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.
Have you looked at the JD Power ratings? Clicky The only reason I know about this site is because they send me survey forms every year asking me to document what, if any, repairs/issues I've had.
They cover new and used HD trucks. They state ratings are "Taken from the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which looks at owner-reported problems in the first 3 years of new-vehicle ownership, this score is based on problems that have caused a complete breakdown or malfunction of any component, feature, or item (i.e., components that stop working or trim pieces that break or come loose)..."
As others have said, your experience may vary...
I am an Outfitter Apex 8.5' (pop-up) owner and I am pleased to report the camper has served me well for several years in a large variety of situations, including some fairly challenging off-road environments.
However, I must also admit, due to personal changes in my priorities, I am now pondering selling the Outfitter and a changeover to a full "hard-sided" camper. The reasons are:
1) Since I bought the Outfitter, I married, and now have twins (age 6) - my wife is slowly becoming an independent user of the camper (it is GREAT for wife-sponsored day trips w/kids to beach, picnic, etc.) but she does not like the mechanics of having to lift and lower the roof;
2) I think (at least, for outfitter) the weight/height advantages are over-rated. My "dry" weight comes in ~2,000#. The outfitter has pretty deep storage under the bed, which while useful translates into wind resistance approaching a hard-side unit. Nobody publishes true vertical Center of Gravity (COG) measurements but I would have to believe vertical COG difference is only a matter of a few inches between a hard-side and the Outfitter.
3) I agree height advantages become critical when off-roading in forested areas, due to low clearances beneath trees. Most of my travel is in southern deserts, where this is is a non-issue.
4) I am doing more "workamp" - in noisy environments - (remote drilling rig sites, or even more challenging, urban drill sites) and although earplugs are great a hard-side might be a better barrier for me.
It'll take me a while to decide what, if anything, I may do. But now you have my thoughts....