This is a great project. Note that the switch specified Hubbel HBL1386I is "Center off," this provides the "break before make" closure (otherwise you might see sparks fly!)
I learned once the hard way that Norcold refrigerators won't work properly on AC if the hot/neutral leads are reversed - another reason to support this project if you encounter this condition with AC......
This thread likely to be moved; but posting here first because Truck Campers are usually first (and often the best) to offer knowledgeable advice.
I use 2m/70cm, but plan to buy and add RV (mobile) FM/UHF/HF rig. I want to work 40m and 80m, and especially NVIS. (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave) So looking for a campsite field-deployable dipole (camper ladder mounted?) but also wire feeds to grade to support NVIS operation. Open to vertical polarization as well but NVIS is the real goal.
Looking for antenna recommendations, thoughts? I usually camp in desert with no trees around. Looking for lightweight, easy deployable options. Thoughts?
Also shopping for new mobile HF radio, another thread.
A few cats are born (or otherwise raised) to travel; great but in my experience most (Esp. Siamese) cats (used to a house) are "homebodys," hate travel and will voice differing opinions as to your own travel plans. One cat did calm down only to bring me several live mice "presents" while tent camping in Sequoia; probably as a peace offering....
A good thing about cats is that you can leave them home with a stockpile of food and water and they'll be just fine when you return. Not so with dogs.
If you travel with a cat, try to get cat used to harness (not collar) and beware predators! (Birds of Prey, Coyotes, etc.)
Thanks everyone for the great suggestions! Rollin, 805Gregg, Kerry, you are correct Calmark is not far from me so will visit today and grab a sample of their material and find out weight. I also like the idea of a "mesh" tarp, will check this. Bobndot, hadn't heard of the UV Tech Spray but will check that out, even if I do get a cover. Brutal sunlight and L.A. smog in summer eats up caulk and plastic. Jefe, excellent comments as always, I'm listening to Bob Florence CDs and wish we had more live music like this....
Like most of us, I don't have covered parking available. My concern is brutal sunlight and associated UltraViolet damage to plastic, caulk, etc. I'm looking for a lightweight "sun-cover" to lay over camper to help during summer months. Not worried about rain or water protection. During summer, would remove once every 1 to 2 weeks for outings.
Camper spends 80% of time on truck; doesn't matter to me if cover is camper only or truck plus camper; only that it work regardless if camper is on truck or not.
Aluminum is considered less "noble" than steel, and if in direct contact with carbon steel will act as an anode, sacrificing itself in order to protect the steel (cathode). You eliminated the other potential cause (stray currents) by removing battery/shore power. The process is exacerbated by the presence of moisture, which helps act as a conductor.
I'm wondering do the steel jack legs show corrosion? Were they in contact with the ground, and exposed to water? If so, the aluminum may have been doing its best (as an anode) to protect the steel legs against corrosion.
I've heard of this happening to small aluminum boats in covered storage (in direct contact with steel storage racks) but never to a camper.
I use a ResMed S9 in my Outfitter camper, using the optional and not insurance covered 12 VDC #36970 power convertor. I had problems with it cutting out at night (due to low voltage) and thus have learned it is more reliable (especially in very cold weather) to not use the humidifier. (In these cases it was so cold in the camper I had ice/frost in the breathing tube, I also did not use the heated tube option) (Aside: I don't like to sleep with the heater "on" but the lowest the Outfitter thermostat can go is only 55 degrees so I usually shut the furnace completely "off" at night.) I never had problems using it in warmer weather.
I'd like to purchase a second machine (non-insurance, my insurance will only pay for the first one) dedicated to travel use and looking at Transcend or an HDMUSA Z1, neither of which I know very little about.
Not to hijack your thread but want to tell others I am physically fit, not overweight, and have never felt tired or sleepy during the day. Yet for many years I probably should've been on a CPAP machine. It was only because of an alert physician who during a routine visit, based upon heredity information and simply looking into my throat figured out I was a candidate for this therapy. An actual "sleep test" verified this. If you or your spouse snores at night please, please consider this.
My personal physician recommended I explore playing the Didgeridoo or bass trombone, (I used to play both, long ago), she (the physician) thinks it is good for strengthening throat muscles, to the benefit of fighting Sleep Apnea. I am game, but honestly both instruments aren't exactly what you'd call solo instruments (for practicing) and without a band to play with I don't know if I can commit to it. But another option I am willing to explore....
Tiger - Thanks for sharing! Enjoyed the photographs. Although in my "backyard," it always helps to be reminded not to take this scenery for granted. Although I enjoy planning longer trips to remote destinations my "recharging" weekends are spent at any one of these great spots!
