Posted on 10 April 2017

 Tags: blog 

I've spent the past dew days considering which materials to use. While Googling around I come across some alarming stories about dual-cabs and weight. UK newspaper The Sun published a story called Split Hits The Fan which tells sorry tales of Nissan Navara's literally bending and snapping in half. Ouch! Another, 4x4 Australia published Bent Utes which highlights the problem of putting too much weight behind the rear axle. Not only is this a problem from a handling point of view, if you're also off-road and bouncing off the bump-stops... any weight begind the rear axle is going to put a lot of strain on the chassis.

Another Patrol

Patrols seem to suffer more than most but all pick-ups are susceptible

So how can I minimise the risk of damaging the chassis? From what I've learned sor far is to:

  • Minimise the weight as much as practically possible.
  • Keep items such as water tank, batteries, gas bottles, fridge etc., all the heavy stuff forward of the rear axle.
  • Once the camper is built, get it weighed and determine the correct spring/damper rates.

The current plan is to make the the frame from 16swg aluminium box tube. Each tube connected with a Qubelok-type connector.

Qubelok

For the floor and walls I've discovered an interesting material called Dibond. Dibond is a composite of plastic sandwiched between two sheets of aluminium. It's light yet very stiff and normally used for signage. I've not heard of anyone using it like this, but if it's good then I'll have a better solution than the traditiional materials (ply, fibreglass, etc).

One thing's for sure. I've already saved a shed-load of weight having got rid of the canopy, tub and bumper.

I've looked at the Trayon dual-cab weight and it's 370kg dry. If I can bring it in under that, I'll be a happy camper indeed!