How to care for tie downs and turnbuckles

TDTBTruck campers are the perfect way to enjoy the great outdoors without having to bother with tent camping or sacrifice on comfort. At its most basic level, a truck camping rig consists of a truck that has a truck camper, also known as a slide-in camper, and the accessories to hold the camper down in the bed. These accessories include truck camper tie downs and turnbuckles. 


Below is a guide on the best way to care for your truck camper accessories to make sure they have a full, long life with plenty of camping adventures ahead of them.

  
TDTB 1Tie Downs
The best way to secure your truck camper to your truck are frame-mounted tie downs. Not to be confused with bed-mounted tie downs, as they attach to the bed or bumper of your truck and could potentially cause damage by pulling and yanking the truck bed sheet metal. Torklift’s frame-mounted tie downs are designed to incorporate four tie down points that bolt directly to the truck’s frame which is the strongest part of your truck. 


 When it comes to maintenance for steel tie downs, there’s a couple of easy guidelines to follow:
 
1.) Regularly clean and inspect your tie downs – this is incredibly important! Due to the harsh and sometimes extreme under-vehicle environment that your tie downs live in, the best thing to do is regularly clean your tie downs after each trip to prevent potential for rust. 

2.) Touch up any affected areas – if you are starting to see that some areas have been affected by the road debris and grime, you can touch up the spots with enamel or urethane based aerosol paint products. A good example of this is Rust-Oleum. 

TDTB 2If you have the aluminum and stainless steel Talon truck camper tie downs, you won’t have to worry about rust! They offer rust free corrosion protection for life. Maintenance of your tie downs to ensure maximum use is important to make sure they work properly. Even just wiping down and cleaning them at the end of each camping trip once you return home will help them maintain a long life. 

TDTB 3Also available as an accessory for the steel truck camper tie downs and come automatically with each Talon tie down kit is the Torklift Finishing Kit. Designed to protect your tie downs when you’re not using them to haul your truck camper, simply remove the tie down insert, replace it with our special protective foam inside the frame mounted portion of the tie down and cap it with our finishing kit. This will help prevent any water or debris from entering your tie downs when not in use and keep them in great condition! 


Turnbuckles
TDTB 4Also known as the ‘hold down’ portion for your truck camper, turnbuckles are used with tie downs to make sure your truck camper stays attached to your truck while you’re hauling it down the road. The best example of a truck camper turnbuckle is the number one selling FastGun. These stainless steel truck camper turnbuckles come in sets of two and are spring-loaded with spring tension indicators. What does that mean? It means that you can quickly determine the correct tension needed to hold down your truck camper. Manufacturer recommended tension is 300 pounds to be applied for securing the truck camper properly. 

Torklift uses quality grade 304 stainless steel that is well known for its anti-corrosive properties. However, there are some coastal regions where stainless steel can come in contact with road chemicals and other harsh debris that could potentially affect the finish. The best way to avoid this possibility is a quick and easy solution: simply use WD-40 and a microfiber cloth to wipe down the turnbuckles. To give your polished FastGun turnbuckles an attractive finish, we suggest using an approved stainless steel chrome or aluminum wheel polish. 

For questions about the upkeep and maintenance of your tie downs and turnbuckles, or for more information on any of the products mentioned, contacts us at 800-246-8132 or shop now at one of our Torklift Certified Dealers.

WHERE TO BUY BOTTON

kerstinWritten by Kerstin Stokes:
As a graduate from the College of Idaho with a B.A. in both History and Art, Kerstin has found her passion for writing and marketing, and has loved every minute of working for Torklift for over 2 years. She enjoys looking up tasty recipes for baking and daydreaming about future travels. 

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Three reasons why Torklift turnbuckles outperform hold down straps

Whether securing a truck camper, recreational equipment or motorized vehicles, using hold down straps made from polyester webbing is a risky route. Depending on what you are towing or hauling in your truck bed or trailer, it’s critical to follow all safety precautions. Road safety is important, not only for yourself but for other drivers.

Torklift turnbuckles outperform hold-downs or ratchet straps due to the following:

b2ap3_thumbnail_lost-straps.png1) Tie me down or lose me

Hold-down straps are prone to tangle easily and are quite a hassle to adjust. Once you’ve managed to get them on the vehicle, hold-down straps or ratchet straps easily fall off and are lost during transit. Have you encountered a truck on the highway with long ropes or hold-down straps flapping along in the wind? Did you switch lanes? The more movement, the looser and less secure the straps become. Loose straps are a good indication that the load is not safely secured.

