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For those of you who have camper shells on your trucks, where did you purchase them and any advice to consider when purchasing one?

I've looked online and prowled city to city for months on Craigslist and googled tons of stuff looking for a decent camper shell without breaking the bank. However, I haven't really had much luck.. We went camping and got caught in a pretty bad thunderstorm which soaked everything. I'm trying to prepare for this situation again by having somewhere to actually stretch out and continue to sleep so either an actual camper or camper shell is prob out best bet. (Not to mention keeping the wet dog smell out of the truck will be a HUGE plus!)

If anyone knows a good place to go to find camper shells (preferably used) or if someone could point me in a good direction would be awesome
 

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I bought a new ARE one.



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Used will be hard to come by and "normal", the size on the bed of these trucks is unique and shells for other trucks will not fit. This added rarity increases the price. I'd consider $500 or less to be a screaming deal.

I bought a new cab height Century standard shell (Leer clone) for about $1200 brand new. Sold it for $500 a few years later and bought a used Softopper which is awesome!
 

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I've bought new for both of my Frontiers. Pricey, but I get the optimum features and color.
A feature I find most useful:
~ Hinged drop down front window to easily clean the rear surface of truck cab windows as well as outer surface of front camper/topper window.
 

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I've bought new for both of my Frontiers. Pricey, but I get the optimum features and color.
A feature I find most useful:
~ Hinged drop down front window to easily clean the rear surface of truck cab windows as well as outer surface of front camper/topper window.
+1 for buying new, have a Leer cab height on my 07, and had a Ranch on my 13. The drop down window is the ticket, you do not realize how much debris goes between the cap and rear window. The sad part now is buying new has gone uo quite a bit as I am looking for one for my Pro4 and the prices are out of site. Have seen a few here in the ATL on craigslist and 500-650 seems to be the average when they come up.
 

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The aluminum caps are the least expensive, fiberglass a bit more. Leer and ARE are two of the well regarded brands. Consider a cap higher than cab height, makes access easier and gives you more height for carrying items. My ARE cap was $2,000 including options.

Vic
 

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Very nice camper shell, about how much did you pay for it? (if you don't mind me asking)


All in was $1500. I got the roof rack and opening side windows.


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I have a Snugtop on my Dodge. The fold down window brackets failed. I blame it on the miles of miles of washboard roads I ran. Happened to a friend of mine also. He runs the same roads.
Other than that I had no other problems.
Another benefit you can have a rail system installed that will accept most roof rack systems, Tule, Yakima, etc.
I paid around $1500 but included the rail system, fold down window(fail) and , matching paint. Off course that was a long time ago.
If you have trade shows in your area, RV, fishing, camping, off-road etc. they often offer special packaged deals.
 

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I bought a Leer with the fold down front window and carpeted headliner. It was factory painted to match my 2015. Right at $2000 with taxes. It cost me $450 to have it repainted to match my 2009 when I sold my 2015.
Like Glamisdude said, $500 for a used one is a great deal. $500 for paint and you are ahead $1000. They can be found used. There have been 2 fiberglass shells listed on Craigslist locally within the last month for under $750. I also considered the soft topper but it seemes like longevity is an issue with those.
Something else to consider is whether or not you want a rack on the top. The bed mounted racks that basically wrap around the shell and support weight without stressing the shell can be a problem as some camper shell designs have a lip that drops down below the plastic trim on the bed rails. This requires you to cut the shell to mount the rack, leading to cracks in the shell (as I saw the other day). Some manufacturers build a more rugged shell that can support more weight than other designs with just a roof top style rack (for a higher price).

Good luck with your search!
 

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Ran a wanted ad on C/L for my LEER. Paid $350 then painted it to match with $40 worth of napa single stage and a Harbor Freight gun. I recently put a Yakima rack on it so I can haul bikes & eventually maybe a few kayaks. I never liked toppers when I was younger but I think my SUVs turned me into a canopy lover.. If your patient and willing to drive one will turn up, sometimes even in the our used parts section.
 

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I just bought an ARE for my truck today.. found it on Craigslist.... drove to Thatcher Arizona to get it (about 2 1/2 hours from where I live in Southern Arizona …) My truck is white, the cap is silver, so I will have to paint it to color match it. However, I paid $400, so I'm not fretting the extra work. I will be returning back to Sonora Mexico shortly (where I live part of the year), so it will be inexpensive to have the painting done there.



