GETTING YOUR TRUCK READY FOR A CAMPER
We know you’re eager to get rolling with your new Four Wheel Camper, so here’s a list of things to do to better prepare your truck to carry a Four Wheel Camper.
Please note that this is a comprehensive list compiled over years of installations. You may need to make several of these preparations to your truck, or only one or two. Your factory representative will be able to advise you of the specific preparations that your particular truck/camper combination will require. Questions? “Please Contact Us”
Your truck’s tail gate will need to be removed prior to your installation appointment. The tail gate on the truck will not close once the camper is mounted on your truck. Having the tail gate on the truck usually hinders towing and the ability to mount an optional entry step. It also makes it more difficult to get in and out of the camper. The best advice is to remove the tail gate on your truck before you have your new camper installed. On most trucks no tools are required to remove the tail gate. It is much easier than people expect.
- Shells and Covers
Any shell, soft tonneau cover, hard tonneau cover, tool boxes, etc. will need to be removed from your truck bed prior to your installation appointment. The truck bed will also need to be swept clean of any debris. Your Four Wheel Camper will sit on the floor of the bed – any remaining debris in the bed might cause damage to the truck bed. Please clean out your truck bed before you arrive for installation.
- One Piece Plastic Bed Liners & Bed Rugs / Carpet Kits
One piece plastic bed liners (*except with the 2005 – 2014 Toyota Tacoma trucks), carpet bed rugs and carpet kits must be removed prior to your installation appointment. Plastic bed liners are very slick, compressible, and might cause the camper turn buckles to unexpectingly loosen up. The one piece plastic bed liners also interfere with installation of the camper tie down system in the truck bed. Bed rugs will also get in the way of the camper tie down bolts (which is used to hold the camper onto the truck). The bed rugs or carpet kits can become saturated with rain water which can damage the bottom of the camper and the truck. Although spray-in bed liners (such as Line-X, Rhino Liner, etc.) and/or rubber bed mats are not necessary, they do help protect the truck bed long term.”Spray-On” bed liners or a simple rubber bed mat will prevent damage to the truck bed and prevent the camper from shifting in the truck bed while in motion. The “Spray-On” bed liner is the preferred choice for most all customers. The newer Toyota Tacoma trucks (2005 – 2014) have a have a composite (plastic) truck bed, so that CANNOT, and does not need to be removed before mounting the camper).
- Electrical System
Your truck’s electrical system will need to be in good working order, as will the truck as a whole. If you can, please make sure the terminals on your truck battery are clean and free from corrosion before you arrive for your camper installation. We will be hooking up the main “truck to camper” wiring to the terminals on your truck battery. Having clean battery terminals will make the job easier for our installers.
Your truck tires will need to be in good shape and of the proper weight rating for the camper you have selected. If you have “stock” tires that are in good condition you can probably use those until they start to show wear. When it comes time for a new set of tires, we highly recommend that customers upgrade their existing tires to a set of “D” or “E” rated truck tires for added stability, better handling & wear, and road performance.
- Simple Truck Suspension Upgrades
Some trucks will require suspension upgrades. These include all mini trucks and most all 1/2 ton trucks. The rear suspension upgrade can be over load springs, helper springs, or a set of airbags (or any equivalent). Basic “air shocks” are NOT recommended as they are not designed to be used as a rear suspension upgrade. They cannot handle a camper weight and can quickly fail. Your factory representative will advise you in detail regarding the best upgrade for your particular truck. Most of these simple rear suspension upgrades can be handled by a third party prior to or after your installation appointment. The Firestone “Ride-Rite” air bags seem to be the preferred rear suspension upgrade by many of our customers. Brake, tire, and suspension shops like Les Schwab Tires, 4 Wheel Parts, Big-O Tires, etc. can usually install over-load springs or air bags for you.
To find out more about available suspension upgrades and products, you may want to visit these websites:
Firestone Ride-Rite Air Bags: http://www.ride-rite.com/
SuperSprings Over Load Springs: http://www.supersprings.com/supersprings_recreational.asp
Hellwig Products Helper Springs: http://www.hellwigproducts.com/products/load-control/pro-series/
Again, your factory representative will be able to give you a detailed assessment of the preparations required for your specific truck/camper combination.