When using a Torklift turnbuckle like the Original FastGun, securing a load becomes hassle-free.

The FastGun turnbuckle is the easiest turnbuckle to use because:
     -  Once assembled, installs in just minutes
     -  Quick-disconnect handle for ease of use
     -  100% tool free
     -  Length can be adjusted with a simple twist
     -  Lockable, so you know your load is secure (whether stationary or in transit)

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FastGun turnbuckle won’t tangle

There are many styles of turnbuckles available, although other applications may require tools and adjustment. If convenience is important to you, consider FastGun turnbuckles in any application that requires securing your valuable items.  

2) Hold on tight

b2ap3_thumbnail_tension.pngWith strap tie downs or ratchet straps, there is no way to determine appropriate tension. Regardless the application (truck camper, trailer loads, etc.), the correct amount of tension is crucial to transport items safely. The likelihood of failing straps or lost loads is greatly increased by guessing tension. Safety should never be a guessing game and is much too hazardous.

b2ap3_thumbnail_spring-tension.pngTo prevent failed hold-downs and unbearable pressure to tie down anchors, it’s essential to use a spring-loaded method. Transporting over uneven roads causes the tension on tie down straps to spike to levels several times the static tension.  Ratchet straps or hold-downs also stretch when stressed due to sudden movement. Unfortunately they don’t stretch or compress back like a spring would. The spring design acts as a shock absorber, protecting any anchor points you are using.

Torklift International FastGun turnbuckles are:
     -  Spring-loaded
     -  Equipped with the patented O-ring tension indicator to guarantee tension

The spring in FastGun turnbuckles allow some give when your vehicle encounters unfavorable road conditions. Depending on the application and desired tension, the FastGuns have the ability to apply up to 450 pounds of spring-loaded pressure.

3) You’re Busted

Hold-downs made from rope and polyester nylon often fray and rot. Avoid the possibility of busted straps by using a Torklift International FastGun turnbuckle. Its unwavering strength and durability come with Torklift’s legendary lifetime warranty.

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FastGun turnbuckles are composed of:
     -  100 percent stainless steel
     -  Lever action handle made from aircraft grade aluminum
     -  Available in high impact powder coated finishesb2ap3_thumbnail_fastgun-finishes-final.png

Due to the durability of these materials, each Torklift FastGun turnbuckle boasts a pull down rating of 2,500 pounds.

The stainless steel composition helps protect from the effects of rust and corrosion. The FastGun is also available in finishes of stainless steel high impact powder coated bright white, grey and black. High impact powder coat helps to further protect the turnbuckles from the elements. The turnbuckles require little maintenance and are very easy to clean.b2ap3_thumbnail_fastgun-reviews.png

Scott from Colorado uses FastGun turnbuckles.

“I finally broke down and bought some FastGuns,” said Scott.  “I have to tell you they are terrific. Well-made and engineered.”

When towing or hauling items in a trailer or truck bed, road safety is not an area we can afford to be careless. In most cases, hold-down straps or ratchet straps are insufficient in supporting loads while traveling.

Discover additional applications for turnbuckles and click here to learn more about the Torklift International FastGun turnbuckle. 

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8 easy steps to determine correct tension on truck camper turnbuckles

After you’ve selected turnbuckles for your truck camper, it’s crucial that the turnbuckles are installed and adjusted properly. A very important aspect of installing turnbuckles on a camper is applying the correct amount of tension. Proper tension on a turnbuckle is designed to correctly connect the truck camper tie downs to the camper anchor points.

  


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FastGun truck camper turnbuckle

How do you know how to find the proper tension on a truck camper turnbuckle?

Camper manufacturers suggest that 300 pounds of tension be applied to secure the camper properly. The easiest way to achieve this is with a turnbuckle that uses our patented spring tension indicator such as FastGun turnbuckles, SpringLoad XL turnbuckles and AnchorGuard Derringer turnbuckles.

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FastGun turnbuckle

If there is not enough tension you could potentially lose your camper or the camper could shift within the truck bed. If there is too much tension you may damage the anchor points on your camper. Torklift turnbuckles are spring-loaded to avoid any potential damage to tie downs or camper anchor points.

