MOUNTING AND DISMOUNTING YOUR BAKKIE CAMPER…..
IN 4 .EASY STEPS
For first time users, The Idea of reversing back and mounting your new Camper on the back of your Bakkie creates lots of uncertainty and insecurity’s.. Rest be assured!! Like riding your Bicycle for the first time without your training wheels …LOL , nerves at first ! but after you have done it once or twice it becomes 2nd nature
.First things first.
STEP # 1 Always try kept the camper on leave ground, its always a good Idea and safer place to start , So practise on the driveway at home or in a open parking lot .
With the tail gate on your Bakkie open… measure the distance from the floor/ ground to the top of the Bakkie tail gate see X in photo
This is going to be the height plus 50mm that you will need to lift the camper up to ,so the Campers clear on to the Bakkie bed, Please note .All the camper come standard with Mechanical operation legs, they are attached and secured to each corner of the campers body a total of four legs in all , Electrical motors can be fitted to each leg making them operate electrically with a remote control, this is added on as an extra so pleases ask for pricing Each leg is rated at lifting around 1,500 lbs or 680 kg plus. That is per leg so 680 kg x 4 = 2,720 KG . You get the idea, it is a lot of weight your camper legs can lift, FYI your Camper should never weigh more the 2,720 kg in total unless your carrying bricks inside it lol ? , Each leg can extend up lifting the camper up to 36 inches or 901 cm just shy of one meter, you will have more than enough height to lift the camper up to clear on to the bakkie bed ….Remember you never need to be up this high !!!!
DO NOT! …….DO NOT! …..EVER TRY LIVING IN YOUR CAMPER WITH ITS LEG EXTENDED UP ALL THE WAY.. HIGH UP!! DANGER…!!!. REMEMBER TOALLWAYS LOWER THE CAMPER DOWN TO THE LOWEST SETTING WHEN LIVING IN IT OF THE VEHICAL, WHEN ON SOFT OR UNSTABLE GROUND ALLWAYS PLACE A FLAT PIECE OF WOOD UNDER EACH LEG TO DISPLACE THE WEGHT .LIKE A SNOW SHOE.
STEP # 2 Now that your campers is high enough to clear over the tail gate ,and on to the Bakkie bed, please remember to give yourself a extra 50 mm for clearance, ( please use your best judgment .) You are now ready for a Good Start
Before you load your camper: -sweep the Bakkie bed clear of any debris or mess and consider putting down a protective rubber bed mat to help keep the camper stationary from any movement and from damaging the bakkie bed , now you can plug the 12 volt cable that comes supplied with your camper, plug it in to its power source of the vehicles charging system as this will charge the campers on board 12 volt battery when traveling or when the engine is running , leave the camper end of the plug hanging over the side panel or fender of the bakkie to be attached later when the camper is on the bakkie bed , Now lower the truck windows so the driver and the spotter / helper can communicate easily
Loading a camper onto the bed of a Bakkie can be made vastly easier with a straight stretch of level, smooth ground… equal to about 1 Bakkie-length between the camper and the Bakkie –
2 people: a driver and a spotter is a great Idea and first few times when learning the system, use the remote controller supplied for the electric camper legs if you have electric motors or the crack handle for the screw jacks
Now -practice by backing up and learning what it takes to reverse in a straight line and having equal distance between the wheel arches of the Bakkie bed and camper, reposition the bakkie to the center of the Camper if you come in off canter (tips follow) -allowing good daylight conditions to complete the job the first few times, Loading a camper back onto your Bakkie when camping is much easier if you are very selective about where you want to deposit your camper. Having relatively smooth, level ground for both the camper on jacks and for the approach of the Bakkie when you reload is a huge help, if not essential. When given a choice of campsites, you should scrutinize each site with reloading the camper in mind if you’re deciding to unload your camper. Having a straight shot about 1 Bakkie-length between the Bakkie and the camper helps, having the approach be on the same level as the camper is good, One person can do the whole job but it is definitely faster if the driver can stay in the bakkie for most of the process. Otherwise, the driver may have to hop out each time the Bakkie must be moved a few inches to each side and to check that the bakkie is continuing to track as intended. In order to retain your spotter, the spotter should only be expected to report observations like “The rear of the truck is too far to the left” or Right or “You’re about to hit on the passenger side” and not what needs to be done to make the correction. The driver must takes responsibility for determining what is needs to be done with the bakkie to make the corrections (If it isn’t going well, take a break instead of taking it out on your spotter.) they only there to help you Relax ..
Lining up the Bakkie with the Camper .The loading process begins with the driver backing up towards the camper, striving to be centred and having the Bakkie tracking in a straight line. Stop when there is roughly 4’ or 100 mm between the front edge of the camper overhang and the back tail gate of the bakkie. While still sitting in the cab, look over your right shoulder to confirm that the truck is about centred with the camper. If you are not satisfied with the positioning, then maneuverers the Bakkie until you are.
