Home Forums Truck Camper Adventure Forum Need Advice on Camper Extenstion Brackers for Dually

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    • #50828
      Kevin
      Participant

      Greetings! Long time lurker and first time poster. Have really enjoyed this site and it helped me get started.

      I have a 2019 Northstar Laredo which I hauled with a 2010 F-250 Diesel (pics below). Loved the setup but I was overweight due to the diesel (despite what the dealer told me) and I wanted to tow my fishing rig or my BBQ trailer so I needed to upgrade. I now have a F-450 with a 4,700 lb payload so my Laredo and any of my trailers will be just fine. Here is where I need some advice. My F-250 had oversized wheels and bushwhacker fender flares so I installed the Happijac swing out extensions to give me a little room so my tires didn’t rub on the front support jacks, and it worked great. So this is in stalled on my Laredo now:

      https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-and-Parts/HappiJac/LC182496.html

      You can see where I am going, the stock width on my F-450 is wider than my camper jacks even with these extensions. Camper is 84.5″ and these extensions give me 5″ a side so that is 94.5″. The truck is 96″ wide and the stock tires stick out another inch from the fenders so it is really 98″ or a tad more.

      The only solution I can find is to add these happijac extenders:

      https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories-and-Parts/HappiJac/HJ54FR.html

      A few questions:
      1. Do these products work together?
      2. Is this safe? To stack the brackets?
      3. Is there another solution?
      4. Depending on the answers to 1 and 2 is this camper not intended to be loaded onto a dually?

      In the Q/A there was this response which I pasted below – doesn’t give precise details on the swing out brackets, but I wanted to ask the real life experienced folks here. Thank you so much in advance for your guidance.

      Blessings,

      -Kevin

      Question:

      I have a 2021 10.2 Northern Lite that has happijac 4820 electric jacks already. I ordered them with the dually swing out brackets from the factory . Do these extension work with the factory swing out brackets to make them even more wider for a dually truck? My rear tires stick out from the fender and would like some more clearance from the tires to the jacks when backing under the camper. A bracket extension even more than the factory swing out bracket bracket offers would be great.

      asked by: Gregory M

      Expert Reply:

      I contacted the Rep at Happijac to inquire on your question of the HappiJac Swing-Out Extender Bracket for Dual Wheel Chassis Truck Camper Jacks, # HJ54FR. His response was that yes, you can “stack” the extensions. There is however a point of concern that needs to be addressed when doing so, when in this stacked configuration it important to always extend fully in order to provide complete support. A partially extended stack may not fully support with swaying. The second item of concern is when stacked and folded will the new configuration get in the way of the back doors. This is mostly a concern for short bed truck with extended cabs but please be aware of this prior installing.

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    • #50862
      ardvark
      Participant

      I had them stacked on my last camper, a Hallmark Ute and they were no problem. Worked fine.

      Steve and Andra
      2012 F350 6.2 gasser SRW LB
      Fab Fours front and rear in case we run into a rhino
      2019 Northstar Laredo SC

    • #50903
      Kevin
      Participant

      Thank you ardvark! Really appreciate the confirmation. Too bad these suckers are $100 A PIECE for just a 16″ metal metal bracket. If I had the skills or the connections could probably so it for $20. Alas, they are ordered with a ship our date of 5/6. I see you have my exact camper! I love it. Now you know if upgrade to a F-450 you’ll need stacked extenders to clear.

      Blessings,

      -Kevin

    • #51083
      Kevin MacAfee
      Participant

      On my Bundutec Odyssey, the standard jack plates provided just enough clearance to remove the camper. I checked in with Rory (former owner of Northstar) and he suggested extension plates but recommended not stacking them. Placing the jacks that far out from the camper itself places a lot of strain on the jack mounting plates. It makes sense if you think about it given the weight of the camper and the jacks now being that far from the mounts.

      Bundutec Campers, like Northstar are wood framed so you might want to check with Northstar as well to see what they think just to make sure.

    • #51087
      ardvark
      Participant

      Rory’s opinion raises many potential issues for dually owners if they do not have clearance. Is he simply offering an opinion or does he know for a fact there are documentable instances where Northstar campers have been damaged with a stacked extension? Then there is a question as to whether the camper is left on the truck after loading or taking it off and on multiple times while in use.

      Steve and Andra
      2012 F350 6.2 gasser SRW LB
      Fab Fours front and rear in case we run into a rhino
      2019 Northstar Laredo SC

    • #51090
      Kevin MacAfee
      Participant

      Rory’s opinion raises many potential issues for dually owners if they do not have clearance. Is he simply offering an opinion or does he know for a fact there are documentable instances where Northstar campers have been damaged with a stacked extension? Then there is a question as to whether the camper is left on the truck after loading or taking it off and on multiple times while in use.