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Example of damage to a camper anchor point

Avoid damage to your camper and truck by using spring-loaded turnbuckles with the proper amount of tension applied. Torklift’s patented spring tension indicator is a round O-ring used as a gauge to set your spring tension.

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Spring tension indicator on FastGun turnbuckle



As an example, follow these 8 easy steps to determine the correct turnbuckle tension with a Torklift International FastGun turnbuckle:

1)   Hang the FastGun truck camper turnbuckle upper hook from the camper anchor point

2)   Adjust the threaded hook bolt so the bottom of it is approximately 1/2 inch above the tie down insert (The handle on the FastGun turnbuckle should be in closed position)

3)   Open the handle on the FastGun turnbuckle

4)   Hook the bottom hook bolt into the tie down anchor point

5)   Pull the lever handle down until you begin to feel spring tension
      Hint: The hole for the snapper pin should be nearly blocked half way



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FastGun Handle

6)   Adjust the round O-ring up against the bottom of the FastGun turnbuckle

7)   Snap down the FastGun handle
How to install and adjust turnbuckles - Torklift International

8)   Snapping the handle down should result in the round O-ring being spaced approximately 1/4 inch below the body of the FastGun turnbuckle

b2ap3_thumbnail_tension-before-after.pngSpring tension indicator on FastGun turnbuckle

The quarter inch space visible between the O-ring and body of the turnbuckle indicates the internal spring within the turnbuckle is activated and compressed.  You have now achieved the proper 300 pounds of tension.

Now that you’ve successfully secured the camper turnbuckles, avoid stolen turnbuckles by securing them with locks. Torklift International FastGuns have locking capability with FastGun Locks. With keyed-alike snap lock design, they come in a set of four and have weather caps to protect from debris.  

To learn more about how to install truck camper turnbuckles, watch a full demonstration here:

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Not just for truck campers: 7 different ways to use turnbuckles

People refer to turnbuckles in several different ways. Hold downs, pull downs, binders and the most commonly used, tie downs. Referring to turnbuckles as tie downs is confusing to some, as tie downs are the system in which you install in order to secure a truck camper to a truck.

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Even though there are several ways to refer to a turnbuckle, this tool serves one simple purpose. That purpose is to connect two entities. When strapping down anything from a heavy load or large machinery to recreational equipment like kayaks or motorbikes, Torklift International turnbuckles safely secure your valuable items.

Turnbuckles are used for several applications:  

1) TOY HAULER: Strap down bikes and other toys to make sure they stay in place during transport. Many toy haulers have E-Tracks with loops that work well with Torklift International turnbuckles.  

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E-Tracks in toy haulers | Harley Davidson motorcycle secured with FastGuns

2) TRAILER: Turnbuckles like the FastGun make application quick and easy when it comes to strapping down items to a trailer. The FastGun’s lockable feature allows you to prevent theft when leaving items on the trailer for extended time periods. Click here to learn more about FastGun Locks.

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FastGuns secure an ATV to a trailer

3) SLED DECK: For those who snowmobile and use sled deck applications for a truck bed, a secure way to mount a sled deck is with the AnchorGuard Derringer turnbuckle.

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Mounting a sled deck with turnbuckles

4) FLAT BED: Hold down a truck camper or other items to your flatbed truck with quick-disconnect turnbuckles.

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Torklift FastGun turnbuckles on Flat bed truck

5) TRUCK DECK CARGO: Once the sled deck or truck deck is secured to your vehicle, strap down ATVs, bikes or snowmobiles with a Short Range FastGun. A derringer handle can also be added to any basic turnbuckle to make it quick-disconnect.

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Short Range FastGuns hold down an ATV  | 
Long Range FastGuns
secure a truck deck to tie downs

6) WATERCRAFT: Secure your boat to a boat trailer to avoid shifting while on the road. Turnbuckles are also useful to tie larger watercraft to a dock.

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Short-range FastGun holding a boat to a boat trailer

7) AIRCRAFT: From seaplanes to helicopters, turnbuckles easily connect the aircraft to any surface for transportation.

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FastGun secures helicopter to landing pad on ship deck


Torklift International FastGun Turnbuckle
T
orklift offers a variety of turnbuckle designs, however the top selling and most popular turnbuckle is the FastGun.



