We bought our first truck camper because it was a good deal. The guy didn't have the weight on it, but we were sure our truck could handle it. The truck is a 1999 GMC Sierra 2500 6.0L with tow package.
On line description at http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/spec_engines.aspx?year=1999&make=GMC&model=Sierra+2500&trimid=3386#trimsel it has a 3077# payload capacity. That is not what is on the sticker in the glovebox. There it says 1900# or so.
We are having airbags installed in a few days, but the springs are just about flat now when the camper is in place. The weight of the camper with water, gas, and standard equipment is about 2600#, as he managed to find the paperwork after we paid for it. (Lesson learned.) The truck drives and stops well, doesn't go over 3000rpm going up hills at 60mph, and that is without the air bags.
We also have a 19ft Sea Runner (1300#) on an EZ load trailer that we want to take with us camping, plus our kids in the truck (5, 15, and 18) and the dog in back (140#). Sooooo, I guess we just have to sell this thing? It sure is nice and exactly what we wanted, but after thinking about it we are afraid our truck can't do it without being a full ton truck.
If we did go anywhere, probably have to stick gear in boat trailer (clothing, cooler, food, etc) to lessen load in back end. Thoughts?
* This post was
edited 06/21/12 09:28am by Sparky14 *
You really need a bigger truck for safety and to reduce premature failure of components on the truck.
I would see how the truck handles the camper once the air bags are added. If it does well, not a lot of roll and raocking then I would take another test drive with the boat attached. See how it stops and tows up a steep hill. If it feels OK and stable go on a test trip on good roads with a full load.
You want to make sure the truck can stop the load safely and handle going down a long steep grade without losing brakes.
Take the truck to a spring shop and have them build a new set of heavier duty multi-leaf rear springs for the truck.
Also, put on a full set of Bilstein, KYB or Rancho shocks. While you're under there, have the spring shop install a heavy duty rear sway bar. That should take care of the suspension problems.
Next is tires. Be sure you have E-rated LT tires with enough weight capacity to carry your actual, loaded rear axle weight (a trip to the truck scale is needed to know what the weight is) and run the rear tires at their full 80 psi pressure rating.
As was said for get about the AB's get new springs or SuperSprings to help. You are within your weight limit with the E rated tire, which for the rear is now 6830lbs. Oh def on the sway bar. Air bags are for leveling out the rig.