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Truck Camper modifications 2001            

Purchased camper 04/11/01 : This wasn't the camper we were looking-bout twice the camper we were looking for,
but When Margaret stepped into it well.....
Its a 2001 Elkhorn 9U 9'-9" floor length, 3500lbs wet.

Our Elkhorn truck camper

Started modifying our camper 1st weekend we got it. Thought I'd start (for lack of anything better to do at the moment) documenting them. When I have an idea or question I've found a lot of info and answers/ideas from what others have done or suggested on different forums (primarily RV. NET) and others personal web pages. This page is devoted to those updates/modifications to our camper. Hopefully this might encourage someone else to just "do it" or ideas . Note - none of these modifications are answers to any specific questions- just what I did to ours, hopefully there is some information that can help or ideas, options for your camper or project.

 A few of the modifications listed are to the Truck -related to/because of the camper. Other modifications / additions to our camper come with some campers/models (ie 110v outside receptacle, reading lights etc.) Our Elkhorn was the mid- Fleetwood model.

I've added a links section, toward bottom of page are links to others project pages, forums, other sites and my other pages. If you've stumbled across this and haven't visited the RV.net forum - check them out-a wealth of information!!

Info on our camper-floor plan and specs sheet Includes features, options & capacities for all '01 Fleetwood Elkhorn model truck campers
Virtual interior view windows media movie
    LInk to other pdf files
    Sales brochure for all 2001 Fleetwood truck camper models- list weights options etc,2001 TC brochure
    Owners manual supplied with all 2001 Fleetwood truck campers, not the best quality file but the info is there, 2001 TC owners manual

Virtual Campers visiting scince 2005 . Latest revision 02/2022

    Most folks end up here from a search engine looking for something specific, However instead of sending to specific pages most are directed here to main page where you still need to look for what you want. To help I've added simpler site map that list pages and a search within our site feature so you can find what you want. The accumulation of project pages over the last 19 years, listed below by date, has grown to the point navigation is difficult, at some point I need to redo this front page to make it simpler to navigate. For now...

    Site map/ Index of pages If looking for something particular might be easier, not as descriptive as below, but semi-sorted into categories.

    Or search our entire site

      Search our site.. Google OurElkhorn.itgo.com Google
      Search our site.. Bing  OurElkhorn.itgo.com

      Or check out rv.net forum! Odd, link takes you to truck camper section

Our camper projects...Below, listed by date, oldest first, the modifications/fixes & additions to our camper with a description & link to separate page if created.

Or alternately bottom of list, newest

      Add air springs to truck.
      When I left the waiting room to see our newly installed camper on the truck....Oh-Oh, sure is a lot bigger on truck. "Oh your truck will handle it fine" (yea well the salesman didn't have to drive it), trip home with our new camper was SCARY. I had ordered air bags when we decided on camper but hadn't installed yet. Got home and installed air bags. This helped tremendously with the camper bouncing on the springs, and virtually got rid of the really bad lean going around corners. Pretty straight forward install. [update: add in dash control, 02/04 see below]

      Raise main wardrobe closet door 2" over bed and add spacer to bottom of opening to allow more room between door and bed. Laying anything on bed or extra blankets got to be a pain.

      Removed under bed storage (was flip up platform entire bed X 6" deep ~75#). More headroom & this allows us to sit up in the bed +plus got rid of weight especially off nose of camper. I've used some of the wood in other mods. Kinda defeated the raising of the closet door.

      Added several shelves in various cabinets, the cabinets by the bed didn't have any. Add shelf & spring loaded rods in front of under sink cabinet, Stuff was always falling out when you opened the door. Added shelf in TV cabinet. (We were using a 5" TV and the cabinet was wasted space.) Used simple "L" brackets that plug into drilled 1/4 holes & pine boards wrapped in wood grain shelf vinyl

      Install new Swing out TV shelf to outside of TV cabinet (freeing up cabinet for supplies). Had to move cable plug to outside of cabinet which involved cutting hole thru wall and installing receptacle from outside. Shelf swings over small bed cabinet, resting on trim and latches to wall for traveling.

