Home Forums Truck Camper Adventure Forum Cabover meets up with truck roof

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    • #45983
      Harvey
      Participant

      Is there any way to prevent the cab-over from occasionally hitting the truck roof?

      Before someone says slow and drive sensibly, I consider myself a good safe driver (20 years, 18 wheeler hazmat experience) with a lot of miles. We do go off on some good ole rough 4wd roads when we’re out. Once and a while, the cab-over punches us on our heads inside the truck. Bang. The truck roof is being scraped as is the under side of cab-over. I also imagine that the TC front dipping in that matter can or is causing other damage in its inside construction.

      Actually I feel like this happens more on pavement than off road. Especially if there is a real bump that is not marked and difficult to see.

      Finally it’s not that this goes on all day long but it seems at least once per trip.

    • #46004
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      This may be a ‘get a bigger hammer’ approach, but have you considered adding a sheet of 3/4″ plywood in the bed of your truck to raise the camper? Might be a simple low-tech fix and I doubt it would raise your center of gravity in any meaningful way.

      More experienced truck camper gurus might have insight as to why this is a bad idea but it’s the first thing I’d try. Put it in, go for a trip and see if it works. If so, then I’d paint/treat the plywood to keep it from rot.

      Curious to know what you end up doing.

      Bryan

    • #46005
      George
      Participant

      Thanks- I started with a 3/4 inch barn stall mat but that wasn’t enough added height (based on experience) so in addition I’ve also added 3/4 inch plywood. I’m still not sure that will be enough so I plan to ditch the mat and add 2x lumber under the plywood. If that doesn’t do the trick I don’t know what will.

      What I was really hoping for was that someone has found a low profile replacement antenna so I don’t have to haul all this extra stuff!

    • #46032
      Harvey
      Participant

      Thanks both to Bryan and George for the suggestions. I wonder if 3/4 inch would be enough to prevent the hit.

      Photo to show how things look between truck and TC

      Attachments:
    • #46035
      George
      Participant

      I’ve had this happen to me twice. The first time I had only a 1/3 inch bed mat in the truck and I hit a deep whole that I didn’t see on the back side of a cattle guard. The cab over struck the truck roof and the shark fin antenna punched a whole in the cab over. A very expensive repair! So I put the 3/4 inch stall mat under the bed mat. Then on another trip, I hit a deep hole on a forest road that I again didn’t see (that dappled sunlight is pretty but makes irregularities in the road hard to see). This time the antenna only slightly cracked the fiberglass skin of the cab over. In both cases I was going less than 20 MPH on forest roads.

      From now on when I plan to drive those typed of roads I will have 2x’s (laid flat) under 3/4 inch plywood plus the bed mat. That should give me just over 2.5 inches of additional distance between the cab and cab over. We’ll see how it works.

      • #46714
        Harvey
        Participant

        @George, if your solution works let me know. I did write it seemed like the stall mat was the solution, but I’ve been thinking that 3/4 inch doesn’t seem like it will lift the TC enough. Also it seems everyone needs stall mats cause the 2 Tractor Supply’s near me are sold out!

        I’d also like to know how driving was when lifting the camper with both a mat and 2xs. I am thinking mostly about raising the Center of Gravity.
        Thanks

    • #46401
      WyoBull
      Participant

      With my truck and camper combination, I initially started out using the standard rubber bedmat. Twice my camper slapped my roof when at highway speed going over what I describe as whoop-dee-do’s. It did no damage but I was not going to deal with that situation so I went to Tractor Supply and bought a 4×6 horse stall mat on top of my regular bed mat. I believe they are 5/8ths of an inch thick.

      Since then I have not had any issues at all. The 4×6 mat fits perfectly with the base of my camper. I am running a 2017 Ford F350 CCSB and my camper is a 2017 Northern Lite 8.11 SE.

