OP here, sorry for the delay in responding, I was in the desert and out of Internet/cell range this past week. (My (Our?)favorite place?)
Agree with all you said; in my case the Outfitter Apex 8 scale weight comes in at an even (dry weight) 2,000#s; in my truck (Dodge Ram 2500, 2004.5 yr) the bottom leaf was sitting evenly across the the bottom overload leaf. My truck does not have upper overloads, which would've been standard on the #3500 model. Not much left to play with in terms of "gap"; the addition of an additional "layered" progressive spring constant was a necessity. The alternative was to build a new leaf spring pack; which I considered (and certainly and still a valid option) but in my case (IMHO) not as cost-effective as the Supersprings. Now, is my truck as "pliable" as I would like it? No. But again everything boils down to acceptable compromise.
My front (Coil) springs carry the Diesel option; so probably they are already loaded (or overloaded) compared to other options. Yes, in the future I will need to consider whatever suspension improvements reveal themselves. For now, I'm content to stick with my plan to upgrade shock absorbers; and see what else materializes....
Grodyman: No noise whatsoever.
deveildog1971: My stock truck with stock camper remains lower on the left side as compared to the right, by about ~1-1/4+". Does this bother me? Yes, a little. Can I adjust around it? Yes, if I want to, by playing with adjustment of my airbag pressure. If you were lucky enough (IMHO) to find a shop that understands this and knows how to adjust for it then I would love to learn about this; but my experience everywhere elsewhere is a bunch of blank stares and expressions. Open to any suggestions.....
Truck suspensions are all interesting examples of compromise.
Stock OEM set-up for pick-up trucks is probably weighted in favor of grocery store runs; but for us TC haulers (especially in off-road conditions) more “oomph” is often desirable.
In my case, the stock 2004.5 Dodge Diesel Ram SRW 4x4 leafs, carrying an Outfitter Apex 8 (2,000# scale weight) was sitting on the overloads. Yes, I had added air bags but when you get down to it airbags only add height, they don’t adjust spring constant and in my case there was noticeable deterioration of ride quality over time, due to weakening of OEM shock absorbers and softening of leafs. Even though the air bags were independently pressurized, there was an increasing amount of sway.
I was considering StableLoads but in my case already having full contact across the length of the overload spring I was not sure what benefit would be derived. And I didn’t look forward to drilling the necessary holes….
Turns out the SuperSprings factory is near where I work. I pulled in one day, to see what they thought. Within minutes, they measured my ride height and recommended a pair of SSA15 springs. Simple “bolt-on” installation. I went ahead with this; the pre-load tension for this spring (installed on an empty truck) was only minimal, next to nothing. There are adjustment holes to allow the preload to be reduced or tightened but the stock spring was right on target. Did the empty truck ride harder? Yes; the addition of the springs was noticeable but not adversely so. Still plenty good and soft for grocery store runs.
I then loaded the camper, and wow, what a difference! Even driving with the air bags deflated, the ride and sway concerns are greatly reduced, if not eliminated! The stock leafs are no longer sitting with full contact on the overloads, which restores much of the original spring constant and utility into operation!
For future flexibility between on and off-road driving I still plan to upgrade my shocks (to air adjustable) but already I am very satisfied with this simple and inexpensive mod.
I am not in any way connected with SuperSprings, and for different vehicles and suspension set-ups I am the first to admit other options may and could work better. But I wanted to relay my experience; this forum has helped me in the past with information and experience and I’m trying to pay back!
Yep, James' is right; even 3'+ drifts are quite possible on the 33 but if it gets that deep I simply pull off on a shoulder and rest for a while. (Around here, snow melts.) James' probably knows a lot more about winter driving than me.
Thanks Trackrig, tc life, and Pigman. The set I saw today was installed on a 3/4 ton pickup, (without camper), and while I suppose I'm not surprised they are available for commercial heavy duty trucks I've never seen anything like this for truck campers. And yes, we don't have measurable snow in Ojai so I'm a newbie in all things snow related other than my limited experience.
This post will probably get moved to a different forum but I wanted to share with TC friends first. I had never heard nor seen these until today - but what an interesting idea! Automatic Tire Chains And yes, they make models specific to heavy duty (3/4 and 1 ton) trucks.
I don't do enough winter driving to justify them; but wouldn't it be great to flip a switch while driving and instantly have chains working for you, without having to leave the cab? You need an on-board air system to make it work.
I agree with Desertboy, my experience (admittedly limited) is that I am much less likely to skid on ice with the camper on than off the truck. I am much more worried winter driving an empty truck (especially a diesel with limited slip differential, which can easily spin unloaded tires off the line) than a loaded one.
Camper-specific issues I have experienced include heavily snow-laden branches will drop significantly and create unexpected overhead clearance issues, where in dry weather clearance is fine. I use steel snow chains (with 4WD, not very often) but have also seen the added camper weight demolish the cheapo all-plastic ones. Finally, changing a flat tire out in ice and snow is obviously a bit more challenging, on ice the jack will walk so take precautions.
In summary, I feel safer with the camper on rather than off in these conditions.
Jefe hit a good point, although both will have commercial plates in CA 350 PU Truck registration will be based upon unloaded "curb" weight (either from public scale or from Manufacturer) – but a 450 or 550 Cab and Chassis registration would be based upon the declared combined weight, fully loaded. I have no idea if you’re supposed to include estimated weight for a add-on camper?
