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Old 03-10-2011, 10:20 PM   #1
DirtyLarry
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Smile Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

After years of tent camping, then Sportz Bed-Tent camping and a few years of camping in a Snugtop topper it was time to upgrade to something more substantial with more room and amenities. I narrowed down my choice to a Four Wheel Camper, All Terrain Camper or a Phoenix Camper by Coyote RV in Denver. What sets these three campers apart from your usual cheaply constructed Palomino, Sunlite, etc pop-up truck camper is the fact these are constructed from light weight aluminum frames opposed to the typical heavy wood frames with stapled joints. The aluminum frames are also much more suited for off-road as they flex with the bed of the truck like an airplane wing instead of breaking up into a pile of kindling.

It was a tough call between the Four Wheel Camper and the Phoenix. I chose the Phoenix over the FWC as the Phoenix is made locally (150 miles away in Denver) and each of their campers are custom made to order with no two campers being the same. The folks at Phoenix were great to work with as well. What turned me off about the FWC the most was their exterior construction made of corrugated aluminum siding. How 1970’s is that! You can hardly tell the difference from a 1981 FWC or a 2011 FWC. Not to mention the corrugated siding would last though one hail storm or one trip to the mountains without being denting up like a piece of aluminum foil in a wind storm. I also didn’t find the crew at FWC very friendly when I looked over their products at the 2010 Denver Outdoor Expo nor did they seem flexible to build anything outside of the box. Ironically, the owners of Phoenix (Coyote RV) are actually the children of the founders of FWC but their family sold the FWC brand to an investor in California many years ago.

Here are a few pictures of my Phoenix camper in the build process.








Loaded on different truck as it was being transported to the paint shop today for a coat of late model GM truck Storm Gray.






You can see the edge of the refrigerator (gray thing). It is a hard core off-road and marine refrigerator from South Africa called National Luna that is very effective in extreme hot temperatures and resistant to vibration. If you ever had experience with the typical camper refrigerators that never seem to work, the high cost of this South African gem was well worth it extra $1000. A guy has got to have cold beer in the desert!


If all goes as planned I will be taking delivery of the camper next Thursday (3-17-11) then shortly after the rear bumper will be going through a remodel to add a barn door style tire and fuel can carrier. Much like the one my buddy just finished for this Ram Charger.


More to come soon as the mods begin!
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:34 PM   #2
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

Looks GOOD! Can't wait to see it finished and installed in the truck. Once it's all together if the Boss sends you to the doghouse, you'll have one hell of a nice place to catch some ZZZ's!
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:18 AM   #3
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

I really like that. I've wanted a low-profile for years. They were all over the place when I was out your way years ago. I wanted one for my '90 Blazer. They don't sell anything like that back here. I got out of my '71 C/20 camper to get one for my '72 K2500 and it hasn't happened yet. Can't wait to see it on the truck. Gonna take it up another notch on the cool scale.
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:23 AM   #4
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

Really sharp looking camper Larry. I'm jealous is all! Can't wait to see it on your truck. You are going to have a killer camping rig.

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A guy has got to have cold beer in the desert!

You'll be able to spend weeks out there, no trailer, all the luxuries. Sounds perfect. What more could you want!!
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:39 AM   #5
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

can't wait
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Old 03-12-2011, 06:53 PM   #6
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

Seeing pics of some of your trips that camper will be put to the test. Cold beer is important!
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:29 PM   #7
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

Got the topper off Friday night with the help of four friends then removed the interior kit today and installed the 4 eye bolts that the camper will attach to.

It looks really bare without the topper on the back. Hard to beleive the topper has been on the truck for 5 years already. Wow, that time went fast! Seems like yesterday I was putting it on. With the topper off the rear even grew about an 1 ½ in height. It sure rides like crap with no weight in the back but sure spins the tires easy and hops all over the road when doing so



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Old 03-12-2011, 09:34 PM   #8
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

What brand of flares are those
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:04 PM   #9
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

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What brand of flares are those
There’re Warn brand. I wouldn’t recommend them. They are hard plastic and have been warped since they were new. These are actually the second set, Warn Industries sent me a new set because the first were so warped right out of the box I didn't want to use them. They also rub the front tires like crazy due to their design where they hang down so low below the fender towards at rear. Xenon actually has the best flares for the square body style trucks. Theirs are more of a soft flexible rubber material. I may change to Xenon’s someday.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:25 PM   #10
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

How much lift on the blue truck? Very nice.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:49 PM   #11
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

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How much lift on the blue truck? Very nice.
Thanks... it is lifted about 6 to 7 inches with front Superlift springs and ORD pieces front and rear.
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Old 03-13-2011, 12:25 AM   #12
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Talking Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

Larry,
That will be a very nice upgrade! You will be spoiled and can no longer call camping "roughing it". Just kidding..... I can't sleep on the ground anymore.
I think it's called age or something to that effect.
Looking forward to seeing some more pictures.

