When we ordered
our 1979 Ford
F-350 truck we knew that we needed a powerful 460 cu.in. motor
with a strong transmission to tow our 34 foot trailer. A year
before retiring we went to RV shows and decided on a 34 foot Silver
Streak trailer to be our home on wheels. As we planned for our
retirement in 1980, we knew that we wanted an 8 foot cabover camper to
mount on our 1 ton truck.
We designed the camper and drew up the plans for a one of a kind camper
that is truly original. We found a custom RV shop in
Glendale, California who looked at our plans and said that he needed at
least 6 months to build our camper. As construction began on our
camper, we also ordered our 15 foot Gregor H-51L boat with a Johnson 25
hp long shaft motor.
As you can see by the photo above, we needed a powerful motor to lift
the boat on top of the camper and installed an Edie boat loader with a
volt motor. In the front of the truck, you will see our
Honda Trail 70 motorbike and parts of a collapsible boat trailer.
When we assembled the boat trailer, we then unloaded the boat onto the
trailer and could tow it up to 50 mph on the highway. We sold the
collapsible boat trailer, and our Gregor boat a few years ago.
ABOUT OUR CLASSIC-CUSTOM 1979 FORD F-350
The truck is a 1979 Ford F-350
Larite with the camper special package. It has a Class V hitch
for towing a large trailer, and front and rear mud flaps. The
truck and camper has a burglar
alarm system, and every door, and compartment is wired with a sensor to
protect the valuables stored inside.
In the bed of the truck along the sides by the wheel wells, we built
wooden cabinets that line up to the cabinet doors in the camper for
dust free storage. All of the campers made today have a cabinet
that will open to the bed of the truck, but this area is not sealed
from the elements, and any items stored there will get dirty.
our dust proof cabinets in place, all items stored will be dust
The truck has a tachometer, vacuum gauge, oil pressure gauge, coolant
gauge, compass, altimeter, automatic electric brake controller and
variable resistor, these were added by us. Also, we
have a Cobra 40
channel CB with dual antennas and fog lights. We have added two
Carter racing electric fuel pumps, one for each gas tank along with a
Holley Fuel Pressure Regulator.
It has a straight bench seat in the front, and we have added a special
storage box over the hump where the transmission is. This box is
about 28” deep x 14” wide x 12” high. In the box is where the
burglar alarm sensor is stored and other miscellaneous items. The
the box is flat with a plastic tray for coffee mugs, and a Radio Shack
FM booster for the radio. We replaced the Ford factory radio with
a AM/FM, Cassette radio.
Behind the bench seat is a large storage box that we built to hold
spare parts, a hydraulic jack, battery cables, a complete set of Ford
manuals for the truck, flares, and much more.
We took off the small engine oil cooler and added an extra heavy-duty
large oil cooler by Mesa. We also added a heavy-duty large
transmission oil cooler as well as a power steering cooler. We
also replaced the 70 amp alternator with a heavy-duty 120 amp
We changed the front tires to match the rear tires when the truck was
just a year old because we did not want to carry two spares, and we
wanted the stability that the 12x16.5 12 ply tires gave. These
are Goodyear Custom Hi-Miler Bias Ply tires, and we have never had a
blow out or tread separation.
The standard air cleaner has been replaced with the K & N oiled air
filter system. With this system you get more air into the
carburetor, and you can wash the filter with a special cleaner, and
then re-oil the filter, and let it dry for 20 minutes and
install. The filter lasts indefinitely.
Over the years we have maintained the truck and have replaced many
items such as a Modine 4-core heavy-duty radiator, a Ford starter
power steering gear box, power steering pump, belts, hoses, air conditioner serviced and
many other items to much to list.
Several years ago we had the motor rebuilt by an excellent shop in
Yuma, Arizona. He is well known in our area for rebuilding motors
for racing cars, racing boats, and stock engines. He was
recommended to us by an employee that works at the local Ford agency!
