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Rotopax Carrier mounted under camper, over cab.


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#1 Bosque Bill

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 08:39 PM

There have been many posts on the best way to carry auxiliary fuel (or water) on our truck campers. I was inspired by the design of the late Jeff Lawrence where he build an enclosed Rotopax carrier to mount underneath the section of the camper that hangs over the cab. I didn't want to hang the gas from the back of my camper or any place that might be struck in a minor collision or get caught on a branch, etc.

 

This is for my FWC Fleet on my 2013 Tacoma Access Cab, but the concept should be applicable to any brand camper and truck.

 

I designed a carrier that would hang from under the camper, could carry up to three 2 gallon Rotopax, and had locking doors. The doors are not hinged, but mount with pins so they can be completely removed. They also feature a bolt latch with combination lock, Combi-Bolt, so there wouldn't be a padlock to clank and rattle.

 

It is mounted with SS 1/4-20 hex-head bolts and nuts. The bolt heads are counter-sunk inside the camper so they will not interfere with the bed slide. I sealed the holes and flanges with white, waterproof silicone.

 

I had Trucks Unique of Albuquerque fabricate the carrier. It is steel painted white. They did a good job, however, the final dimensions were somewhat larger than I'd specified. [update: turns out having a little more vertical space was a good thing, as the Rotopax will expand slightly in the heat (and at elevation) when full of gasoline. It's a good idea to not fill them to the brim, but leave air at the top which will compress as the gasoline expands.]

 

The final size was 60" by 15"(not counting the 1" flanges) by 4"; about an inch wider and half an inch taller than I'd wanted. Consequently, I placed a sheet of half-inch pressure-treated plywood in the truck bed over the mats and mounting brackets (needed due to the Tacoma's composite bed) to lift it up a bit. Final clearance from top of cab to bottom of carrier is 3/4", which should be just fine. Jeff's carrier had the same clearance and he reported frame flex was only about a quarter inch at that point on his Toyota.

 

Feel free to ask any questions about details of construction, installation, or any aspects I forgot to mention.

 

Here are photos. Remember you can click to enlarge and view in sequence.

 

The carrier after installation and before mounting the camper on the truck:

 

Carrier-front_800w-SL1_2015.jpg

 

Here it is with the camper on the truck:

 

Carrier-truck_800w-SL1_2019.jpg

 

Here is close-up of the door:

 

Carrier-Door-closed_800w-SL1_2027.jpg

 

Here is door slightly opened:

 

Carrier-Door-open_800w-SL1_2023.jpg

 

And here, with the door off, you can see one of the Rotopax gas cans:

 

Carrier-Rotopax_800w-SL1_2024.jpg


Edited by Bosque Bill, 29 November 2016 - 10:41 PM.

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#2 kmcintyre

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 08:42 PM

Looks great.  I guess my question is, if you are going to build it, why not make it even larger (extend more to the side and more to the front)?  Seems like it'd be a good place to store chairs, etc.


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#3 Bosque Bill

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 08:50 PM

Looks great.  I guess my question is, if you are going to build it, why not make it even larger (extend more to the side and more to the front)?  Seems like it'd be a good place to store chairs, etc.

 

You could do that, if you wanted to. I just wanted a space for gas that would hold it secure. With a Tacoma and Fleet the max storage height is 4", which is restrictive, but I know the space between cab and camper for other model trucks is larger. Others have used the space to store camp tables or solar panels. 


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#4 takesiteasy

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 09:35 PM

Looks good Bill. Too bad about the dimension issue but your solution works. Maybe they should give you a discount. This concept could work for lots of items needing storage, not only gas cans. Solar collector storage seems like a natural.


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#5 buckland

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 11:07 PM

Thanks for the photos... looks great. My box underneath is for my solar panel which I mount on a tripod. but there is room for another box. Still thinking also of the space in front of the camper and bed... just dying to be used. It's great to share these ideas. There seems no end to what folks can come up with.


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#6 WAND3R3R

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:04 AM

Great idea, well done!

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#7 Central Toast

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 06:43 PM

Very nicely done.  You could sell that to many cabover camper owners.


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#8 camper101

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 06:54 PM

Nice. Did you install this yourself, and how did that go? I'm curious how easy and scary it was to find studs and drill through for the bolts.

 

Also, I believe you have a relatively new Tacoma... Did you remove the satellite radio antenna from the top of the truck?

 

I'd really like a box with a slide-out solar panel there, and maybe some extra room for whatever else.


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#9 Bosque Bill

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 07:14 PM

Nice. Did you install this yourself, and how did that go? I'm curious how easy and scary it was to find studs and drill through for the bolts.

 

Also, I believe you have a relatively new Tacoma... Did you remove the satellite radio antenna from the top of the truck?

 

I'd really like a box with a slide-out solar panel there, and maybe some extra room for whatever else.

 

I did most of the install myself, but needed help when it came time to tighten the bolts, as you could imagine. It wasn't too scary. There are no studs on the FWC - it is a 3/4" laminated lumber sheet (not plywood, but solid boards bonded like a butcher block) with Formica on each side. The hardest part was counter-sinking for the bolt heads - I used a power wood bit, but should have used something else - drilling through the Formica. If anyone wants more installation or construction details PM me.

 

Satellite radio was unavailable for the Access Cab models, so no shark-fin on top. I installed a little XM radio and initially put the antenna on the cab roof a few inches from the windshield. However, I would lose reception when driving north, so I moved it to about 6" from the front edge of the hood right above the right side headlight. It works great there and with the slope of the hood I can't even see it when driving. So my disappointment at not having the radio built in was assuaged by better antenna placement for a camper. Since it's magnetic I could hide it under the hood if I parked in a bad neighborhood, but so far haven't found myself in any such area.

 

I haven't measured, but am pretty sure there is still enough area under there that I could still mount a carrier for a solar panel, or other items that weren't too tall. I like having a separate compartment for fuel in case of leaks, but I don't think I'll have problems as the Rotopax are well made and under the camper will avoid heating by direct sun.


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#10 ETAV8R

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 09:01 AM

Very nice instal.


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