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Old 01-26-2018, 11:19 AM   #1
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Default "Ratcheting" Rooftop on a box truck?

Hey!

A while back I asked on here if it was feasible to raise the roof of a box truck. I've made it back to really wanting to move into full-time RVing in a camper conversion and, again, I'm considering a box truck pretty heavily.

I have been looking for inspiration in more radical tiny home designs and things of that sort, and recently had an idea that is maybe more practical than a straight-up roof raise. In my last thread, I mentioned that I really like the idea of a "loft" where I can sleep in a cab-over attic, and so I wanted to rasie the roof of a box truck with a cab-over attic...

Now, I'm wondering if, instead, I could create some sort of ratcheting rooftop that can be raised when I'm parked and lowered when it's time to hit the road. Similar to what I've seen in a lot of camper vans.

The execution I thought of was some sort of ratcheting mechanism with posts that can double as posts for stability and channels for my wiring and whatever accessories go along with roof-mounted fixtures. Has anyone done this? Any ideas on how I could execute on it?

Thanks!
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Old 01-26-2018, 12:40 PM   #2
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Firstly I would caution you that the roof is what holds the sides of the box together. If you take the roof of it will be flimsy like wet cardboard. Depending on your choice of truck a movers "high cube" would give you the most interior height.
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Old 01-26-2018, 12:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solo318 View Post
Firstly I would caution you that the roof is what holds the sides of the box together. If you take the roof of it will be flimsy like wet cardboard. Depending on your choice of truck a movers "high cube" would give you the most interior height.
Is it reasonable for me to reinforce the structure of the box with something like 2X4 framing? That would be useful for building out the interior, too.
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Old 01-26-2018, 12:47 PM   #4
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It depends on the box. the more structure you add up high the worse the truck drives. An frp box would be a stiffer box to start out, but harder to work with moving forward. The aluminum boxes use really crappy (light) z posts and they expect that the inside of the walls (plywood) will actually hold things together.
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Old 01-26-2018, 12:53 PM   #5
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The idea here is to stick close to the "stock" height of the box while I'm driving, but be able to extend the roof up to a more comfortable/luxurious height while I'm parked and camping. Driving around at the ~10' to ~11' stock height on the road and extending to a ~14'+ roof while camping.

My hope is that--besides adding weight by building a camper inside of the box--I wouldn't affect how the truck drives much at all. Hopefully when I'm driving I wouldn't have more than a few inches of added height.
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Old 01-28-2018, 06:05 PM   #6
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It's been done in a travel trailer. here is a video:


Agree with above poster, the structure of a van body depends on the walls, floor and roof working together as a unit and get real flimsy real fast when you start cutting out large chunks. And screwing together 2x4's would not be the answer, more like framing and bracing any cutouts with tubular steel framework.
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