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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Maine
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    243

    TR: Next-levelness custom homemade skibum camper!

    So some friends and I had this crazy idea last summer. Buy a shitass old diesel truck, do an SVO (straight veggie oil) conversion and build a wooden tiny house into the back of it. Infinite roadtripping with minimal fossil fuels burned and no dollar bills burned acquiring said fuel. Warm cozy place to park anywhere, for any length of time. Built to our vision, rather than working around an existing camper design that didn't cater to our needs.

    Yesterday we bought a beautiful 1991 F250 named Horace T. Bogwater. He needs some sweet lovin', but is already set up to drink the veg and we're hoping to realize our dream by the beginning of next winter.

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    He has his own website too, http://theadventuresofhoracetbogwater.tumblr.com/.

    Here's a very rough sketch of where we're going with this:

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    We'll probably end up doing some kind of flatbed conversion to maximize space, but it's a start. Other planned-upon components of the camper include:

    -wood stove
    -mud room area
    -loft for ski + gear storage
    -fold out external ski-tuning/truck repair workbench
    -sleeping for 5-6
    -no frivolous shit like a toilet/shower/running water
    -seriously-important-but-often-overlooked shit like an built-in whiskey tap
    -the color brown
    -integration between the camper and truck cab (i.e. blow out the back of the cab to make the camper accessible from the interior of the truck)
    -a thunderous sound system
    -top highway speed of ~55mph

    Timeline: sort out major mechanical issues before summer, frame + build the camper over the summer, test it out, tweak the designs + insulate next fall, devour pow next winter.

    This is going to be a serious learning project for all of us, but we are pumped to have welcomed Horace into the family and get to work. We'll keep our progress updated on a sporadic basis, chime on in if you've always had a bitchin' idea for some part of a ski camper that we could incorporate and we'll see how things shape up.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    SLC
    Posts
    1,262
    Awesome idea, excited to see it develop.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    4,554
    Love it, man. I've been dreaming of something like this too.

    One idea off the top o the head:
    - swiveling captain's chair for the passenger side of the cab, to be able to use it as both chillin space and safe traveling.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Fort Collins
    Posts
    438
    A flatbed with side entry would maximize interior space and allow a front bed and a rear bed to minimize disruptions during late night nature calls. Keep us updated... Looks like fun!
    Don't ask.... Don't tele

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Somewhere else
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    3,600
    Sweet! Subscribing.

    Question: do you just ask local restaurants for old oil for fuel? I've always wondered just how you go about something like that.
    Goal: ski in the 2018/19 season

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Boulder
    Posts
    5,247
    Side door is a good idea.

    How much do you need to consider weight?

    Seems like a fun project...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    2,852
    The problem with the miniature hosue concept is that wood is a heavy building material. Your design looks like wood shingles or siding, asphalt roof, etc. There's a reason so many commercial campers look the same: those materials are light. Weight affects top speed, fuel economy, how long the suspension is going to last and what it's going to feel like both while driving and while parked, etc. As you go down this road, always look for ways to save weight, including your choice of building materials and your building methods.

    Other than that, a big ass diesel truck will carry a lot of weight.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    SLC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    swiveling captain's chair for the passenger side of the cab, to be able to use it as both chillin space and safe traveling.
    +1. I had this in my old Econoline van. Get a swiveling driver's seat, while you're at it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    24
    Sleeping for 5-6 seems like it will be a feat. Curious to see how youll achieve it! Definitely following this project.

    Also the swivel captains chair idea is dope.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Sierra Foothills
    Posts
    500
    Love the concept, but be careful. The last time I was in a wooden camper, think top heavy, it rolled on an off camber corner and I ended up in the emergency room. Btw, I was not driving, but totally wasted. Oh, and the two girls with us were in the back of the camper. No one got hurt except me, thankfully.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    243
    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    - swiveling captain's chair for the passenger side of the cab, to be able to use it as both chillin space and safe traveling.
    Knew I was forgetting something. That one's on the list already. Although the current big bench seat is pretty pimp.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shorty_J View Post
    Question: do you just ask local restaurants for old oil for fuel? I've always wondered just how you go about something like that.
    Yes. Generally speaking, the better the restaurant the better the grease quality. McDonalds will destroy filters, nice sushi oil will be easy to work with. You need to filter the grease and heat it before running it into your engine, but that's about it.