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Torklift FastGun Turnbuckle in high impact powder coat grey

Why is the FastGun turnbuckle the best turnbuckle available? As the fastest turnbuckle application on the market, the FastGun does not require tools for installation once assembled. The quick disconnect feature makes adjustment extraordinarily quick and easy.b2ap3_thumbnail_fg-liberty-tli.png

The body of the turnbuckle is made from 100 percent stainless steel while its lever-action handle is made from aircraft grade aluminum. Due to the durability of these materials, each FastGun turnbuckle boasts a pull down rating of 2,500 pounds. Long Range FastGuns reach from 25 to 43 inches and Short Range or  “.45” style reaches from 14.5 to 21.5 inches.  

All Torklift turnbuckles are made in the USA and covered by Torklift International’s legendary lifetime warranty.

Click here for more details on the FastGun turnbuckle. If you have questions on what turnbuckle works best for your specific application, call Torklift Tech Support at 800-246-8132.

Related: 11 reasons why the FastGun turnbuckle is the No.1 turnbuckle in the world

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3 ways to protect turnbuckle finish and prevent corrosion

Torklift International turnbuckles are made from stainless steel. As a complex metal that has the strength of steel and the ability to reduce the rusting effects of iron, this is the strongest and best material for truck camper turnbuckles.

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Basic turnbuckles and polished FastGun turnbuckles

Stainless steel is used where both the properties of steel and resistance to corrosion are required. It’s well known for its ability to prevent corrosion and rust. Dirt, dust and grime, however, put stainless steel at risk. Luckily, stainless steel responds well to cleaning and never wears from excessive cleaning, as long as certain rules are followed.

Here are three simple cleansing techniques that we suggest for standard turnbuckle maintenance:

1. Water and a cloth
Routine cleaning can be accomplished with warm water and a cloth. This is the least risky option for cleansing stainless steel. Dry with a towel or cloth to prevent water spots and be sure to wipe in the direction of the polish lines.

2. Mild detergent, (dish washing liquid) and clothb2ap3_thumbnail_detergent.png
For cleaning that needs a bit more power, mild detergent and warm water is an effective solution to use without damaging the stainless steel. It’s important to thoroughly rinse the surface to prevent staining and spotting. Drying with a towel can prevent water spots caused by minerals in water.

3. Stainless steel cleanerb2ap3_thumbnail_cleaner.png
If you’ve experienced stains or scratches, or need to polish your stainless steel, a stainless steel cleaner is a good option. Some of these cleaners and polishes can help minimize scratching and remove stains. They also can polish stainless steel surfaces nicely. Read the directions on the stainless steel cleaner and test in an inconspicuous spot. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and towel dry.

Stainless steel does not stain, corrode or rust as easily as carbon steel, but it is not stain proof and requires regular up keep. All "stainless" steels can corrode under the wrong conditions. It’s best to avoid exposure to chlorides, as this has harsh effects on turnbuckles.

High quality finish makes a differenceb2ap3_thumbnail_fastgun_finishes.png
To further protect your turnbuckles, Torklift International offers stainless steel styles that are also finished with a high impact powder coat. The high impact powder coated turnbuckles require less maintenance as protection from rust and corrosion is greatly increased.

The FastGun turnbuckle is available in stainless steel polished, stainless steel high impact powder coated bright white, grey and black.

b2ap3_thumbnail_power-coating.pngTorklift International completes its automated 5-stage powder coating process in our manufacturing facility from start to finish. From our sandblasting, cleanse and hand-sprayed powder coating that adheres through electro static, this extensive process ensures the greatest quality and protection a finish can provide.

Click here to see why the most popular and best-selling turnbuckle is the Torklift International FastGun with quick-disconnect lever action handle.

To learn more about different styles of turnbuckles, read our detailed editorial on what type of turnbuckle you need to secure your camper.

Regular care and proper turnbuckle maintenance ensures your turnbuckles withstand any effects of corrosion or rust. If you have any additional questions in regards to Torklift International turnbuckles, feel free to contact our Tech Support at support@torklift.com or by calling 800-246-8132.

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11 reasons why the FastGun turnbuckle is the No.1 turnbuckle in the world

If you are just getting started in the world of truck camping, you’ll be faced to make some decisions on how you want to go about hauling your new investment. Things you should consider are safety, stability and convenience so you can thoroughly enjoy the truck camping lifestyle.