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Old 03-13-2011, 12:29 AM   #13
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

I like the build pics. Kinda cool seeing how things go together. Should be a good addition to the family.
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:33 PM   #14
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

Here is a couple after paint spy photos that I received today.

There will be rearward facing lights mounted to those L brackets.


Happyjack mounts. These will be coming off about 10 minutes after I get it home.


Here is a link to the Manufacturers thread at Expo. They build some really neat stuff!
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:57 PM   #15
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

Made the 300 mile trip again to pick up the camper today. Man, it turned out great! I’ll get some pictures of the interior soon. Stupid steering gear box input seal sprung a big leak on the way home. Oh, well….that is about the only thing on the truck that I have never had to mess with over the past 15 years.

As we picked it up from the manufacturer


The tires hadn’t even cooled off from the highway before I got those jacks yanked off.






Let the mods begin!
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:49 AM   #16
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

Outstanding! Fill the fridge with beer, something for on the grill, and you are good to go! Very very cool.
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:09 AM   #17
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

Yeah, looking forward to all of that Billhilly! Probably will be a month or two before I get it out in the bush.

Here are a few of the interior the manufacturer posted on their thread. Though you ‘all might like to see the inside



Dinette makes into a bed. Storage cubbys hidden everywhere! Most are hidden so well you don't even know where they are....like under the carpet on both sides of the the table pole. That is just too cool!


National Luna Weekender – Refrigerator/Freezer. These things are awesome but comes with an oddball European power plug. The neat thing is it is portable so it can be moved to the tailgate when went cooking for ease of getting to the grub...and beer! Can also move it to a different vehicle if needed…just got to remember that oddball power plug.


Bed in sleep mode in the queen size position


Bed in space saving mode to make room when working on the cook top or sitting at the dinette. If the truck was an extended cab this wouldn’t need to be adjustable but with a standard cab truck I didn’t want the bed above the cab to stick past the windshield. This is how the Wescott's original Turtle Expedition camper was on their old '75 K20. Turned out great!
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:27 AM   #18
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

Very slick. I know you were sweating the color, but I've got to say it looks good with what you picked. I'll have to swing by this weekend to take a full tour!

CONGRATS!
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:28 AM   #19
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

Man seeing the old turtle truck takes me back. When I was a kid back in the 80's, in second grade I got in a ton of trouble because I refused to read see spot run because reading about the turtle expedtion was way more interesting.

Personally I am tired of reading about everyones rock crawler.
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:14 AM   #20
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

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Man seeing the old turtle truck takes me back. When I was a kid back in the 80's, in second grade I got in a ton of trouble because I refused to read see spot run because reading about the turtle expedtion was way more interesting.

Personally I am tired of reading about everyones rock crawler.
Exactly! I was in the same boat. My older brother got tired of me steeling his magazines so he got me my own subscription to FOUR WHEELER and Peterson’s. I thought I was the only kid in Elementary School with a subscription to 4x4 magazines. They always got me in trouble with teachers too and many got taken away. The turtle truck was one of my dream trucks…..as you can tell. I also hear you on today’s FOUR WHEELER and Peterson’s. Neither appeal to me much anymore. After 25+ years straight I let Peterson’s expire and I really don’t miss it. If you want to read a good rag subscribe to the Overland Journal. It is pricy but worth it. The Wescott's from the Turtle Expedition still contribute their journeys in the Overland Journal.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:20 AM   #21
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

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Exactly! I was in the same boat. My older brother got tired of me steeling his magazines so he got me my own subscription to FOUR WHEELER and Peterson’s. I thought I was the only kid in Elementary School with a subscription to 4x4 magazines. They always got me in trouble with teachers too and many got taken away. The turtle truck was one of my dream trucks…..as you can tell. I also hear you on today’s FOUR WHEELER and Peterson’s. Neither appeal to me much anymore. After 25+ years straight I let Peterson’s expire and I really don’t miss it. If you want to read a good rag subscribe to the Overland Journal. It is pricy but worth it. The Wescott's from the Turtle Expedition still contribute their journeys in the Overland Journal.
I remember the one they did in russia that was pretty cool, as I recall wasnt it before the wall came down?
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:18 PM   #22
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

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I remember the one they did in russia that was pretty cool, as I recall wasnt it before the wall came down?
I can’t remember if it was before the wall came down or after but it was around that time. I remember thinking that would have been a scary trip.
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:56 PM   #23
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

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I can’t remember if it was before the wall came down or after but it was around that time. I remember thinking that would have been a scary trip.
I was pretty fascinated by it. In fact I think it started me on a life long obsession with pickup trucks, and really there has been no point in my life I did not have a truck.
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:57 PM   #24
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

Oh and I am going to subscribe to Overland Journal, looks like an interesting magazine.
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:34 PM   #25
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Re: Phoenix pop-up camper for Bigassgas8.1L

I really like the way it turned out. Makes you want to get out there and break it in!! Make sure to put some more pictures up when you get it out.
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