New to TC; Grandby questions


New Member
May 1, 2023
Missoula Montana
I just bought Grandby yesterday. First TC I have ever owned. A few initial questions.

1. Can you give me a sense of what year? Owner was not sure and thought 1990's. The date on the plate on the back is worn off. See pictures.

2. On driver's side in back where jack plate is mounted, there is a bend by the back side of the fridge. I assumed the aluminum frame is bent, but in looking at how jack plate is mounted, all I see is wood in that area. Any thoughts? See photo.

3. The door is squishy and has some cracks. In peaking through cracks, it looks like it is just styrofoam. Or is it a layer of styrofoam over wood, and if that is the case, the wood must be rotten as evidenced by squishiness. It seems I could remove the frame and build a new door, or I also see forum topics about just buying new doors.

4. I've read quite a few topics in the forum so far and need to replace bedboard, get water pump working/replaced, and so forth. So thanks to WTW for tips on those things.

Hopefully you can see the photos in links below.





Hi, welcome to the family. I can comment on a couple of your questions. The door should not have any wood in it, at least the newer ones don’t. It does look like there’s a bend in the frame, how is the back corner? Is that straight? Here’s a photo of a recent camper, I believe the basic framing is unchanged over the years.
Thanks for responding.

The back corner looks straight. See pics. I cannot see any aluminum tube in the area below the fridge. I can see aluminum coming down from above that goes to back corner and in front of the fridge, but no connecting aluminum between them. Just plywood.

Still learning how to post. Sorry for posting the entire photo album 3 times. I meant to only post three pics.

Please also see my door and the cracks and gaps in the siding. If no wood inside, what is the material. If just styrofoam, that would not seem to provide much structural support.
Welcome to the cult.
One of the best sources for info on older FWCs is through Stan at FWC.
He is very helpful. The site has a lot of members who can add advice
and may even have a older FWC of their own.

You can delete your last post with the 3 albums,just highlight delete
at the lower right of your post,next to "MultiQuote"


The rear of the camper appears to be resting on some kind of metal bars bridging the side rails of the pickup cargo bed. Those bars are not factory and have been added.

I cannot tell if the camper weight when sitting on the truck is all or partially on those bars.

The camper should have all of its weight resting on the bottom of the camper. I see there are pallets under the floor to support it and that is OK as long as the camper is not being supported by the side rails of the cargo bed.

The Aluminum frame of the camper ends at the floor box, as shown in the picture that 'veryactivelife posted' (which shows the frame upside down). The black plywood ledge on the right of the picture is where the refrigerator heater and condenser are mounted.
The top ledge of the black plywood floor box is what is resting on the metal bars. The compartment with the plywood bottom contains the heater and condenser for the three way refrigerator. The plywood in that compartment sometimes gets degraded over the years from water intrusion through the vent holes. Also it is not designed to support a point load like that and is the reason for the bend.

The weight of the camper on those bars on the side rails may be imparting loads that are bending the camper frame (even if only during installation and removal). If so that may bend the door and window frames out of shape as well.

The jacks used for the early FWC campers were cable jacks that had a 'L' shaped bar to hold the edge of the camper while lifting which distributes the load. I had a 1984 FWC Keystone and I hated using the cable jacks to put it on and off (which I did many times).

Similar to these:

I would remove the four metal bars and at a minimum reinforce the places where they are mounted by scabbing on (screw in place) a piece of 3/4" plywood the full depth of the ledge and at least 18" long at each of the four locations before putting those bars back on.
Another consideration is that those brackets on the ends of those bars are good places to catch clothing or flesh or a tree branch. Maybe bolt those brackets to the jack stands and add a p3/4 " thick plywood plate or 2x4 to them and simply slide them under the ledge when you need to lift the camper rather than having them permanently bolted in place.

I hope this is helpful,

The metal plates I see in your pictures look like the mounting plates that Alaskan campers use, and are definitely not factory. Using them will have caused the bending. All of the wood in these campers is replaceable (with enough effort) so not all is lost.

The doors are just aluminum skin on insulation, no wood core.

Welcome to the cult!
Vic Harder said:
. . . The doors are just aluminum skin on insulation, no wood core . . .
The door on my '77 Grandby has a wood frame, with framing around the window and extra support at the door latch.
Easy rebuild.
Dear ckent323,
The camper is resting 100% on pallets. The height of my truck from bed to top of rails was about 3.5" taller than camper, so pallets were a temporary solution to raise it up to haul it home after buying it. Probably about 2" taller than I need so will figure out more permanent fix. I see some people use the pink or blue XPS "styrofoam". I had read about not having it rest on the rails and thanks for reminder.

I read some other forums where people said they hate the "L" shaped bar jacks, so probably won't get those. Below is album with pics of the camper when I went to look at it. Four jacks bolted to the plates, and pretty precarious. To get enough width between jacks, he mounted a 4"x4" block of wood between plate and jack on the front jacks, and I would need to do something like that as well as my truck barely fit between those two jacks with the extra width from the 4x4 blocks. I'm sure it didn't help to have it stored that way either, with all the weight rest on those four jack plates.

I kind of like your idea of taking plates off the camper and bolting them to separate piece of plywood that I slide underneath to take it on and off. However, I was going to tie down the camper by attaching to those brackets. I see there are other tie down options like bolting to the bed, or eye bolts in the bed and then turnbuckle to them and bracket mounted lower on the camper. The buy I bought it from also gave me four Brophy rail pocket things and I thought about using those and turn-buckling to those mounted brackets. I will probably put the camper on in May each year and take it off in October, and then store it indoors October to May. So need to figure out a system to take it on and off and tie it down pretty easy. It weighs 960 pounds dry weight without the jacks.