Our engine was still strong and running very good, and not using any
oil, and we did not have any major or minor problems, but at 160,000
miles we decided to have our engine gone through completely. We
did not want to be off somewhere traveling in an area that we did not
know anything about the garages that we decided while in Yuma to have
our motor gone through. Ralph bored the pistons slightly, they
did not need much and put in harden valve seats, and all top of the
line components. He put in a new cam shaft by Schneider, double
roller Eldebrock timing chain, fly wheel, and all the other parts to
make this a 100% job. He tune the engine to our specifications
for our towing requirements. Another shop installed the engine,
and we replaced the water pump, oil pump, and many other items to much
A year later we rebuilt the transmission, the Ford C-6 which is an
excellent transmission. Again, the shop we picked in Yuma was
highly recommended and they did an excellent job.
We have a total of 248,000 on the truck, 86,000 on the rebuilt motor
and 65,000 on the rebuilt transmission. You may think that this
is a lot, but we never worry about the truck since we know that it has
all been maintained regularly, and it does not use any oil, and it has
a great performer. We have kept a list of all repairs along with
the cost to show that it has been maintained regularly.
Several years ago we replaced the Holley carburetor with a new Holley
4-barrel carburetor. One thing about the older engines is that
you can work on them yourself when you are traveling to out of the way
places such as Mexico, Alaska and remote areas in Canada; you can
always find a shop that
can work on them. The new motors are all computerized,
and you almost always have to go to the dealers to have any work
done. You can’t even replace the belts on the new vehicles where
ours you can.
We have extra spare parts for the truck including a new 60 amp
alternator, starter motor,
coil, belts, radiator hoses, fuses, bulbs, motor oil and lube, and much
This has given you the highlights, but there is still so much more that
we have done to make this unit a one of a kind.
ALL ABOUT OUR CUSTOM BUILT
Our camper was custom designed
and we had it built by an RV shop in Glendale, California. It is
an 8 foot,
1980 cab over camper.
The construction is wood frame with fiberglass and Styrofoam
roof is a sandwich construction with a solid wood roof with Styrofoam
the two pieces of wood and paneling. We did this because we
wanted a solid roof
construction to support the 15 foot car top boat. The floor is
construction with linoleum, and we have added a foam carpet pad and
We have included dishes,
pots, and pans, and silverware. Also, towels, blankets, and
sheets. We have many extra RV parts for the camper and
truck, too much to list here.
We have a large overhead queen size bed with an excellent five-inch
foam mattress, and added an egg crate foam pad on top. There is a
12 volt fan in the corner at the foot of the bed as well as a smoke
alarm, and a carbon monoxide detector, a reading light, and a switch
that can be pulled to make the burglar alarm go off instantly.
All of the windows are made by Hehr and are tinted a dark bronze
color. We also have made up for each window Plexiglas storm
windows that can be easily removed.
We replaced the refrigerator, porta potty, water pump, and furnace
motor. We took out our old roof vents and replaced them with a
new Fantastic thermostatically controlled fan in the living quarters
and a regular Fantastic vent in the overhead bed area. We have a
three burner stove top, a single sink, and an Everpure water filtration
system with an accumulator tank which keeps the pump from running
We have a Panasonic AM/FM cassette radio with two speakers in the
kitchen area. Two wardrobe closets and several large storage
compartments for all of our gear. We have overhead cabinets above
the kitchen table as well as above the kitchen sink area and above the
refrigerator. The cabinet above the kitchen sink area has the
solar panel controller with an on/off switch. Also, in this
cabinet is the 20 amp circuit breaker box. We have a propane
detector, and fire extinguisher.
We also have an 8 foot long fishing pole compartment that can be
accessed from inside of the camper as well as from the outside
compartment door. We have stored four pairs of snow skis and
poles in this area when we went snow skiing in Colorado. We have
a very large compartment under the dinette seat which provides
We have an indoor/outdoor temperature gauge for the camper as well as
another one to monitor the refrigerator. Three Thin-lites provide
excellent lighting inside, and we have a porch light as well as six
outside scare lights to light up the area at night. Also, a
separate spotlight for more additional lighting at night.
