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Camper Tie Downs for the Dodge Ram

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I never have liked stake pocket tie-downs because they don't make a very good connection from the camper to the truck. Sue and I like to travel on rough roads and trails, so it was important to us that the camper would still be attached when we reached our destination.
 
To keep the front of the camper from moving around in the truck bed, a 2X4 standing on edge with a cleat on each end was set at the front of the bed. The 2X4 kept the camper from moving forward and the cleats prevented sideways movement. Cleats were attached to the rear of the camper to prevent sideways movement at the back of the camper. Several times on rough terrain, a rear cleat moved when the truck racked and the back of the camper slid sideways. We always left the camper jacks home when we traveled, so a Hi-lift jack was to realign the camper to the bed.
 

The anchor tie points built into the Ram bed seemed strong enough, an early Ram TV ad featured the truck suspended by the bed anchors. With the camper installed, it was easy to reach the rear anchors, but the front anchors were covered by the camper. 

By modifying the camper, we are able to use the rear bed anchors. On each side, there are  5" square, 1/8" thick stainless steel plates sandwiching the camper shelf with a 3/8" eyebolt sticking through for a turnbuckle. 

 
The truck was modified for heavy duty front tie downs by forming a wood block to fit between the inner and outer bed panels, adding a 6" square 1/8" thick stainless steel plate to the outside and inside panels, and bolting through the whole assembly with a 3/8" eyebolt. With a belt sander, the wood blocks were shaped to fit the bed contours and the blocks were soaked in motor oil for waterproofing.  An alarm siren (one of several strategically placed on the truck) is visible if you crawl up under the truck with a light. The visible wires feed power, ground, clearance lights and brake lights to the camper - they are not the alarm system wires which were hidden.
 
 3/8" Turnbuckles and chain quick links connect from the camper to the truck bed. 
 
Another (and far simpler option) is the "Happy Jack tie-down"  It may not be as strong for off-road use, but if you stay on civilized roads it would be much easier to install.

Posted to RTML From Conrad Paulson <conradp@swbell.net>

The "Happy Jack tie-down" bolts to the sheet metal on the back of the bed. Those, with the "Slip bolt's" on the rear bumper allow me to hold the camper on when traveling. This also make for easy disconnect when I remove the camper from the truck.

A Picture of Conrad's truck with camper and boat is posted on Mike Demski's lifted ram page.  The links to Conrad's  photos are near the bottom of the page. Direct links to partial information: Photo 1  Truck and camper details


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Last Update: May 7, 2001