      Add a second battery to camper with Perko switch. Enlarged existing cabinet in rear of camper for larger door. Add battery box, rewire for both batteries to main switch. One camper battery didn't cut it plus now I turn them off (or select 1,2 or both)

      add Rancho 9000 shocks to truck-unbelievable difference in the sway and the way the camper rides.

      Add second water pump switch and pilot light in bath,.... rewire so that either switch can turn on/off the water pump from either location (Sometimes we now play dueling switches) Just 1 to many times had to go back to kitchen to turn water on.

      Change light over dinette to Florescent (see also 12/04 added over kitchen area)

    bullet05/02- Update 04/08
      Rotate spare tire hoist so it points to right rear fender well, reinstall. With the overhang of the camper and too close to bumper for other options I couldn't insert the rod to lower spare tire. Others have used flexible cable, left rod in and use ratchet, if you do a search on the forums you'll find lots of post. I seem to be the only one I can find that simply rotated the hoist assembly. It was pretty simple on our 01 F250. All of the other options I've seen would require me, at least on our unit, to lay on the ground to access the hoist, and still would be difficult.

      Camper slides, underbed rail lights. Cut strips of PTF and attached to bottom edge of camper. Also pics of under bed rail lights for loading camper at night, SST tailgate pillar covers & reinforced bed cargo tie downs

      Add a slide out topper, our camper didn't come with one. Made a HUGE difference in the amount of sound. Now we can actually sleep when it rains. Before the rain was soooo loud hitting the slide out roof. It also keeps some of the debris off.

      Screened all vents. At same time changed gen screen I hot glued window screen to all vents, water heater/refer/heater etc. We were camped some place and got invaded with these 'lil brown beetles. They literally filled up the gas tube of the water heater, couldn't get it to light, when it finally lit -whooommphh, and blew out a cloud a 'lil fried beetles. I don't know why they were in there but they caused the gas to build up before the ignited. I've had wasps in the refer vents.

      Install back up lights-rubber tractor style mounted to rear camper bumper.

      Add Tork-Lift camper tie downs. I had removed Happy jack mounts to have re powder coated when we lined bed of truck and noticed they had started bending up the outside of the bed plus rear Ford bumper you had to tighten turnbuckles till the bumper touched truck to get any resemblance of being tight. This style of mount is the only way to go for a heavy and especially a tall camper. It's now tied to the frame and not mounted to sheet metal. It feels much more secure.

      Add air bag compressor and in dash controls to truck. After airing down to level truck last winter- re airing rear air bags in major storm convinced to put on in dash controls. Added kit with 2-gal air tank. This project took 2 weekends. It's a 2 hr bolt in but I did a custom fab'd mount for tank and compressor (with the help of a good friend) up between walls of bed. Cut dash to install switches and rout air intake behind seat.

      Cut dinette blinds scalloped foo-foo valances to minimum. They arched down toward the corners-someone was real proud when they designed these and they kind of interfered with the viewing area out the window. Looks a lot cleaner- you can see modified valance in cushion pics. I had already cut the one over the bed, was always banging my head on it. Pic of modified valance on dinette (next) page.

      Built a LARGE back cushion for dinette. Now you can lean back comfortably-almost recline. Biggest gripes with truck campers is no place to sit very long comfortably. It's a separate cushion so we can move it. I've noted on some new campers you can actually get recliners.

      Built camper stands Camper is real unsteady on just the jacks. I didn't trust it at all plus can't be good for the structure. These camper stands take most of the weight when parked in the drive.

      Add Pur water filter to kitchen. Simple unit that screws to faucet. Seems like most places the water isn't that great. We carried a lot of bottled water

      Added a rear awning to camper. Keeps the water out in the rain, offers a bit of shade for back of camper.

      Reading lights, updated-added Littllites 18" flexible gooseneck reading lights.

