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Old 03-10-2012, 09:34 AM   #1
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Jammer's 1970 Cayo C-11

Well gang it's not in hand yet but I have an agreement in place to purchase a C-11 in unusually good condition. It's a lengthy retrieval, over 500 miles one way, and I'm planning on making the trip two weeks from today. I've been watching for one for almost two years now.

I really like my 30' Airstream but there are a number of situations where it just doesn't work. The two main problems have been parking and ground clearance. I work in downtown St. Paul and there's no feasible way to park a 30' trailer within walking distance of my workplace, which complicates the sort of trips that originate at the end of the workweek. And while I haven't suffered any actual damage to the Airstream from a lack of ground clearance, there have been close calls, and some trips I've wanted to take but couldn't.

It's not Aluminitis. Really.

I have a longbed 3/4 ton pickup which also has served as a tow vehicle and which will carry the C-11. I started making preparations on it a year and a half ago, placing a 6-way electrical connector in the bed. I've just finished installing tiedowns on the truck frame, and have placed a rubber mat in the bed. I installed some stiffer rear shocks a while ago, and I'm replacing the rear tires with load range E tires for a stiffer ride to avoid lateral sway.

One of the advantages of truck campers is that there's no running gear, which should simplify the retrieval.

I'll post some pictures of the truck mods later and of the C-11 once I have it in hand.
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:37 AM   #2
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Awesome, I love those campers. Will look forward to pics and all your "fix-up" and MODS!
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:57 AM   #3
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:35 AM   #4
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I've started with the tow vehicle mods.

Here are some photos of the brackets for the front tiedowns, underneath the front of the bed. They attach to the frame rails with 1/2" bolts. It took some drilling and also involved the relocation of the connector for one of the oxygen sensors.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:47 AM   #5
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I'm modifying the truck's electrical system.

The late 1990s Chevrolet trucks came with an AD230 alternator. It's a well-designed alternator with a maximum output of around 100 amps, and will develop maybe 60 amps at idle. I'm planning to replace it with the AD244 alternator that was used a few years later as an option. It's a similar design but with a larger frame, which boosts the idle output to around 100 amps and the maximum to 140 amps. The mounts and connectors are identical but I'll have to change to a slightly larger serpentine belt.

The photo shows the DR44 in my Suburban, which is outwardly identical to the AD244 but has a cost-reduced diode bridge.

I'm also rewiring my dual battery setup. Most full-size pickups have factory provisions for a second battery, and the former owner of mine installed one or perhaps ordered it that way from the factory. The old wiring had them in parallel. I'm replacing one with a group 24 deep cycle, and will connect it to the electrical system through an isolation relay. Then it will be wired to the charge line to the camper, so it will work in parallel with the camper battery to provide 12v power.

I don't anticipate using shore power with this camper, at least not routinely. I'm not sure if it has a converter, since many were made without them. The truck will provide all the electricity.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:53 AM   #6
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Just a thought, and I don't know if it would physically fit without a lot of bracket mods, but the 2005 and prior Impala 9C1 (police squad) used a bosch alternator which put out 90% of it's available output at idle specifically for long accident scene idle times. IIRC, it was a 160amp max output.

EDIT: model year correction
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:22 AM   #7
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I installed the electrical connector in the bed two years ago when I put the trailer connector in place. The wires go along the left frame rail, up the driver's side between the inside and outside bed walls, and then across the front of the bed in the square section at the top of the bed, finally dropping down to the connector. Everything's spliced together with the trailer connector using solder and heat shrink, and the whole thing is encased in wire loom. The charge line and ground connection are six gauge.

You can also see the 1/2" thick rubber mat I bought at a farm store. It should help cushion and stabilize the C-11.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Just a thought, and I don't know if it would physically fit without a lot of bracket mods, but the 2005 and prior Impala 9C1 (police squad) used a bosch alternator which put out 90% of it's available output at idle specifically for long accident scene idle times. IIRC, it was a 160amp max output.

EDIT: model year correction
The Impala uses a T-mount rather than the dual-spool mount used on the trucks so it would be difficult to make it fit, requiring a custom bracket adapter. The Bosch is smaller than the AD244 and may have been used in the Impala because of space constraints. The amp ratings are similar. I show 125 amps for the Bosch.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
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The late 1990s Chevrolet trucks came with an AD230 alternator.
Correcting myself, it's a CS130D alternator that's stock in these. The AD230 wasn't used until 2000, I guess.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:12 AM   #10
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The electrical modifications to my truck have proven to be more expensive and time consuming than I anticipated, no doubt a situation unique to the initial phases of this project that will not repeat itself .

The auxiliary battery tray on the driver's side of the truck doesn't have enough vertical clearance for a group 24 deep cycle battery without cutting away part of one of the hood ribs. But the passenger side battery tray has just enough clearance. Unfortunately, the starter is on the passenger side, and the OEM cabling connects it to the passenger side battery. Nothing that $100 of copper and half a day in the garage can't fix.

I chose to switch from the OEM side terminal cables to more readily available top terminals for the starting (chassis) battery, and am using the threaded stud terminals on the camper battery so that it's obvious which is which to anyone working under the hood.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:15 AM   #11
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Proper termination and correct use of tiedowns is critical with heavier gauge cable. It is also time consuming. I'm using 2 AWG welding cable for the larger amp runs. The lugs are all soldered and heat-shrinked, and supported by rubber-coated metal cable clamps at critical points. It's important to support the cables in a way that won't allow them to turn on the terminal posts, thus loosening the nuts.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:23 AM   #12
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I've chosen to connect the camper battery to the alternator through a simple (albeit large) relay. In automotive parlance they're called continuous-duty solenoids. It turns on when the ignition is on. There are fancier electronic battery isolators out there, but they're expensive, especially for larger modern alternators, and in practice they don't work any better.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:27 AM   #13
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It sounds like you have a lot of the bases covered. The only other thing you may want to install is a heavy duty (larger diameter) sway bar on the rear truck axle.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:28 AM   #14
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The camper/trailer wiring is pretty much unchanged since I installed it to use with my Airstream. It's just fed by the auxiliary battery now rather than the fuse block.

From left to right: the running lights relay, running lights breaker, trailer brake controller breaker, and charge line breaker.

I'm going to retain the towing capabilities even though the truck won't be able to tow my 30' classic while the camper is in the bed. Something lighter would be practical, like a boat trailer of modest size.
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