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1995 3.4L 5sp 4x4 Bajarader (Put the sawzall down)


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2000 miles from SC to the Grand Canyon and back? Say what?! Sounds like a great trip Steve! Did you stay at the South Rim? Did you drink the water there? Oh man, its the best water I've ever had in my life. They pipe it all the way over from the North Rim.

I'm not sure about the trailer idea. I guess the advantage is that you could leave it wherever you're camping and set out in the truck for the day or whatever. How long does it take you now to have the Sunrader on the flatbed and ready to drive away?

P.S. I'm still plugging away on mine. I'm doing the cabinets inside and I have someone in Montana that is guiding me with the wiring diagram for the solar panel and battery system - all of which I knew absolutely NOTHING about until now.

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Wife and I were playing in a golf tournament in Arizona using 100 year old hickory shafted clubs and made a side trip to GC. Yes, South rim. Walked down Kaibab to Tonto, across to Bright Angel and up leaving @ 10AM getting back @ dark. Our legs were shot, but it was amazing.

Never timed it, but would estimate it takes 30 minutes to take off and close to an hour to put on and get all the bolts fastened down etc.

One thing that would be nice about it living on a trailer, is I could move it around my alley fairly easily to clean. Also on a trailer, it will be very low to the ground; easy to get in and out of. Was thinking to copy the style of a 5th wheel where the overhead could extend a bit over the flatbed. Also frees up the bed of my truck for additional stuff as well.

Again this would be an alternate mode. The primary being piggy back. Just thought that for small trips or cases where we need to use the truck a lot (our golf tournament and all the parties we went to), it would be convenient.


My concerns are that the bouncing would put a lot of stress on the camper? Don't trailers tend to bounce around more? Also would probably want a pretty wide trailer so as not to have to cut wheel wells. And sturdy so could use for offroad as well. A lot easier to steal an unattended camper that has wheels. Parking and general mobility.


Tad easier on truck? Pulling vs Carrying. Easy to hook up/remove. Low to ground. Frees up truck for extra goodies.

@ solar system and getting your rig together:

Fun! Maybe we'll plan a surf trip someday in the future!

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I'm not sure about a trailer. If you make a wide trailer how do you get it under a jacked up camper? The wheels would wider that the jack stands.

Is it really that much harder to drive around piggy backed than just the truck

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  • 11 months later...

Finally got around to getting back to Baja (It's been almost 9 years since the camper w/ the original 2wd 79 truck and 20r made the trip). About 3500 miles round trip. Jan 12th - Mar 3rd. Checked the oil once and washed the windshield a few times and that was about it. Never needed 4wd. Kept a gas log. 3,412 miles and 206 gallons ~ 16.5 mpg. Lots of slow 10 mph dirt road driving and lots of 70 mph driving on the U.S. highways from Arizona back to Santa Cruz. Brought 35 gallons of water and ended up giving 6 to another couple towards the end. Saw only one other toyota MH the entire trip back through Arizona and California.

Lots of fun and a few minor "to do" improvements and luxuries/novelties to add. Hope next trip won't take 9 years to make and look forward to returning next winter.

I took one picture. Doesn't really do justice to how remote this place is, but here it is. Ended up driving all the way home with the back window awning (bamboo & pvc) still attached. (folded down of course). Lots of looks on the highway as you can imagine. Hope to construct and install an awning of solar panels/aluminum hinge/supports for the passenger side sometime in the future years. It will just fold down and lock into position covering the window in a similar manner when in transit.


Car has a lot of power and is very roomy. The 3.4l engine and 4wd chassis didn't get the same gas mileage as the 20r, but it has been extremely reliable these past years and lots of pep. Really nice truck and would like to repair some of the body work in the future. 215000 miles now and bought with close to 200000 if recall. Probably some motor work was done at one time... but who really knows. Doesn't leak a drop or burn any oil so I just drive it.

Hope to add some future boxes under the flatbed as well as upgrade the rear suspension/drive train in the future. The airbags work great, but the rear could probably benefit from something a little more stable/beefier than just the stock springs etc.

Didn't bother to haul the jacks down to baja and the camper is now sitting back on the ground in the alley in the back. Wife wants to borrow truck tomorrow for some sheetrock and some plants... Welcome back! :)

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You must have been moving around a lot to put that many miles on it, eh? Thanks for the update but you forgot to mention the most important part... Did you get lots of perfect uncrowded waves?

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Never saw a single toy motorhome for the 2 months.


