Wanted to share a picture of my new camper. Quite a change from my original plans but necessary due to a very unexpected job change. This is my new 2012 Northstar 8.5 Adventurer on my old 1996 Dodge 2500 CTD. I'm a newb with truck campers and relied heavily on the posts in this forum (thank you all!) and the expertise of Rex Willett at Northstar (thanks Rex!) to finalize my options list.
The objective was to select options that would allow me to comfortably live in my camper 4 nights a week in all seasons. I have dual fuels for heat and hot water, 130 watts of solar with two AGM batteries, DC refrigeration, insulated windows, A/C, cassette toilet, additional wall and ceiling insulation, two LP bottles, and so on. I've spent the past three weeks living in it and think I've achieved my goal! Much better than an apartment any day and I can recover my investment in less than two years at the apartment rates in my area!!
My truck handled the drive back from Cedar Falls quite well. I did add air bags when I returned to level fore/aft and side to side. I weighed 9150 lbs with full fuel tank, fresh water tank, flush tank and one propane bottle. The weight also includes my living supplies for the week and my dog. I lost 5 mpg with the camper on, 22.5 mpg to 17.5 mpg (all hand calculated to the same spot on the filler neck). Not too bad considering I was traveling at 65-70 mph the whole trip with two very large metro areas to traverse. I think I could bump that closer to 18 mpg with slightly slower speeds.
This purchase was something I wanted to make for a long time but had other things with higher priority. But now the kids are out of college, we don't want to sell our house, I can live very comfortably at my new job location, and have something for future travels.
Thanks again for letting me listen in on the conversations. The information I learned was very helpful in specifying my camper. I really am a happy camper! I hope the picture makes it.
1996 Dodge 2500 CTD, 2wd, 5 sp, ordered brand new and still going strong
2012 Northstar 8.5 Adventurer
PS: Moved to correct forum and trying to figure out the picture problem
Thanks for your info, we are set up almost exactly the same with our Northstar Arrow.
We really like the camper and build quality is A1. I have been inside of just about every nook and cranny in ours installing the solar etc. and cannot help but notice little things like the wiring all neatly laid out, excellent fit and finish, even in unseen areas...
I recently put a deck plate in our water tank to allow access when you lift up the step to the cabover, very easy to clean and fill from inside with a bucket.
We also installed LED lights, maybe you already have them with your new build.
I am going to change out the noisy water pump and put in a Flo-Jet VSD type.
The DC fridge is lovely, the solar will run it for weeks...
Keep your old 12V truck, also had one of those, the newer Cummins with the pollution equipment is a real pain, around here they do not know how to repair them.
I assume you have done your Killer Dowell Pin Mod...
Our mileage works out almost exactly the same as yours, we are slightly heavier when loaded up 11,500 and run about 16 MPG , 22 empty.
Congratulations on the new camper! You'll get many fine nights on the road and have something to show for your work travel other than receipts.
I made the same decision in 04, buying a Lance and F-350 dually. Be careful though! Extended travel led to my full timing over two years ago. The luxury of sitting in my recliner watching the exodus on Sunday outweighed the long drive home. Federal/State/City & County parks offer the natural aesthetics and variety you can't find in a sticks & bricks. Million dollar views for $10-$20/per night.
About this time next year, retirement arrives. Along with that, a 5er will offer more space at a greatly reduced pace. But, the TC has been incredible for my needs and use. Travel safe and enjoy.
Yes, definitely sounds like we're running the same combination! Yes, I added LED lights throughout, the amplified TV antenna (if I ever decide to add the TV), a Carefree awning, Heiki front vent, and microwave. My Dodge has been a good truck. It has had it's share of problems, Dodge and Cummins, but nothing major or that 231k miles didn't cause. I tabbed the dowel pin, installed an all new Moog front end, Southbend 13" single disc clutch/flywheel, 4" exhaust, Bilsteins, a little more fuel and air (TST #11 plate). I put a gooseneck hitch in the bed for all the towing I do. The truck has to work for a living but I try to take good care of it. It uses a quart of oil about every 5k miles.
I couldn't agree more about Northstar, excellent build quality and even better owners. I looked at several vendors but settled on Northstar after a telephone conversation with Rex. I was very impressed with his willingness to share his experience. That was invaluable for a newb like me trying to decide on options. I don't have a Northstar dealer any where near me so had to call Northstar. In fact, I ordered my camper sight unseen and based on conversations with Rex. Saw only one on the road here in the southeast US and saw the inside for the first time when I picked it up several weeks ago! I'm delighted, excellent experience with Rex and the Northstar folks.
Thanks for the tips. And I definitely agree about the DC refrigerator, works great with the solar.
I'm going to try the picture again, hope it works this time!
I'm close to retirement also which made this job change a very unexpected opportunity and something that piqued my interest. Hence the reason for the camper and keeping our home. We'll retire here. I've traveled for 40 years in my career and have been a lot of places but haven't seen most of them. I'm an engineer in the auto industry so I usually don't go to many nice places anyhow!! But I'm looking forward to seeing much more than an airport, tech center, and/or manufacturing plant in the future! And you sure are right, if I don't like the view I can just drive to another spot!
OK, trying the picture again. Hope it works
well thats the address but it needs to be pasted using the Image button when in editor assistan....you can retry in your 1st post overwriting the bad code..it was close just missing .jpg at end
Second try had two starting image codes?
see pulsars post..
* This post was
edited 05/06/12 05:03pm by AnEv942 *