Hodakaguy's Vagabond Camper/Truck Build

Advmoto18 said:
Very nice...
Always impressive!

Wandering Sagebrush said:
Agreed, impressive and informative! Thanks, Tom for all the great build threads.
Thanks guys, hopefully my posts will help others do their own work :)

Hodakaguy
 
Advmoto18 said:
Tom

Are those the Frontrunner Gullwing side windows on your Vagabond?
The side windows say Statewide windows on the glass.

Hodakaguy
 
Mad skills! Really like the Vagabond. When they offer a full-size longbed version (with cargo doors please) you’ll have to fight me to be first in line! Thanks for your update.
 
Mighty Dodge Ram said:
Mad skills! Really like the Vagabond. When they offer a full-size longbed version (with cargo doors please) you’ll have to fight me to be first in line! Thanks for your update.
They are working on one but it’s been slow coming, I think they have already sent the first production unit out the door.

Hodakaguy
 
Wandering Sagebrush said:
Tom, am I seeing some gaposis at the front edge of the wedge? It looks like you could get water/bugs in the camper...
Yeah there are two small gaps in the front corners that I haven’t got around to filling yet. First time I get attacked by mosquitoes that will change quickly LOL

Hodakaguy
 
Hodakaguy said:
Yeah there are two small gaps in the front corners that I haven’t got around to filling yet. First time I get attacked by mosquitoes that will change quickly LOL

Hodakaguy
Tom, awesome work as usual[emoji106]
 
Next up on the Drifter is to install an awning. We installed a Shadow Awning on our last FWC and loved it so we decided to go the same route this time around. The shadow Awning is a 270 Deg awning that deploys quickly, offers a ton of shade and is built very sturdy. The Shadow Awning will handle quite a bit of wind without having to deploy the leg and tie downs.

Here is a link comparing the Shadow Awning to the Batwing 270 Deg awning which is another option in this class. We swapped our Batwing for the Shadow on the FWC and I documented the differences, the Shadow awning is far superior: CLICK HERE

Camper ready for the awning install.

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First up is to move the rear latch on the passenger side. The passenger side latch is located right where the rear awning bracket will be located and needs to be moved to the rear of the camper.

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A drill and a punch make quick work on removing the latch assembly.

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With the latch removed we marked and drilled the holes to mount the latch on the rear of the camper. A few pop rivets later the latch is installed and functional again.

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We re-installed rivets in the existing latch holes to seal them off.

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We planned on fabricating custom brackets for the awning but Iggy from Vagabond Campers contacted based on a post I made and let me know he just designed some stainless steel brackets for this exact awning. Iggy had a set on hand and got them out to me ASAP......Thanks Iggy! These brackets look great and will save a lot of fabrication time!

A picture of the brackets....Nice!!

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Test fitting the rear bracket. I used a drill bit to mark center on each bolt hole then drilled the 4 mounting holes into the camper.

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With the rear mounting bracket holes drilled we turned our attention to assembling the mounts onto the awning. You need to make holes in the awning cover for the mounting bolts to pass through, here we are making the holes for the rear bracket. I used a awl for the centering holes to mark the correct locations.

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Once I knew where center was I slid a thin board inside the cover and used a gasket punch to enlarge the holes to the correct size.

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Rear bracket mounted in place. You can only get to three of the mounting holes while the awning is on the ground, it needs to be fully extended to get to the 4th hole so we will assemble this bolt once the awning is mounted on the truck.

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Repeating the process with the front mount. The front mount can be located anywhere along the awning, we chose about 1.5' back from the front of the awning

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We used regular nuts instead of lock nuts at this step since the front bracket will have to come back off once proper location is marked on the camper.

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Wife and Dad helping out holding the awning in place while I mark the front bracket location. The awning is not heavy at this point since the lips on the brackets hold the weight of the awning against the camper.

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Continued Below....
 
Continued from above....

Front bracket location marked. Now the awning can come back down and I removed the front bracket once again to use as a pattern to mark the mounting bolt hole locations.

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Front and rear mount holes drilled.

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This is the backing plate for the rear mount that goes inside the camper. Since our camper had the latch in this location and now has two rivets that are plugging the existing holes for the latch we had to drill two holes (One hole and one notch) in the backing plate to clear the rivets and let the plate sit flush up against the camper.

