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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone! Last weekend I traded a non-running International 656 Hydro for a truck camper and I have a couple of questions; the biggest of which is what to use to seal up a couple of little dings along the edges? I know I shouldn't use silicone but I've used a product called 'Sikaflex 221' on semi-trailers in the past with great success. Has anyone used this on a camper or do you have a different product to recommend? After sealing the little cracks, I will be hitting the roof with a fresh coat of sealant as well.

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I went over it very thoroughly and I couldn't find any indication of water damage. All the appliances worked and it even came with the tie downs for my truck as we have almost identical Fords.

Our plan is to get it home later this week (I have to install the truck's tie downs) and start with a very intensive cleaning. I am not new to camping, but I've never had my own camper before and I've never used a truck camper before. This means I know just enough to be dangerous! I figured I would be popping back on here as other questions came up, so thanks in advance!
 

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If the dings along the edges are in a place you can take apart some you could do that and add some caulking behind it and screw it back together. Silicone? Why can't you use it? I used to work for a place that made them and all other campers and motor homes. We used silicone all the time. On the edges to keep the rain/water out from the outside in we used caulking. This was back in the '70's and '80's so they might have come up with something else by now.
 

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That's a nice truck camper!

I always had dreams of having a truck camper like that or a small tag along but that a subject for a different time....

Glad that Levi chimed in here - I forgot who it was but I knew one of us used to work for a manufacturer.

I see quite a few used neglected campers for sale around here but was always hesitant since I don't know how the things are made and what it entails to repair or replace a roof along with any of the skin or structure. It sounds like the one you bought is pretty sound - just a few minor needs.

I always drool over this thing - the Earth Roamer. But since they start at $400k I know I'll never see one....

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They build those Earth Roamers down in northern Colorado. I've driven by the place a few times, they always have some neat stuff sitting around outside. :good2:

Like Evergreen, I've used a lot of Sikaflex on semi trailers. Don't know why it wouldn't work for an RV? I used silicone to stop a couple of leaks on our horse trailer, didn't know that was the wrong fix. Seems to be holding up. :unknown:
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks to everyone who has replied so far.

I was told (whether there is scientific truth behind it, I do not know) that silicone should only be used on surfaces which are completely clean because impurities will compromise its bond. :dunno: Thoughts?

I like sikaflex, but as was mentioned earlier, it is also an adhesive which I will only need in places where I can push little bits of the trim back into place. Right now I'm trying to make it look better while simultaneously adding a bit of insurance against future problems. I'll look into that proflexrv stuff. :good2: I'd like to find something RV specific and do this right the first time. That being said, there really isn't much to re-building one of these things; they're all just 2x2's with aluminum skin. The trick is to find one that hasn't been to hell and back and then left to sit out in a fence row every winter so you don't have to re-build it. There are a lot of 'needs some tlc' campers on the market right now.
I'll pass along the same advice that I was given: go looking at them within 24 hours of the end of a major rain storm. If there's a leak, you'll surely spot it then!


Those Earth Roamer campers are fantastic. We saw one at an RV show and that's actually what set us on the path to get this one. I'm sure they are worth the half-million dollar price tag, but trading away one of my extra projects was a little bit more within our budget. I've done a lot of boondock camping out of the bed of a pickup with a cap, but this should be way more comfortable. Probably not as comfortable as an Earth Roamer, but better than a bed liner! :thumbup1gif:
 

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I'd love to see one of the Earth Roamers in person - I just think they are so neat!

Years ago my wife and I spent quite a few nights in the back of my pickup with an aluminum cap (in the spring/summer/fall) - cut out a 6" piece of foam to fit the bed and we were quite comfortable.

A used truck camper might be ideal for us but that is one thing I hadn't planned on when I bought my truck - I'm now stuck with a 5'5" bed.....

Been pondering the truck tents - seem to get pretty good reviews and would probably be enough for occasional use.
 

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I would be apprehensive about the adhesive used on tractor trailers,,,
for the same reason you do not use permethrin around cats!!

It could be health effects, it could just be the smell. :dunno:

The industrial stuff might stick like crazy,,, but,,,, :flag_of_truce:

Odor of anything in such a small area that you would spend 8 hours in could be a MAJOR concern.

OTOH,, if the wife HATES the smell,, and DEMANDS that she stay home,,,
MIGHT be a PLUS!! :good2:
 

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Geocel (pro flex), Dicor, sikaflex, and 3M make rv sealants. Depending on where you are applying the sealants and what it is sealing depends on which type you choose. The manufacturers that I listed show the different types and what they are used for. Geocel and dicor seem to be used a lot by OEM's. No manufacturer uses silicone anymore and I would suggest not using it for a few reasons. I prefer the polyurethane type sealants, such as sikaflex.