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To hold down your camper, the type of tie down and turnbuckle you choose is important. If you are still considering what type of tie downs to use, make sure to read our editorial on how to prevent bed damage while hauling a truck camper. If you’ve selected a tie down system, what’s the next step in determining what you need to haul a truck camper?

Our 11 reasons why the FastGun turnbuckle is the number one selling turnbuckle in the world will provide some valuable insight.

Turnbuckles are critical in connecting your truck and truck camper to its tie down system. When it comes to turnbuckles, you might be wondering what design will work best for your application. The Torklift International FastGun turnbuckle is the best turnbuckle available.

Here’s why:

1) Installs in just 4 minutes
As the fastest turnbuckle application available, you will not find a more convenient turnbuckle on the market.  Other applications may require tools and adjustment, forcing you to spend up to 30 minutes to secure your camper. Once assembled, adjustment of the FastGuns only takes 4 minutes.

Take a look at how to install a camper turnbuckle in this quick video:

2) Quick-disconnect handle for ease of use
The disconnect feature of the Torklift International FastGun makes adjustment extraordinarily quick and easy. After inserting the hook bolt of the turnbuckle into the camper anchor point, the lever action handle allows for you to simply snap down to secure your turnbuckle to your camper and make sure it is properly tensioned.

Turnbuckles by Torklift International

3) 100% tool freeb2ap3_thumbnail_toolfree.png
Go ahead and toss those pliers and crescent wrench aside. This truck camper turnbuckle is completely hassle-free and does not require any tools to make minor adjustments. Simply twist the turnbuckle to adjust its length.

4) Set it and forget it
Once your FastGun turnbuckle is adjusted to the proper length, the turnbuckles remain set at the length you’ve chosen, requiring little to no further adjustment. The FastGun also comes with stickers for you to mark their proper location. Mark whether they are driver or passenger, front or back position to allow easy re-installation. b2ap3_thumbnail_fg-stick.png
FastGun Turnbuckle labels indicate turnbuckle position on your vehicle

5) Made in America from quality materials
The body of the turnbuckle is made from 100% stainless steel. The lever-action handle is made from aircraft grade aluminum. Due to the durability of these materials, each FastGun turnbuckle boasts a pull down rating of 2,500 pounds . With four of these turnbuckles securing your camper, you can be confident your camper is stable while on the road.

6) Multiple applications
Although Torklift recommends a frame-mounted tie down system to secure a truck camper, the FastGun turnbuckles can be used with both frame-mounted and bed-mounted tie down systems. Torklift does not make a bed-mounted tie down system but other brands do.

Long Range FastGuns are made for frame-mounted tie downs with a reach of 25 to 43 inches. These are also used for rear bumper mounted tie downs.

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Long Range FastGun turnbuckle

The Short Range or “.45” style is designed for bed-mounted tie downs with a reach of 14.5 to 21.5 inches.  
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Short Range FastGun turnbuckle

7) Sping-loadedb2ap3_thumbnail_potholes.png
In order to prevent damage to the anchor points on your camper, the FastGun turnbuckles are spring-loaded to allow some give when your vehicle encounters uneven road conditions. Torklift strongly recommends using spring-loaded turnbuckles on all four points of the camper because the spring design acts as a shock absorber. This protects the tie down system and camper anchor points from damage.

8) Guarantee proper tension
The FastGun turnbuckle features patented spring tension indicators to ensure proper installation and tension to hold down the camper.

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Patented spring tension indicator

It is very important to apply the correct amount of tension when tightening your FastGun turnbuckles. With the spring tension indicator, be confident the tension is correct every time. Torklift are the only turnbuckles with patented O-ring tension indicators.

9) Locking capability
Lock your FastGun turnbuckles with Torklift FastGun Locks. A set of four locks is needed to secure your FastGuns and prevent theft. The locking turnbuckle feature allows you to protect your investment and enjoy a worry-free experience on the road.

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FastGun locks for truck camper turnbuckles

With a snap lock design, the locks are keyed alike for convenience. Protective weather caps prevent weather damage and road grime.  

