1993 HiAce Firetruck Build Thread

Pntyrmvr

Adventurer
I have explained builds like this to non technical people.

The builders have a large and varied skill set to draw from. It is the first time we have put those skills to use on this type of project. There will be a thinking phase, a design phase, an engineering phase, and a construction phase. Each one will require some amount of trial and error. We expect that.

The NEXT time we build this type of project our knowledge gained will allow a much faster outcome.

Many of us will spend years refining the first project and never build a second one. I am determined to build the second project even if on the same chassis.

Best wishes on this unique build. I like it.
 
I had time to do some work this weekend. I had hoped to get the upper section of the camper frame welded up. With the exception of correcting one mistake on a panel, exactly 0 welding happened. Instead... I learned some things.

1. even a small camper is big.
image0(20).jpeg

Once clamped up in my shop, it was clear I wasn't going to rotate it to it's side to make welding easier or to navigate some corners down the hall. The beams were 2" too low for rotation on the smallest dimension. Well, ok... what If i re-clamp it on it's side and do a little extra out-of-position welding? There are two tight corners between the shop and freedom, and they are a left then a right. The camper could make either turn -if- the cabover is pointing the correct direction, which is one way for the left and the other for the right, and I already discovered I can't roll the welded frame in the hallway. so...

2. People stare when you are hauling a load of crappy ladders

image1(16).jpeg

Saturday traffic was bad due to highway closures, good weather and... whatever. I loaded the truck with the frame pieces with a plan to finish welding the frame in my driveway.

3. This stuff always takes waaay longer than you think.

image1(15).jpeg
I thought I would be able to get the camper clamped up on the truck and welded on sunday. It took a very long time to get the camper clamped and (sorta) squared. I noticed a large gap at the front of the cabover. The roof brackets were floating above the gutter. I then had to make some spacer washers for the 8 bed mounts to get everything to line up. I have plenty of tools at home, but no real shop, so that took a while. I also had to rummage around to find some appropriate material, etc... before I knew it, it was time for dinner and I hadn't even hooked up the welder. Of well.

After I did a little trial and error with the spacers, I had the cabover landing nicely on the gutter with no gap. -phew-

There was a problem with the pinch welds on the back of the cab. One stuck out far enough to interfere with the fwd wall that sits behind the truck cab. A couple will interfere with the ACM skin I will be adding later. Now to decide if i should cut them or pound them over....

4. The camper is all at once bigger and smaller than expected.
image0(19).jpeg

I have a long history working on large projects in CAD, and nothing quite compares to standing in front of the parts that are starting to look like what's been in your head for months.
 

allochris

Adventurer
I had time to do some work this weekend. I had hoped to get the upper section of the camper frame welded up. With the exception of correcting one mistake on a panel, exactly 0 welding happened. Instead... I learned some things.

1. even a small camper is big.
View attachment 824958

Once clamped up in my shop, it was clear I wasn't going to rotate it to it's side to make welding easier or to navigate some corners down the hall. The beams were 2" too low for rotation on the smallest dimension. Well, ok... what If i re-clamp it on it's side and do a little extra out-of-position welding? There are two tight corners between the shop and freedom, and they are a left then a right. The camper could make either turn -if- the cabover is pointing the correct direction, which is one way for the left and the other for the right, and I already discovered I can't roll the welded frame in the hallway. so...

2. People stare when you are hauling a load of crappy ladders

View attachment 824959

Saturday traffic was bad due to highway closures, good weather and... whatever. I loaded the truck with the frame pieces with a plan to finish welding the frame in my driveway.

3. This stuff always takes waaay longer than you think.

View attachment 824971
I thought I would be able to get the camper clamped up on the truck and welded on sunday. It took a very long time to get the camper clamped and (sorta) squared. I noticed a large gap at the front of the cabover. The roof brackets were floating above the gutter. I then had to make some spacer washers for the 8 bed mounts to get everything to line up. I have plenty of tools at home, but no real shop, so that took a while. I also had to rummage around to find some appropriate material, etc... before I knew it, it was time for dinner and I hadn't even hooked up the welder. Of well.

After I did a little trial and error with the spacers, I had the cabover landing nicely on the gutter with no gap. -phew-

There was a problem with the pinch welds on the back of the cab. One stuck out far enough to interfere with the fwd wall that sits behind the truck cab. A couple will interfere with the ACM skin I will be adding later. Now to decide if i should cut them or pound them over....

4. The camper is all at once bigger and smaller than expected.
View attachment 824982

I have a long history working on large projects in CAD, and nothing quite compares to standing in front of the parts that are starting to look like what's been in your head for months.
Amazing! That feeling of awe looking at a naked camper frame takes me back to 2007 on a driveway in Montreal!!! Congrats!!!
 
I've continued work on the camper frame, but it's not exciting work. It's chamfer, clean, weld, grind, repeat. Not really anything to show pictures of. Ruminating more on the nature of large projects, most of the time working on something isn't progress pics that anyone but you cares about, it's repetitive work that slowly builds to a whole; also known as the time that gets edited out by the youtube content creators.

I've gotten all of the panels welded together. Most of those welds are cleaned up. I still need to come back with the die grinder to clean up welds in tight areas. Since I'm terrible at overhead welding, I pulled the frame off the truck and flipped it on its side to finish backside welding on some of the panels.

I have the pop-up roof started. The 12' x 6' rectangular frame is welded and the rafter assemblies are almost ready to attach to the frame. I'm using some pre-bent aluminum diamond plate for the top leading corner of the camper roof. It's 3" vertical, 3" at 45 degrees and 3" horizontal. I need the rafter assemblies to match that profile, so I built them with square ends, to do a final trim to match the diamond plate. These pieces allow me to use one large piece of ACM on the roof, avoiding a seam and opportunities for leaks.

It's raining here in Seattle for the next few days, so I'll not be working on much, but I'm hoping to have this thing ready for NWOR in June.
 

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