Slide-in truck campers are essentially RV's that will fit into the bed of a truck. These campers come in different sizes with different tie-down systems depending on the unit and the truck that will house it. Before, you attempt to install your slide-in truck camper assemble a team to help that is aware of the dangers. Installing a slide-in truck camper may be one of the most difficult jobs for an RV owner. The installation process requires the simultaneous operation of two pieces of heavy equipment: the truck and the camper. A slide-in camper owner should take all necessary safety precautions before installing this type of camper.
Remove the tailgate, tonneau cover, side rails and drop in bed liner from the truck. This additional equipment will not allow for proper installation of the truck camper. Lay down rubber mats in the bed of the truck to prevent damage to the slide-in camper.
Jack up the slide-in camper using the jack stands. Raising the slide-in camper to the proper height will require four people working in unison. Operate the manual levers for raising the slide-in camper or use the automatic hydraulic leveling system that was installed through the manufacturer. Make sure that each person is operating the lifting system at the same time and lifting the camper using equal increments. Lifting one corner higher than another can cause the camper to topple over and result in severe damage and injury.
Position a team member at each corner of the camper. Back the truck up slowly in a controlled manner making sure to align the truck with precision. Let the team guide you. Continue backing the truck until it is completely under the camper, you have the proper clearance for the cab, and the space on either side of the bed is the same. This process may take several tries.
Begin lowering the camper. Start at the rear of the camper and lower the jacks in small increments. Lower the front of the camper in the same manner. Work back and forth lowering the camper until it is safely in the bed of the truck. Never lower the camper more than three inches at a time.
Attach the slide-in camper to the anchors on your truck. Your truck should have an anchor system in-place manufactured for your truck and camper combination. Use the hardware provided and install the anchors at the front and rear of the bed using the manufacturer's instructions.
Inspect the system to make sure you did not overlook any necessary hardware. Remove the jack stands and store them in a safe place. Test drive the truck slowly and inspect it for installation problems.
Items you will need
- Camper jacks
- Camper anchor system
- Ratchet and sockets
- 4 helpers
- Slide-in camper manufacturers can install the slide-in camper if you have trouble.
- Inspect the condition of the tires on the truck and replace them if necessary before you install the truck camper.
- Slide-in campers will cover the taillights; purchase an adapter kit for your truck and camper combination.
- The manufacturers anchor system is the only tie-down method under warranty; using a competitor's equipment can cause malfunction and void your warranty.
- Mini trucks or 1/2-ton trucks will require some type of suspension upgrade before a slide-in camper installation.
- A slide-in camper can topple over during installation.
- Improperly installing a truck camper will cause braking and steering problems for the truck.
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