      Replaced camper batteries-yes a maintenance item. Now have 2 group 29 batteries-kinda hard to find. My solar controller is actually reaching float stage, never did on old batteries-and max holding was 12.2volts, for about 2 hours. Yup, time to replace.
      I also rewired entire system. When I added second batt previously (06/01) I just ran + to batt selector switch and - to common ground. Though it worked, batteries probably never really equalized (plus stock batt was a 27). Since solar made selector functionless I decided to rewire for true Parallel, tying both the batteries together, + to +, - to -. Camper & solar each now grab pos. from batt 1, neg. from batt 2.

      Adding some adjustability to our scissor steps for uneven ground, plus be able to raise when camper is way off the ground and steps don't reach.

      Saved by Valley Ford, mechanical breakdown on road almost ruined our vacation but for the efforts of the folks at Valley Ford In Hanford CA.

      Installed insulation, on 'tin' boxes, sealed wall penetrations, generally try to make more cold weather tight. (15 pics)

      Increase slide step storage While doing the Insulation I had to access area in slide step box. Hey I could move that 'lill divider....easy 10 min job ('lil heavy on pictures)

      Upgrade Carpet Replace multiple throws on linoleum with a single piece of indoor/outdoor

      Upgrade Converter Replace Magnetek 6345 converter/charger with Progressive Dynamics PD4645 3 stage converter.

      Paint rear door window frame. Use spray paint for plastic to freshen up yellowing plastic window frame. There's no real information here, just spray painting. The ONLY reason I added to this page is for some (like me) it just may not have occurred to simply paint the offending piece(s) of plastic....

      Added a drawer utilizing unused space under slide & above generator box.

      add a shelf removable & rotatable, outside by the door, to sit stuff on going in or out of the camper

    bulletJan-March 2011
      Just returned from 1st trip back out in 'new' camper mid-April, just good. A after a lot of debating decided to post on my roof rebuild. On a trip home between Christmas & New Year's 2011, I managed to run into a bridge- broken into 2 pages-
      Bridge.htmThe accident and the carnage
      Bridgeb.htmThe repairs replacements & upgrades.

      Add exterior fans & baffle to refrigerator aid in heat extraction/ cooling (incomplete very long, lot of pics)

      Add headboard well webbing to lean against so not leaning against window sitting up in bed

      Replaced camper batteries-maintenance item. Unfortunately, with the solar I was hoping for longer use before replacement- but one of the batteries dumped a cell. The other was fine but cant justify mixing in new w/6+ yr old battery. Only reason i noticed, putting some stuff back in camper- solar controller was pumping 6amps into batteries that were showing 13.7 volts (while charging). At first I assumed the controller was cycling-but 3rd day not having reached float still pumping 6amps (camper not being used) realized there was a problem. Checking battery I opened the door and almost burnt my sinuses out-. WOW battery boiling away. Shut off everything-battery was hot-showed 13.7. By the time I got it out 5 minuets later and on the ground was down to 10.5 and dropping. So I have new batteries. Dumped 2 cells-not holding charge -solar controller only saw battery needed charging. Everything working now but im going to research on a way to not have this happen again. Batteries fail-somehow controller should figure it out instead of charging till battery melts down' TO be updated.

      Satellite dish Only recently became directv satellite user, only more recently became aware I could access from camper. Picked up a small dish that Im modifying. Later might convert to HD. Not so much camper related except we rarely get TV since the over the air digital switch. In progress..34 pictures.

      Add front jack leg stabilizer arms Home made wobble stoppers for lack of better description. Also re purposed some old alum. jack stands. Mostly for off loaded camping but to assist and support the way to wobbly front jacks when raising and lowering.

      Swapping our 6"x 18" tread scissor steps out for Torklift Basement step & Glow steps. That last step into camper is getting really far...Few mods over the years to minimize but trying the Basement step by Torklift..messy page but I can say AWESOME steps! Setup, what we needed 12 years ago. Basement step splits distance between bumper and door while allowing access to storage by folding down!. The 8"x20" tread folding Glow Steps (scissor steps) are in a class by themselves.

      bullet07/13 Simple swap of 6" tread to 8" tread on the basement step. Few mods to fit our needs.

