Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Truck Campers: Overland Build Idea
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valhalla360

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Posted: 09/21/20 06:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Crazy thought...(not really clear where this should fit in in terms of forum).

If you look at the custom overland rigs, usually built on something like an issuzu cab over truck...they start in the $250k range and easily move up into the $500k or higher range.

What if you picked up a basic truck with no box or flatbed. Then picked up something like a 17ft travel trailer.

Yank the axles off the trailer and mount it on the truck frame. Maybe install a 3 point support for the trailer to minimize twisting of the house box on rough roads. There would be some work involved but I wouldn't think it would be too extreme.

Say $50k for the truck. $15k for the source trailer. $5k to weld up a 3 point support and another $5 for misc work to do the mounting (maybe fabricate a set of steps, integrate running lights, charging the house batteries, etc...).

Now you would have a brand new overland rig for $75k. If you bought used, you could probably cut that in half.

Comparing the livability of your average overland truck to a 17ft travel trailer, the travel trailer looks a lot more comfortable to live in.

You could look for a 4x4 cab over truck but really most of the advantages lie in the high ground clearance. It's a pretty standard truck so no issues getting work done on it.

Crazy or doable?


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gbopp

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Posted: 09/21/20 07:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would say it's very doable. A lot of people mount truck campers on flatbed trucks.
A small TT would be just as easy.

adamis

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Posted: 09/21/20 07:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It is an interesting idea and perhaps there is a market for such a beast but I think the largest struggle you are going to have is keeping the trailer from twisting itself to pieces. Generally speaking RVs are poorly constructed unless purpose built for an application. If all you wanted was just the look of an overland vehicle that could handle some occaisional logging roads it would probably suffice but overlanding is really about going where there are no roads.


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jimh425

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Posted: 09/21/20 07:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think the 300K overland vehicles have shorter living quarters. They also seem to keep the living quarters level with special suspensions. Finally, there are no 17K trailers that would match the durability of those vehicles.

So, I wouldn’t call you crazy, but you aren’t going to have an equivalent vehicle when you are done. Oh, and I left off the auto airing tires suspension, jacks for tires, etc.


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jdc1

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Posted: 09/21/20 08:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like a class C motorhome

BurbMan

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Posted: 09/21/20 09:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I think you would be better off with a 550/5500 cab/chassis 4WD and then adding a truck camper. Truck campers are much better built to handle overland-type activities compared to a TT.


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HMS Beagle

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Posted: 09/21/20 10:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My take on this was to buy a CC, and do what you suggest but using a small fiberglass 5th wheel. Bigfoot used to make one and they can still be found used. Escape makes one currently. These are 20' trailers, but the box is only about 13', the rest is cabover. Remove the frame, mount it on a subframe that slides off of channels, just like loading a 40 yd dumpster. You could get by with the 178" wheelbase chassis, and have a pretty small overall package, demountable.

A new Earthroamer, even the small one, is around $500K. The bigger one $1M+. And they have a long order book. Now the build quality of the box is very high, but not that high.

Problem with a small Isuzu cabover or their competition, is they are very uncomfortable to drive for more than a half an hour.


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Tiger4x4RV

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Posted: 09/21/20 10:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You could just get a Tiger. 4x4 pickup chassis, back of cab cut off, coach mounted onto chassis. Cutting off the cab back makes it a class C with pass-through between cab and coach. Built to order at the factory. New ones are pricey and used ones are scarce. I always say there is no perfect RV, but the 2006 Tiger CX which I bought new is by far the closest thing to a perfect RV for me.


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noteven

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Posted: 09/21/20 12:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’ve looked at a couple TT mounted on a truck rigs. Best thought out one made the trailer demountable for servicing tanks and valve underneath the trailer.

valhalla360

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Posted: 09/22/20 06:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

adamis wrote:

It is an interesting idea and perhaps there is a market for such a beast but I think the largest struggle you are going to have is keeping the trailer from twisting itself to pieces. Generally speaking RVs are poorly constructed unless purpose built for an application. If all you wanted was just the look of an overland vehicle that could handle some occaisional logging roads it would probably suffice but overlanding is really about going where there are no roads.


That's what the 3 point support is about.

Overlanders basically have a subframe for the box where the 2 rear corners are attached directly to the truck frame and the front of the box is attached to the truck frame by a large hinge.

So if the truck frame twists, the entire box rotates together rather than twists. Without this, doesn't matter how tough the box is, a twisting frame will tear it apart.

That's a nice theory, overlanding is about going where there are no roads... but in practice, following several, most go by roads and then find a campsite typically within a few miles of a road. They are often rough roads but roads none the less.

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