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but today it was 78? degrees in Ojai and may kiss 90 degrees before the week is out. If we don't get any more rain soon (doubtful) the green grass and blooming native plants in this area will soon give way to brown grass and dormant sage. Summer is arriving quickly this year!
I've done in with 4WD Dodge 2500 and Outfitter Apex camper. Passable when I went but washboard conditions in some stretches rattled us and camper contents a bit. A couple of stretches with soft sand but nothing 2WD couldn't handle provided you drive with some common sense. I think they grade that road maybe once a year but have no idea how it is now. As with any desert driving, conditions can and will change with weather.
Here is a Linkthat you may find useful to get current road conditions.
gbw, woodhog, dadwolf2, and others: Thanks for your valuable comments! It gives me more confidence. The camper I am looking at is a Northern Lite 8'-11" Queen Classic Special, not many around where I am so trying to vet this application "sight unseen." My truck has stock aluminum 17" wheels, and 285/70R 17 E-range tires.
I plan installing "smart" tire pressure sensors (with Bluetooth) to provide monitoring of air pressure.
I've read elsewhere front axle has issues. I've replaced the OEM front ball joints (upper and lower) at ~95K miles; and added grease nipples to allow better grease servicing and so far they (~75K miles) are OK. Also added Timbrens to the front spring stops. The stabilizer link bushings are shot and that is another upgrade yet to come. I've never had the "death wobble" experience but certainly aware of it.
Thanks, RV.NET for facilitating this opportunity to share experiences with others!
All: Weighed the truck. My unloaded truck scale weight is 7,280#s, with front axle 4,300# rear axle 2,980#s.
BTW the truck-camper info sheet inside my glove box said "NOT RECCOMENDED FOR SLIDE-IN CAMPERS.":(
The door stickers say this truck has GVWR of 9,000#; GAWR (Front) 5,200# and GAWR (Rear) 6,000#. If I believe the numbers then this truck has a dry payload capacity of only 1,720#s!
I am looking at a good deal on a Northen Lite, dry weight ~2,600#.
I've added supersprings, which theoretically provide rear leaf capacity equal or better than a 3500 truck capacity, which in 2004 was 3,005#s but also assumed curb weight of 6,895.
I am still concerned, is this too much camper for this truck?
Anyone out there running similar camper weights? Experience?
In case it helps, on my Outfitter (equipped with Norcold 300 unit) the most common issues with the refrigerator:
1) Spiders love to nest in the gas lines and clog orifice, resulting in less than optimum fuel/temp. Inspect, clean lines if necessary.
2) The vertical "tube" chimney above the flame is subject to corrosion, rust build-up, which hinders heat transfer. Use pipe cleaners to clean out rust.
3) Stock thermocouple placement is pretty good. But once while troubleshooting I removed it, cleaned off built-up corrosion and made sure it was inserted properly to sense flame, and proper operation was restored.
4) Not applicable in this case; but I discovered (the hard way) that if 110 VAC hot and neutral leads are reversed (as they were in my camper) the unit will not work on 110 VAC. It makes sense to see of the unit still works OK on 110VAC?
I agree if you had an ammonia leak you probably would've smelled it; so hopefully something not as serious?
Thanks all for your comments, I did not consider this in terms of percentages but it is more encouraging. With the 5.9 diesel there is already a fair amount of weight up front. I will visit scales this week and weigh unloaded front and rear axles to see what I have to work with.
I enjoy driving my 2004.5 Dodge Ram 2500 Quad Cab SRW Diesel 4x4 shortbox to many offroad (remote) places. The truck is equipped with airbags as well as super-springs. Stock lift.
Sold my 2,000# pop-up, now looking at a 2,600# 8'-11 hardside (non-slide) camper. The published CG (center of Gravity) for this camper is 37.5". Unfortunately, (based upon straight-edge and string lines) the distance from the rear of top front bed flange to the axle is 34". I suspect published CG is based upon dry weight but honestly don't know. Camper dealer of course says no problem.
For those with experience, how much of a detriment is this? Suggested mitigation, if any?
My truck (2004.5 Dodge Ram 2500) is notorious for having “soft” OEM springs. Unlike the 3500, there is no upper overload spring. Carrying 2,000# was enough to compress much of the available stock leaf arc. I considered adding stable-Loads; but in MHO all that accomplishes is pre-mature engagement of the (stiff) bottom overload spring. I did install air bags but agree with some others this is really nothing more than a height adjustment/leveler, it can and will take some spring load off but can lead to increased sway.
I ended up adding Supersprings and have never looked back. There is limited adjustment in terms of setting pre-load and I set that to minimum. Yes, they are stiffer when unloaded but not terribly so; and I immediately benefitted from the additional spring arc available, as well as reduced sway. I hardly bother with the air bags anymore.