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ATC Bobcat Shell - Owner Interior Build

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#1 Alley-Kat


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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:39 AM

And, now for something a little different.

I purchased this ATC Bobcat shell back in November, 2010, and finished out the interior build in February, 2011. I’ve been successfully field testing it for 3 - Spring & Summers and am satisfied with the interior, however, I’ve got some other ideas now, and I’m going to change the interior to a different configuration. So, I thought I would share what our camper was on its first iteration. Many of these ideas started with sparks of inspiration from other WTW forum members sharing their ideas, so, I thought I should do the same.

Some starting notes.

Sometimes I camp alone, sometimes my wife joins me with the dogs (Jack Russell Terrier & Miniature Pincher), and sometimes I'm in a medium to large group of campers. I'm usually a minimalist when I'm alone, enjoy simple, quick to fix meals and spend almost all the time outside, including eating. When my wife is along, she doesn't like to compromise on meals, so, this camper has everything she needs to make no-compromise meals and she likes to eat indoors away from any flying insects, oh, and she likes a warm shower, inside, every now and then (I confess, so do I). When I am with the group of campers, my camper is usually the Chuck Wagon, and is used to prepare most of our community meals. Thus the interior design of my Bobcat shell follows all of those design criteria.

Owner built features.

All electric (almost).
Interior meal preparation - Microwave, Induction Cooktop, Toaster Oven.
Outdoor meal preparation – Weber Smoky Joe, Coleman Stove, Fire Pit when safe.
Interior Shower (set up & take down).
Two top loading fridge or freezer units, can be either depending on temperature setting.
Maximize floor space in center with cabinets on both sides. Removable dinette and removable seating.

Keep it a light weight pop-up truck camper.

Things that are absent.

No propane tank.
No furnace.
No built in water tank.
No electrical connection to truck.

2000, Ford Ranger Super Cab, 4x4, 4.0L V6, Automatic. Rear leaf spring upgrade and air bags. 30x15 BF Goodrich A/T All Terrain K0 Snow, Load Range “C” Tires. I drive slow and get pretty decent gas mileage with the camper onboard (Scan Gauge II - average mpg is shown in the top left corner, current mpg lower left corner, water temp in top right corner, trans temp lower right corner) .


Truck bed brackets
Camper to truck frame rail mounting brackets that I made. I wanted a secure camper mounting setup for rough road driving and adverse high wind driving. Rotating the angle steel this way lessens possible bending of the bracket, and does not tend to catch debris - like mud on the top surface.

Rear Passenger Side.


Rear Driver Side.


Front Driver Side.


Front Passenger Side.


Edited by Alley-Kat, 31 October 2013 - 06:01 AM.

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#2 Alley-Kat


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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:40 AM



Front window screen
Owner made, removable screen over front window.


I did eventually replace the wood dowel with an aluminum separator.


The build thread is here... Front Window Screen.
http://www.wanderthe...+window +screen

Under Cabover "V" Shaped Air Deflector
Designs used by other WTWer's didn't seem like a good fit due to how far forward the camper front extended... almost right to the edge of the windshield. A front air fairing would have been almost vertical coming off the truck cab, so, I went another way, under the cab over "V" shaped air deflector on the camper.


I taught myself how to bend plastic with the help of some YouTube videos. Ni-chrome heating element held in insulated tray, rheostat to control heating, plywood jig to bend the plastic once it's heated and soft.




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#3 Alley-Kat


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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:41 AM



General Interior Layout
Side Cabinets, Large Center Area Isle, No Passenger or Driver Hard Side Windows. Plenty of interior light in the daytime via soft side windows, 360 degree views to outside using front & rear windows and while standing, soft side windows, yet at night with all windows covered no interior lights showing outside. Cabinets made from ½” Birch plywood (trying to save weight to allow more things in the camper), shop grade (single side good) with Formica counter top surface. All plywood edges are Birch veneer, iron on tape, strips. Virtually all cabinet construction wood joints made with a dado for strength. All cabinets are held in place with screws into the plywood floor pack, top, or middle step, and are screwed to each other to make a single unit, yet are module built components, no screws into the aluminum camper sides. I’ve driven lots of washboard dirt roads with no problems, still solid as a rock.

Storage Drawers
Drawers are just sliding on wood. So far, zillions of drawer "pull out and push ins", and no issue with any wood parts wearing out. Sanding to a fine finish helps the drawer slide clean and easy, and also protects the wood from being worn away (it sort of develops a natural polished smooth finish where wood contacts wood).

