New Build in Progress


Advanced Member
Jul 9, 2024
Southern Illinois
Hello All,

I started a new build this spring. I’ve taken lots of pictures but am only going to post a few to start with as there are so many.

I will add more pictures every few days or so until I get caught up to where I am currently. I will definatelf have questions when I get into the Solar and dc to dc charging.

Background in the build: My goal is to build a removable base , that is self contained with the electrical and plumbing built in, using my shop hoist to lift it out of the bed of the truck. Then removable cabinet lids, with evetythjng bolted together with 1/4-20 inserts.And finally allowing the mid rise topper to be removed should I want access to my 5th wheel rails for trailering.

So here we go:

I made a base with 1” styrene to stagger the 5ver rails and added roller bearings for the drawers to slide easily on


Here’s a closer view of the roller(s)


Next I built the supporting base out of 2X10’s (3) with cross supports and a plywood top attached with 1/4-20 flathead bolts and inserts should the top ever need removed. I also cut out some diamond shaped holes in the 2X10’s to lighten it up a bit. Primed with KILZ and top coat of light sage acrylic.


Then began building drawers. Box joints on the corners for support and divided into compartments.


I shaped ,glued, and clamped cedar boards to the fiberglass ledge along the topper with Loctite Ultimate adhesive. They in turn used 1/4-20 inserts annd installed boards to them for hinging thd cabinet lids to, make them removable. I built a box to hold the 42 gallon water tank which formed the end by the cab , The cabinet uprights were made from 1 X 12’s with a 90 degree sill board bolted to the base. It also bolts to the water tank box in a similar fashion


Ends were made with a support brace (also bolted using inserts) and the lids made and attached with hinges


Here’s a picture of the drawers installed and partially pulled out showing individual compartments.


Drawers closed. The area between the cabinets was measured and allowed wide enough for an air mattress


The box and drawers sit high enough (above the 5ved rails) that I made 2X10’s with the same roller bearings to assist the drawers to come out smoothly as they cantilever over the tail gate. A cleat was attached that drips into the gap between the tailgate and truck box holding then in place. Their is room to store them behind the left drawer under the cabinet.


I hope you enjoyed the pictures, and it wasn’t too long of a post. I will add more pictures this weekend.

Looking good! I am surprised that you did not incorporate aluminum considering your welding experience. No worries on weight for you though. That dually can handle anything! Thanks for the pics.
Post Edit: in my post and picture of the ball bearing slides I mentioned using styrene. Actually it is a sheet of 1/2” plywood with the styrene glued to the back with liquid nail to fill in the gaps between the 5ver rails. Then a hole saw used in the plywood to set the base of the rollers into. Sorry for any confusion. This picture is with the plywood face up (1” styrene not shown)


Q. I’ve looked…..and to know in the future: is there an edit button that the original poster can use to go back and clean up grammar or pics? Thanks!
Glenn, after 24 hours, you need to contact anyone on the Site Team to reset your time to edit. Send me a link to the post in a PM, and I’ll try and reset it for you. I say try, because I don’t believe any of the moderators have done this on the new platform.
And here’s a picture of what they look like before setting them into the plywood. We have ones similar, but in a much larger size on our shear bed at work for sliding full sheets of steel plate across.

I did find my photo of the back side of the plywood with the attached styrene that fits around the 5ver rails. The closed cell styrene has a very high psi rating.


And here’s looking into the base without the drawers. The rollers were laid out to form 3 rows for each drawer. One row along each edge and one row down the middle


I mentioned glueing a cedar board to the ledges of the topper (for fastening a pine board and the. the lid hinges) You can see where I cut out around the ‘J’ hook hold downs so as not to interfere with removal of the topper in the future.



And after applying the Loctite Ultimate and clamping the cedar (for any moisture accumulated through the screen windows) and pine boards, I let it cure for 5 days before removing the clamps. I had the fiberglass extremely clean for a good bond. I bought the Ultimate at Home Depot and fiberglass was listed as one of the materials reccomeded for bonding to.

So for being tired I got a lot done. I will have to make some short extensions for the boom and the legs on the 2T shop hoist but I am on the 1/2T (1000 lb.) setting and the base is no where near that. I can lift one end by hand.

It came out really easy, I now can easily paint, build the self contained electrical and water systems, and work inside the topper. I’ll be able to slide the 280AH Lithium battery into the back corner before reinstalling the base.

I built this equalizer for a 4 point lift. The base slides back onto the tailgate easily to attach the chains.


Once I build the extensions the platform will hang free without touching the cylinder.


When I build the extension I’ll be able to change the balance points that I made for forward of center if it’s needed.


Right now it works, but you can see the angle of the chain due to the cylinder interference, and not quite being deep enough. It will be an easy, bolt together fix.


Wheeled it to the back of the shop and set it up on Jack stands. So much easier to work on now.


This is the box I built for the water tank to slide into. It’s will keep the sun light off of the water as the tank is translucent and the box is deeper than the tank giving me room to install the pump and plumbing, I have fittings to go through the doors so they can be closed. And enough room under the tank for a 12V electric heat pad underneath for freezing weather


With the platform removed, my base with the steel rollers can be lifted out. The cabinet doors are out of the way vertically.

I actually have a 1000 lb ballast box that goes in the back to offset the 7-1/2’ Customized Fisher Snow Plow I put on the front with a unique custom hitch I built.
It is a triple tube hitch, tied into the leaf spring mounts and the frame horns. An identical frame with my 17,500lb winch also can be installed. But that’s another topic.

Here’s a little more detail on the box for the water tank. I had read that water tanks should be kept in the dark to prevent algae growth. Most of you already know that- a lot of little things as a newbie I had never taken into consideration.

Some people that live off grid even paint their water totes black, I considered doing that.
I also could have ordered a black plastic tank, but I decided I wanted to be able to see the water level at a glance.

Building a box allowed me to keep the water tank dark and incorporate it into the structure, with the cabinet sides attaching to it.
I built wooden slides and a plywood “gate” for an inspection door. Behind that I used a hole saw to drill through the box for viewing the water level that was in the translucent white tank.

I divided up the tank into equal parts and made a graph for Full (just below the vent, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, and Empty, which can be viewed by lifting the slide gate. The bottom hole is elongated so that both 1/4 & E can be seen, when the water is getting low.

Pretty crude, but for such a small space I thought it would be simple and adequate for truck topper camping😀

I’m having to find ways to make use of every little space available.



The remainder of the box that extends out past the end of the water tank will contain the pump and some plumbing. I’m now planning a removable riser out of the top of the tank from the vent.
In case if you see algae growth, use chlorine or non-chlorine bleach to sanitize the tank after each use. Fill the tank partway with water, then add 1–2 tablespoons of bleach for every 250 gallons and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before draining. This will kill any algae spores or growth.
I’m going to fast forward a bit to the outside. I got a great deal on the Leer topper a couple years ago, but I had to put a lot of elbow grease into it. Pressure wash outside, scrubbed mildew and pressure washed the inside. Bought new keys. Changed gas struts on the back window, and replaced the window screens. Added touch up paint on a few chips in the gel coat.

But for $250 I figured I could easily invest the time and a small amount of $. Have you seen how much these things bring new💰

I started buying vinyl decals for my outdoor passion. Although I had never done vinyl transfers before. They’re not difficult. I also bought black privacy film for the inside of the back window to match the factory tinted glass on the sides, including left and right handed deer/antler decals for the sides.

had to cut and remove part of the shading on the mountains of the large vinyl decal on the back, in order for the compass and text to overlap and be legible.

I was happy it turned out.



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