Ranger Truck Camper

My 1994 Ford Ranger has been successfully converted into a truck camper.  The process took a while.  Initially, I considered looking for a cabover/popup camper that would fit in the bed of the truck, but it turns out there’s not many that are affordable (used), take into account my truck’s 1500 pound payload capacity (sadly not very much), and are for small trucks.

I decided on putting a canopy on the truck.  After a lot of time scouring Craigslist, finding one canopy that turned out to not be what I wanted, selling that one (made all my money back and it looked great on the truck of the person who bought it), and finding another canopy in California, I ended up with a nice older Leer canopy. It came with a rack on top (bike and boat possibilities) and I replaced the locks, cleaned it, and resealed the windows.

Inside is a shelf that extends from the front nearest the cab to about halfway across the back of the bed (idea borrowed from Steph Davis).  This allows for more headroom and prevents a coffin-like space for sleeping, like a full length platform would make.  I also can access my stuff without having to open the tailgate.

Last night I tested it out with some local camping and this weekend I’ll be staying at another campsite just out of town to test out my setup a little more.  So far so good!



Friday Truck Fiasco

Today my dad and I went to pick up the truck and camper from AAMCO.  First, it wouldn’t start because the batteries were dead from testing the motor (presumably).  We left it there, came back a few hours later, they had charged the batteries  back up and we were able to drive it most of the way home – until it broke down on NE 21st just south of Broadway.  Luckily, this wasn’t too far from the mechanic/body shop we were taking it to and we have AAA.

The AAA fellow helped get the truck going again, and then we found out that the new alternator we just had put in by another local mechanic is kaput.  My dad managed to drive it to a different mechanic near the house while I drove the family’s Toyota.  The mechanic’s supposed to put in a rebuilt transmission and cooler system and in addition another alternator as well as fix a door hinge.  The mechanic expressed doubt that the lift they use would be able to hoist up the truck with the camper on it (and it would be a pain in the arse to get the camper on and off of the truck just to take it to the mechanic).

So basically, this whole situation with the truck is becoming a much longer and more expensive process than initially planned.  My plans to be on the road at the end of September with it probably won’t come to fruition because it’s looking like it will not be a reliable enough vehicle to drive from Portland to Ashland.  We”ll hear back from the mechanic on Monday, but until then it seems my tiny home plans are being put on the backburner – it may have to wait until spring when the weather will be reliably warmer and I (hopefully) have more funds.

Truck Progress Update

Hi folks, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted so I’m writing a short and sweet update for y’all.

Sadly, it turns out the truck needs a transmission rebuild, which means process is delayed a bit.  AAMCO is running some tests on the motor to see if it is sound, and if so, then the transmission rebuild will happen.  If not, I’ll start looking at some other options.

On the bright side, if I end up having the transmission rebuilt then that part of the vehicle will have a ten year warranty.  We shall see what happens!