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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Broken Camper Mount - Causes Emergency Repairs

I keep an eye on how the camper sits on the truck.  Some time ago, I had done some adjusting on the trip when I saw the gap on the passenger front bed was larger than the drivers side.

This time I figured all I needed to do was retighten the turnbuckles.

To my surprise the front passengers turnbuckle was not connected.  Note that I have to removed one of my lower bed boxes to check and slide a small wooden window open.

I can only guess that one of the nasty bumps that I encounter on dirt roads looking for disbursed camping, or a street speed bump I may have not seen fast enough to slow to a crawl must have snapped the carriage bolt.

I reached in and came out with the turnbuckle.  The bolt that comes through the camper was missing the loop that screws on

I was able to hammer and pry the carriage bolt out from the camper.  Note the aluminum backer plate to spread the stress of the bolt when tightening.

The part that was missing was the cast threaded loop.  I can only get my hand into the area between the bottom of the camper and the truckbed so far and could not feel it.

I changed my exploring/travel plans for the day and drove to Blanding, UT.  I big enough town to have a well stocked hardware store.

(Google Photo)

Since I could not find the part that broke off and was floating around under my camper, and I couldn’t find the exact replacement part, or some other closed loop that I could attach with a 3/8” threaded bolt, I decided that it would be better to used an eye-bolt like the one above to get by.

I made sure to mount the eye with slight gap away from the turnbuckle as not to stress the bolt eye to open.

While at the hardware store I also got some other 3/8” parts in case I find the original part to put the camper back to original and have some spare parts, as I still have a lot of back road roaming to do in southern Utah.

As a prologue, you can see from the picture above that I did eventually find the missing part that goes with the carriage bolt floating around after some driving.  So, I will keep my spare parts for future trips.

The camper weighs about 1000 lbs and is held down with 4 - 3/8” bolts.  Not running with 4 is possible but with bumpy roads that cause the camper to stress and try to shift should not be left unfixed, even temporarily.  

I did resume my travels and my temporary fix worked fine on the 3 mile 10% grade incline with switchbacks, and other back roads of Utah.


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