      Slide fuse? A query where fuse might be for slideout caused me to look-low and behold there is a circuit board behind the In/Out switch with an auto reset breaker! had no idea.

      TV & new arm Actually a continuation from the satellite addition-led to new tv and subsequently how TV is mounted and replacement extending arm. Also modified a sound bar to use in camper.

      Fix our generator starting problem.Our gen as of late has been 'grunting' instead of starting. Discovered bad relay on the board not delivering power to starter contactor (solenoid). Instead of replacing board I bypassed and added momentary switches to start generator.

      Refer 12v quit, due to bad connection. Also ID of Dometic fan control/relay box.

    bullet 06/14 - 07/14 pages done as one project over a month -split into separate pages/tasks. Got carried away taking pictures:
          Skirt rebuild, LED skirt light, paint stove vent, rear jack bracket etc. Ended up one long project.bullet10/14
      Install new air conditioner Had not reinstalled when roof rebuilt few years ago as we rarely used, heavy and the cost. Replaced with a Fan-Tastic Vent instead. Well those few occasions since has caused us to reconsider, worth the weight & cost... when needed its there. We are keeping the Fan-Tastic. Cut a new hole in roof to move/reinstall the Fan-Tastic Vent for AC clearance.

      bullet10/14 Rework Winegard antenna so head is outboard arms for more AC clearance (Flip the head)

      Add a watt meter to measure actual inverter use for TV, charging laptops etc.. Silly simple project, for my own entertainment.

      MOPOWER! Adding more solar Decided on a portable folding solar 'suitcase' panel unit for more versatility. Unit arrived miswired ended up completely rewiring-& other modifications to it

      Add shelf under dinette table to get stuff off table. Dinnet is our campers 'living room'. Several resultant mods over couple of months, add the shelf, add another 110v receptacle with inverter remote switch, (01/16) add USB ports and finally hard mount AC/DC charger for laptop.

      Add USB ports Finalizing the dinnet area is adding some 12v receptacles and USB charging ports. Ended up adding a small shelf over table for switches.

      Add AC/DC laptop charger Last part of dinnet mods- adding charger for lap top. Utilizing the recently added 12v receptacles. My laptop charges at 19v/ 4+amps, this charger can use either 12v source, or 110v from split shore or inverter 110v.

      Oceanair Dryroll Replace inside cabinet door toilet paper holder with water proof holder mounted on shower wall.

      LED backup bulbs Ordered way too bright inside bulbs, used to upgrade Bargman back up lights.

      Add Torklift Stow N' Go & Landing Gear Stow N' Go mount to carry scissor steps on bumper instead of storing inside for easy deployment, especially on the road. Torklift Landing Gear, adjustable levelers for the steps, simpler built in means to adjust height/level stairs than current method I use. For most a very effective simple bolt-on. Some modification needed to use with our set up, minor on the Stow N' Go bracket, a bit more involved adapting the Landing Gear to meet our needs. Between the 2 got rather involved, most would not apply to anyone unless you'd like to relocate Landing Gear legs to side of stairs. Bottom line though, these 2 additions to our stairs are awesome, stopping on the road or pulling into camp all of 30 seconds to deploy steps. Just amazing. Page not so much-

      Cut new wood ramp blocks. Cracked the last intact 2x8 blocks we use to level truck&camper. Added slots and cleats to interlock when stacking.

      Replaced toilet Last outing toilet rocking a lot. Need to pull and check, since pulling reinstall new taller foot control toilet. Which turned into flange replacement...

      Easy open screen door! Add latch release rod so as not to have to open the sliding cover going in & out. Add screen push bar and clear sliding cover. Rework main door latch so it closes and latches with gentle push.

