Friday, December 30, 2011

The XP Camper Build

We started with 2010 Chevy 4X4 3500HD long bed, extended cab with a 6 liter gas engine. We have the snow-plow package which beefs-up the front suspension for the Off-Road Bumper. It also included most of what you get with the off-road package like the locking-diff.

Ripped out the back seats and installed a 3/4 inch plywood sub-floor.

Cut some insulation for the back side windows, not only to keep the heat out but to also hide the stuff in the back from prying eyes.

This was the original plan and would have worked, but we found this fantastic stuff called Smash and Grab film that not only darkens the windows so you can't see in but also protects the glass from being smashed by an intruder! Watch this incredible YouTube video to see what I mean:

We couldn't get this stuff anywhere on the East coast so we had it installed on all 4 side windows by RD Window Tint in Colorado Springs on our way out to have the flatbed done. 

Next stop Layne of Denver Off Road in Grand Junction CO to get the flatbed and bumpers installed.

 Off with the bumper
Off with the bed
On with the flatbed

Meanwhile Marc is building the XP in California

Popping it out of its mold
Then putting the pieces together like Lego blocks.
Annie and Marc discussing where the toilet paper holder should go. I kid you not, this was a half-hour conversation. That is what happens when a German who is fanatical about detail and a New Englander who is equally fanatical about detail get together. God bless them both.

That damn door
Final touches before we do a test load onto the truck
Dinette cushions and kitchen sink
Great teak floor
Shower and toilet with real teak slats on floor
Back to Layne in Colorado to replace the ladder with a beefier version.
 That is Layne on the right.
The sand-ladders bolted under the flatbed on slides.
They became the foundation for our slide-out table but that is another story.
New steps with skid pads installed
Rear bumper and the back door on flatbed that hides my slide-out table.

And here we have the 'almost' finished expedition Camper.
I say 'almost' because there is always something else that you need.

In our case we wanted to beef up the suspension for our expedition so we had Super Springs installed on the rear, Sumo springs on the front and we raised the front end 3 inches with a new key from Central 4 Wheel Drive in Sacramento.

We also bought steel 19.5" wheels from Rickson with Michelin XDS2 245/75/19.5 tires. 

Rickson wheels installed.

Now we are ready to ship her, but what about tools and spare parts? It is so hard to decide what to take and what to leave behind when we are going to be gone for 2 years and maybe longer!
Here is the collection I am taking. Spanners and screwdrivers have their own wrap-around cloth/canvas bags that Annie made to stop them banging into each other on the rough roads and it also keeps them well organized.
Thankfully everything fits in 2 tool boxes that slide under the sub-floor in the back of the cab.
Here is Bush Baby on the dock in Baltimore waiting for the ship to arrive. She does have a campervan from Germany and a motorhome from Norway to keep her company.

Now what do we do for 3 weeks while she is in transit, oh I know let's update the blog in between getting all the other things that need to be done for international travel.