10) Personalize with a variety of finishes
To match your camper and provide a variety of choices, the FastGun turnbuckles come in several finishes. The turnbuckles are precision made and high impact powder-coated.
       -  Stainless Steel Polished (Top choice among customers
       -  Stainless Steel Hammertone Black 
       -  Stainless Steel Hammertone Grey 
       -  Stainless Steel Hammertone Bright White

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FastGun turnbuckles available in a variety of finishes

11) The Torklift brand promise
Torklift is the single manufacturer of this unique style turnbuckle. What makes the Torklift brand important? The Torklift name is indicative of an American-made product that supports the American economy and its families.

It also means that our Legendary Lifetime Warranty covers FastGun turnbuckles. When you use the FastGun turnbuckles with Torklift frame-mounted tie downs, the lifetime warranty extends to the truck frame and camper anchor points for the extent of its manufacturer warranty. Give us a call at 800.246.8132 for more details.

Check out David's experience with the FastGun turnbuckles in this short video:

See Related:
Six steps you don’t want to skip while prepping for a truck camper
What type of turnbuckle do I need to secure my camper? 

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What type of truck camper turnbuckle do I need to secure my camper?

Turnbuckles are a very important piece of equipment that connects the truck to the tie down system for your truck camper. When it comes to turnbuckles, you might be wondering what design will work best for your application. Because there are several different turnbuckle models for different types of camper tie downs, we’ll help you determine what type of turnbuckle you will need.

1. Opt for a spring-loaded turnbuckle
It is important to use turnbuckles that are spring-loaded to allow some give when your vehicle encounters uneven roads. Torklift strongly recommends using spring-loaded turnbuckles on all four points of the camper. The spring design acts as a shock absorber protecting the anchor points on your new camper as well as the tie down system. After all, the number one reason someone uses a truck camper is to go places other conventional RVs can’t imagine going.

2. Select a turnbuckle that you are comfortable with
For frame-mounted applications, choose from the Basic SpringLoad Kit, SpringLoad XL, and the most popular truck camper turnbuckle in the world, the original FastGun turnbuckle.

3. Turnbuckle chain system
The Basic SpringLoad Kit includes two quick links, two heavy-duty forged steel turnbuckles and 24 inches of marine grade chain. This basic turnbuckle bolts easily to the end of each tie down providing the required suspension to help protect camper anchor points.

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Basic Springload Kit chain system

4. Consider a simpler, chainless turnbuckle

The SpringLoad XL turnbuckle is made from aircraft grade aluminum and stainless steel, reaching 28 to 43 inches. Made with a square body for easy adjustment, the SpringLoad XL has internal springs and spring tension indicators.

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SpringLoad XL chainless turnbuckle

5. Easiest turnbuckle: Go Quick-Disconnect
The original FastGun spring-loaded turnbuckles are the top selling turnbuckle in the world because of its quick-disconnect handle making adjustment extraordinarily fast and convenient. To protect your investment, utilize the FastGun Locks to prevent your turnbuckles from being stolen. The turnbuckle design also features the patented spring tension indicators to ensure proper installation.

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FastGun Quick-Disconnect turnbuckles

6. Make any turnbuckle quick-disconnect
By adding a Derringer Handle to any basic hardware turnbuckle, you can achieve the quick-disconnect capability and convenience of a FastGun turnbuckle.

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Derringer handles for quick-disconnect capability

7. What turnbuckle should be used with a bed-mounted system?
 If you choose a bed-mounted tie down system, appropriate turnbuckles for your application would be the AnchorGuard or AnchorGuard Derringer turnbuckles. The front set of AnchorGuard turnbuckles are spring-loaded and the rear set is cushioned to accommodate your bed/bumper mounted tie down system.

Made from 100 percent stainless steel, AnchorGuard turnbuckles are easy to set up and also come with spring tension indicators.

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AnchorGuard turnbuckle for bed-mounted tie down applications

8. Upgrade to a Quick-Disconnect
For the best turnbuckle for a bed-mounted tie down system, the AnchorGuard Derringer combines the FastGun quick-disconnect derringer handle made from aircraft grade aluminum with the basic stainless steel AnchorGuard design.

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AnchorGuard Derringer turnbuckle with quick-disconnect

Now that you are familiar with different options of turnbuckle designs, you will need to know how to properly install a turnbuckle on your camper.

It is very important to apply the correct amount of tension when tightening your turnbuckles. If there is not enough tension you could potentially lose your camper. If there is too much tension you may damage the anchor points on your camper.

