DIY Camper Shell Removal Rack---Make Your Truck a Truck Again

Who wants to build some big ol' sawhorses? 

This is the first of a few DIY projects for those of you, like me, who are always starting another project, another project to better do something---to more efficiently store gear, to make outdoor pursuits a bit more pleasant, or in this case, make your truck a truck again for whatever "truck" activities life sometimes requires.

If you've got a camper shell, you probably got it for the practicality.  Your truck is now essentially a "SUV," with all the extra storage, double the storage than those flat "toppers" that sit level with the bed rails, storage protected from the rain, wind, and a bit safer from the opportunistic thief who eyes those tools or hunting gear in your open truck bed.  

However, sometimes you want to use your truck for "truck stuff."  That's really why you have a truck after all, isn't it?  Hauling some trash to the dump, moving a couch across town, the list goes on.  

As heavy as my camper shell is, it could be a pain to even lift off with two guys.  Before, I'd hoisted the camper shell from garage rafters, using some 2x4s and ratchet straps.  But now, my shed was too low.  I also wanted to be able to remove it solo.  The solution was some big ol' sawhorses, an idea I got from this youtube video.  There are now companies making metal stands to accomplish this, but 2x4s are a whole lot cheaper.  

I used twenty 2x4x8s for the sawhorses, and two 2x4x12s for the boards that the camper shell would actually rest on.  I measured the height of my truck bed rails, around 51", and cut the leg 2x4s down to around 56" (the youtube video had a bed rail at 54" and legs at 58").  If you do this, you'll want to figure out your leg height based on how high your bed rail is.  

I started by building two "I-beams" that form the top of the sawhorse, centering the middle board and tying it together with screws maybe a foot or two apart. Unlike the video, I did not use any sort of adhesive in addition.  I used the full 8' length for these I-beams, to give myself plenty of room when positioning the camper.  

I then attached the legs, one side at a time, with two screws from the top, and four on the side, wedged at an angle between the top of the "I" and the center of the "I."  With the screws not sunk in all the way, you can then still control the angle of the legs, and narrow or widen to your liking.  Just measure to make sure the distance between the legs on either side is the same.  Then I  fully sunk in the screws and attached the lower leg supports.  The things are remarkably strong and sturdy. 

To remove the camper shell solo, back between the two sawhorse stands.  Remove the bolts or hardware attaching the camper to the truck bed rails.  Place and ready the cross supports across the rear of the stands.  I then climb in the truck bed, and then lift the camper shell up with my back, like a squat.  While holding it up an inch or two, I'll then slide in the 2x4x12 cross supports.  Make sure the camper shell is centered and balanced, and drive on out.  Pop in some extra 2x4s to support the cross pieces.  In five minutes or less, you've got a truck again.  




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