How to Load a Demountable Camper

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How to Load a Demountable Camper

Postby rubberrat » 19 Oct 2014 20:42

Loading your Demountable

The first time you do this it may be rather daunting, all that cash you’ve just spent and you’re about to have it wobbling around on some spindly looking metal legs.

The trick is to take your time. Be sure what you are doing, and if you have manual lifting legs, do them with the hand crank the first few times, save the electric drill attachment for later. Check twice - do once!…

This refers to my own rig, a 2007 Chevrolet LUV and a S.Karosser EC6 camper.

Starting from having your camper on the ground, prepare your truck for loading.

Every truck will be different, some will need no more prep than just dropping the tailgate.
Some need the ‘gate removing.
Do you have a Truckman type top? Can the loadliner stay in place?

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First job for mine. If in full ‘estate car’ mode’ is to take off the Truckman top..

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First removing the clamps that hold the top onto the buck, and then with help (it's incredibly heavy and difficult to get a decent grip on) start lifting the back off. Store it safely on a pair of timber bearers to keep it off the ground.

Then I have to remove the plastic protective loadliner as on my Chevrolet LUV the liner makes the space between the wheel arches 10mm to narrow, on your truck it might be OK to leave it in place, or you may have either a ‘Bedrug’ or a spray-in liner.

On mine there are four ‘cam’ type clamps that hold the bedliner in place (Otherwise, without a load to hold it down, the whole liner could lift out in ‘pickup’ mode’ at speed – nasty!)

On my S.Karosser EC6, The tailgate has to be taken off as it just touches the plastic waste water tank. It might be OK, but any movement just might be enough to dislodge the tank fittings, so I don’t take a chance. #
Plus that tailgate weighs a ton!, taking it off is one less heavy weight behind the rear axle.

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Tailgate removal

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Checkstraps

Once the ‘gate is off, cable tie up the check straps so they don’t rub.
I then fit an 18mm ply sheet in the bed (cut to fit around the wheel arches and the heavy-duty eyes) to spread the weight of the camper, as the edge rails may be taking the entire load, or the ribs of the factory steel buck may sit on a weaker part of the camper base. It will give the camper base a bit of grip too.

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loadliner

So, now time to load up the camper.

Begin by lowering your air suspension (if fitted) to it’s lowest setting and then start raising the camper...

I suggest one corner at a time, and 10 turns of the lifting handle to stop the body from twisting too much. It’s also possible for the balance to shift during the lift and if you have one leg 300mm shorter than the others that’s quite a distance for the camper to move and drop. 10 turns will add about 100mm of lift at a time per leg. I've seen people lift the whole of one side almost all the way up before starting on the other side. This can be trouble if your camper is on pads as it might slip.

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Rear leg winding point

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Front leg winding point

You can use a good quality drill on the lowest speed setting if you are confident, but the manual winder gives much better control.

Make sure the legs don’t ‘walk’ off your jack pads.

Once at the required height – usually enough to drive the truck clear under plus 100mm extra to be sure – slowly reverse the truck under the camper. If you don’t have a helper to guide you back, take your time and stop and check regularly.

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Reverse under camper

Once fully under with the front edge of the camper just touching the front of the truck bulkhead, and you are sure it is sitting square its time to settle the camper into the buck.

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Camper touching front upstand

If you have air suspension, lift the truck up to its maximum, this may be enough to lift the corner legs off the floor. If not it will be fairly close.

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Air suspension points

Then lift each leg slowly up until clear of the ground, then when clear you can wind all the way up.

On the EC6 the front legs are wound to a marked point, this gives the correct length for the legs to stow when turned up.

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Marked winding point

The front pair of legs are then removed and turned 90 degrees to the 'stowed for travel' position.

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Unbolt the front legs from the camper

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Lift out of the mounting frame.

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Fit into the front stowing bracket.

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Fit onto the rear stowing pin. - then wind the leg 'out' or longer to expand into the stowage.

