Safety always comes first
For safety always use a rigid stay as a physical lock for when the camper top is open. I used a piece of 2 x 1” cut just shorter than the fully open height. These struts were then able to be positioned and loaded at this locked height.
Hinging the camper top
After a lot of consideration, I ended up hinging my camper top with 4 x 100mm hinges all of which were 4 x 6mm countersunk bolts on both sides of the hinge. Drilling and positioning this was the most difficult part of this process and required the assistance of the neighbours. I proceeded to measure, drill and bolt the butt hinges to the top, then moved the top onto the trailer and marked the position of the hinges, and removed it again. Then I proceeded to use an extra hinge as a template to mark the holes on the camper, this process allowed for some tolerance. Using a bit of Silastic, I held the bolts in position and held the hinges closed. Once again the neighbours were enlisted to lift the top back on while I did up the nuts.
Positioning the struts
There are many considerations to make for the fitment of gas struts to the camper. The size and design of kitchen or internal storage you have or are planning. Look for advice from an expert supplier for your camper gas struts, this way you will get the exact strut you require for your camper.
Useful Things to Know
- The total packed weight of the camper top. 150 kg in my case.
- Bathroom scales under one side give you half the weight of your top.
- The height you wish to open the top too, remembering the bedding is above.
Fitting the Brackets
The brackets need to be of durable strength to handle the forces involved. I used 6 x 40mm flat (one of the most common ones) for my brackets, and the top brackets were 200mm long to spread the load.
I decided to fit the sidewall mounts, and then I proceeded to position the top mounts. I then used a 30 mm spacer on the timber stay to open the top past my lock point. Attached the strut to the sidewall mount and then marked the location of the top mount and fastened. By removing the 30mm spacer, you have the struts under tension at the open position. This means they work or assist lifting through the whole range of the opening. I then finished up the job by using three offset cam latches to secure and lockdown the top.