The Northstar Arrow 8.5 cabover camper is now securely bolted to the aluminum frame and chassis of the GMC 2500HD. Welds are in place. Water and propane tanks are full. I guess it is time to load up the dogs and humans and take it for a test trip!
We headed out to the nearby patch of muddy desert and claimed a flat space alongside the sister in her behemoth RV!
Then before we could settle in to relax, it was time to head out for some rough road testing. So the two guys took off to try to snap some welds or loosen some bolts. They located a suitably bumpy road and tested the rig thoroughly.
Then they brought it back and we parked it level again. There we spent two nights sleeping, reading, making coffee and peeing inside. Okay, that might be TMI for you, dear reader. But when the desert wind is blowing cold in the night- there is nothing like the convenience of an in-house toilet. One of the very reasons we started this build in the first place.
So, what did we learn from this test run? We learned that the folks at AT Overland made an incredibly strong, agile and functional frame to hold our camper. We also learned that the frame would require some modification. The section right above the rear wheel did not offer enough clearance. The tire scraped on the frame during the extreme bumps. But that was the only issue we discovered, and it is an easy fix. The next photo shows the change in the frame to allow for the full range of motion of the rear wheels. We consider this test run to be a success!
One short section of aluminum C-frame was cut away. This removes the risk of the tire scraping the frame on bumpy roads. No change to mounting bolts, welds or structural integrity.
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