Now fit and tighten the front turnbuckles to the trucks lashing eyes.

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Front Turnbuckle

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Lashing eye

These are the lashing eyes that the turnbuckles attach to- in this case, M12 stainless steel eyes bolted through the tub and I later added large spreader plates under the tub - mine are 300mm long with an angle for strength. One other member has welded these plates to the chassis.

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Spreader plate


Then from inside, open the access hatches and fit the rear turnbuckles

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Rear hatch

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Tighten the turnbuckles and snug up the securing check nuts

Now fit the lighting and auxiliary power sockets 7S and 7N in my case, you may have the newer 13-pin units fitted.

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Sockets

And you are nearly ready to go!

Fit the steps to the camper rear..

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Steps

Check the pressure in the air suspension is correct for travel, I run at between 50 – 60 psi.


Don’t forget to load aboard your jack pads in case you plan to offload the camper on your trip on soft ground, and if you have a tailgate net, put it in ready for running your truck without the camper.

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Net

And you’re ready to roll…

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Unloading is pretty much a direct reverse of the loading process, but care to ensure the legs stay firmly planted on your jack pads as they can move a little as the camper is settled back down to ground level.

Make sure that you have removed the access steps before unloading, they are easy to forget and even easier to wreck as the camper lowers and the steps dig into the ground.

And don’t forget to disconnect your Electrics sockets before you pull your truck out from under the camper!

If any of the other members would like to add any points that are relevant to their particular rig – please feel free to add more.

We should run a thread about fitting the mounting points to a pickup too.
Chevrolet 3.0 LUV Tischer Trail 200
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Re: How to Load a Demountable Camper

Postby rubberrat » 27 Oct 2014 20:35

Thread now updated with more pictures...
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Re: How to Load a Demountable Camper

Postby zildjian » 27 Oct 2014 22:12

Very good !
seems in order certainly, obviously they vary between manufacturers as for example Apollo don't have the handy access hatches to hook it all up from the comfort of inside like an EC6 so you are lucky there.

As vehicle dimension vary (tub length & side height) and campers vary a little as well, means some combinations are easier to access than others,
add in helpful tips like sitting campers on rubber mats and such these raise the camper slightly so making it possible to reach underneath the sides to hook them up,

Any potential new buyers need to contact me, and we can look up a member nearest you to go and visit, see what your looking to get into! :mrgreen:
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Re: How to Load a Demountable Camper

Postby rubberrat » 27 Oct 2014 22:59

I notice a difference between your EC6 and mine in the pics, an extra few inches above the buck top (I can throw my external table, cables, water container and wheel ramps in there with the camper loaded)and another extra bit above the cab.
Must measure mine externally and compare, - I'm curious how much was added and where. Is the overcab bed the same height I wonder?
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Re: How to Load a Demountable Camper

Postby rubberrat » 13 Nov 2014 21:43

Chevrolet 3.0 LUV Tischer Trail 200
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Re: How to Load a Demountable Camper

Postby zildjian » 13 Nov 2014 23:59

Mark, tutorial (very quick) in demountable video's

dead easy
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Re: How to Load a Demountable Camper

Postby rubberrat » 14 Nov 2014 23:14

Chevrolet 3.0 LUV Tischer Trail 200
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Re: How to Load a Demountable Camper

Postby TrueDink » 14 Nov 2014 23:48

That Ford F350 sounds like it could pull a house and with the Arctic Fox on the back it quite literally is.
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S.Karosser EC6L-2.0
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Re: How to Load a Demountable Camper

Postby rubberrat » 15 Nov 2014 00:02

'chunky' sound eh? Powerstroke I guess, usually over 350 hp. That'll do!
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Re: How to Load a Demountable Camper

Postby zildjian » 15 Nov 2014 10:16

Arctic fox looks roughly double the size of ours doesn't it,
think they might also feature slide-out sides as well.
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