FG53EC Ex-firetruck Camper build. Help, advice needed.

nobadroads

New member
Hi!

So I got to build a camper for my 2000 FG53EC Mitsubishi Canter it is 4x4 quad cab Japanese ex fire truck with 20k km.
Currently I deleted all the fire equipment and left with subframe where this equipment was sitting and not sure what is my next move. At the end I want it to become an adventure mobile for the family of 4.
Right now I'm looking at the frame and it looks very short, I know that some people extend the frame on these, but for me it sounds very expensive. My idea is to build the camper as long as the original fire box was ending which is about 2.63m in length (103.5 inches) from the cab to edge of original set up, but I'm afraid it will be way too far in the back from the rear axel, it there "safe", good measurements where the rear of the camper has to be compared to the rear axel? As for the roof I was thinking about a pop-up top because Im pretty tall and the camper will be like 40cm (16")1000038046.jpg1000038048.jpg1000038060.jpg above the cab if I build a solid box, but on the other hand the pop-up is a bit complex to build and less versatile compared to the solid box.
Also I'm not sure if I need a sub frame to sit on something like spring brackets to compensate for the frame twist or I can just continue building on the existing sub frame?
I think I will be welding the camper box from 2" square tube steel and covering it with ACM panels and polyiso insolation in between.

So yes, I'm not sure how to start and where to start.I would love to hear your suggestions and Advice.

Thank you.
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SkiFreak

Crazy Person
Your profile does not say where you are from, but I am guessing it is either the US or Canada.
Why is this important? Well... different locations have different rules/laws.

Here in Australia we have something called the 60% rule, which limits the maximum overhang at the rear to 60% of the wheelbase, measured from the centerline of the rear axle.
This rule does not apply to the US or Canada, but in my option, it's a pretty decent rule to follow, as too much rear overhang can result in excessive weight behind the rear wheels which would affect driving dynamics.
 

nobadroads

New member
Thank you for your reply.
I'm from Canada, I guess I have to figure out local rules, but judging from the perspective that my vehicle passed mandatory Vehicle inspection and legal to drive the original length is within local rules. Wasn't going to make it any longer than what it was.
 

Victorian

Approved Vendor : Total Composites
I would put some weight on the truck, lift up one side of the rear wheels and check for frame flex.
 
I don’t see why one could not extend further than the current frame. I just would not put any weight back there. If you just have a habitat extending back past the frame, and not batteries, water tanks and heavy built ins I think you would be fine. I built a canvas pop up and I love it and hate it.
Amazing for driving in, don’t have to worry about hitting things. It’s great for off-roading cause it’s not top heavy. But it’s a pain for condensation and when it’s real cold. If I had to do it again I would do a solid panel pop up.
 

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SkiFreak

Crazy Person
Do you have a layout plan?
A concern I would have is how you are going to comfortably sleep 4 in a space that size.
There are plusses and minuses to a luton peak, but in your situation one may be advantageous.
 
I'm pretty sure Mitsubishi truck dealers can extend the frame with pre-built sections that get riveted in. I have no idea what it costs, but I know a guy who did this to a Canter in the US. This also requires extending the driveline, wiring, brakelines, etc... so it probably adds up fast.

That being said, building a camper on the existing frame and length should be at least as ok as the fire equipment was.
 
The 60% rule is pretty reasonable.
When I shipped my vehicle to Australia, it was slightly <60% without the spare tire, slightly >with spare. But the place where I got the temporary permit was forgiving because it’s a foreign vehicle and also it was just the tire.
 

nobadroads

New member
Do you have a layout plan?
A concern I would have is how you are going to comfortably sleep 4 in a space that size.
There are plusses and minuses to a luton peak, but in your situation one may be advantageous.
No plan yet. It will be two adults and two kids the oldest is 5, but definitely have to build for the future. Yes, I think I will have to include Luton peak at least to the mid section of the cab.
 

nobadroads

New member
I'm pretty sure Mitsubishi truck dealers can extend the frame with pre-built sections that get riveted in. I have no idea what it costs, but I know a guy who did this to a Canter in the US. This also requires extending the driveline, wiring, brakelines, etc... so it probably adds up fast.

That being said, building a camper on the existing frame and length should be at least as ok as the fire equipment was.
I know one guy who did frame extension in Canada I think his cost was 5k CAD cash, and he extended the frame for 1.22m.

Now I have to decide for myself. Is as far as existing equipment is enough for the future or not haha.
 

nobadroads

New member
I don’t see why one could not extend further than the current frame. I just would not put any weight back there. If you just have a habitat extending back past the frame, and not batteries, water tanks and heavy built ins I think you would be fine. I built a canvas pop up and I love it and hate it.
Amazing for driving in, don’t have to worry about hitting things. It’s great for off-roading cause it’s not top heavy. But it’s a pain for condensation and when it’s real cold. If I had to do it again I would do a solid panel pop up.
Nice set up!
I will keep my build as far as the original equipment, unless I extend the frame. And yes, got to be careful where I put weight.
Condensation will be my biggest concern with pop up camper. I live In PNW in Canada and it rains alot here. Currently I have a roof top tent on my Toyota 4runner and I have to think twice when I go camping because if it rains how I'm going to dry it.
 

SkiFreak

Crazy Person
If you are not planning on installing a pass-thru, a hard sided poptop is not that technically challenging and definitely the way to go if you want to negate/minimize the condensation issue.

If you need someone else's build to give some motivation, check out Scott's camper. It's a work of art!
 
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nobadroads

New member
If you are not planning on installing a pass-thru, a hard sided poptop is not that technically challenging and definitely the way to go if you want to negate/minimize the condensation issue.

If you need someone else's build to give some motivation, check out Scott's camper. It's a work of art!
Thank you. This is really great build, I don't think I have resources to do something like this.
 

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