Next, get out of the Bakkie and stand at the center point of the front bumper, perhaps lining up with the manufacturer’s name plate on the grill. From this centered position, sight down the middle of the truck to determine if it lines up with the middle of the camper. In addition to checking for side to side centering from this position, confirm that the truck is square with the camper and not approaching the camper at a slight angle. Another good technic for checking your starting position is to stand 5-10’in or 250 cm in front of the Bakkie on the right side. Position yourself so the front jack is perfectly blocking your view of the back jack. Then note the distance between the rear bumper of the bakkie and the jacks as well if the bakkie looks square or at an angle to the camper. Move to the other side of the bakkie, again positioning yourself so the front jack on the left side perfectly blocks your view of the rear jack. Compare your assessments from the 2 positions, both for the centring of the bakkie with the camper and whether the bakkie is square with the camper or at an angle. If the Bakkie is out of alignment by a small amount, the needed fine-tuning can be made while backing up closer to the camper; if it is way-off, pull forward and try it again. This stage of aligning can be done by the driver alone though is faster with a helper.
STEP # 3
Reversing the Bakkie straight back to the camper till the front of the camper is about 50mm from the Back wall of the bakkie bed, Stop here and turn off the bakkie get out to making sure that when you bringing down the camper it is going clear any obstructions in the way, IE wheel arches etc. , You are now ready to start lowering the camper on to the bakkie bed, the best way to do this is to lower the two front legs first by about 150 m then moving to the back legs of the camper, do this to the two rear legs now , keep doing this in sequence till the camper is in and flat on the bakkie bed ,slight adjustments can be made before the camper is in full contact with the bakkie bed and should the camper be need to shift a few cm in each direction it can push or pulled as the camper is being lowered .
Now you’re on so lift all the legs up now till there is no more travel extended from your campers legs, the camper is now sitting on the bakkie bed under its own weight, all that needs to be done is to secure the camper to the bakkie with four mounting straps, Two front hooks on the camper will be attached by fasteners /webbing to the two mounting points on the Bakkies frame in front of the bakkie bed
and the two rear hooks of the camper will be attached to the vehicles frame or bumper securing to the rear, The front straps will stop the camper from ever sliding back if the vehicle is on a steep incline, and the two rear straps will stop the camper from sliding forward, under any sudden breaking or forward movement, steep downhill’s, when all the four straps are in place they will all to stop any lateral movement, and side shifting. Remembering never to ever over tighten the attachment straps as this is just not necessary!!! ,campers have been designed to sit in the bakkie bed under their own weight… this is how it has been done for the last 60 years with millions and millions of miles and Km tested, no need to reinvent the wheel , and yes it has been on bad roads to .. lol
Step # 4
You are now just about ready to hit the road on a great Adventurer or holiday and do it in style and comfort, but first you will need to plug in the power supply cord to the Camper, this will charge the camper batteries when traveling and keep them nice and full for when you stop, Make yourself a check list that you can follow each time you go away It will help you make sure that everything is working perfectly.
#1 Check the air in the bakkie tiers,
#2 Gas in bottle is full and turned off
#3 check the lights on the bakkie, tail lights head light running light, mirrors etc., it is always a good Idea to check and tighten the lug nut on your bakkie wheels making sure that they will not be coming of and overtaking you on the road .
#4 After going down the road the first 20 or 30 km make a stop and do a camper check…making sure that the camper has settled down in to its place and is all secure…. go around the camper and snug all the attachment straps down but do not over tighten !!
Be safe and enjoy!
Important information to remember
– battery disconnect ( red lever outside under bed area) should always be pushed in when using any function on the camper…. only disconnect when in storage to avoid possible battery drainage.
– some campers have the switch on the inside. It’s silver in color and should always be pulled out when using the camper.
Leg remote operating
– don’t forget to loosen ratchet straps before lifting the camper off bakkie
– for the legs to function the little switch inside needs to be activated – green light will show.
– should you misplace your leg remote there is a spare red remote and green light switch in battery storage box – this doesn’t have its own battery it needs to be plugged in however you can stand outside to use if necessary by opening small sliding window-the cable is long enough to reach outside Ps – it has a safety timing setting that switches off automatically after awhile when not in use.
– when lowering legs onto wet or soft soil you should place feet on a 20×20 plastic or wood block to avoid legs from “ dipping”
– legs can be manually operated by inserting a socket ratchet drive into the top of the leg( remove rubber cap)
Roof remote operating
– Remember to unclip 4x roof corner safety catches before lifting roof
– remember to close roofs vents when traveling or maneuvering into garage.
Activate remote- blue light will show. Roof lifts back first then front. Lift to full open – you will hear motors stop. Then just touch down switch so that the sides do not remain fully taught-this stops stretching and increases the lifespan.
-prior to lowering roof check that windows and doors closed to ensure that the fan can create the suction to pull the sides in. Fan should always be set to full for best results.
– Clear the working area of objects near the stove top and sink area so that cupboards are free to drop down when the roof is lowered.
