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Swede123 07-26-2010 12:54 PM

Undersized Truck
My 2003 F-150 short bed owners manual says it is not suitable for slide in campers. Is there an economical way to modify? I'd like a pop up camper with a toilet - any recommendations?

Hitchhiker 07-26-2010 01:03 PM


Anything you do to the truck will only leave some other portion of it undersized. The GVWR rating of any truck is a result of the durability of many components such as the frame size, braking capacity, engine ratings, cooling system capacity, wheel bearing ratings, axle load ratings, spring rates, universal joint ratings, etc, etc. etc.

I'd be more cost effective and practical to sell the 1/2 ton truck and then go shopping for a suitable 3/4 or 1 ton truck with the proper ratings to haul your slide in camper properly and safely. I realize this isn't the answer you were looking for but it is the reality of the situation.

yorgor 07-26-2010 01:07 PM

I agree with Hitchhiker, get a bigger truck.

"007" 07-26-2010 03:31 PM


TXiceman 07-26-2010 07:41 PM

With the F150, about all you can do is put a cap on the bed or go to a travel trailer or a pop up. Have you looked at the Casitas or TABS?


Crazy Horse 08-19-2010 04:25 PM

I've been down the road of having too much camper on the wrong truck, which eventually with the right amount of money rectified the problem. A long bed truck is better to handle the weight distribution of a camper than a short bed is due to the longer wheel base.

To find out what size camper you can carry you need to find what your payload is for your truck. I have had 2 different 1 ton trucks that said the truck was not suitable to carry a cab over camper. Both the trucks even cam from the factory with the "camper package", so go figure.

Anyway, pop up campers are fairly light and depending on what your truck's gvw ratings is and what your payload capability is, you may have room for something with a little prep work.

"007" 08-19-2010 11:35 PM

:welcome: Crazy Horse thanks for joining in.
Enjoy the forums and do post often. :thumb:

FATMANAR 04-30-2011 07:19 PM

I have a 2002 F150 with a TC 8'. I put Firestone airbags and Rancho shocks on my truck and it handles just fine. Go to Rv.Net and to the TC forums. There is a lot of into posted there including SWB light duty trucks and TCs...good luck..

TXiceman 04-30-2011 10:16 PM

And over at you will get a lot of posters that answer based on passion. Over here you will get more meaningful and truthful answers based on sound practices.


FATMANAR 05-01-2011 06:47 AM

OUCH!!! I think on any forum you have to wade through the "I read somewhere" to find the true facts. Folks love to be helpful weather they know what they are talking about or not...Happy Trails..

1STGENDAR 05-03-2011 04:43 PM

There are lots of people with toyota and nissan and 1/2 ton trucks with pop-up TC on them and they put plenty of miles on them with out issue.

is it the it what others would do......will it be over weight.....will the TC do what you want it to....thats all up to you, you need to read and research to get the answers to set your mine at ease.

in theory a bumble bee can't fly.....but it does with ease, in spit of it beeing grossly over weight.



TXiceman 05-03-2011 07:38 PM

It all goes back to weight. It is possible to get a small pop-up truck camper and watch your loading and haul it within the limits of the truck. Air bags and such do nothing to increase the trucks rating. They may help a marginal truck...but will not increase the rating.

So weigh your truck first and see just how much room you have to work with.


JIMNLIN 05-04-2011 08:19 PM

Some forums are full of helpful folks that know how to help other folks modifiy or make a truck more useful in a safe manner Some forums are full of folks that mean well but clueless on the subject and all you get is the usual "get a bigger truck" or the classic is ...well you just read a couple of examples.

As fatmanar says there are other webs/forums that offer excellent advise for upgrading your trucks load carrying or pulling potential. The truck camper forum on has lots of helpful folks that actually have a TC or have owned them. There are web sites that are just for truck campers. Do your homework.

It maybe that your truck may not be a good canidate for beefing up for a small lightweight TC BUT can you tell us about your truck as Ford has a fleet of all sizes of F150 trucks.

What is the trucks GVWR/RAWR/tire size and load range/engine size/rear axle ratio/auto or manual tranny/bed size.

TXiceman 05-04-2011 08:58 PM

The point is that people need to know and understand the weight rating limits on their truck. Many of the people asking for help do not understand this and are just looking for an enabler that will tell them that they added air bags and other equipment and do just fine...never mind any weight ratings.

Most of these so called experts have little or no technical background and no engineering experience. As a licensed professional engineer, I have to follow a code of ethics and I cannot tell anyone to knowing exceed any manufacturers ratings.

So remember that the information you find on the internet is pretty worth what you paid for it....that is nothing. You have to educate yourself and filter out the BS from the meaningful information.


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