      Replaced both camper batteries-maintenance item. 4 years 9 months. One of the batteries didn't dump cell but would only stabilize at about 11.5volts, causing charger/solar to cycle and charge. The other battery was fine though one end started to swell....so really both toast. Kinda leaning toward solar 24/7 is short cycling batteries-so I'm going to discontinue leaving it powered. Seems I should get better than ~5years (on a 12 month battery :). Coarse wont know for 5 years unless they fail earlier if any difference- then again the 5 years since I last bought batteries sure went by fast. Would have sworn it only had been a couple of years...

          Increasing our ability to connect to outside world..Wifi & Cell boosters and antennas bullet05/18
    bullet12/18- Replacing bathroom can motor fan with Vortex I fan assemblybullet02/19
      Add 12v disconnect alarm Old LP dectector was built in. Miss the audible alert plus adding shut off switch to detector due to seemingly high failure rate of new detectors,

    bullet05/19- Couple of roundtoits

        bullet05/19   Add momentary switch to activate circulation pump Filling hole leftover from 10/17 SeeLevel install.

        bullet05/19   Auto on bath sink cabinet light Run 12v to bathroom to power inside cabinet light. Running separate power for light now I added a micro switch to door so light automatically comes on (instead of with water pump). Makes for good midnight potty light or just getting something out of cabinet.

      Re plumb tank rinsers Remove & replace Camco hoses. Mount Y valve, run new hoses directly to rinse nozzles.

      Welcome BOB Replace end of faucet filter with an on counter water filter. More volumn, more height.

      In progress- Add DC/AC inverter to truck Link is to Mod of truck but allows using camper fridge on AC while on road. Add a split receptacle inside camper to plug fridge into desired AC source.
      We have, since 2001, never used gas on road, always DC. Modifications in 2009 to DC system, (ability to turn on/off fridge from cab, aux charge line etc) has proved very effective at controlling fridge from cab, full charge on batteries and fridge cold all but the longest hottest days when arrive at destination. The motivation was realizing only recently if AC source was available existing truck controls would work & allow running on AC. AC power may keep fridge colder on those long hot days while traveling. AC simply higher output than DC heater. Plus always wanted inverter in truck...demand on truck should only marginally increase supplying inverter verse DC directly.

      Replace sewage dump valves again, added to replacement in 2011page. This time I added access panel to tank cover instead of dropping tank cover, added zerk fittings to valves

      BOB moved Original counter top water filter converted to mount under sink. Add seperate faucet.


    We really like our camper- mods are mostly things that make it more comfortable for us. It's your camper-DO-IT.

    Plans for the future-

      LINKS and other stuff All (but my other pages) links will take you outside of our site- bookmark if you'd like to come back

      If you've been here before you'll note the list is short. I've come across some great personal Camper project/mod/repair pages, and would list them here, unfortunately folks give up/ move on or decided there not worth keeping and the info (and page) no longer exist. Keeping a links page current can be difficult, I've heard that most personal pages/web sites have a life span of a few months. A list of dead links is frustrating so I'm not adding any new ones. The WWW is amazing, how much info is out there is just mind boggling, however it's just not easy at times to find it. So if you're looking for something specific, try different search engines, TRY the forums.....

      My other pages

        Our F250 pickup Basically a relisting of the modifications specifically made to our truck. Most because of the camper.
        The Workshop Just started gathering our shop/tool related page links-removing links from this page-its a mess.
        Axial AX10 Scorpion One of my other hobbies, radio control rock crawler. built a jeep body for it to resemble our 82 CJ7
        My 04 Ranger, Commuter, retired the F250 truck to camp & work stuff instead of daily driver (pages no longer linked here) well now I'm retired so the commuter sold..I get to drive my Truck!
        Our '82 Jeep CJ 7 page
        The Remodel Margaret simply wanted new carpet in our home, turn minor remodel.

      My other interests
        Firestik.com CB (Citizen Band) radio related-specifically tech info pages-just a wealth of good simple information & products.
        Central Coast Bass Fishing.com Local bass fishing info. Some cool products/info on local lakes.