Cabinet latches / handles / knobs
Push Button Latch (L-9291-N), $8.95 – Rufkahrs, Harware Tree
No protrusions when latched, and when triggered, the button becomes the handle to pull the door/drawer out. These are plastic, not metal, however, they have lived thru some abuse and survived in excellent condition. Not to mention that they are lighter than the metal ones, saving a lot of weight (sure they do!), and are just over one third the cost of the metal ones. Designed for ¾” thick wood, however, I was using ½” thick wood, so I needed to make a plastic spacer, ¼” thick to make them fit and work properly. Special sized wood hole saw, which was a little hard to find, 20mm (25/32”) to make the hole and a little extra sanding work on the housing interior and knob base plastic mechanism to correct manufacturing defects to insure frictionless movement of the push/pull button action.

NOTE - Interior photos are from early 2011, and it was not quite finished at that time. Added a Formica wall panel behind double fridge and freezer (held in place with light grade sealant to camper interior wall, no screws and easy to remove with a little effort, no damage to camper side wall) with mounting for the Morningstar Remote Meter and fridge independent digital thermometer (held on with blue painter’s tape in photos) and aother Formica panel to cover the switch holes on the back inside wall of camper next to sink.

Drivers Side Overall View
Here's a view of the drivers side of the interior looking toward the back.


We'll take each part, one at a time, starting at the back of the camper and working toward the front...

Drivers Side Rear Component Cabinet
110 VAC from outside and 110 VAC distribution box to other appliances.
Microwave Oven.
Paper towel holder and 110 VAC dual outlet plug.
Wash Bucket and personal Care Pocket with door.


110 VAC
I’m a generator using guy, in a minimalist kind of way. I have the Honda i2000 Generator. It powers the  Microwave, Induction Cooktop, Toaster Oven, 1 – 110 VAC double outlet for Rice Cooker, 110 VAC Gooseneck Light, etc., no more than two cooking units are ON at a time to keep generator RPM’s low and thus the noise low (the generator  does not exceed 1,800 RPM under this usage). When using it with my power tools I’ve seen it go up to 6,500 rpm, which is pretty noisy. We generally don’t camp very close to other campers, however, when we do, most camping neighbors don’t even know we use a generator, even though I usually visit and explain that we only use the generator about 15 minutes in the AM for breakfast, and the same amount of time for dinner in the PM. We don’t play music or TV while we’re camping, and we leave the computer at home and turn off the smart phone. After the sun sets, nights are always quiet. A Honda i1000 generator would have to be at higher RPM’s and thus would make a louder noise to do the same job, which would be offensive to many, including me.

The little door on the left lower area holds the 110 VAC electrical box and distribution box. The Microwave, Induction Cooktop and Toaster Oven just plug in to the 4 receptacle box in the back. If any of those units experiences an issue, it is easy to remove the entire unit. The 110 VAC double outlet on top of the counter top is hard wired into the distribution box.


Exterior 110 VAC




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#4 Alley-Kat


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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:42 AM




Proctor Silex, 600 Watts.
Defrost, Re-Heat, Quick Heating, Pop Corn.
Learned how to make tambour doors (an interesting exercise, as there are only sketchy details that I could find on the internet).





Paper Towel Holder and 110 VAC Dual Outlet Plug

Paper towel holder also doubles as a small shelf when the pop top is up.
110 VAC for things like a small rice cooker (you'd might be amazed how many "other" things you can cook in a rice cooker).



Edited by Alley-Kat, 31 October 2013 - 06:04 AM.

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#5 Alley-Kat


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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:45 AM



Wash Bucket and Personal Bathroom Travel Kit Storage
Personal Bathroom Travel Kits are stored in the Wash Bucket that we use when a quick clean-up is desired.


Tetford 465, not the Marine version. Amazon sent me three of the marine versions, listed as the non-Marine version, before I gave up and purchased from Cabella’s at the same price. Battery powered water flush, a wife favorite. It is pretty easy to pull away from the cabinet for use. Standard home toilet paper roll holder. 


Electric Heater (in above photo)
Braun, 1000 Watt Bathroom Wall Heater, added separate ON-Off Switch for complete on/off control (instead of just the temperature dial knob which could be accidently turned to ON), used mostly for drying and warming small short hair dogs after water play (Jack Russell & Miniature Pincher). We’re fair weather campers, if it is super cold, raining or snowing; we’re in the wrong place. For those situations we’d prefer to be in a cabin with a fireplace. We have camped where the overnight temperature drops down to just above freezing (we do use our Cold Weather Pack in those situations) and then warms up to 70+ degrees F in the daytime. It is amazing to us how much the dark grey soft sides will catch the early morning sun and warm the interior of the camper up to 65+ degrees F within about 20 minutes, if we camp where the sun will hit the side of the camper at sunrise. At that point in time it’s warmer in the camper than outside.