In insanely expensive places like Southern California, with lots of un-insured drivers, are insurance rates notably different between a 350 and 550?
With! Originally because I didn't want to lug around a generator or a microwave – but can confirm I also love enchiladas, fresh bread, roasted tri-tip, etc… Tonight, I’m heading out to a very remote trail head, (helping with logistics support for a local high-school) and plan to have fresh cookies waiting for the kids tomorrow when they come in from their week-long backpacking trip…
In the photo, it looks like the screws tore sideways from left to right - possibly ripping through the thin-wall aluminum tube section as well. The tube section is important, it is part of the front "tub" section, under compression. Also a little distressing is if evidence that this may have happened before. Can you see if the tubing has in fact been severed? If so, I would look at 1) opening up a square access "window" into the tube interior from the inside, and slide in multiple layers of 1/8" thick flat aluminum barstock (sized to fit inside of tube section) through the affected area, with epoxy; or 2) drill an injection and vent hole and fill the damaged tube section with epoxy.
As others have said, it is distressing but not all that uncommon, and is repairable.
I agree with health concerns over Pm; however much of the CARB regulatory infrastructure is based on junk science. Epidemiology is a very exacting science but unfortunately CARB abused their power. Dr. Tran had a mail-order diploma, falsified research, and the CARB director (Mary Nichols) failed to inform the CARB Board of the fraud before they voted on the controversial Pm regulation. The Pm regulations are like a run-away freight train!
For those of you outside of California laughing at us; Mary Nichols is on the short list to be the next EPA chief.
DAK – Here’s hoping they catch the offender! I’ve read about cases where the “environmental crime” (spilled diesel fuel on the ground) and consequences were much bigger and likely to be prosecuted than petty theft. (Remember, this is California!) So, if any spilled fuel was potential threat to groundwater, the thief may have Cal-EMA, RWQCB, County Health and Fire, DFG-OSPR, USFWS, and AQMD penalties to put up with! And they can be tenacious!
Silversand - internal filling the tube will change structural properties (cross sectional moment of inertia, section modulus, etc.) in the affected area but not to where I see any resultant harm, at least for this instance. I agree if the hammer blows haven't created stress folds or cracks you could probably get away leaving it alone; but not being sure of the actual size and extent of damage and amount of stresses induced I think application of an external composite material is an appropriate fix - and as you point out, a lot less risky/costly/time consuming then opening up the structure to replace damaged tube sections.
1" square tubing typically has a wall thickness of only 0.062". All of those hammer dimples create multiple areas of stress concentration, which could eventually lead to fatigue or stress cracks - especially on a jack support member. Using Bondo for restoration of structural strength (as opposed to cosmetic) can be done successfully - but off-the-shelf "stock" Bondo may not adhere properly to aluminum (resulting in future delamination and loss of strength). There are special procedures, primers and formulations just for aluminum, I would get recommendations from Bondo (or whoever's product they are using) in writing and ensure that such procedures/materials are used for the repair.
If you're still worried then you could also consider drilling a couple of holes and injecting an epoxy filler to the interior of the tubing in the affected area - but you'll have to decide if you want to retain the future capability to remove the jack mounting lugs (in which case I would remove and re-install after the epoxy sets up.)
As others have already said, Propane (or LPG) powered fuel cells are a possibility, although presently very, very expensive. For a work-related application I was looking at Acumentrics - these are small units, 12 to 48 volt DC output, (to co-exist with solar systems), 150 watt to 10 kW. All solid state, ceramic tubular fuel cell design. Maybe someday somebody will package a variant just for the RV market. In addition to heat, the exhaust also contains pure water, which could be great for boondocking. In some states a TC is a "second home" and possibly such a system would be eligible for renewable energy tax credits to help pay for it.
BTDT. There is no “right” answer - I’ve had good luck talking to some offending campers but as others have already said trying to reason with others (e.g. deranged and armed gang members) could be an invitation for more trouble. Reasonable people can reach reasonable solutions but it is only an exercise in frustration to try and reason with unreasonable people. I’ve stayed in campgrounds where even the host was afraid to deal with it, and nervously waiting for an outside sheriff to show up.
I prefer boondocking but in Southern CA that doesn’t necessarily assure complete insulation from the crazies. Also, when boondocking you’ll most likely be completely out of cell phone range and thus no ability to call for help.
I once dry camped in Anza Borrego, in a remote area (Sheep Canyon) I felt sure would be pretty private. But everything went to pieces at 1:30 in the morning, when a noisy group of 20+ and four-wheel drive vehicles showed up. A helicopter landed and that’s when I discovered I was in the middle of an INS staging area (and holding pen) for an illegal immigrant smuggling raid. At least for once I didn't need to worry about my safety!
Once I experienced falling cargo from the cabinets above strike and wiggle open a stovetop burner - no harm done but I'm still a little nervous leaving gas on in an unoccupied camper while driving.
My 8.1L 'burb runs so dang hot, I bet a roast wrapped in tinfoil tucked under the hood would work nicely...
We've all heard the stories about truckers heating cans of Dinty Moore stew on their engine blocks while driving. On a previous truck I fabricated a small stainless steel rack within the engine compartment. Omega and other places sell very inexpensive wireless temperature monitors (my rack was pretty consistently around 320°F) but that is not necessary.
You can buy a purpose-fit cookbook cookbook for more information.