It is wired for local TV with an outside antenna with a 12 volt booster
to boost the local antenna signal, as well as a crank up Winegard DSS
Satellite antenna, and a Sony Satellite Receiver, and a nine-inch color
Under the refrigerator is the cabinet that holds the 12 volt water pump
by Shurflo as well as the 1000 watt Heart Interface Inverter, 20 amp
power cord and a 12 volt switch that operates the 12 volt pump mounted
on the truck frame to transfer water from the extra 15 gallon water
tank to the camper tank. We have added a 12 volt switch that is
an automatic ignitor for the operation of the refrigerator in the gas
The burglar alarm is wired to protect all compartments and rear door of
the camper as well as the truck. There is a separate switch in
the wardrobe compartment that can be turned off so that when the alarm
is set, and you’re inside the camper; you can turn this switch off to
exit the camper without the alarm going off. Such as, if you want
to walk the dog or etc. Then when you enter the camper, you just
flip the switch back to the on position, and the rear door is protected
by the alarm.
On the roof is a large Kyocera KC-80 watt solar panel that can
put up to 3 amps at 17 volts per hour in the camper’s large deep cycle
battery. The camper battery is a deep cycle one, larger than a
traditional group 27
battery, and gives more power, and is better for the large solar
panel. Both the camper battery and truck batteries are new.
The Edie boat loader uses 12 volt power to power the motor to lift the
15 foot boat up and down. When the boat is unloaded, the ropes
then move back into the stored position. The remote control power
cable is stored in the wardrobe closet. The value of the Edie
loader is over $1000.00.
On the rear of the camper above the door and on the right hand side of
the camper is an awning rail. The awning slides into the rail,
with two telescopic poles can be adjusted to the proper height.
This awning can go in either place, depending where you want the shade.
The portable shower mounts on the left hand side with the PVC tube and
then hangs in place. The solar shower bag is then lifted into
place with the rope and tackle assembly and hangs in the shower
room. For additional water, you can hook up the hand held shower
to the rear of the camper’s hose bib and use the camper’s 12 volt pump
to have a cool shower.
Above the spare tire is an 8 foot folding heavy-duty ladder, it mounts
permanently on brackets and it is locked with a paddle lock and
chain. We use this ladder when we unload the boat or have to get
on the camper or trailer roof's to clean the solar panels. Also,
hanging on the ladder are brackets to store two folding chairs in a
The large compartment behind the
spare tire holds the 25 hp Johnson long shaft motor. The shelf in
this compartment is removable so that the motor can slide into
place. First unlock the spare tire and rotate the tire to the
right, then unlock the compartment door.
Then load in the motor and slide it all the way in until it stops, then
take the seat belt clips and fasten together, one over the shaft of the
motor and the other goes across the motor head. This keeps the
motor in place so it won’t slide around. We have found that we
can both carry the motor and lift it into the compartment, or you can
use a deer hoist and wrap it around the motor head and clip it on the
large eye bolt just under the roof of the camper. We have use
this system but really find that it is more awkward than just lifting
the motor in place.
Then the anchors and chain go on each side of the motor, the black
rubber motor transom protector lies over the top of the motor head, the
spare white poly anchor ropes fits around the back of the motor head by
the shaft, the gasoline tank hose is in a plastic bag, and lays on top
of the motor head. Other miscellaneous gear fits around the
motor, front, rear and sides in this compartment.