Obviously, I would have preferred a taller model, but $400 is a very good price, so no sense in continuing to look. Has wiring for the lights, locking door, and sliding windows on the sides and for the cab.. Also, built in slides for roof rails. I prefer the look of the truck without a cap, but I prefer the security of the cap while traveling in Mexico.
 

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I have a Ranch cover, I found mine on craigslist and negotiated the guy down to $250. That being said I got a great deal on mine, but it leaks water, because the guy had installed a roof rack on it, then when he removed the roof rack he put some little plastic hole plugs in the holes and didn't silicone them down. when I get some good weather I'm gonna seal them up, and then I'll be waterproof again. It even matches my paint perfectly.
 

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My ATC was over $2300 installed. It has roof racks, interior light, all windows open, back glass slides and folds down. If i were to do it again, id probably go with a soft topper to allow for more flexibility. It was a bit of a pain getting an engine and tool box in the bed with the cap on. Plus not be out so much money that i will never see again.
 

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Ive built two shells now. The first was about $300 for my truck that fit inside my ladder rack. I made it out of fiberglass and cedar. It was beautiful but because i never sealed up the front next to the cab it fell apart. I also didn't frame the roof strong enough because i was trying to keep it super light.
My second was welded frame with plywood wrap for my GMC truckbed trailer. It has a strong custom roof rack that fits Yakima style attachments. Its now my camping trailer. It was around 800 just for the materials. I think building them are fun and you can get it the way you want but a good used one for 300-400 is starting to look a lot easier

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I think building them are fun and you can get it the way you want but a good used one for 300-400 is starting to look a lot easier.
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I purchased the truck on Jan 6th. I looked every day on Ebay, Craigslist and Newspapers... I had a 5 hour radius that I was willing to travel. I finally found this one last week and made the arrangements to get it yesterday. It was the ONLY one that I had come across in 7 weeks of constant looking and very pleased that it was $400usd. Not easy. If you find one in good shape... grab it!
 

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Ive built two shells now. The first was about $300 for my truck that fit inside my ladder rack. I made it out of fiberglass and cedar. It was beautiful but because i never sealed up the front next to the cab it fell apart. I also didn't frame the roof strong enough because i was trying to keep it super light.
My second was welded frame with plywood wrap for my GMC truckbed trailer. It has a strong custom roof rack that fits Yakima style attachments. Its now my camping trailer. It was around 800 just for the materials. I think building them are fun and you can get it the way you want but a good used one for 300-400 is starting to look a lot easier

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Got any pictures and more details. I have been contemplating building a camper out of a lumber rack. Want to see how you "skinned" the sides.

I just bought an ARE for my truck today.. found it on Craigslist.... drove to Thatcher Arizona to get it (about 2 1/2 hours from where I live in Southern Arizona …) My truck is white, the cap is silver, so I will have to paint it to color match it. However, I paid $400, so I'm not fretting the extra work. I will be returning back to Sonora Mexico shortly (where I live part of the year), so it will be inexpensive to have the painting done there.



Obviously, I would have preferred a taller model, but $400 is a very good price, so no sense in continuing to look. Has wiring for the lights, locking door, and sliding windows on the sides and for the cab.. Also, built in slides for roof rails. I prefer the look of the truck without a cap, but I prefer the security of the cap while traveling in Mexico.
I bought a used white shell for my truck for about $400. Local body shop quoted me $1500 to paint it to match my truck. Thus I have a white camper shell for my truck.
 

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I bought mine new for about $1,800. I sold it about a year later for $1,000. There was nothing wrong with it but I decided I did not like it. It makes it hard to see out the back. Mine was an ARE brand and it did what it was supposed to, no complaints about the quality.
 

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I paid something in the neighborhood of 2500.00 for my LEER. It's a decent shell, looks good, but I have mixed opinions of it. I've had issues with the latching system being very sensitive to adjustment whereas the rear hatch would randomly release on one side or the other. This model isn't reinforced so if I were to ever choose to install a RTT I'm not confident in it's durability.



 
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