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tcnewbies

Maryland

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Posted: 07/19/20 08:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi!

My husband and I recently decided that we wanted to skip our original plan to get a 5th wheel and instead look at truck campers. As we started looking around and exploring weights and options, we ended up a little confused....

We have a 2019 SRW Diesel F350 8ft bed truck that we typically used to haul my 30ft horse trailer. Almost all of the TTs and 5th wheels we looked at we’re totally doable weight wise. Now looking at TCs we’re realizing we might not have enough truck to get us what we want. Enter the place of confusion.... our truck sticker says max weight for cargo and occupants is about 3100 pounds. Which knocks out a ton of TCs. But, when we go and look at everyone’s rigs or read about recommended truck specs from a TC manufacturer, it looks like people are using half ton trucks or 3/4 ton trucks for the TCs within our weight range.

Help! What am I missing here?!?

Lwiddis

Near Mammoth, CA

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Posted: 07/19/20 09:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quite an interior square foot reduction from considering a 5er to a TC. I suggest renting a TC for a week to make sure.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


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Posted: 07/19/20 09:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You aren't missing anything. Truck manufacturers are required to state a maximum weight (in my case, diesel F350 SRW a gvwr 11,500). My truck weighs 8400 pounds so I have 3100 carrying capacity. I had to look long and hard at campers that I was comfortable with and ended up with a hard side Northstar Igloo 9.5. It weighs 2900 pounds with water and propane. Add another 500 pounds +/- for my "stuff" and I am 300-400 pounds over my GVWR and carrying capacity but under both front and rear axle ratings. I am comfortable at this level. Others are more adventuresome and go heavier. Tires are the weak element and I am also under my tire carrying capacity. A single rear wheel vehicle rules out most slideout campers at least for me. We are very happy with our hardside but others want more room and need (want) slides. The bigger you go, the more you need to think DRW instead of SRW. No matter how much you modify the truck to handle the weight you won't change the stickers. But lots of folks will go to 19.5" wheels, better tires and upgrade the suspension to carry heavier rigs. Shop around, go to Truck Camper Magazine for tips on matching trucks and campers and then go with the amount of "risk" you are comfortable with. And I am not the weight police, I just know what I am comfortable with. Welcome to our world.


Shawn
2013 Ford F350 6.7 CCLB Ruby Red SRW, sway bar, Bilsteins, etc
2007 Cyclone toyhauler, 18,000 GVWR
Northstar Igloo 9.5
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-2J3zF6J/0/M/i-2J3zF6J-M.jpg
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mbloof

Beaverton, OR

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Posted: 07/19/20 09:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

(where's my popcorn?)

You'll find that with very little searching of the Forum this topic comes up every few days or weeks. Look forward to a hotly debated topic.

My perspective? While there are some very small and very light campers specifically designed for 1/2T trucks, most campers are designed for at least a 3/4T or 1T truck (or better: 45xx 55xx)

The most important thing to consider is your tire ratings. In most cases %100 of the camper weight is going to be on the rear axle. Carrying more weight then your combined tire ratings are rated for is unsafe and not recommended.


- Mark0.

Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 07/19/20 09:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You have 2 factors that are surprise for 1st time TC owner.
I wish the explanation would be in stickies, but it is not, so here it comes again.
1. TC have center gravity close to the rear axle, when 12' long can have COG even behind rear axle. That makes front axle weight capacity unusable, when most buyers want at least 10' long TC and those when loaded can easy exceed 4000lb load on rear axle.
2. truck manufacturers usually label the truck with taxable weight, when US-brand trucks usually have much higher capacity. My F350 dually for example can have 7300lb cargo load on rear axle, yet label gives it about 5000 lb cargo capacity.
Not too many truck buyers wants to pay taxes adequate to truck capacities and that creates the situation.
So starting point before going camper shopping should be taking your truck to the scale and check how much rear axle shows.
When you deduct the real weight from axle capacity, you have the REAL number what weight camper you can shop for.
But do more homework. Campers weights are usually listed without options, so add the options and then 10% for errors.
Also camper alone is not the only cargo you are going to have, so estimate weight of water you are willing to carry, beer and other stuff.





joerg68

St. Ingbert, Germany

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Posted: 07/19/20 09:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

To repeat what was already said: the single rear tires limit the weight capacity of the rear axle. DRW has 2 x the tires = (almost) 2 x carrying capacity without any other changes.

But no truck camper offers the space available in a fifth wheel. You need to find out what _you_ need when you travel.

If you want a TC because you think that you can pull a trailer in addition to the camper, you need to be aware that the trailer puts additional load on the rear axle. But with a TC in the bed, you are already near (or even above) rawr, so there is little or no capacity left.

Do not trust the stated weights of the TC manufacturers. A few are accurate, but many leave out a lot of optional items that you have on board. A TC is usually heavier than you anticipate, and only a scale will ever tell the true weight. Do not be optimistic about weights.

The numbers are what they are and can be exceeded if you know what you are doing and are comfortable doing it. But then again, many prople have traded their SRW truck for a DRW and won't look back.


2014 Ford F350 XLT 6.2 SCLB + 2017 Northstar Arrow


JimK-NY

NY

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Posted: 07/19/20 10:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The cargo capacity of a 350 truck gets reduced substantially by a diesel engine and even more if you have a crew cab. The empty truck will weigh about 8500# but will barely carry 1/3 of its weight.

This is one reason a great many TC rigs are overloaded. To get by many of us add sway bars, HD shocks, airbags or other suspension enhancements. That still leaves the wheel and tires as the limiting factor. On my last truck I even spent $3000 for Rickson wheel/tire upgrades.

For your truck, I would recommend campers in the 2500# wet weight range. By the time you add some upgrades such as a better mattress, solar panels, generator, AGM batteries, personal items, food, clothing, tools and misc you can easily add 1500-2000#. If you want a good well built camper in that weight range, I can recommend a Northstar Igloo. That is what I bought and is as big as I would go. BTW, it does not have any slides. If you must have a slide or two or anything bigger and heavier, I would recommend you go with a dual rear wheel truck.

Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 07/19/20 10:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

JimK-NY wrote:

The cargo capacity of a 350 truck gets reduced substantially by a diesel engine and even more if you have a crew cab.

Explain please, how engine weight reduce rear axle cargo capacity?

JimK-NY

NY

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Posted: 07/19/20 11:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My Ram 3500 has a GVWR of 12300#. Additional weight for a diesel engine or a crew cab reduces the cargo capacity.

guidry

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Posted: 07/19/20 11:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Unless you have already spent time in a truck camper you may be in for a rude awakening as to the tight space for two people. As mentioned above, rent one if you can for a trip or two before you invest in a purchase. A trailer (TT or 5th) would give you a lot more room and comfort. About the only camper I'd recommend for your truck would be a Northern Lite or similar TC. But, there are no slideouts and it will be tight in room. Good luck

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