I parked it on Jan 14th and never started the car till Feb 22nd. All the miles were put on when I got to Arizona for the remaining 2 weeks of the trip. Yes, lots of empty surf. :)

Funny side note.

Somewhere around the middle of January I inspected under the hood to make sure no mice were causing troubles and was greeted by a snake! :) I just left it alone as I figured it would be the best watch dog.

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Sounds like a great trip! Good idea about leaving the watch snake under the hood. Was it still there when you went to leave or did you forget to check? Did you park on the Pacific side or tucked inside the gulf a bit?

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@ snake hiding under hood:

I did a quick glance before starting the car a month or so later and it appeared to be gone... or hiding really well. I never bothered to check on it after seeing it the first time :)

I took the 30 mile dirt road over the mountains at Chapala over coco's corner (baja 1000 stop see pic below) to the gulf. Road is now paved all the way to Gonzaga! 70 miles an hour straight shot back via San Felipe - Mexicali. A lot of guys are doing this route rather than going up through Catavina - Rosario - San Quintin etc. It worked out great for me as I was heading to Arizona. I did screw up though by not heading east to algodones border crossing. Was almost 2 hour line at Mexicali. Looked down at one point and the needle was damn near in red and so blasted the heater for a few minutes! HOT!


COCO's CORNER baja :rolleyes: ... interesting place to stop for a beer.

Only stayed for one night on the gulf in San Felipe at a neat old school RV resort called Club de Pesca. Nice park right on the water and even had a little happy hour ($1 beers if I recall) with the park's locals and owner at the restaurant/store.

One thing I have to say about the camper being completely sealed off from the truck is that it is virtually impossible for any mice to get into the camper. I'd have to accidentally leave the door open or they will have to chew through a slew of fiberglass. With the old pass through, there wasn't much you could do with mice finding their way in through the firewall. So that's a welcome change from previous campers. Not that it's a big deal, it's just one less nuisance to have to deal with. Interestingly enough, there's a small space on the back of camper's subfloor joist framing where it meets the flatbed. Sure enough when I got home and removed the camper, there was a small nest between the camper and flatbed! Those buggers!


here's a video of how easy of a road it is over the mountains from the pacific to gulf via Chapala/Coco's Corner. This side route via the gulf will definitely be the way I travel down the peninsula in the future. If only just exiting.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Here's an annual update: :)

Went to same old place for months of Jan - March.  ~ 4000 miles round trip.  Truck drove great without any problems.  Used the 4wd a half dozen times for the sand and once for some serious mud.  Kept a mileage/fuel record... it's out in the camper, but haven't bothered to look at.  Range about 300 miles for ~ 20 gallons.  65 mph freeways easy with extra power if needed.  260K miles on truck now.

Nothing changed interior of camper since last trip other than addition of a 65qt Wynter 12v fridge purchased online through HDepot.  Delivered to door for about $450.  Worked fantastic (thermostat set at 35.  Kicks on at 38 and off at 32.  very quiet).

Never bothered to take down the bamboo awning off the back as mentioned last year.  Drove all the way home last year, sat in alley all year, drove all the way down and back with a bamboo rear window.  Lots of looks.

Drove 400+ miles on way out of Mexico.  Left at 10 am and got to border around 10pm.. so 12 hours of driving for 400 miles.. sounds about right for Baja.  From there to In-n-Out in Carlsbad arriving around midnight.  Ran into Steve from San Diego who spotted my camper.  Sorry couldn't talk more... was pretty exhausted and am sure I didn't smell all that great either. :)

Had 8 people in camper at one time.. all sitting in a seat.  The fridge is the same height as the bench seat passenger side and serves as an extended bench and/or place to lounge/put feet up.

Some rear suspension work would be a nice project for the future... Air bags are OK for now.  Never got around to adding some skirting/undercarriage boxes.

Hopefully get some more chances to use before next year.

Some generic pics.  Didn't take too many.





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No fixing/building, just using. A much better plan.

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Hey Baja, great to see you here for a visit ! Great trip and congrats on the durability/reliability of your rig, not all of us can feel that confident yet. 8 people, wow, good thing you're a natural at engineering! Cool to hear about the 12V fridge, I really like mine. I'm working a charging issue, but other than that, I'm "outta the shed" and rollin' so to speak. Glad to hear you're enjoying some well deserved travels.


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  • 9 months later...