Camper manufacturers suggest that 300 pounds of tension be applied to secure the camper properly. To properly achieve this, Torklift created the patented spring tension indicator.

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Patented spring tension indicator

By setting the O-ring of the tension indicator flush with the body of the turnbuckle, once tightened the internal spring compresses and a quarter inch space becomes visible between the O-ring and body of the turnbuckle. The space indicates that you have achieved the proper 300 pounds of tension.

To learn more about how to install truck camper turnbuckles, watch this quick video:

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Six steps you don’t want to skip when prepping for a truck camper

Congratulations on your new truck camper! Now, what are the next steps to further prepare for your camper?

STEP 1 – Tie Downs
To start with the basics, you need to add a tie down system to your truck in order to safely secure the truck camper to the vehicle. Tie downs that mount directly to the frame of the truck are the best way to secure the camper. The frame-mounted design fits to specific vehicle makes/models allowing strongest possible attachment to the truck. Eliminate any chances of bed and bumper damage by using a frame-mounted design.

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Torklift International’s frame-mounted tie down system incorporates four independent tie down points for dramatically improved stability. The tie downs bolt directly onto the truck frame and most applications don’t require drilling. There is no loss of ground clearance and they are tucked up tight to the truck to minimize their visibility when the tie down inserts are removed. Torklift International tie downs are the only tie downs that truly attach to the strongest part of your truck: the truck frame. All others are bed-mounted.

As an industry first, Torklift recently unveiled the precision crafted aluminum Talon Tie Downs. They are made from 100% lightweight military grade aluminum alloy making them up to 50% lighter than steel applications. The Talons come with rust free corrosion protection.

Torklift Tie Downs have a lifetime warranty. When Torklift Tie Downs are used with our spring-loaded turnbuckles, we extend the lifetimewarranty to the truck frame and camper anchor points for the extent of its manufacturer’s warranty.

STEP 2 - Turnbuckles
That will bring us to the next step in selecting important hardware for your truck camper. The equipment used to connect the truck and tie down system to your new camper are called turnbuckles.

There are several designs of turnbuckles. For frame-mounted applications, you’ll want to choose from the Basic SpringLoad Kit, SpringLoad XL, and the most popular truck camper turnbuckle in the world, the original FastGun turnbuckle.

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The original FastGun spring-loaded turnbuckles are the top selling turnbuckle for a few reasons:
        - The quick-disconnect handle makes adjustment fast and convenient
        - The design features patented spring tension indicators to assure proper installation
        - Lockable
        - Tool-Free

Spring-loaded turnbuckles are important because it allows for some give when your vehicle encounters bumps on the road. Torklift strongly recommends using spring-loaded turnbuckles on all four points of the camper. The spring design acts as a shock absorber protecting the anchor points on your new camper as well as the tie down system.

b2ap3_thumbnail_oring.jpgWhen putting on your turnbuckles, how do you know how tight to adjust them?

This is where the Torklift patented spring tension indicators make life easier. Camper manufacturers suggest that 300 lbs of tension be applied to secure the camper properly. 

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By setting the O-ring of your tension indicator flush with the body of the turnbuckle, once tightened the internal spring compresses and you should see a quarter inch space between the O-ring and body of the turnbuckle.

Did you know that you could turn a standard turnbuckle into a FastGun?

By adding a derringer handle to any basic hardware turnbuckle, you can achieve the quick-disconnect capability and convenience of a FastGun turnbuckle.

AnchorGuard turnbuckles are appropriate if you choose a bed-mounted tie down system.

 

STEP 3 – Rubber Bed Mats
We strongly suggest adding a rubber bed mat in your truck bed to prevent the camper from sliding in the bed of the truck. Not only are bed mats cost-effective, they also protect your truck bed surface from scratches, dings and dents.

Do not install your truck camper on top of a plastic bed liner or hard surface spray-in bed liners. The drop in plastic bed liners can slide on top of the truck bed surface and the camper can slide on top of the slick surface of the bed liner. The liner can also act as a spring causing a trampoline effect increasing vertical truck camper movement, possibly resulting in truck bed damage and/or camper damage.

STEP 4 - Suspension
A truck camper adds a large amount of weight to your truck with a high center of gravity, causing significant side-to-side sway and body roll. The weight of the camper in the bed will also cause your truck to sag having negative effects on how your truck handles while driving.

