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Micro camper from Ranger service body


holyford86

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Recently I picked up a first gen long bed with a service body I've never seen on a Ranger before. The body is made by Reading and is all aluminum. It even came with the keys for all of the locks on the body.
IMG_20231104_161148_506.jpg

After measuring the interior space I determined that it will fit a standard full size mattress with some room to spare. It has a door in each side and barn doors in the rear.

The plan is to use the side doors for access to the bed and the rear barn doors will be access to a bunch of shelves and such which will function as a kitchenette of sorts. There will be an awning on at least one side, the roof will have solar panels attached and one of the lower compartments will be enlarged to fit a decent sized portable power station to run some interior and exterior lighting and some charging ports for devices, nothing too extreme. There will be a rack built in front of the box for water and fuel cans too, no running water at this time, although I may do a portable unit later.

First step is taking the box off the truck frame, most of the truck will be going down the road as it's been sitting for a very long time and has some rot on the frame that I don't really want to mess with.
20231105_131644.jpg


Its going to be converted into a trailer at this point as I don't want to put it on my truck and change how well it wheels. I have a trailer made from another long bed Ranger that hasn't seen much use since I built it and is perpetually full of a small pile of scrap. the service body bolts to the Ranger frame using all of the factory bed bolt locations so getting it to bolt on should be super easy.
20231105_171122.jpg


Next on the agenda is getting the bed off the trailer and getting it gone. (Anyone want a usable but not pretty 7 foot bed for cheap?) I'll be grabbing a couple cross members from the service body donor truck because they don't exist on the trailer and moving the axle back a few inches as there is no tongue weight as it sits. I think I'll move it back the width of the spring shackle mounts which will allow me to get a touch more weight in the front and give me clearance to run the exact same 33 inch tires that the truck has on it too. More pics to follow when I get some more time to work on it, hopefully later this week if the weather cooperates.
 


RobbieD

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The plans sound good.

I'm interested in some odd small parts before you junk the donor truck.
 

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Another way to add some tounge weight is to add a “gear” box for storage and a spare up front. My box is a full size bed crossover box, you could use it for anything youd not want to be taking up space in the living area.
IMG_7001.jpeg
 

holyford86

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The plans sound good.

I'm interested in some odd small parts before you junk the donor truck.
Send me a pm with what you're after.

Another way to add some tounge weight is to add a “gear” box for storage and a spare up front. My box is a full size bed crossover box, you could use it for anything youd not want to be taking up space in the living area.
View attachment 101278
There will be weight added to the front, I don't plan on making it too cramped inside but I may want a little bit of extra space too. I'm hoping to have it usable by late spring at the latest. Edit to add: the truck that will be towing this is effectively a rolling shop, so I shouldn't need to carry anything other than what's meant for the trailer itself.
 
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RobbieD

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There will be weight added to the front, I don't plan on making it too cramped inside but I may want a little bit of extra space too. I'm hoping to have it usable by late spring at the latest. Edit to add: the truck that will be towing this is effectively a rolling shop, so I shouldn't need to carry anything other than what's meant for the trailer itself.
As food for through, the box rascan suggested can be used for other things than tools. Perhaps a battery system for power? Things you would want to bring along but don't want in the camper itself? Perhaps a stove and cookware? Just ideas. The box would provide a somewhat convenient flat surface for food preparation without needing to add anything else.
 

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This is gonna be bitchin.
 

holyford86

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As food for through, the box rascan suggested can be used for other things than tools. Perhaps a battery system for power? Things you would want to bring along but don't want in the camper itself? Perhaps a stove and cookware? Just ideas. The box would provide a somewhat convenient flat surface for food preparation without needing to add anything else.
Yes, of course, I haven't fully made up my mind how I'm going to do things but logistically I may add one. That part of the layout hasn't fully been formulated in my brain and I'm certainly open to ideas.

This is gonna be bitchin.
I'm certainly hoping so too
 

holyford86

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Well, the frame its going on and the box are sitting in the same spot now, at my friend's house, not much progress will be happening until next week as the weather doesn't look great and I'm off to bother @lil_Blue_Ford for a few days this weekend, haha.
 

holyford86

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Progress was made both over the weekend and today. Saturday my friend got rid of the bed for me, today we installed a missing crossmember in the frame and removed the bumper.
20231114_105134.jpg


Then got the service body on the frame without a tractor, the winch on the front of my friend's jeep came in quite handy (I have one too but my truck was being used as a workbench). The design of the body allowed us to just tip it back, roll the frame in and catch the two back bolts then set it back down flat, it worked surprisingly well.
20231114_114142.jpg

20231114_120305.jpg


I just towed it home, it's not a high speed trailer but seems happy around 50mph. Now I can start looking for things as well as working on it as time (and weather) allows.
 

holyford86

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Today a little more progress is being made, I figure it would be best that it functions as a legal trailer before I start building out the interior and turning it into its mostly final form. First thing I decided to do is change up the rear of it and get rid of the step bumper that was built into the box, which I won't need for my purposes and it improves the departure angle a bunch. I will likely add a smaller tube bumper to it at some point, which will allow me to install some leveling jacks without tying into the box and also give me a bit of protection.

20231029_123908.jpg

20231115_155226.jpg

the bottom of the frame rails is roughly level with the diamond plate now. I'll likely cut the holes for the lights tomorrow night as tonight's project is going through the hacked up wiring and making it more right, along with adding in a couple extra wires for trailer brakes, auxiliary power and a few marker lights (and coming to terms with the fact that hole saws aren't cheap anymore).
20231115_160318.jpg


I've been contemplating keeping the ladder rack and using it as an attachment point for an awning or two along with a bit of added protection and attachment point for a solar panel unless anyone has any better thoughts?
 

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Definitely an awning and solar panel. Canoe/kayak carrier... shower awning... ladder type tree stands.

I've been looking at the flexible panels and they don't really require any frame structure.
 

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I even saw people use a section of 4 inch black PVC with a fill port and a spigot with shower head. The black pipe will warm the water. 4 inch x 7 foot would give you about 5 gallons of water. Enough for a couple quick clean ups.
 

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Leave the ladder racks. They are just too useful. If you find they're not, then get rid of them.
 

RobbieD

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Leave the ladder racks. They are just too useful. If you find they're not, then get rid of them.
That's how I see it, too. How does the ladder rack mount to he box now? I would be looking at making the rack part easy and quick to remove and reinstall, without compromising its load carrying or structural integrity. Make it almost like a quick-change accessory.

(and coming to terms with the fact that hole saws aren't cheap anymore).
High drilling speed kills hole saws. The teeth (only) are tempered; if the saw gets too hot the temper is affected and the teeth will dull quickly.

Keep the drill RPM down, or you can pulse the trigger, but I suggest that you use a drill with a second handle for better control. You can also use cutting oil (any light oil, really) to help the cutting, keep the saw temperature down, and to help prevent chips from sticking to the teeth.

Drilling aluminum will be easier, but do keep the speed down and use oil.

Good move, on getting the lighting and its electrical harness squared away first.
 

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