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 > Helping a very new TC owner with a truck decision

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mkirsch

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 01/20/21 08:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't get hung up on trying to figure out what addons to put on your truck BEFORE you have loaded and hauled the camper at least once. None of the modern 2500 or 3500 trucks made in the last 20+ years will collapse or tip over under the weight of that camper, even if it's 3000lbs. Load it. See how it looks. Drive it. See how it handles. THEN figure out how to spend your money, if you need to spend any at all.

Factors like excessively old tires, excessively high mileage (and the resulting fatigue of hard parts) notwithstanding here, of course. Expecting 10-12 year old tires to handle their full factory rating at speed on the highway is rolling the dice, for example.


Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 01/20/21 08:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bottom line, it's not that daunting. It's just like hauling a pallet of bricks or cement in a truck, except you can live inside it!
Only difference is campers are more top heavy than most items. You'll feel it and adjust accordingly and after a couple hours of windshield time you'll just adapt and motor on.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

Lwiddis

Bishop area, California

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Posted: 01/20/21 10:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Air bags level the truck. They don’t increase payload. My 1500 is fine for a smaller TT. You need a one ton.


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


wintersun

Monterey

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Posted: 01/20/21 12:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

With the Chevy/GM/Ram trucks there is no difference between the 2500 and 3500 trucks other than the number of rear leaf springs in the pack and whether you can get DRW on the truck as DRW available only with the 3500 models. When I bought my 2011 Chvey Duramax diesel 2500 pickup it was so I could get the standard length bed of 6'6" and the double or extended cab. With the 3500 I would have had to go with either the regular cab or the crew cab. Be careful as when I bought my Chevy 2500HD pickup with its 2800 lb payload capacity it had a higher payload rating than any of the SRW 3500 pickups on the dealer's lot. With Ford they have had more differences between their F-250 and F-350 models and so safest to go with one of their F-350 trucks if you decide on Ford.

I added a double leaf set of SuperSprings for $445 and an hour of my time to increase the payload from 2800 to more than 4000 lbs and I replaced the factory tires rated at 3095 lbs with new Nitto tires rated at 3750 lbs load capacity and I replaced the factory shocks with the Rancho XL adjustable shocks.

I drove the truck with the fully loaded Lance 845 camper and a total payload of 3700 lbs with zero issues and no problems with sway or handling of the truck and camper. It is very important to realize that in a turn there will be more than 50% of the camper load on one wheel and so on one tire and one set of leaf springs. If the load cannot be adequately supported then there will be sway and the shocks will be far less effective.

Truck frames were made much stronger on the 2011 and later GM pickups and on the 2014 and later Ram trucks and on the 2016 and later Ford pickups (which were the ones most likely to have a frame fail with a camper load). At least with the AAM axles used on the GM/Chevy trucks their load rating is 11,000 lbs so the payload is largely determined by the weight the leaf springs and the tires can support.

I highly recommend the Torklift frame mounted tie-downs and their FastGun adjustble turnbuckles (proper tensioning is critical as too much tension will literally pull the sides of the camper apart.

There are people selling their trucks with their campers and you will save more than $3000 or more in the costs of mating a camper to the truck properly. With a new truck there will the cost of the hold downs and the new shocks and tires and new wiring harness and battery relay and 20 hours or more of shop labor. Unless the model and year are known to have reliabilty or safety problems, which is easy to research, there is little to be gained with a brand new pickup.

With a new pickup plan on selling the tires on Craigslist and buying higher load capacity tires (Nitto, BF Goodrich, Toyo) and on replacing the shocks with the Rancho adjustable, and be sure that the pickup does not have one of the plastic drop in bed liners as this will make it more difficult to keep the camper from sliding in the bed. I gained 1310 lbs of load capacity at the rear axle with the new tires.

I went with the diesel truck for its power and ability to quickly accelerate and safely merge with freeway traffic and to be able to safely pass double trailer rigs going up steep grades and having the use of the engine exhaust brake when going down steep hills. I also got 30% more miles per gallon which meant that the range with the trucks 36-gal fuel tank was 30% greater. One cannot legally nor do aftermarket fuel tank makers have them to replace the factory gas tank. The front profile of the Lance camper produced a great deal of wind drag which impacted fuel economy considerably with a reduction of more than 30% even without a head or cross wind.

capacitor

California

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Posted: 01/20/21 01:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I dad the same 845 on a GMC 2500HD gas and added the air bags. Worked fine for 6years, no problems. The 845 is for a shortbed truck and I don’t recall a 3500 in a shortbed.

BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 01/20/21 02:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

IMO get a gas instead of a Diesel and 2 x2 unless you really need 4x4 as this will save maybe 1,100 lbs or more of truck ( My numbers are out of date on that--confirm with newer trucks) weight that you can now use for more camper weight. OTOH the reasons given above for Diesel might apply to you. Depends.

What jacks are on that camper? If you got a dually truck, you need dually jack mountings if not there now.

Get a truck with a back seat not a regular cab. You need space to carry more stuff than the camper will hold.

Besides the weight on the back tires and all that to consider, if you overload the truck, it will be hard to stop and keep the speed down when going down steep hills. Not fun!

A mechanical inspection before buying is well worth it. Low miles does not mean it hasn't been worked hard. EG, watch out for shavings in the rear differential. You can get a "kit" for that, but it costs some. That's just one thing for the inspection to do for you.

If the truck already has a towing package, you get the 7-pin for the camper's lights. Maybe a transmission cooler too.

Compare the bed rail height with your camper box height--you might need some 2x 4s in the bed to sit the camper on and longer chains to the belly bars. (You have to get those put on the truck)


1. 1991 Oakland 28DB Class C
on Ford E350-460-7.5 Gas EFI
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2. 1991 Bighorn 9.5ft Truck Camper on 2003 Chev 2500HD 6.0 Gas
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noteven

Turtle Island

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Posted: 01/20/21 03:22pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Short bed or long bed the camper center of gravity will be the same in relation to the rear axle.

Bed length differences are between the axle and the back of cab. Length behind the axle is the same.

I use the gap for storage.

I hear the "looks police" don't like it which is of course why they can rig their own campers however they like.

capacitor

California

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Posted: 01/20/21 03:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Now that is ugly! When I picked up the camper the dealership had it on a long bed to move it and I been laughing about that ever since.

mgsulkis

DENVER, CO

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Posted: 01/20/21 04:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lots of things on my mind here, folks! Really appreciate all the detail. I'm in a bit of a spin cycle trying to figure this out.

Originally, based on the reading I was doing, I figured I wanted a 4x4 diesel. We live in Colorado and would like to be able to drive it in the snow.

I feel like I'm hearing that in order to carry a 2200lb dry weight camper (so basically a 3200lb full weight camper I need a truck with a Total hauling capacity of at least 3200lbs...which basically doesn't exist in the 250/2500 range.

The RAM charts(took a look at the 2014-2016s) show that a 6.4L V8 Hemi has a GVWR of 10,000 and weighs 6,389. That would leave me 3611 lbs for the trailer. So, I'm about 400lbs away from the max out of the vehicle. The same chart says the rear axle can handle 6000 (assuming the GAWR is what I think it is).

So...if I'm willing to lose gas mileage and move away from the diesel...do I have my math right that this option would work, albeit be pretty close to my max out?

I imagine the right move there is to see how it rides, then if it feels to heavy, etc - I make the inbvestment in additional leaf springs, sway bar (probably advisable anyways) and air bags.

Can someone gut check me?

* This post was edited 01/20/21 04:33pm by mgsulkis *

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 01/20/21 04:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

^Youre basically on track, but stuck on the payload thing. 3/4 ton/250/2500 class 2 model trucks have artificially low payload ratings. So that part, you’re not tracking on.
It’s confusing with all the people saying “you need a 1 ton”, but if you want actual verification, look at payload/gvws of new GM and Ford class 2 trucks. They’re offered with greater than 10klb gvws AND 10k gvw. But the truck is the same. This is not light duty vs heavy duty.
Also diesels with less payload rating is the same concept. Where Diesel engines load the front axle more, campers load the rear axle. Again, real world payload IN the truck bed is relatively unaffected by lighter or heavier engine.

That and I wouldn’t see a good case for helper springs and airbags. Pick one, not both.

It’s all good.

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