Second Build Squareback

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Second Build Squareback

Postby MadMango » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:23 am

My first camper build (link in signature) has been great and has served our family well, but I'm itching to learn from my mistakes and increase the available room a bit. I plan on using the same 4x8 trailer (with 15-inch tires), but will move the axle back 18-inches. Instead of the composite 1x2, foam, and plywood-skinned walls I used the first time, I am planning on a simpler, straight 3/4" plywood construction. i don't have all the details in this model, such as bulb seals and other foam seals, but I know they need to be there.

Here's the rear view. Those vents near the top corner are dryer vents to exhaust the hot air from the 5000btu AC unit. Not shown will be the same style ABS fenders I built previously. I am also planning on using commercial doors instead of making my own. I'm unsure if I need a hurricane hinge here, or if I can use a simple piano hinge, someone let me know. You can see a 1-inch overhang I am planning on over the hatch.
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Here's the view with the hatches and doors open. I think the U-shaped table will provide a lot of extra work surface. I realize that it will get dirty from road grime and such, but I'm willing to deal with that. What downfalls am I not seeing in this? The smaller door near the bottom on this side will contain my battery, solar charger, inverter, and charge controller. I'll probably mount the 120v outlet and solar panel connections on this small door.
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Here's the front view. Pretty straight forward. I plan on mounting a lockable plastic 37" wide storage box at the front. Again, I'll store my solar panel behind this with side brackets that I can use pad locks on to prevent theft of the panel. This bin will hold electric cords, tools, inflatable paddle board, and other "stuff". The smaller compartment towards the rear is the same size as the other side, and I'm thinking that will contain kitchen "stuff".
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A cross-sectional view. Here you can see the layout for the interior and galley/kitchen. The large shelf at the front is wide enough for a twin mattress, though I'll have to chop off 12-inches due to the width of my camper, but I don't think my 5yrs old son will mind. Under that will be an opening at the foot of our queen mattress to access a storage area for blanket, sheets etc. The kitchen area is pretty straight forward, except for adding a storage area under the counter top, accessible from the top.
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That's it for now. Please feel free to offer suggestions and lessons learned from your own builds. I'm still unsure of the final finish. Aluminum looks so nice, but our epoxy and paint has held up well the last few years. So I'm open to suggestions on this as well. As always, thanks for looking!
MadMango
"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating." ~Quentin Stafford-Fraser

You can see my design planning, The Mobile Mango.
You can follow my TTT build here, The Mobile Mango
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Re: Second Build Squareback

Postby working on it » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:28 am