My two cents and it may only be worth one...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sika 221 doesn't stink after it has had a few hours to dry. Besides, it would only be used on the outside of the camper. In any case, we have four dogs who like to provide us with some of the most interesting smells imaginable. At this point I think my nose is immune to just about anything and everything. :laugh:

We looked at truck tents too but found that the downside is that they aren't very physically secure (we have the dogs to contain) and they essentially render the bed useless for carrying gear because everything stowed in the bed for travel must be unloaded in order to put up the tent. I've done enough factory work to have an aversion to moving things I've already moved once. I also have an aversion to going to sleep with all my gear in an unsecured location. Since my F250 already has the factory camper package, it was a bit of a no-brainier to skip the tent and get a slide in camper. But, you don't need a big 3/4 ton to get into the truck camping game. I have seen plenty of little pop-up truck campers designed for short bed 1/2 tons... :gizmo:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Brought it home earlier this week, but was too busy to post.

image.jpeg
(No, this photo was not taken in Australia. My iPad is just weird)

I have never loaded or driven one of these before and I was surprised by how easy the whole experience was. Having something over the top of my cab was a little unnerving at first, but after I hit a few big bumps without it crashing through my cab roof, I was able to completely trust the tie down system. I was surprised by how little it made my truck look though! In spite of the heavy rear springs that come with a camper package, I'm debating getting air bags and upgrading my factory sway bar. However it is perfectly useable and acceptable the way it is.

Right now my to-do list is:
Deep clean the interior
Caulk and clean the exterior
Get all the exterior lights working properly
Replace all curtains and blinds
Go camping :good2:

It is winterized right now so I probably won't mess with the water system until next spring. In a month or so I'd just have to re-winterize it anyway.

I wish I had an owners manual for it. I found a generic one from Lance on their website which is better than nothing at all. I'll probably try eBay later today.

Like I said before, I've done a lot of camping, but never in a real truck camper, and I've never had a camper of my own. If anyone has any tips and tricks, I would really appreciate if you shared them. Also, please share any camping/camper must-have items, or products that you have used and really liked; folding chairs, clever storage systems, etc...


Current mood: :yahoo:
 

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I wish I had an owners manual for it. I found a generic one from Lance on their website which is better than nothing at all. I'll probably try eBay later today.
Don't be to surprised if you don't find one specific to your camper. Lots of the manufacturer's only put out generic manuals. I have a Coachmen bumper-pull trailer and the manual that came with it covers all Coachmen bumper-pull and 5th wheels made between 1999 and 2005.
 

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Brought it home earlier this week, but was too busy to post.

View attachment 239594
(No, this photo was not taken in Australia. My iPad is just weird)
That is an interesting way to test your tie downs! :lol:

Congrats on your new camper. Looks great. :bigthumb:
 

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We lived in a truck camper for about six months. Made going back to a regular travel trailer RV as a full time home seem like a real treat! :laugh:

My only input would be to watch the wind. Those little Capri rodeo campers don't seem to catch it as bad as a full size does, but even a mild wind will push you around pretty good.

Before you add air bags, load it up for camping and go scale it. Air bags won't help if you're over your rear axle weight rating. It's not likely that you are, but better to know for sure. Looks like a nice setup! :good2:
 

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Like I said before, I've done a lot of camping, but never in a real truck camper, and I've never had a camper of my own. If anyone has any tips and tricks, I would really appreciate if you shared them. Also, please share any camping/camper must-have items, or products that you have used and really liked; folding chairs, clever storage systems, etc...


Current mood: :yahoo:
Toilet paper? :laugh:


Nice camper! :bigthumb: I'd say the tie downs work great. :lolol:
 

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Whatch out for sneaky speed bumps & pot holes.....

I've seen a bunch of those Long Nose Campers that are Kinked or Cracked just behind the cab.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Before you add air bags, load it up for camping and go scale it. Air bags won't help if you're over your rear axle weight rating. It's not likely that you are, but better to know for sure. Looks like a nice setup! :good2:
There's no way I'm much more than half way to my rear GAWR. The camper only weighs 1300 pounds empty, and I tend to travel light. The original owner ordered the perfect truck for this; it has the 10,000 pound gross payload upgrade package, AND the slide-in camper package. The DOT camper certificate in the glovebox says I can carry a 3000 pound camper... But that is not something I would try with a single rear wheel truck except under ideal conditions. Granted the camper is empty, but the overload springs are barely touching their bump-stops. The airbags would be more to improve the ride quality than an attempt to increase capacity.

I plan on buying the brackets to mount the cab-over struts to my truck's front fenders to make sure the nose doesn't snap off. Potholes are just a way of life here in Michigan. I will also be building my own set of frame mounted rear tie downs because I don't trust the flimsy bumper mounted ones.

Toilet paper :thumbup1gif:
Having a bathroom is going to be nice for winter camping. I have yet to find coffee that can wake me up as fast as -10* air blasting across a bare bottom. :gaah:

I skipped the Sikaflex and went to an RV store to buy their recommended caulk. The Sika did not specifically say it was to be used on an RV's EDPM rubber roof. For $10 a tube, this 'dicor' stuff had better be good!
 
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