Induction Cooktop
Fast to heat up (only the cooking utensil heats up, not the cooking surface), No flame, No CO2, No water vapor, needs special ferrous induction cookware. Counter top when flipped up and placed in cut notches doubles as a cooking splatter shield to protect the soft sides.




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#6 Alley-Kat


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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:46 AM



Kitchen Utensils and Tableware Drawer
Just small cooking stuff and table ware stuff. 
Drawers have an auto-stop and will not pull all the way out of the cabinet, without raising the front to clear the drawer back panel.



Colman Camping Stove
Used mostly for outdoor cooking of aromatic oil based food that would "odor taint" the interior of the camper.
We like those kinds of foods, but prefer to NOT smell them in the camper.
Slide out, cutting board storage above Colman stove.



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#7 Alley-Kat


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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:48 AM



Toaster Oven
Cuisinart, 1500 Watts.
After experiencing one of these at home, we found that the exterior was cool to the touch, and very well insulated, unlike most toaster ovens we've owned. Once up to temperature, the oven only came ON every now and then to maintain the desired cooking temperature. We also know from home cooking that before the end of the cooking time, we can turn OFF the toaster oven and it will finish cooking at almost the same temp as when the unit is ON. This allows us to reduce the time our generator operates.
Roasting (chicken, pork, beef, fish, vegetables), Baking (bread, cookies, cupcakes, pies, and other deserts, potatoes), Toasting, keeping food warm. Another Tambour door.





Cooking Equipment Storage
Pots, pans, rice cooker, strainer, large bowls, etc.



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#8 Alley-Kat


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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:48 AM



Dog Stuff Storage
Dry food, bowls, jackets, leashes.


Passenger Side Overall View
Here's a view of the passenger side of the interior looking toward the back.
Just to remind you, this is an early photo before Formica panel behind double fridge and freezer with mounting for the Morningstar Remote Meter and fridge independent digital thermometer (held on with blue painter’s tape in these photos) and to cover the switch holes on the back inside of camper next to sink.


We'll take each part, one at a time, starting at the front of the camper and working toward the back...

Dry food storage
Adjustable shelves for flexibility.




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#9 Alley-Kat


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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:48 AM



12 VDC
This is in the same as the Dry Storage Cabinet, just towards the outside edge of the camper. The cabinet top does come off easily with the removal of two screws, so, access to the wiring is possible from above.
Completely self-contained, there is no electrical connection to the truck’s electrical system. 100 Amp Hour Lifeline AGM Battery, 135 Watt Solar Panel, Morningstar MPPT 15 amp Charge Controller, Morningstar Remote Meter, BlueSea Fuse Box/Distribution Panel. Switch panel for main, and each fridge / freezer. The 12 VDC operates the 4 – SensiBulb Led ceiling interior lights, 12 speed FantasticFan, exterior rear flood lights, amber rear porch light, and the 2 – compressor fridge/freezer units. The 24 hour amp usage of each fridge/freezer is around 22 amps and doubles to about 44 amps if I’m using both of them, which is  less than 50% of the battery amperage rating. All other 12 VDC electrical draws are minimal, as they are either low amperage units, and/or, are not ON that often or very long. With both fridge/freezer units ON, the battery is usually fully charged by about 3pm each day.




Fridge / Freezer
Indel-Isotherm, 12 VDC compressor, marine grade – stainless steel components. This unit can be either a fridge or freezer depending on temperature setting.  I've got two of them and I like the redundancy. Each unit has a low amperage draw, 20 minutes at 4 amps at start up from 74 degrees F to 35 degrees F, then 0.8 amps per hour after that to hold temp in all conditions. Usually with just two of us camping, we use only the fridge mode in one of them and the other is turned off and used as dry storage. When we camp with others, we often stay longer in more remote locations, so, we use the second unit as a freezer. Compressors are mounted under the fridge (on the interior camper side step) and exposed to the interior of the camper. Air flow over the compressor coils is adequate and the compressors are protected by perforated aluminum removable panels (see Passenger Side Overall View above).



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#10 Alley-Kat


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Posted 31 October 2013 - 05:49 AM



Sink / Water Storage Cabinet
This is actually the first cabinet I created. We hardly use the sink, probably because we use it more as a storage receptacle. I would not put one in another camper. We find that a plastic tub is easier to use and drain. Plus the plastic tub can hold things in a cabinet when not being used as a sink.

Some "Before Installation" photos.




Back Side




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