How can you battle these effects?

By installing the StableLoad suspension stabilizer, the handling of your truck with the camper loaded will drastically improve. By pre-activating the stabilizing effects of your factory suspension, some of the benefits of the StableLoads include sway reduction, leveling the vehicle, decrease in stopping distance, reduced tire wear and overall improved ride quality.  

To learn more about how the StableLoads work on your suspension, see more information on the Torklift blog here.

STEP 5 - Steps
b2ap3_thumbnail_GlowGuide.jpgOnce you select your camper and have safely tied down your investment for your road trip adventures, you’ll want to determine the most convenient, safe way to enter and exit your RV. Be sure to browse the GlowStep Series to find solutions that are the safest, durable and most importantly fits the needs of your application.  

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_camperstep.jpg

The GlowStep is a lockable scissor step made from aircraft grade aluminum and stainless steel. It has built in step tread. It is the only step available that uses no rivets and is fully bushing bolted making it the most rigid, stable and most versatile step system on the market. The glowing capability offers additional safe, stable entry and exit to your camper. You can easily add or remove steps with ranges from two to six steps. For increased stability, look into adding a GlowGuide handrail.

If your camper has a large vertical gap from the entry door to the bumper, a Basement Camper Step will allow for easy entry.

STEP 6 – Storage (long term and short term)

Now that you have the camper of your dreams, be sure to protect it! We have a few suggestions:

With the FastGun Wobble Stopper camper stabilizer, your camper is protected against jack and frame stress when it is unloaded. It also makes a significant difference with increased stability by eliminating annoying camper wobble during your time in your RV while it’s off of the truck. The newly designed FastGun Wobble Stopper now has a convenient quick-disconnect application and is lockable, so nobody can load your camper onto another truck and drive away with it when the Wobble Stopper is locked. Don’t let camper theft happen to you!

 

camperpacker3As an affordable way to store your camper during the offseason, turn to the Camper Packer storage stands. With pre-treated lumber in the kit, the sawhorse style camper storage solution has a capacity of 6,000 lbs per pair, is easy to store and very simple to assemble.

 

 

If you have any questions in regards to your new truck camper and what equipment you might need, contact our Technical Support Team at support@torklift.com or 800-246-8132. Their expertise will come in handy when navigating the world of truck camping! 

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You won’t believe what we sent this customer in the mail (Hint: It will be a smashing success!)

mallet

A rubber mallet? Let us take a minute and explain. As a gift it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense. You might be asking, why would Torklift send this to a customer? Doesn’t strike us as the best idea for a new product either….

Nolan Sturgeon recently shared the details of his family’s trip leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday on RV.Net’s forum. As they maneuvered the back roads from San Diego, California to Colorado Springs, Colorado, they encountered breathtaking locations that included desert plains, wind-carved slot canyons, sun-drenched valleys, and even the blistering snowy landscapes of a national park.

Loaded up with their Wolf Creek truck camper secured by Torklift TRUE frame-mounted Tie Downs and FastGun locking turnbuckles, not only was the family able to safely travel through various terrains, but also endured a variety of weather conditions.

blackcanyon tc in storm
Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park The Sturgeon family experiences
conditions of ice and snow


When traveling through harsh conditions, the truck and tie down system became weighed down by ice. The truck camper frame-mounted tie downs continued to secure the camper throughout the trip and the Sturgeon’s were able to safely trek onward.

tiedownsiclesTorklift TRUE frame-mounted "Tie Down-sicles"

On RV.Net, Nolan wrote… 

Anutami Quote

Well Nolan, you asked for it! Next time the Sturgeons take off on a new adventure with their truck camper, we hope the rubber mallet we sent them will come in handy!

Torklift International is dedicated to finding solutions for our customers. Nolan mentioned the ice added hundreds of pounds. Recently we released our all-new aluminum Talon Tie Downs. They are up to 50% lighter than some of our steel applications, corrosion resistant and just as durable as our steel tie downs.

Check out the aluminum Talon Tie Downs in this video here:  

 

It’s experiences like the Sturgeon’s family vacation that hold such great significance. The ability to explore and discover new places and create memories with loved ones is a part of life we truly value.

Find your adventure. Travel safe…and share your experience with us!

View Nolan’s entire post on RV.Net – the pictures are worth it! 

Part 1 | Part 2 

tc desert

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