The main frame of the rack would stay on when the camper is on and also serve as a storage area.4FBB5009-915F-4875-B9C3-1C2380955408.jpeg
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#5 ntsqd

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 03:16 AM

I've searched it in the past and found it, but there is a particular wood species (along the lines of mahogany or teak, but not as expensive as either of those) used for Class 8 flatbed trailers and the better built truck flat beds. This wood comes milled tongue and groove just for the reason that W6USA worries about. There are also specific fasteners made for securing these slats to the bed frame. Several computers ago I had links to all of this, but they're gone now.

 

Aluminum has no appeal to me. Harder to fabricate (weld, & yes I have several options for welding it in my shop), more expensive, and for the equivalent strength is either ridiculously large or is so thick that it weighs nearly the same as the similarly strong steel piece that it replaces.

 

To really save weight in either material is going to take some Engineering time. It will be all too easy to make small compromises here and there and suddenly the bed is 200 lbs heavier than planned.

 


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Thom

Where does that road go?

#6 Lighthawk

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 07:06 AM

there is a particular wood species (along the lines of mahogany or teak, but not as expensive as either of those) used for Class 8 flatbed trailers and the better built truck flat beds. This wood comes milled tongue and groove just for the reason that W6USA worries about. There are also specific fasteners made for securing these slats to the bed frame. 

 

I had a flatbed built by Condor Truckbeds another lifetime ago.  The perimeter was steel channel with stake pockets and deck was T&G teak secured with screws.  The lumber reminds me of Ipe, also known as "iron wood".  During San Diego summers the 1x6 floor boards would shrink and I had 3/8" - 1/2" gaps, which I caulked since I was hauling masonry doing patio jobs back then.  Then winter would come and the decking would swell, driving the cauking out of of the joint. Rinse, repeat ever year.     

 

If you had a commercial wood deck, It would be fine under a camper and last forever.


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06 Tundra AC TRD 4x4, 08 Hawk, Ride-Rite bags, Helweg sway bar,18" BFG AT's

2021 RAM 3500 Crew 4x4, 4.11 diff, Timbrens, 08 Hawk, Falken Wildpeak 35"
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#7 Seeyainhelljohnny

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 02:39 PM

I just put a circle d flatbed on my f350. It’s theirbase model, bronco? If I had the money I’d put a norweld, but cost, durability and my lack of aluminum welding skills led me to steel.

Theres a few things I have to do to make it work for the camper, but easy modifications. I’ll add boxes at some point but the cost mounted was just under $2k done a a shop in Idaho.

Edited by Seeyainhelljohnny, 08 January 2021 - 02:40 PM.

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#8 rando

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 04:45 PM

Ok first attempt at attaching a photo. Here is a rough napkin sketch of what I was talking about for the rack. Ideally I’d like to have a permanent rack frame with removable crossbars. The main frame of the rack would stay on when the camper is on and also serve as a storage area.attachicon.gif4FBB5009-915F-4875-B9C3-1C2380955408.jpeg

 

I went with a simple/inexpensive Al tray (ute bed) which I installed myself then added the accessories I wanted.   For me with a Tacoma, weight is an issue, and all the commercial options ended up being VERY heavy.   The Ute bed itself weighed less than bed I removed, and I added very light weight boxes.   This may not be an issue for you, but something to think about. 

 

As for the rack - I really doubt it will work well.   Look at dimensions on the FWC website, you front basket will be cantilevered out at least 5' in front of the upright supports, and the uprights will have to clear all the various hatches and doors on the camper, so you would be very limited in where to put these.  

 

I would also consider renting a camper and giving it a try before ordering the camper and flatbed.    Your kids are going to grow, and I think this will become tight quickly.   While there are few folks here that pack a family into a FWC, mostly these are used as 1 or 2  person campers, for which they work well.    It would be a lot of money for a solution that may not be workable for all that long.


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#9 nico

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 07:32 PM

Thanks for the replies . Those are good considerations rando. My wife and I are the ruff it type. We have always slept in tents and on the ground. Lived in a small cabin in Alaska for 3 years, a small hut in humboldt county for a few years ...Now we have two kids and they will be raised in the same fashion. I here what rando is saying about space and he’s wise on his recommendation to rent one (is that possible?). But given our style I just don’t see us in anything else. I hate RVs and I don’t like the idea of pulling a trailer for obvious reasons. We live in a small house on a small lot and I think this camper will be very luxurious for us even as the groms get bigger.

Edited by nico, 08 January 2021 - 07:33 PM.

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#10 Stan@FourWheel

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Posted 08 January 2021 - 08:40 PM

Some other brands you could check out . . .

 

Alum-Line
http://www.alumline.com/

 

Hillsboro
http://www.hillsboroindustries.com/

 

UTE
http://www.uteltd.com/

 

CM Truck Beds
http://cmtruckbeds.com/truck-beds/

 

Highway Products
http://www.highwaypr...-truck-flatbeds

 

AlumBody
https://alumbody.com/

 

Aluma
http://alumaklm.com/truck-beds

 

Protech
http://www.protech.net/

 

Truck Craft
http://truckcraft.co...minum-flatbeds/

 


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