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Mounts back on the awning. Both nuts will be swapped out to lock nuts once on the truck. I applied Butyl rubber tape to the mounts to seal the bolt holes going through the camper.

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Awning mounted to the camper. Here is a shot of the rear bracket before it's tightened down.

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As you tighten the mounting bolts the Butyl rubber squeezes out of the bracket, it also squeezes around the bolts and forms a tight waterproof seal.

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A plastic scraper makes quick work on removing the excess Butyl.

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Next up is attaching the tension strap to the rear of the awning. I used an awl to make a hole big enough for the pop rivet and doubled the material for strength at this connection.

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Hole drilled in the rear awning arm and strap mounted in place.

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Latch assembly mounted onto the rear corner of the camper.

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And in action. The tail has been trimmed and the edges sealed/melted.

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And finished! The shadow Awning is a sweet setup offing a lot of shade in a small package. Living in the desert the shade from this baby will be welcomed!

Awning on the truck.

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Front shot with LOTS of bugs on the camper lol.

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Continued Below...
 
Continued from above...

Awning deployed with the top down.

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And with the top up.

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More to come.....

Hodakaguy
 
Wandering Sagebrush said:
Tom, nice work. That might be the first batwing I’ve seen that seems substantial.
It's a very stout setup and worlds better than the Batwing. Not sure why FWC uses the Batwing still when the Shadow Awning is a far better product!

Hodakaguy
 
Heater vent mod time. The outlet of the Propex unit is on a swivel and angles out at about a 45 deg angle, unfortunately the hot air still manages to hit the aux battery box. My dad has been placing something in front of the battery to deflect the heat but it's time to fix it for good and fab up a permanent deflector.

Here you can see the heater outlet in relation to the battery.

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First up measuring, cutting and welding. Starting with a scrap piece of metal plate.

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One deflector minus mounting tabs.

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Next up....cut out some mounting tabs

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Tabs rounded, welded in place and the whole assembly painted. We will be installing the deflector onto the heater unit with Rivet Nuts.

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Drilling holes and installing the Rivet Nuts into the heater box.

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And bolted in place.

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I ran the heater for about an hr on wide open to see how much heat transfer made it to the heater box, the deflector itself gets hot but the box itself stayed just warm to the touch around the deflector area. The solar charge controller stayed nice and cool which is what I was concerned about...perfect.

One more thing off the to do list.

Hodakaguy
 
My Dad is currently down in AZ enjoying the warm weather! He's reported that the camper and heater are working perfectly and he's been pouring on the miles while out exploring. Good Stuff!

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Hodakaguy
 
Good job Hodaka Guy. Glad you dad’s enjoying AZ. We just got back and it is nice in southern AZ.

Russ

Question no chance the shield can get hot enough to burn?
 
Great writeup Hodaka!
Searching for a popup camper shell to go on my Tacoma. Want one with barn doors. Easyer to get bikes and "stuff " into the truck bed.
And don't want to be reaching to close a tailgate and typical camper shell door from the inside. So far looks like only overland makes them. All the camper manufacturers are busy! Sign of a good economy?
 
I like the summit and atlas for a full size pickup . Do you know which model has the barn doors? I see no mention of it there.

Especially for easterner, these folks https://snapoutfitters.com/product/standard-snap-treehouse/ list that they have a barn door option on their treehouse.




allanb said:
Great writeup Hodaka!
Searching for a popup camper shell to go on my Tacoma. Want one with barn doors. Easyer to get bikes and "stuff " into the truck bed.
And don't want to be reaching to close a tailgate and typical camper shell door from the inside. So far looks like only overland makes them. All the camper manufacturers are busy! Sign of a good economy?
 
The barn doors are a 500$ option for half doors, and 500$ for full doors. Don't know if that adds up to 1000$, or if full doors are "only" $500. Option for any size truck. Their waiting list is 6-9 months, with 1/2 down up front. With that long a wait, and that much money waiting, I think I'd better take a look at all of them at the overland expo west . May in Flagstaff. The search continues, and I guess I should start a new thread!
 

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