A little late to the party but I just saw your latest comments now, Steve. Sorry to pull you away from your In and out burger to show me your rig! (I would have waited until you were done!) I texted and tried calling you last week to ask about your roller paint job because I'm FINALLY back to working on mine again. I suspect maybe you're in beautiful baja again...

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  • 8 months later...

Hi All.  Just checking in for old time sake.  It's that time of year again for the annual retreat to the baja desert and need to start cleaning the cobwebs off the camper.   I took a few pics of last year's trip, but never transferred them and they were lost :(   There was a lot of rain last winter in baja which made for a lot of mud.  I used the 4x quite a bit and darn near got stuck. 

Camper and truck is still going strong.  Maybe close to 250K on it now?  Have a small to-do list, but just haven't found time or need to do anything.  I really like this camper a lot and probably will have it for years to come.

I did upgrade the 15" wheels to 16" last year and it seems like a good change if just for the more readily available (and cheaper) LT tires available for 16" rims.  The 96 t100 came with 16" as does the early tundras.  There's a little bit of performance/power drop with the new wheels and a small hit to MPG, but psychologically, the truck just seems more sturdy/beefier.  Still running the stock rear-end and haven't had any issues w/ the airbags.

The truck itself has hauled tons and tons.  Here's a pic of the new wheels @ the local SCruz landfill.


I've been traveling to Seaside Oregon in June/July for a golf tournament now 2 years in a row and will do it again this year.  So I now have 2 annual destinations. :)  The rest of the year, it just sits in the alley.    Here's a fun pic of the 16' camper comfortably entertaining 7 ppl @ Gearhart beach.


Hope to see you on the road! :)

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Hola amigo!

Good to hear the old girl is still working for you. I'm heading down south as well, but not until the end of January. I'll keep an eye out for your rig.

Even though I've chosen the standard truck/truck camper route, the sight of a Sunrader always get's me thinking again. Maybe someday...


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  • 5 months later...

Update 2018

I forgot to fasten a cabinet drawer on the way down to baja and it basically destroyed my cabinet frame with the force as it flung open.  So I spent the whole time without my main "large" drawer!

I changed the oil in Mexico and wrote the mileage and date down for future reference.  No idea when last time it was changed.  Maybe 3 years ago.

Truck and Cab could use some paint....

Love the 16" rims and bigger tires.  Maybe next year will have upgraded rear suspension... but I doubt it.  Be lucky if manage to replace the rattling shock.  This thing was a lot of work, but am slowly getting the return on the time and labor.  Hope to keep rambling on this thread for another ten years!

Picked up a Mexican Puppy.. she's amazing and just a wonderful addition to the camper.  :)  

Two years ago I left a window open and the camper floor flooded.  The laminate floor was soaked and had to be pulled up.  Since then, I've just had a runner 3x7' rug that runs down the galley.  It's cheap and can be dragged out now and then to shake out the sand and doesn't need sweeping every half hour.  Maybe more importantly, it's great on the feet and even better for the dog as Greg once pointed out.  Now, I get it.

Some more pics for fun and a place to revisit in 10 more years.  Thanks for keeping the site goin Greg!


My wife flew down and met up for a week on the gulf side .


The road to the point is about 10 miles of washboard, ruts, and all kinds of nasty things that can wreck your tires and toss your camper around.  20 miles per hour at best.  OR if the tide is right and you have 4x4 to manage the berm,  you can cruise up the smooth beach! :)


Nina (black and tan pup) and friend.

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Nice rig. Not an attempt to steal from your thread, just wanted to share. You have some serious skills man. Here is a pic of my 4wd Chinook I built a few years back. Have logged several thousand miles up and down the East Coast. I'm not brave enough to travel in Mexico however.


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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Hi all,


Don't come here much, but I own a 1980 Sunrader. When I bought it I had plans to rebuild it and still do. I really had some similar design less the complete refabrication of the floor and roof. My hope was to swap the truck out for some think a little bigger like the t100, but try and keep the same platform of the truck and sunrader in hopes that I could remove the sunrader and use the truck as a flatbed truck when needed. I still have plans to do this. I think the the way this build was done almost what I was looking to do. 

If the builder is still around the forum I just would like to know if you have pics of how you made the lifts that keep the sunrader raised. I would also like to know if your floor design mounting was any different from the original setup.


Thanks in advance for your help. 


PS: Forgot to mention i purchased the sunrader about 5 years ago so its been sitting since then in my yard. All I do is use it as storage and pressure wash the mildew off the sides. yes the roof is sagging.

Edited by junk4u
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