I have a 2nd gen dodge as well with an 8800gvw, my truck weighs empty at 7600 lbs. There is a lot that goes into these #s and its not all engineering. Marketing, lawyers, state and fed regs etc. Example: in california, if you drive a vehicle with a gvw rating greater then 10,000 you can get ticketed for not having a special license, even if the vehicle is under the 10,000 pound weight limit. Its happened.
My vehicle has custom front and rear springs, it has bigger wheel cylinders in the rear and 3rd generation front brakes (35% larger then the original) I also have 19.5 wheels and tires. The engine puts out around 500 hp and a built Allison transmission was installed with a larger transfer case and larger U-joints. My weakest link on the truck is the rear axle. I have had over 5000 lbs in the bed and the truck didn't even hit the overloads. It drove fine. I've had an 8 ft camper in the bed with a 10,000 lb. trailer on a Pintle hitch going cross country, with this set up. I could lock up all the tires if needed.
Does anyone want to say that my truck isn't safe going over the gvw, they're crazy. Just plan for the weight you plan on carrying and make sure the truck can handle and stop safely.
I have been in some of the newer 1/2 ton trucks that claim that they can carry 4000* lbs. They won't stop but they are rated for that kind of weight. I wouldn't ride in one and I don't give much credit to the manufacturers sticker only the components and how the vehicle is put together. If you are a person who has no clue about the vehicle and the equipment you carry, you shouldn't be on the road as you are a danger to others and if you are willing to put a 100 percent of your trust in government and or manufacturers? Think again.
There I said it.
To the op, get what ever camper you like and make the truck safe. If you can't make the truck safe then get a different truck.
anybody ever thought of using an AC unit for a boat. It could be mounted in the basement with the cool air ducted through the heating vents and the condenser exhaust exhausted out. I do know that they are very efficient.