    As far as weight goes, we know it's going to be a concern but we've got a 7.3l diesel and don't plan on going fast, at all. Shingles and siding is more for effect in the picture, we won't be adding weight we don't need to. We may end up doing some (or all) of the framing with metal, still all somewhat contingent on exactly how our design pans out.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    northern BC
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    18,001
    if it was me i would forget the "house on wheels look" and do wood strip like a wood strip canoe ... much lighter

    The best way to run WVO is to stock pile a shit load of it at home where you do ALL the settling/filtering and bring the already processed fuel with you on road trips

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    here and there
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamespio View Post
    The problem with the miniature hosue concept is that wood is a heavy building material. Your design looks like wood shingles or siding, asphalt roof, etc. There's a reason so many commercial campers look the same: those materials are light. Weight affects top speed, fuel economy, how long the suspension is going to last and what it's going to feel like both while driving and while parked, etc. As you go down this road, always look for ways to save weight, including your choice of building materials and your building methods.

    Other than that, a big ass diesel truck will carry a lot of weight.


    This and you will need a trailer to carry your spare home brewed fuel.
    watch out for snakes

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    No of SoBo, So of NoBo
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    Is there a way to rig the SVO engine so that, each time you stop to refill, you pull a perfectly-fried basket of onion rings out? That'd be money.
    Outlive the bastards - Ed Abbey

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Front Range, CO
    Posts
    1,142
    I would recommend making it look like a company truck. Rip the bed off, get a large over-cab box, no windows on the sides, put a skylight in that covers pretty much the whole roof, and put a fictional company's logo on the side. Ultimate in DL parking spot poaching. Aluminum frame will be a whole lot lighter than that wood monstrosity.

  16. #16
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    VC is online now Calmer then you are Dude
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    Oct 2004
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    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've always wanted to do something like that in an old Forest Service buggy.

    http://gsaauctions.gov/

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    northern BC
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottyb View Post
    This and you will need a trailer to carry your spare home brewed fuel.
    A kayak guide drops in to see us most summers, he has an 86 15 passenger Ford van with the 7.3 diesel which he drives Oregon-AK straight thru (except for the back room session at the Canadian border) towing a trailer full of enough processed WVO to run Oregeon-AK-Oregeon for no $

    Buddy sez you must be anal about your WVO prep, the changing of filters, he is ALWAYS on the hunt for grease, we were eating Ice cream cones on the street when he spied the sushi resturant, comes back 15min later with a full cube of WVO and an empty Cube which he took home to process

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    The CH
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    Maybe you should head over to a junk yard and look for a wrecked RV to learn some lightweight building methods. Might be a good place to score cheap windows, doors, seats, etc...

    Good luck.

  19. #19
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    May 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by coreshot-tourettes View Post
    ... put a fictional company's logo on the side. Ultimate in DL parking spot poaching. Aluminum frame will be a whole lot lighter than that wood monstrosity.
    man, great advice here... something like A1 Sanitation "you spill it, we clean it" would probably not get any looky-loos attention.
    ... jfost is really ignorant, he often just needs simple facts laid out for him...

  20. #20
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    Feb 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfost View Post
    man, great advice here... something like A1 Sanitation "you spill it, we clean it" would probably not get any looky-loos attention.
    Bogus company logo sounds like a good idea, but watch what you put on it. You park a sanitation truck in the woods and somebody might think you are doing some sort of illegal dumping.

  21. #21
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    May 2006
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    ahh, good point.

    maybe something like this?

    ... jfost is really ignorant, he often just needs simple facts laid out for him...

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    378
    When you say "blow out the back of the cab" do you mean pulling the glass, or cutting through metal? Be careful with the latter.... this bastard is going to be real top heavy and that's probably an important area for rollover strength. Trucks, especially old ones, don't do the best in rollovers to begin with. You wouldn't want to encourage the cab to collapse in a crash.

    That said, this looks like an awesome project and I look forward to updates.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by deft_funk View Post
    As far as weight goes, we know it's going to be a concern but we've got a 7.3l diesel and don't plan on going fast, at all. Shingles and siding is more for effect in the picture, we won't be adding weight we don't need to. We may end up doing some (or all) of the framing with metal, still all somewhat contingent on exactly how our design pans out.
    There are other considerations, possibly the most important of which is the vehicles capacity to hold the weight, starting with the rims and tires. It looks like you have a standard axel on a 3/4 ton. It isn't uncommon for rims to crack under the pressure of too much load. Maybe take a look here to at least give yourself a target weight range to work with?

    Check this site out, there is a wealth of good information, many people building their own rigs in there. Lots of info on how to set up the water, electric and heat.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    236
    tons of good help here and awesome project!! Can't wait to see it unfold.

    building on the work truck theme - external access for ski storage, tools, etc fits that mold plus you won't mess up the carpet.
    I won't stand for anything...

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    If you're going for the super simple, why not pull the box off an old box truck and put folding cots on the sides? That way you have space when you need it and can sit on the bottom one with head clearance. The bottom cot can be permanent and built on a box for storage, ski gear etc.

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