      2017 F350 Super Duty 4x4, CCSB, XLT Premium Package, 6.2 gas, 3.73 rear end, GVWR 11,300 lbs, Payload 4226 lbs, Silver Ingot, Camper Package, Split bench front seat, Upfitter switches, LED Box Lighting, Rear Step Tailgate, Air Lift 5000 Ultimate Airbags with Air Lift WirelessAIR on board compressor kit and remote, Torklift Upper Stableloads, Torklift tie downs w/ Fastguns
      2017 Northern Lite 8.11 QC SE

      • #46405
        Harvey
        Participant

        WyoBull this sounds like the way to go since you say the slapping stopped and an inexpensive solution at that. I’ve got the standard rubber mat too. I won’t be on the road for a while but I’ll return to this question when I’ve tried the stall mat out. Thanks

    • #46740
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      For 11+ years carrying my 4950# loaded camper, I’ve used a 4’x 8’x 1” foam insulation board, about $25 bucks from home depot, with 1/4” rubber mat atop..Weight per square inch is very low and foam board has held up perfectly…

      Phil

    • #46743
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      I’m a little late to the party, but I’ve just completed a transfer of my Northstar Laredo from my 2001 Dodge Cummins HO short bed to our 2020 Ford F-350 gasser short bed super cab.
      Ford’s cab is taller than either RAM or GM’s cab.
      Fords need a riser, the height of which is determined by the year, and if it has truck cab top running lights or in my 2020’s case, dual xm radio antennas on the back of the cab.

      If the Ford truck is pre-2017 it has a steel bed and no dual antennas.
      For that you can use a 2 inch thick, 4 feet by 8 feet block of blue foam with a 25 pounds per square inch non-compressibility trimmed to fit your bed. This should give you enough wiggle room for any exigency on rough roads.

      My solution for our 2020 with a aluminum body and the dual antennas which stick up more than two inches more was a 4 inch thick, 4 feet by 8 feet block of blue foam with a 25 pounds per square inch non-compressibility cut down to 6 3/4 feet to fit Ford’s short bed. I used the cut off piece glued to the front of the bed at the bulkhead to space the camper rearward enough to not destroy your taillights. This gives me a bit more than 2 inches of clearance over the cab.

      If you don’t have a 2017+ Ford you can get by with a 2 inch block. With a short bed you will still need at least a 3 inch spacer at the bulkhead to save your taillights.

      So are there any other benefits? Yes, with the 4 inch block you get R-19 insulation in the floor of the camper.
      jefe

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

    • #46744
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      Still trying to load a photo:

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

      • #46750
        Harvey
        Participant

        @Jefe4x4: Another very good sounding and inexpensive possible solution. The fact that it would add insulation (I’ve already put more under the TC) is an extra plus.

        When I have tried any of the suggestions to my question I’ll get back on how it’s working.
        Right now I am leaning toward the blue foam you mention. I do have a bed mat already. I think the point about the cab being higher on Ford (mine is a 2017) may be really important for others.

    • #46746
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      Looks like i can do this.
      These are the cut down Torklift outriggers and turnbuckles. The clearance is much improved.

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

    • #46748
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      Trimmed pass side tie downs. Minimum clearance is 1-1/2 inches.

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

    • #46751
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      Harvey,
      The rigid foam board i used is by Dow. It’s called Dow Blue Board, 4″x4’x8′. It is not cheap. $187.05 out the door for two 4×8 foot blocks. It was very hard to find.
      Do you need a block? i can supply as i have the one left i can sell for $75.
      It depends on where you live. By the looks of the damp fir trees you must be in the NW.
      You need a foam bumper at the front bulkhead of the bed. 3 inches would be ideal, but I used 4″ from a cutoff piece of the 4×8 glued on top of the foam in front.

      The other brand is Foamular 250 by Owens Corning that can be had at Home Depot. But beware it’s only 2 inches thick and doesn’t have the R-value or rigidity of the 4 inch.

      I used my form fitting thin rubber bed mat under the foam.
      We leave for Death Valley next week so I’ll report when we return.
      Are you going to the Feb. Rally?

      Take a look at the cab clearance and back set above.