      I didn’t ask him specifically but given his 40 years of experience at Northstar and Bundutec, I took him at his word and assumed it was based on past experiences. It’s basic physics though — the farther you move those jacks away from the camper, the more stress there is on the jack brackets. Imagine trying to lift a vehicle with a jack under a 12″ beam extension bolted/welded to the frame. A lot of stress would be placed on the weld or bolts holding that beam to the frame. Contrast that with simply lifting the vehicle directly under the vehicle frame itself the way jacks typically work. Any stress would be on the frame itself which it’s designed for.

      I am sure you could reach out to Rory and ask him.

      Not trying to stir the pot – just offering some advice passed on from an industry expert.

    • #51096
      Phil
      Participant

      Well, I had no idea that a F-450 would be wider than a F350, et al…I would assume (maybe wrongfully?) that the rear axle width is the same, so it’s not too clear to me where the extra width comes from??

      Phil

    • #51097
      Kevin
      Participant

      Thank you Kevin for replying to this and sharing that insight. I clearly have a problem because I am a SOLID 4″ short of clearing my dualies with the Northstar Laredo I own. And my F-450 is factory right now so the rear wheel stick out maybe an inch or a bit less. For one I think the Loredo is really designed for the 3/4 ton truck so it is a bit narrower than some. So after a few weeks of delay I did finally receive my extension brackets yesterday and am going to mount them this afternoon (right now in fact). Given your input though, and the fact that I already had to repair one of the front legs due to some damage very similar to Mello Mike (and used his article: https://www.truckcamperadventure.com/northstar-camper-happijac-mount-repairs-for-wood-frame-truck-campers/) that front joint is already weakened. So I am thinking that I will use these brackets for just loading and unloading but support the front of the camper when off truck with jacks and board so the front legs will be weight bearing for a short period of time. I’ll include some pictures and would really appreciate feedback.

      Also do you have a way I can contact Rory for his professional advice? Thanks so much!

      -Kevin

    • #51100
      Kevin MacAfee
      Participant

      Glad to help. Whenever I remove my camper, I always support it on beefy saw horses and use the jacks for stability only.

      Rory Willet can be contacted at [email protected].

      Cheers

    • #51105
      Kevin
      Participant

      For those interested I’ve attached a series of pics of the final install. I am going to email Rory and send him a link to this post and the pics to see if he has any final advice, but other than trading in the camper I have no other options to get past my dually with this camper (which I really like). At first blush it seems like quite the extention. When one does the math though, this camper wet weights at most 2,800 lbs, that ~700 lbs a leg. Will store on jacks as shown in the later pics. Kevin would love to see your saw horses you use, and do you camp in it on saw horses? When I think of saw horses that is higher than I want to be. Anyhow, here it is, and I did have to buy my own hardware so I got category 8 severe duty bolts with washers and nylon nuts.

      Thanks for all the input. Appreciate it and hope this thread helps someone else out in the future.

      -Kevin

      Attachments:
    • #51110
      Kevin
      Participant

      Rest of the pics…

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    • #51115
      Kevin MacAfee
      Participant

      Here are the brackets I use.
      https://www.sawhorsebrackets.com/
      Not cheap but they can support up to 4000 pounds, uses a 2×6 across the top and disassemble quickly for storage. I made the legs shorter so there would be less stress on the brackets themselves and have the jacks touching the ground for stability.

      I never travel with jacks so, while I never camp in it off the truck, I do go in to do maintenance and its rock solid. If you need an actual picture of the camper on the saw horses, let me know.

      Cheers

    • #51116
      Kevin
      Participant

      Thanks Kevin – appreciate the link. I will look into those! Look beefy! They are out of stack at the moment but I’ll keep an eye on them. So I got the camper loaded tonight, but am going to start another thread with a few key questions I have so if you would be so kind to take a look sounds like I could benefit from your experience. Thanks again.

    • #52827
      Hugh Redmon
      Participant

      Kevin,

      I just ordered both the swingout extensions and the bracket extensions so I can carry a Laredo SC on my F350 DRW truck. I am in the same predicament. Your F450 is NOT wider than my F350. My F350 is also 96″ from dually fender to dually fender. The tires on that F450 are definitely not stock. Those are much wider than stock.

      I am curious about the way you stacked them, though. I have Atwood swingout brackets on my 1998 Lance 990 and the swingout bracket mounts to the camper and then the extension mounts to that. This is so that the entire assembly swivels in out of the way of the truck mirrors and is tight up against the camper. Is there a reason you stacked them the way you did?

      BTW, in my photo I added an additional extension to the jack bracket because my 1998 Lance 990 is only 93″ wide. The regular swingout brackets would clear my fenders but it was extremely tight. I just wanted a little more wiggle room.

      Attachments:
    • #52831
      Kevin
      Participant

      Thanks Hugh for the post. As I have been upfitting my F-450 I have been learning more and I agree with you the F-450 is not wider and that my Toyo tires are not stock (as I assumed because they are on the stock 19.5″ rims).

