Axle replacement, Airbag Suspension and ATM UPGRADES – Off Road Camper Build pt.3 The FINALE.

Where to start.. the camper came in over weight, my solar panels failed and to register the camper with Queensland Transport I had to get a ATM upgrade and mod plate.

So after picking up the camper I drove straight up to the weighbridge and the weight was 790kg not quite fully loaded. My goal of keeping under 750kg was gone. To make matters worse my Kings Solar Panels that I sikaflexed to the roof failed which required me to remove them and then wait 6 weeks for them to be assessed as faulty. How did I know they were faulty? I decided to upgrade my DC-DC to a Victron Smart controller which would show me how much my solar panels are generating. The semi flexible panels were only producing 20 watts each.

Now that I had blown my trailer weight it was time to move forward. I ordered a new custom electronic braked axle, I managed to get the same stud pattern as my existing wheel sand rims as I just replaced all three tyres at $150 each.

While waiting for the new axle to arrive I headed up to Airbag Man Suspension at Brendale QLD. After explaining what I wanted to make, they hooked me up with a air kit for the camper. The reason I wanted airbags was to give me the ability to ensure the camper was even and the added flexibility to level the camper if I were to camp on uneven ground.

With axle and airbags in hand, I headed up to my brother-in-laws place where we fitted the axle and the airbags.

Airbag Man Airbags installed with custom brackets

Now that weight was not an issue, I made up a custom rack for my new solar panels, this time ditching the semi flexible and going with 2 x 120 Watt hard panels with a Aux input for a folding solar panel should I require more or if I’m camped in the shade.

While I was at it I knocked up a swing out awning bracket for my shower awning which I purchased from Australian Direct. I pre-ordered them when the first were available which meant that I got an absolute bargain price of $150. I also decided to make a mount for my MaxTrax that sat on the front of the Camper.

I also picked up a shower tray from Drifta which sits perfectly on the ground and with a drain hose ensures that your camp side does not get all soggy from your showers.

Swing out shower awning and hot water setup.

Having upgraded the camper I headed off to Queensland Transport without a clue that I would not get very far. I was quickly informed that the camper would need to have its ATM upgraded and a safety certificate. They were nice enough to give me three names of persons who were in my area that could do the mod plate. After ringing all three, only one was still in business and the rough quote was $450. After ringing around I managed to find a place that could do it a little cheaper and off I went. I was only after a small ATM upgrade from 750kg to 1.2t. In the words of the assessor, your trailer could be upgraded to way more then 1.2t as he handed me the certificate and attached the mod plate.

Safety Certificate time and the camper failed due to the wheel nuts being under sized. After tracking down some larger nuts I was back in business and heading off to Queensland Transport once again.

15 Minutes later the Camper was registered and I was legally allowed to go camping.

Enter Covid-19. All the gear and not allowed to go anywhere. So I decided to finish off and make some slight mods. I removed the single Jerry can holder and converted it to a dual. I had another custom Checker Plate box made up for my airbags and shower controls.

I also decided to add a wood storage box up the front to carry firewood or other dirty items if required.

I have also ordered a new off road hitch as the ARK one I purchased has an issue where the roll pin keeps coming out, and after reaching out to ARK and getting no response I purchased Alko off road coupling which has the added ability to be locked either on a vehicle or when not attached.

So to sum up this 3 part blog I’ll answer some of the common questions I get asked.

Q. How long did it take you to build? A. approximately 16 months

Q. Would you do it again.? A. Yes

Q. Would you change anything if you were to build another one? A. Yes But overall I’m happy with how it turned out.

Q. How much did it cost you to build? A. I never kept track of everything I spent but if I had to take a guess, I would say close to the 11k mark.

Q. Did you buy a vinyl cutter just so you could make your own decals. A. Yes. hehe.

Q. Couldn’t you have just bought a camper? A. Yes, of course but I enjoy building things and making them how I want them. I also like the sense of accomplishment and the ability to say.. I made that from just a idea and a rough sketch.

If you have any other questions type them below in the reply section!

If you see me out and about make sure you beep and wave, or come over and check the camper out for yourself. Adventure awaits!

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