I'm looking for a used 2500 to carry some bbq equipment around, take on the beach and eventually carry a truck camper. We don't know what kind of camper we are looking for. pop up, small to medium hard side? What features in a truck would give me the most flexabilty.
Best truck I've ever owned is a 1992 Dodge Cummins 5 speed 4x4. Still driving it after 16 years and still won't sell it. If you can find a 92-93 5 speed in nice shape with the Cummins, it will be a very good truck to you.
There are plenty of big gas-guzzling 0.75 and 1 ton pick-ups on the used market! In our neck of the woods (Quebec) you can't even give them away for free (at near $6 a gallon of gas here and climbing rapidly to infinity). I'm exaggeration the ".....free" a bit of course, however, not by much!
Among the used HD pick-up trucks, each brand has their foibles (weak points in their components), and those long-term owners can each give their list of shortcomings for a particular year and model.
For example, in the Chevy and GM 2500HD line-up for the 2004 model year, the following are weak points:
-truck bed access door cables prone to fail (fixed under a recall);
-all brake fluid hydraulic lines prone to rust and early failure (fix by coating every centimeter of brake lines with Naval jelly when truck is new, and inspect & re-coat every year; if this wasn't done new, then replace all brake lines and repeat my recommended maintenance immediately after replacement);
-transfer case has a vibrating gear oil pump clip that will rub through magnesium transfer case housing in potentially 1 or 2 of 4/5 locales (fix: I applied 4 cubic inches of metal-filled epoxy over prone areas; many will change the pump retainer ring);
-brake pistons prone to seize (fix: replacement);
-heater airconditioning relay & circuit board can overheat and catch fire under dashboard (fixed under suggested replacement IF your truck is under a certain mileage);
-steering connector rod needs regular dis-assembly and greasing (or, an aftermarket part is available to eliminate knocking problem);
-a Bosch brake hydraulic component recall should have been addressed in the 2nd year of ownership.
Other than the above minor items (we've addressed all of them in our own truck), this truck will give your at least 500,000 miles of trouble-free heavy workload operability (we have our truck under "severe service maintenance schedule, per GM's maintenance spreadsheets on same: suggested when hauling a truck camper).
Your hauling capability (thus, your planned cargo load, meticulously calculated by you, based on your needs) will be your only limiting factor (check the door stickers for this number on every truck you look at! because this number varies for every truck based on installed options). Your MPG with this particular model year truck (in our/this case: a 2500HD 6L Vortec-6 8-cylinder gas engine, with 4L80E 4-speed transmission, extended cab, 4x4), with our max cargo: 1400~1500 LBS payload with 2 passengers, gross sum), we get a solid 13.6 MPG. Unloaded (it is rarely if ever unloaded) we get a solid 15 MPG (driving profile: 55 MPH on highway; I drive like I have an egg under the gas pedal and brake pedal).
Good luck, and have fun looking
*reiterating: each long-term truck owner on this Forum can detail their own brand's particular weak points, strong points, and statistics for the year of their truck(s)
If you have hopes of carrying a truck camper in the future then your payload is the most important factor - things like 4x4, double-cab, diesel, though desirable, all eat into that load capacity. You are right to ask now because so many questions appear on this forum from people saying "I've got xxx truck - what camper can I put on it?", then learning the hard way and having to replace their truck.
So decide what you really do need (e.g. do you need a double or supercab, sounds like you do need 4x4). Then think about what size of camper you might be happy with. A 2500 truck is going to limit you to more modest sized campers, however that may be ideal if you are looking to thread your camper down narrow tracks in the back country (e.g. Silversand above's rig - 2500 HD with pop-up camper). The medium size campers are likely to need a 3500 and the larger ones 3500 double rear wheel (DRW).
Have a look on some of the manufacturers web sites to see what they quote the dry weight of your preferred type of camper as. Then you'll probably need to add 800-1000 lbs to that weight to get the total weight you will be carrying (water, batteries, food, fuel, passengers, etc.). Then compare that to the payloads on the trucks. Don't mix up payload with GVWR, axle weight, etc. If you look at the numbers for the different configurations of trucks you will see they vary considerably. I would say you need to look at at least 2500 lb payload. Our camper is supposed to be 1400 lbs dry, but I reckon we are probably close to the 2500 lb payload of our truck when laden; and ours is a pretty small camper.
Good luck - the research you do now will save you finding later that you've painted yourself into a corner with your truck choice.
'07 Ford Ranger XLT Supercab diesel + '91 Shadow Cruiser - Sky Cruiser 1
'92 Suzuki Samurai 4x4 1.6
'09 Fiat Panda 1.2
'10 Citroen DS3 1.6 turbo
We bought a used '99 Ford f350 and we're dealing with transmission seal issues. Did not know until now that it's been a well known issue for years. So heads up on that.
We have a 9.5 Host Rainier camper on a long bed crew cab. LOVE the ability to put the tools/extra gear in the back seat of the crew cab.
So I'd make sure you get a crew cab. We're 23'6" long. We can still fit in 24 ft camp sites (so we usually luck out in the first come-first serve campgrounds...seems there is always a spot we can fit into.)
We're 11' 6" tall (with a polar cub a/c on top).
If you are even remotely considering hauling a truck camper get a 3500 long bed, preferably a dually. Truck campers are heavy. Trucks with 4 x 4, diesel, etc. are heavy. Almost everyone carrying a truck camper is over their GVWR, even on duallys. My next truck will be a 4500. I currently carry a non-basement truck camper with no slide outs on a '05 Chevy dually. It weighs 13,000 without the boat hitched up. It's only rated for 11,400.
As for brand and year, that's a hornets nest. IMO: skip the Ford 6.0 and 6.4, don't get a Duramax before '04.5, and don't get an early Dodge automatic.
Forget the 2500 and go with a 3500 if you want flexibility.
and better make it a dually! look through previous threads and you'll find scads of info on the subject. look at www.truckcampermagazine.com you'll find lots of info. Matching a TC to a truck is a lot harder than it seems.
2011 Adventurer 910FBS,Torklift tie downs,Fastguns & Wobbl-stopprs
2012 Dodge 3500 DRW 6.7L CTD, 4x4, LB,CC,6 speed auto,3.73 axle, General 17" on/off road
2008 Lund 1825 Explorer Sport,115 Merc,9.9 kicker,Torklift Super Hitch,42" Supertruss
USAF ret E-9&E-7
Forget the 2500 and go with a 3500 if you want flexibility.
I agree with that. Much more payload capacity in the one-ton truck. When it comes to truck campers, payload capacity is king and will give you the most flexibility in what camper you can haul as well as what you can tow on the hitch.
I'll also add in: get the long bed not the short bed. As with more payload capacity, the long bed makes your camper selection flexibility much greater than being limited to a short bed.
To sum it up: look for a 3500 long bed, not a 2500 short bed.