      My mounting decision was for two reasons. If I reversed them, the hinge point is so close to the camper that they hit the side of the truck and the hinge can’t “lock” because it can’t reach a 90′ angle. I fold them in now, hinge point on the fixed bracket, and with my mirrors out I have really good line of sight and they don’t block.

      I did have to make a total of four mods to make the Laredo SC fit on this truck (I don’t know if you have an 8′ bed like the 450 or if that would matter for #2 below).

      1. Double extension brackets, one hinged and one fixed. While it is probably ok from an engineering standpoint, I have a little anxiety about all the weight on the double hinge, so after loading/unloading I have two simple car jacks with a 2×4 that I lower the Laredo on taking all the weight of the front and just barely put weight on the front jacks for stability. This also makes it ROCK solid and I’m a big guy (6′ 4″,400lbs).

      2. The rear tie down point was right over the dually fender (!!). So I had to purchase the rear tied down relocation kit, basically a long heavy angle iron, which gives me a tied down point way in the back behind the fenders, and also had a welder move the front tie down point on the kit out so I clear the sides and am not scratching the truck with my fast guns.

      3. A home-made bumper in front, so the back overhang of the Laredo doesn’t hit the dually fenders. I think Kevin MacAfee helped me there (thank you!) instead of trying to buy and install bumpers on the camper.

      4. I have 3″ rise in the bed, which is a 4×8 sheet of plywood, with three 2×4 strings under it and then a horse stall mat (had to buy 2 and cut one) screwed into that. Since the bed is actually wider than 4′ between the wheel wells I cut a 4×4 down to fill in the gap, as one time it shifted off the platform and was leaning. So no more of that. I needed this rise to get over the cab height (I have a 2019) and clear the market lights.

      Attached are bunch of pics as they are always helpful. This was a lot of monkeying around, but now that it is dialed in I really do love it. It is just solid. While the camper is a little small for this truck, hence needing all these mods, I do love the Laredo so much, and I can tow my 5,000 BBQ trailer or my 30′ boat trailer with no hitch extensions or anything. The F-450 barely knows its there. My BBQ trailer has a 1,000 lb tongue weight (rear wheels are in the very very back of the trailer) and with the camper and that on it barely sits the truck level from the factor rake (so no airbags needed).

      Open to comments and further help – I’m still a nooob! Thanks!

      -Kevin

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    • #52836
      Kevin
      Participant

      More pics

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    • #53026
      Hugh Redmon
      Participant

      Kevin,

      This absolutely wonderful information and I appreciate your response!

    • #53027
      Hugh Redmon
      Participant

      I have the Happijac centering guides and the stabilizer bar in my truck bed so that helps keep me centered up front. I removed them one time and the camper shifted over and the bottom of my Atwood jack and the leg rubbed all the paint off my truck in two spots. This was with my Lance 990 that is 93″ wide, too. I can only imagine how tight it will be on the Laredo I am purchasing.

    • #53028
      Hugh Redmon
      Participant

      I have purchased both the swing out extensions AND the extra extensions and will likely mount them the same way you did to avoid losing anymore paint. I have a 3″ riser made from three 1″ sheets of 4 x 8 pink foam boards that are glued together with liquid nails. I also needed 3″ of clearance for my Lance 990. It works great and compresses very little. It also adds a layer of insulation to the camper floor. Unfortunately the HJ54FR extensions are out of stock at the moment. I’ll need them before I can finalize the purchase. Should be here next week.

    • #53029
      Hugh Redmon
      Participant

      I am hoping I will love the Laredo as much as you do. I am looking forward to using my factory hitch for a bike rack or a carrier for a generator and some gas. My 11 ft 3″ Lance 990 is an absolutely solid and well built camper. I’ve had zero problems with it and have just had to keep up the seals on it. I am going to hang on to it for awhile even after getting the Laredo just to make sure we are happy with it. It is just me and the wife and although the shower and toilet are a bit small in the Laredo, I am looking forward to having a truck camper that stays within the footprint of the truck. My 5′ 10″ 237 lbs self still fits in the bathroom of the Laredo thanks to the skylight but I am equally happy taking a shower using the outside shower. I have an extra 40 gallon water tank I installed in the truck cab after removing the back seats. It has a shower faucet and uses a heat exchanger under the hood for a tank-less water heater system with on-demand hot water. My wife and I can take showers at the same time now. She can use the shower inside the camper and I can use the other shower system in the truck!

    • #53030
      Hugh Redmon
      Participant

      Billy MacKaill from Northstar sent me these photos of a Northstar Adventurer (same 84″ width) on a dually with the swingout brackets and extensions installed:

      https://photos.app.goo.gl/fWVtZWsZWBpm3zTz7Adventurer on a DRW Photo1
      https://photos.app.goo.gl/r9St3G8Vmst4iYL27Adventurer on a DRW Photo2
      https://photos.app.goo.gl/zomvsFJDm1CMw3tz6Adventurer on a DRW Photo3

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