I wholeheartedly agree that lifting the older FWC Campers that do not have jack brackets is dicey using the cable jacks. I was oh so careful everytime I did it and I worried about dropping the camper off of the jacks. I wound up buying two additional used cable jacks and I used four of them to raise and lower the camper. Still dicey but better than using only two of those cable jacks.

Knowing what I know now I offer some thoughts.

1) Consider reinforcing all lift points on the camper ledge. This could be accomplished by simply screwing a piece of 3/4" thick plywood or solid wood that is several times wider and longer than the actual lift contact point onto the bottom wood ledge (where the metal brackets are now) to distribute the load.

2) If you permanently mount something to the camper try to mount it so that is is not a place that you will bang your head, catch clothing, skin or a tree branch. Round all corners. I cannot tell you how many times I have snagged clothing, scratched my arm or banged my head on the jack brackets mounted on our 2007 FWC Keystone. I finally zip tied pieces of foam pipe insulation to them and while it doesn't look great I no longer get cuts on my noggin, arms or clothing.

3) If you have room between the cargo bed rail and the camper ledge you could fabricate four metal bracket hitch like receivers - think of a rectangular tube section that is permanently mounted to the camper ledge and into which a smaller rectangular section mounted to each jack could be inserted. There would be nothing protruding the catch skin, clothing or a tree branch on. It could be very low profile if the right material and thickness were used. It would minimize the risk of the camper falling off of the jacks too (although the jacks can still fall over if you are not careful and keep them close to the same height. We raise and lower our jacks in pairs front and back or side to side and appropriate when lifting or lowering the camper.

4) I do not know if anyone has added jack brackets to an older camper that didn't already have them, but it seems to me that may be a reasonable solution as well. It would take some effort to figure out how to add it and where to put holes. Best if you can find someone who successfully did it that has some photos and instruction.
As for attaching the camper to the truck:

5) I have been in several older FWC campers, including our 1984 FWC Keystone, that were bolted to the truck bed through the floor in four locations. If you do this be sure to use at least 2" x 2" backing plates between the nutsand the truck bed (be sure to use double nut and lock washer or better use a Bellville washer to minimize risk of the nut backing off) as well as use a large fender washer or thin metal plate on the camper floor under the carriage bolt head.

6) I prefer the camper mounted eye bolt and bed mounted eye bolt with opposing turnbuckle mounting method that our 2007 FWC has. Again be sure to use a backing plate under the truck bed. It also makes sense to reinforce the eye bolt mounting location, particularly on older campers.

Hopefully others who have dealt with these issues will comment with various solution possibilities.

I hope this is helpful and stimulates some good ideas,

Hi Mark

And also welcome to WTW....your camper looks very nice and should give you good service.

I would mention that it looks to be an early eighties model.

I think it is important for you get to know the FWC of that period in order to enjoy it.

They did employ the Flex frame design....learn what this means.

One thing I would mention is that those vintage campers were secured to the truck bed differently that the newer models...usually through bolted at the floor...many advantages depending on your intended use.

They did not use corner lifting jacks.

The tent surround was a different material.

The house battery was often stored in truck bed in front of wheel well....not inside camper.

That vintage campers are great and were the foundation for the FWC of today.

I think there is much to learn from a FB called something like Vintage FWC campers.

I would suggest you search all of Stans and on FB....he has answered most every question that will arise.

Let us know where you are located...WTW are some helpful folks.

David Graves

N Oregon coast.
Thanks for responding.

I'm in Missoula, Montana.

I found a couple FB groups including the one you mentioned, and am awaiting to be approved to join groups.

Status of my tie down ideas:
1. Bolt to bed of pickup. Don't like idea as I want to take camper off in late fall and put back on in spring, and I assume hard to line up the holes. Plus, since the height between bed and top of rail in my pickup is taller than camper, I'll have about 4" of something (considering XPS "styrofoam") to prop up camper to clear railes, and lining up holes in pickup, camper and that "something" will be even harder than just lining up two holes.

2. Eye bolts and turnbuckles like FWC does it now. Installing eye bolts pretty easy, but my camper does not have brackets on the underside to attach the turnbuckles to. So would need to get some brackets from FWC or have some custom-made and install them, which not too hard, but nonetheless more hassle. Finally, I only have access panels in front of camper and not in back, so would have to figure out a way to cut access panels in back to get to the bed, which is even more hassle.

3. The camper came with a brand new set of Brophy pocket stake tie downs with turn-buckles. I've read reviews on those, and some say they work great and some not so much. For a lightweight low COG camper, and no serious off-roading, I'm guessing they will work fine. And based on where the jack brackets are mounted to the camper, I can have the front Brophy stake pulling camper forward and the back Brophy stake pulling camper backwards just like they do with eye-botls in bed. And like I say, I already have a new set of them so nothing to buy and a quick install. So I am leaning towards this one Maybe do eye bolts and bracket from #2 above, but only in front where I have access panel, as added insurance which would be six points of connection.

Thanks everyone for responding. Lots of things to consider, with people giving varied opinions on what works and does not work, so will chip away at things depending on priority and budget.

A brief remark as I am working. Look carefully for access panels down to the truck bed.

I have found them in unexpected areas like the horizontal surface under the passengers side windows

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