      Forums-you name it there's a lot of other folks exchanging info about it (RV forums have sections that are general and sections that are specific to Rv type).

        rv.net THE RV forum! Odd, link takes you to truck camper section
        Trailer Life another link to forum
        projects page listing of threads to project specific topics on the RV.net forum
        Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum Ford truck forum
        RCCrawler.com Yup a forum for everything, this is dedicated to radio control Rock crawling rigs-too much fun
        CCBF Bass fishing forum Central Coast lakes (Site Closed)
        OWWM.org Old Wood Working Machines forum. Drill presses to table saws & more (part of Vintage Machinery.org)
        Vintage Machinery.org Great resource curious about old wood/metal working machines!


        natcoa North American Truck Camper Owners Association. (Has since migrated to facebook...)

      Online mags/info
      A few Good home Camper modification pages (I know, but if you like I'll add yours here...send me a link)
        NETBOYs project page, Lots of cool tricks, ideas & mods.
              Early on when I was seeking info it was Netboys site that motivated me to start this one. I've incorporated a few of his ideas over the years as have many. Site closed 2018 :
        A copy of his effort and webpage
         ."Netboys Camper Projects Page".
        Luv2skyski's camper project page, Great personal site, another site gone...
        Nice home built battery slide tray
        The 12Volt side of life excellent reading-good info on yer basics

      For the REAL 'Do It Yourselfers" Fun stuff
        Vintage-Electronics.net Awesome site for vintage electronics, picked up new belts for late 70's cassett deck. Not that buried here will help much but invaluable resource for our 'vintage' equipment
        Thumblocks.com Handy stick on buckles & straps (and a variety of other products). Used in the past to hold TVs-can be used for anything you need to secure without drilling. (link added cause I always forget name...)
        Glen L RV plans to build your own camper! Shells/trailers & Truck campers & more, lots of choices
        Tear drop trailer plans-Just very cool...Tear drop.net (use to offer plans but still have unique parts- now closed and retired!
        RapidTables.com - Engineering Resources great collection of online conversion tables
        Carbide Depot good collection of common charts & tables-drill size, tap size, decimal equiv, thread charts etc.

        PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS Fun stuff, well informative
        Looking for actual lighting requirements/placement on a trailer I rebuilt I found couple of simple charts that made it very clear, as to what type & location of lights and when required. Good charts with location pics, one for trailers and one for vehicles, Multipurpose (us) trucks & buses. Also listed are links to Federal FHTSA standards, for everything,
        TRAILERS Simple lighting chart . Federal Lighting Equipment Location Requirements Table. Pretty clear, click on the picture numbers and the applicable requirement will show at top of page..
        TRUCKS, BUSES, MPVs: Federal Lighting Equipment Location Requirements. Table Pretty clear, click on the picture numbers and the applicable requirement will show at top of page..

        if you really want to know...
        NHTSA 571.108 Large pdf- this is the standard that spells it out- everything about vehicle lighting-all requirements relating to lamps, reflective devices & equipment. Note tables and charts specific to location and type of lights are document pages 370-373, 418-426 (pages 72-75, 120-128 of the pdf file).
        572.101 thru 571.500. (Link broken now pdf) This page lists ALL standards, links to either text or pdf files of 572.101 thru 571.500 of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Rear view mirrors to fuel system - Transmission Shift Lever Sequence to brake pedals- these define what you drive. amazing
        573.103 Truck camper loading PDF file testing, lableling weights COG etc of slide in camper....

      Other things that are actually important, the Charters of Freedom,
        "When the last dutiful & humble petition from Congress received no other Answer than declaring us Rebels, and out of the King's protection, I from that Moment look'd forward to a Revolution & Independence, as the only means of Salvation; and will risque the last Penny of my Fortune, & the last Drop of my Blood upon the Issue."
        George Mason, October 2, 1778

          The Declaration of Independence
            The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
            Full Transcript

          The Constitution of the United States
            We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
            Full Transcript

          The Bill of Rights
            THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
            Full Transcript


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