When this area is full of all of our gear, we then put in the two piece
shelf with the larger piece in first and the smaller piece in second
towards the front. Then we put in the piece of brown
carpet. The boat’s battery box goes on the left side, and we use
the white strap that keeps the cover on to slip it into the plastic
holder at the rear of the compartment, and then over the battery box so
that the battery will not move. Then we have additional boat gear
in cardboard boxes that fits on the shelf along with boat oil and other
Then we lock the compartment and rotate the spare tire into place and
put in the locking pin and paddle lock and then the paddle lock through
the hole of the bracket. Then the board slips under the tire to
The metal lined compartment above the propane tank is for the 6 gallon
boat gas tank. We usually put in the gas tank and then all of our
spare bottle’s of motor oil, and lube go around the gas tank.
The small access door above the motor compartment is for fishing poles,
sunshade poles, snow skis or any long items.
When you lift down the rear step of the camper, the opening between the
truck body and the bumper is for level blocks; it will hold six level
blocks. Also, included are two sets of brown tire covers for the
truck, and a green drain hose for the grey water, and a full windshield
On the right side of the truck body is a removable metal door, behind
this door is a 30 gallon holding tank to hold waste from the trailer
tank. With a macerator pump, you can pump out the trailer tanks
into this 30 gallon tank and drive off to a dump station.
The vent for this tank is located at the top of the tank on the right,
and you have to reach in and turn the valve to vent this tank so that
it will not crack due to the pressure of the liquid when filling the
tank, we usually leave this open just in case we forget to open
it. It does not hurt to leave this open as a safety
measure. The garden hose fitting is at the rear of the tank
towards the top, just remove the metal cap, and then connect the end of
a garden hose from the macerator to this fitting, then the macerator
can be put on to pump out the trailer tanks. The sewer hose for
this tank is located in the white PVC tube above the rear tire in the
wheel well area.
Also, in this area are extra drain hoses, and a water hose.
Mounted in front of the plastic tank in this compartment is a 12 volt
Sears Wireless Remote Control Winch with 11,000 pounds rolling load
capacity, and 3,500 pounds single line pull with a mounting bracket,
and the wiring is in the compartment under the dinette seat. The
value of this winch is over $400.00, and is included in the price.
The white plastic 8 gallon tank under the right door is now used for an
extra water tank for the camper. We originally had this hooked up
for a water injector system made by Eldebrock for the motor but now
find that we don’t need it anymore. It was used to help control
ping due to bad gas.
The green toggle switch under the dash on the left hand side is for the
12 volt pump to pump water from this tank into the camper. We
first take the small white plastic hose coiled under the hood on the
left side and string it out and place the end into the camper water
fill spout, turn on the green toggle switch and the water is then taken
from this tank to the camper water tank.
Also, under the right door is a black shelf with a portable BBQ.
Just remove the nuts from the bolts and slip off the two metal straps
and the shelf lowers down and the BBQ slides out. Put back the
two straps and nuts and the shelf is now secure.
Under the left door is a 12 gallon holding tank for the camper, it has
a separate 12 volt bilge pump that hooks to the garden faucet fitting
and to the power wires stored in the 20 amp power cord
compartment. The two wires, a positive and a negative hook to the
pump, the pump starts and pumps the waste water through the PVC pipe
that is under the truck frame that goes over to the 30 gallon holding
Behind the left door side, there is a 15 gallon fresh water
The white fill hose is under the overhang part of the camper by the
fresh water fill spout. Just remove the brass cap and put a water
source to this hose and it will fill the tank. When you want to
get the water transferred to the inside camper tank, you just take the
other white hose that is tied up under the camper overhang by the fill
spout and put on a short piece of fill hose to the fill spout and then
open up the compartment door that the power wires and 20 amp power cord
are in and you will see a 12 volt toggle switch. You first must
be sure to open the valve that is at the bottom of the tank so that the
water will flow up to the fill hose, then turn the switch on and the
water will be pumped up and into the fresh water tank. We have
added an additional Shurflo 12 volt water pump mounted under
the truck frame area to use to pump the water from this tank to the
Mounted in the left wheel well is a snow shovel that we have carried
with us for many years. On the rear bumper is a bracket for a 5
gallon G.I. gas tank for extra gas for the truck or boat.