MadMango wrote:.... I plan on using the same 4x8 trailer (with 15-inch tires), but will move the axle back 18-inches. Instead of the composite 1x2, foam, and plywood-skinned walls I used the first time, I am planning on a simpler, straight 3/4" plywood construction. i don't have all the details in this model, such as bulb seals and other foam seals, but I know they need to be there.... Those vents near the top corner are dryer vents to exhaust the hot air from the 5000btu AC unit...I'm unsure if I need a hurricane hinge here, or if I can use a simple piano hinge, someone let me know. You can see a 1-inch overhang I am planning on over the hatch....That's it for now. Please feel free to offer suggestions and lessons learned from your own builds. I'm still unsure of the final finish. Aluminum looks so nice, but our epoxy and paint has held up well the last few years. So I'm open to suggestions on this as well. As always, thanks for looking!
  • Sounds a little like my design strategy, when I built my squareback TTT. I've highlighted pertinent portions of your post, that I felt were prime ingredients that I used in building it, though some worked better than others, and needed much modification to work.
  • Simple, straight cuts, using 3/4" plywood was my first plan of action...the floor was a composite of 4x8 1/2" birch plywood, with a 1/4" sheet of Luan (to cover the semi-countersunk carriage bolt heads, attaching the birch plywood to the frame ...and PL adhesive bonding the birch to frame, Titebond2 bonding Luan to birch ply...perimeter Tek screws into the frame as a final measure), and the rest of the superstructure was 3/4", phenolic resin-bonded, pre-sanded plywood. Interior trim, doorframe/window frame/A/C braces & trim/shelving bracing were 1/2" x 3" oak planks. Sidewalls sit directly on the floor, the roof rests on the sidewalls (like those shown on your model), and all were joined together using steel angles/corner braces & PL adhesive (every inch of wood-wood, or wood-metal interface was lathered with PL adhesive, then seams were again filled with PL for more strength and waterproofing). All exposed plywood edges were treated with more PL, or extra poly "mix" before triple coats of paint (over triple coats of "the mix"). Simple construction, but overdone for durability...90% of the hardware used was stainless, the others being exterior-grade Spax screws, or zinc/stainless/galvanized...you get the general idea? I think I used 2 -3 tubes of OSi Quad on windows and A/C, 10-12 tubes of PL adhesive, 1/2 gallon of Titebond2, $200-300 of stainless hardware, 3 gallons of polyurethane, 1 gallon each of silo and tractor paints, and 3 rolls of foil tape, just to tightly join & seal the wood and openings, other than the doors & hatch.
  • I decided to use solid 3/4" ply doors instead of commercial/standard teardrop doors, with no windows to break, and where I could use heavy-duty hardware & latchable locks, to make them impregnable. That's where I used doorseals for '67-72 Chevy trucks (I had a set leftover from my restoration of my old '69 truck), instead of std. foam or stick-on bulb seals. I attached them to the inner stop, created by the added oak inner doorframe, and glued/stapled them there, after trimming off excess rubber, to make the compression fit easier to close (still very difficult, but I made it for my use, after my wife backed-out from using it). There's no need for any such seals on a commercial door...they're pretty much plug n' play. However, I used conventional foam seals, and a couple of types of bulb seals on my hatch, adding one over another, to successfully seal the slightly warped 49"x 48" solid 3/4" board. I wanted a full size hatch opening, since I foresaw the need to store tons of stuff back there, so I didn't make the type of hatch in your model.
  • A/C dryer vents? probably will be OK, since they're made for unimpeded exhaust flow, which was a problem for my install; using a right-angle ducted exhaust, thru a metal vent with an internal rain-shield, I had to repeatedly modify until I got it right. You shouldn't face that problem, using those vents.
  • About the hatch hinge: a shielded, stainless piano hinge should work fine, covered partially by by the overhang. I would suggest using a rubber, or suitably water-proofed, flexible material flap over that hinge, attached both above and below the hinge, to deter water entry at all times. I used regular gate hinges on mine, which left a wide gap when opened, so I used a 12" strip of conveyor belt material, to cover the gap. I later learned that it was full of pinholes, so I used bedliner spray to water-proof it.
  • All in all, your model shows good planning, though I suggest watching the rear weight. Such a large storage/galley area will tempt you to cram more and more gear back there...I know, from my experience, using a heavily-overstuffed 22"deep galley (28.4 cubic feet).
  • Good luck on your new build project. Feel free to peruse my posts, threads, photo albums for ways to do or not do (mostly not), though I never did a build thread.
Last edited by working on it on Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
2013 HHRv "squareback/squaredrop", semi-offroad, 4x8 TTT, 2065 lbs
  • *3500 lb Dexter EZ-Lube axle, w/brakes *27x8.5-14LT all-terrain tires (x 3)
  • *LED lighting, triple fans, Pioneer stereo *A/C & heat, Optima AGM, inverter & charger(s)
  • *extended-run, on-board, 2500w generator *Coleman dual-fuel stove & lantern, Ikea grill
  • *zinc/stainless steel front racks *more features to come!
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Re: Second Build Squareback

Postby MadMango » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:07 pm

Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful reply! I feel I went a little too light with my first build, even though there were no structural issues. I hope I do not go in the other extreme and "overbuild".
MadMango
"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating." ~Quentin Stafford-Fraser

You can see my design planning, The Mobile Mango.
You can follow my TTT build here, The Mobile Mango
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Re: Second Build Squareback

Postby aggie79 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:20 am

Nice design!

To avoid the road grime issue on the rear shelf, what if made it detachable and threw into the teardrop while in transit?
Tom (& Linda)
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Re: Second Build Squareback

Postby MadMango » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:27 am

I've thought of that too, especially since I have a detachable table on my current camper. My problem is I can't find folding, telescoping legs with the height my wife wants. She wants the table top to be around 39-42 inches off the ground, she says that's the perfect prep height for her. That ends up being about +6 inches taller than what is out there (that I could find). There's no issue with detable table tops in general though, I like 'em.
MadMango
"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating." ~Quentin Stafford-Fraser

You can see my design planning, The Mobile Mango.
You can follow my TTT build here, The Mobile Mango
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Re: Second Build Squareback

Postby tony.latham » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:30 pm

I assume you have the doors placed that far forward for a reason. The old rule of thumb is to put them where your hips will be while laying down for easy egress.

:thinking:

But it's not like you haven't done time in a teardrop-like camper.

:thumbsup:

Tony
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Re: Second Build Squareback

Postby MadMango » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:46 pm

Tony, good catch! I moved the doors rearward, the center of the doors are now 36-inches from the front of the camper. You are right, it is/was "uncomfortable" getting into and out of our current camper due the doors be too far forward. We just dealt with it, happy to be out in nature. I have never heard that Rule of Thumb, but it makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

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MadMango
"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating." ~Quentin Stafford-Fraser

You can see my design planning, The Mobile Mango.
You can follow my TTT build here, The Mobile Mango
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