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

      • #46752
        Harvey
        Participant

        OK, I hadn’t seen the price. Still less than a new roof for the cab and bottom for the cabover! I see what you mean by the 4″ is hard to find. I have a 2×4 at mounted the bulkhead. Definitely needed and gives the space we need. We’re in AZ, the photo is off the Cassiar Highway in British Columbia where we could see some kind of moisture for a change!

      • #49855
        Harvey
        Participant

        Jefe
        I wasn’t able to find the 4″ except in bulk packs on the www. I got the 2″ Foamular which said 25 pounds per square inch non-compressibility. This seemed to have reduced the cabover and roof contact by like 95% on some rough roads and sensible driving! Still I’d prefer for this not to happen at all.

        The foam insulation did compress so now there’s a “track” on each side of the foam and that means the TC was lowered almost an inch! I’m wondering if adding a second 2″ will be of any help at this point. The foam also cracked in a couple of spots.

        All in all thought the solution worked quite well and of course provided extra insulation.

        I also made some angle brackets for the front which A)helped loading tremendously and along with the insulation seemed to have stopped the sideways movement (whereas a bed mat didn’t do that at all) which was great because the Northstar on the 2017 F250 is a very tight fit when it comes to the tie downs being close to the truck.

        Attachments:
    • #47922
      George
      Participant

      So here’s what I’ve done in the off season. I’ve got a 1/3 inch rubber full bed mat. Then 2×6’s (laid flat). Then 3/4 inch plywood topped with another 1/3 rubber mat. The mats should help keep the camper from sliding around too much but I also added chocks and bolted them to the plywood to keep the camper centered.

      I have not actually tried this set up on the trail yet but I think it will help keep the cabover from hitting the truck roof on gnarly Forest Service and BLM roads/trails. We will see what happens when we head out in a couple of months.

      Also, yes, the camper will be higher and I am concerned about lifting the COG and the the potential for more sway, That’s why I’m also replacing the stock sway bars with Hellwigs. Nobody ever said this TC stuff was going to be cheap!!!

      Attachments:
      • #47941
        Harvey
        Participant

        George thanks for the reply. Lots of good possible solutions. I haven’t done anything yet but am leaning toward Jefe’s using the insulation, if I can get hold of it.

    • #48009
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      Harvey,
      On Monday Mike will publish my article on the N*camper/Ram truck to Ford truck swap.
      I see George has the same late model Ford Super Duty with approximately the same final elevation but with a lot more weight and no R-value.

      After doing the 4″ thick Blue Board, because of the lack of porpoising I really only need 3″ of elevation lift to clear the funky antennas.
      I’m also thinking of going to HappiJac tie downs for the rear only to get more departure angle clearance.
      jefe

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

    • #49863
      Jefe4x4
      Moderator

      Harvey,
      My 4″ foam block is also deforming.
      But that’s O.K. since I now think 2.5-3″ of lift would be enough.
      Why? The truck frame is a lot more stiff than earlier Fords.
      The rooftop antennas are at the rear, so any porpoising clearance would affect the front of the cab more and the rear less.
      What you can do is buy a 4×8 sheet of 1/2 inch outdoor plywood; cut in half the long way and spread it out against the wheel wells with an MT slot down the center and use leftover pieces cut to be spacers/keys in the slots. Maybe finally add an extra thin rubber mat and lower the camper on.
      All this fiddling is on going.
      There are lots of variables, not the least of which is how much off road the operator does.

      2020 Ford F-350 XLT FX4 4WD SRW SB SC 7.3L Godzilla Gas TorqShift 10R140 397 amps dual Alt dual batts Frnt Dana 60; Rr Dana M275 E-locker 4.30's 4580/4320/4066# payload 7243# curb wt. 11,300# GVWR 5-er prepped. 2020 Northstar Laredo SC, 12v compressor fridge, cassette, 320w Solar sub zero insulation.

      • #49877
        Harvey
        Participant

        Thanks Jefe. I’ll keep at it!

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