If the remote fails there is the manual switch in the wood panel. If this also fails you can go directly to the controller behind the panel and feel/find 3 buttons. There is the round shaped on/off button and the up/down arrow shaped button
– P.S. if your roof is not lowering, place the camper on the bakkie bed and then try again
Fridge operating – SS 500
There is no temperature adjustment from the inside. Remove lower vent on the outside to adjust temperatures.
– ensure that fridge is only set to the desired power supply- it won’t work if more than one power switch is on simultaneously.
This is a gas absorption system which means it doesn’t have a compressor. It will take longer to get cold so it is advisable to switch it on the day prior to leaving on trip ( it usually takes around 4 hours to get to rhe coldest temperature which is -2/3
During very hot conditions one should try and ensure that the outside fridge vent is shaded as the system produces a lot of heat which, if trapped, affects cooling efficiency. A very effective way of ensuring good venting is to install 2 computer fans – one on bottom forcing heat up and one at the top of the vent that sucks it out however this would only be necessary in extremely hot weather.
– always set fridge on maximum
during day operation and reduce temp at night… if required so as not to freeze certain commodities however in hot weather reducing the temp shouldn’t be necessary.
– fridge should only run on dc/12v when vehicle enjine is running as it depletes the battery quickly ie if stopping for longer than one hour whilst traveling switch to gas then obviously return to dc when back on the road.
SS 550 and upwards
This fridge freezer combination will automatically search for the power source that the fridge is set on and as long as the “on” button on the fridge control panel is switched on it will send power to the unit….. and that goes for the gas as well. If it’s set on gas you will hear the igniter clicking until the pilot light ignites.
P.s both of these Dometic fridges are called absorption systems and have been developed for use in campers that are used off the grid as they offer 3 way versatility, namely, 220v , 12 v and gas operating options. They are extremely light on gas and function well. They should be switched on 24 hours prior to you camping trip and if possible stocked with already refrigerated products for best results.
It’s important to ensure that the system is well ventilated and parked on a level surface.
For info on these fridges there are a couple of informative you tube clips on the internet
– “ how an absorption fridge works” and
– “ tips and tricks to get the best out of your absorption fridge” ….. both by Searls rc centre.
Geyser operating- built in 22 litre tank
– ensure that water is transferred from the storage tank to the geyser- you can hear the water transferring- it takes 22 liters so once full top up the water tank.
– Ensure that the gas valve on gas bottle is open
– switch on the ignitor switch inside which will ignite the gas. The heat can be seen and felt at the exhaust outlet. It should take up to a half hour to heat up. Then it will automatically switch off and on to reheat when the temperature drops.
There is an automatic safety sensor that shuts the system down if the water runs dry whilst in use. If this happens it will require a reset by opening outside cover and pressing the reset button.
If the camper is not in use for a longish period of time you should drain the geyser. FYI it contains an anode that will continue to work – depending on quality of the water so the anode will deplete itself over time. To drain loosen the red valve under the camper. P. S. Don’t forget to close it again after drainage.
Tankless hot water system
This system will automatically ignite the gas / element when the hot water tap of the basin or shower is turned on and will give you endless hot water as long as there is water running through the system.To enable hot water supply open the outside cover and switch the little black rocker switch “ on”
It can remain in the on position during your camping trip. Remember that it will not switch on if the battery disconnect is not on.
There is a small black rocker switch near the heater face inside. Leave this on all the time when using the camper. It will normally purge whilst bleeding air out after-which the purging sound will cease.
Gas heater operating
You will find the temperature controller on the left side panel of the right seat near the other ports. The temperature switch has a sliding lever on the top. The off position is on the extreme left side. Then moving it right will increase the temperature with maximum being on the extreme right side. It has a thermostat that controls the inside temperature and will automatically switch on from time to time to maintain the desired temperature. Ps the fan will continue to run for a while after you switch it off to cool the system.
Camper water system
There are two filling points…. one is the filling inlet directly to the campers water tank- fill until it overflows. This tank supplies water to the basin and geyser/shower. The city water filling inlet requires a Gardena type of adapter ( make sure that you get the adapter with the course thread allowing it to screw all the way in. The fine thread doesn’t) this connection will be fastened to an appropriate length of hose for connection to a water supply tap at your campsite and as long as there is water pressure to this connecter you will have water available directly to the geyser and basin without it interfering with your tank water. In other words it by-passes the tank thereby ensuring that your tank water remains uncontaminated.
Drain plug for water tank
The drain plug is situated on the floor next to the tank. Pulling it upwards will open the valve to release water. Don’t forget to push it down again to close valve once drained.This method is quite slow and if it mounted on the bakkie it will obviously flood the bakkie bed. It’s more practical to drain the water by opening the basin tap.
Auxiliary water connection
If you open battery and water tank compartment you will see a pipe leading from the tank that has been capped on the one end. This can be joined and fed through the sidewall by means of drilling a hole through the right side to the wheel arch area where one could connect it to a auxiliary water supply tank.