Posted by: Steve and Bethany | February 4, 2009


date; 8/3/09

I know, it’s been about a month & a half since I last posted, I’m not sure why designing this 3 point frame intimidated me so much, maybe because the dimensions had to be exact, like really exact, or because designing a moving object over the top of a moving object with moving parts, none of which could come in contact with each other seemed perilous, even though designing is what I do. I’m done now, this is why I just jump into things, and I always figure it out. All this took was me laying the UHAUL parts onto the bullet frame taking tons of dimensions, figuring out what to alter, what no to alter, & it all finally fell together on July 25th.  Not only do I now understand the structure, but I’ve regained my design confidence (or cockiness) & even turned some of this structural frame into parts of the camper aesthetics. (You’ll see soon enough)

camper design 001

camper design 004

Right now, the frame is being built by Mill Sprocket Machine Shop in Springfield OR.

I’ve worked with these guys before, designing & building a  hoist system to store my current camper overhead, plus Kevin, the owner, is every bit as picky about details & quality as I, & he enjoys A long island ice tea as much as I do.

Not only have I designed the frame, but the entire camper, plan, section, elevations, all on AutoCAD. some changes occurred from my original sketches as a result of exact dimensions, reality, & new ideas. XV elevations (1)The door is now on the passenger side, not the rear, this was a product of the new floor height being 10” above the bullet frame (3” clearance, 6” channel  depth, 1’ thick aluminum floor boards) & as a result of this height, the dimension from floor to cabover wasn’t as tall as I thought, this in itself wasn’t  a problem, as a matter of fact it now allows me to use the UHAUL front radius posts without adding to their length, but because this is a pop up, the door is only as tall as floor to top of solid wall, & this dimension is now 3’-10” tall, our current four wheel camper’s door is 3’-10” tall, & we wanted some more clearance, but the 3 point frame member across the whole back precluded any step down, so to the side the door went, the door is now 4’-10” tall there, with a step down just inside the door. This height may sound short, but anyone with a popup camper knows, as you step up to the camper height from the ground, you step up through the doorway, so it works. I also moved the spare to the passenger side of the rear, to somewhat XV plan (1)counterbalance the weight of all the appliances, cabinets & holding tanks on the driver’s side. Emergency gas cans moved to the rear as the new door location took precedence. Inside, I now have a handle on all of the cabinet designs, where the appliances go, how it all works together, but as I said earlier, this is all subject to change if I get a new idea that looks more fun to build.

In addition to designing, I’ve spent the last month completely cleaning, scraping off caulking, & sanding  the UHAUL parts, getting them to look like new, I still have a little bit of ‘body’ work to do on some parts, filling in scratches etc. but so far, I’m amazed at how good the condition of most of the parts were. I’m in the middle right now of wire brushing all the body sex bolts as these are UHAUL proprietary, & not really available for purchase.(yes, I’m trying to reuse all the bolts too! I must get something deeply satisfying out of this, because wire brushing the bolts even seems fulfilling!)XV rear (1)XV front (1)

XV side (1)I also installed 2 sunglass holders in the ceiling of the cab (we’re sunshine campers remember), I did this to my Toyota when I first got it, I purchased 2 standard sunglass cases from sunglass hut, pulled them apart, removed the black camper design 005material around them, purchased & glued acamper design 006 new material matching the interior ceiling color to the top of the case & matching welt around the perimeter of the base of the case, cut 2 holes in the ceiling material (don’t do this until you go to a junkyard to verify just what’s up there, & how much clearance you have) epoxy a p.t. wood base to the roof assembly, pushed the cases up through the new holes in the ceiling, &camper design 007 screwed them into the p.t. base.

camper design 008

As far as the differential lockers go, this is temporarily put on hold, as no one seems to know exactly what axles the bullet has yet, they’re just bigger than anyone’s seen before, I had one machine shop remove the cover, & they still couldn’t figure it out, they did know it’s bigger than the Dana 80 (doesn’t mean much to me yet) and ARB doesn’t make anything for the bullet yet, but as demand for aftermarket parts for these bullets increases, there availability will as well. I figure this build will take me another 18 months, so I’ve got some time.

I also weighed the truck before the frame goes on, to get a feel for how much weight I’m adding, the total weight is 8080# me included, front axle is 5340#, rear axle is 2760#

& still, every time I pull into a machine shop or automotive parts warehouse, I still usually spend 5 minutes asking for what I’m looking for, & 20 minutes out in the parking lot answering questions from enamored employees & owners about the truck & its capabilities!



  1. Hi Steve

    Awesome project you got here. Can’t wait for the finishing product. I will be book marking this page.
    Thanks for the inspiration.


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