Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Truck Campers: New to a TC
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LadyRVer

Florida

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Posted: 11/06/18 07:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Need some input, please. I am getting ready to purchase my first truck camper and have no clue on what I will need added to install it on my truck. Please give me some ideas on what I will definitely need and a few things which would be nice to have.

I have a 2013, Dodge Ram, 5.7 Hemi, CC, LB. I have been told a few things by the dealers...air bags, another said helper springs..which is better and maybe approximately ball park figure cost? Tie downs? Another type better than another brand? Again, what am I looking at $$$?

I read to put a base layer in truck bed....best? Or cheaper and will serve the purpose?

I have been told by a couple of dealers, weight of camper should be maybe no more than 2,500 lbs for my truck.

I am solo, 75 and have been full timing for last 14 years, so not new to rving, just a truck camper.

TIA, for all the help I can get.

Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 11/06/18 07:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

First I think 2500 lb TC for fulltiming is not going to be comfortable.
You definitely need tie-downs.
Right now there is not much choice than Torklift front tie downs. Cost about $400.
Rear tie-downs can be easy manufacture what will save you $300 TL cost.
Till you buy the camper - you don't know how much modifications your truck will need. You might need to upgrade wheels as well.
Factory bed mat is good.
Air bags or helper springs, or timbrens - it is all personal choice.
I had good experience with air. Others like steel or rubber.





ppine

Northern Nevada

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Posted: 11/06/18 07:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The best tie downs connect to the frame.
You need a place in the truck bed for an electrical connection to the truck.
Start with enough truck and then you will not have to modify anything or overwhelm the suspension, bearings or handling.

A camper is a small space, even for one person if you are in it for more than a couple of weeks. If it were me, I would buy a small trailer for around the same money and tow it. Easier to drive because you are not top heavy. Easy to pull. YOu can leave it at your camp site. Much more room and comfort in even a 20 foot trailer.

Lwiddis

Los Angeles :(

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Posted: 11/06/18 09:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"I have been told by a couple of dealers,..." " I have been told a few things by the dealers..." What is the GVWR and payload? Please tell us.

The ability to leave my "home" at the CG and explore with my TV is the reason I sold my TC. Think about the advice above from ppine.


2015 Winnebago 2101DS TT & Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts WindyNation solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flagpole for US flag. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.


jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 11/06/18 10:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It’s always good advice to find the truck camper you want, and then decide on the truck. You may find that your truck won’t work. If you plan to leave the TC on, then you could also consider a smaller Class C.

The additions like airbags, timbrens, supersprings etc, should be mostly to help level. They do not add to your GVWR. Timbrens are probably the cheapest. I’d count on $1000-1500 depending on labor cost to outfit your truck.


'10 Ford F-450, 6.4, 4.30, 4x4, 14,500 GVWR, '06 Host Rainer 950 Dbl Slide, Torklift Talon tiedowns, Glow Steps, and Fastguns. Bilstein 4600s, Firestone Air Bags, Hankook DH-01 225/19.5 Fs, Curt front hitch, Energy Suspension bump stops.


jaycocreek

Idaho

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Posted: 11/06/18 10:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here is an example:

I had a Ford F-250 and put an Lance 8.6 TC on it,the only thing I did was ad Helwig helper springs and it drove almost as well as my dually I bought that was loaded with the so-called ad-ons.The cost was less than $200 installed..

If you keep your camper in the 8-8.6 foot length,you won't need much..Happi jack tie downs are much cheaper than the Torklift and very capable,especially on smaller TC's...Years ago they just used stake pocket tie downs for the most part..

Ad a rubber bed mat and your good to go.

To many over think what is needed to haul a TC,springs/springs and springs solves most all problems which are usually on larger heavy campers.

If you don't buy to much camper for your truck and stay at 3K-ish for a 3/4 ton,you won't need all the very expensive addons,just helper springs, such as the Helwig...

Without looking,I think you can get what you need for your truck for less than $500 maybe even $400 if you shop around.


'94 Ford F-350 DRW/460 EFI(91K miles)/Lance 9.6/Happijac's/Helwig SB/Reese solid bar extension/Firestone bags and siped AT3's.

Travels with Yoly

North Georgia

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Posted: 11/06/18 11:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You don't indicate the actual grade of Ram that you have. Based on what I do see, I'm guessing it's a half ton. In any case, I'd start with the "payload capacity" and "axle ratings" on the door jamb sticker. 2600 lbs as a dry weight is probably well beyond any half ton's capability. Yes you can add an infinite amount of suspension upgrades to carry the weight but all the rest of the driveline components such as axles, brakes, wheels, wheel bearings, driveshaft and frame might be stressed beyond design limits. Granted there are two schools of thought here .. many people ignore GVWR ratings and claim success in carrying more weight than the manufacturer's recommendations. Personally, I believe in having a roughly 20% safety margin for emergency situations. To each his own obviously but I'd recommend this as a starting point to help point you in a camper that will work for your application. My only other piece of advice is not to take any published dry weights as fact but find a way to do a Cat scale verification just for peace of mind.

jaycocreek

Idaho

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Posted: 11/06/18 11:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I never even thought of it being a 1/2 ton,just assumed it was a 3/4 ton..I am a fan of modern 1/2 tons for towing but not for truck campers..So it goes without saying,my post was for a 3/4 ton as was my example..

Ah the internet

LadyRVer

Florida

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Posted: 11/06/18 11:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for all the info...my bad, gave all info on truck, except the size. It is a 3/4 ton, 2500. Got a great starting point....which I can work with.

Travels with Yoly

North Georgia

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Posted: 11/06/18 12:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have a Ram 2500 with the 6.4L Hemi and I thought that yours might have been a half ton with the smaller engine. Ours has a 10,000 GVWR rating and carrying the Adventurer 80RB over 9,000 miles last year was a piece of cake. Fully loaded the camper (and gear) tipped the scales around 2,480 lbs and our rig topped out around 9,600 lbs fully loaded. For reference, the dry weight of the Adventurer was about 1,860 lbs.My wife and I are not lightweights :-) The only modifications that I made to the truck was the removal of the back seat and seat belt box to use as cargo area and the switch to a Hellwig rear sway bar. Also replaced the headlights due to the inadequacy of the stock quad halogens. Everything else was (and still is) bone stock. I'd still check the door jamb sticker for reference and double check everything with a Cat scale weigh when done.

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