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 > Truck Camper hope to be Newby looking for advice

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Quadhauler

USA

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Posted: 11/12/13 01:26pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,
5th wheel toyhauler owner looking for advice on Camper purchase and have some questions. I plan to put the camper on my bone stock 2011 Chevy Duramax 3500 Dually to make solo trips where the toy hauler is just overkill. Also be nice to take our boat to the lake and be able to spend a few days. I'm looking at the larger TC's out there like the Lance 1181 because I want the extra room and feel like my truck is up to the task. So my questions follow and appreciate any input from all you experienced TC guys and gals out there.

1. Is a newer Duramax 3500 Dually up to the task? will air bags be needed?

2. My 5th wheel hitch easily detaches from the bed of the truck, but there are two rails left about 1 inch tall and 3-4 feet across the bed. Will these cause an issue?

3. So say I buy a used 1181 and drive out to pick it up, what's involved in loading the TC into the bed and driving away? What modifications are required for the truck as far as mounting a TC goes?

4. I'd like to stay under $20,000 on my purchase, what large slide out models seem to be the best structurally? I don't mind fixing all the small stuff that will undoubtedly require my attention, just want to steer clear of models that fall apart structurally, like the Weekend Warrior toy hauler I once owned...

Any other advice is greatly appreciated!!


2011 Chevy Dmax 4x4 Dually
Holiday Rambler Next Level 40' 2 slides
2006 Lance 1161 Truck Camper
2014 Polaris RZR XP 1000
2011 Can Am Commander XT 1000
2012 Arctic Cat Wildcat 1000
2005 Yamaha TW 200
1987 Yamaha TW 200
1965 Heald Super Bronc
more...

wing464

Any where retirement takes me

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Posted: 11/12/13 01:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Had the same questions you when I made the move to a TC.

I overcame the rails left in the bed by placing the "Pink" foam insulation on the bed by cutting in 3 pieces and fitting 1 piece forward of the first rail, 1 piece between the rail, and one on the rear.. Glued the pieces to 1/4 plywood to the bottom to add some durability and increase the clearance to make sure it the rails would no come in contact with the TC bottom.

The dealer put Airbags on for me as part of the deal... I later added an onboard compressor to allow me to adjust the pressure while on the move.

Recently added a metal spacer on the overload spring to allow improve the stability with and allowed me to reduce the air pressure to the airbags.

My truck is a 2005 and it handles the Lance 981 Max with no problem... Feel the airbags and spacer were a good choice... In addition, I added a rear view camera which paid for itself many times. Without it there is a blind spot that can't be overcome by mirrors....

I have 1/2 inch clearance between the TC and wheel wells... close fit and had to practice a lot to get it on and off the truck....

Good Luck and Happy Travels.

joe b.

Florida

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Posted: 11/12/13 02:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I leave the 5th wheel rails on the truck. Using a straight edge, from the top of one rail to the other, I found I needed 1 1/8 inch of filler from the bed to the top of the rail. So I too made a foam plywood spacer, three of them as Wing mentioned. With half inch foam in the center an 3/8 plywood on top and bottom, it came out to the needed height.

My Lance 845 is reasonably light in weight, about 2,750 lbs, empty with options. Then beings I am a pack rat, I have to figure another thousand pounds by the time we hit the road. So far I am running unmodified on this truck. My previous Dodge truck had air bags, camper package, etc and it made it a good hauler but it was a 3/4 ton truck. I also like spring spacers on the rear and may add a set to my Chevy, especially if we trade up to a larger TC.


joe b.
Stuart Florida
Formerly of Colorado and Alaska
2016 Fleetwood Flair 31 B Class A w/bunks
www.picturetrail.com/jbpacooper
Alaska-Colorado and other Trips posted
"Without challenge, adventure is impossible".

Quadhauler

USA

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Posted: 11/12/13 03:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What are the most popular brands of TC mounting hardware out there?

* This post was edited 11/12/13 03:31pm by Quadhauler *

wing464

Any where retirement takes me

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Posted: 11/12/13 03:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Moving from a 5th wheel to a truck camper was the same for me as buying my first 5er. I felt the dealer had more experience than I did so I drove the truck in and the next day I drove it out... There are a lot of opinions on what is best.. The dealer installed Happijac tie down system and it has given me good service with no problems for years.. Others may chime in with other suggestions but do your research and I am sure you will make a decision you are happy with...

KD4UPL

Swoope, VA

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Posted: 11/12/13 05:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your options for tie downs are Happijac and Torklift. Either will work.
You'll need the spacer to clear the FW rails. You'll need dually swing out brackets on the camper to clear your wheel wells. The size camper you're looking at should have them anyway.
Leave your tailgate at home.
A Lance camper requires their own proprietary electrical plug to the truck. If you don't have it installed ahead of time leave some time for the dealer to put it on. Some people cut off the Lance plug and use a standard 7 pin. You will either need a connector in the bed of the truck at the front driver side corner or you'll need a long extension to reach the one at the bumper.

NEOK

Oklahoma

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Posted: 11/12/13 05:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have been very pleased with the Torklift tie downs and Fastguns. Our camper is not as large as what you are wanting but we decided on a TC because we wanted to tow a boat. For towing you may want to consider a Torklift SuperHitch and Supetruss hitch extension.


neok
2009 GMC 25000HD Short Bed 6.0 Gas Engine Crew Cab SLT 4x4
2008 Bigfoot 15C9.5FS
Torklift Talons, Fastguns, Stableload Quick Disconnects, Superhitch & SuperTruss


usmcshepherd

Commerce City, CO

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Posted: 11/12/13 06:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Concur with above and in addition would recommend Timbren's over airbags! You can install everything yourself easily minus the Lance plug, unless you are so inclined you could probably do that as well. If you find used and from a private seller you could technically do this all on your own.


2011 Ram 3500 / 2013 Lance 1172
Semper Fi
MGySgt/USMC

joe b.

Florida

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Posted: 11/13/13 04:10am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If theOP has the factory camper package on his truck, installing the proprietary Lance electrical plug in the bed is not difficult. A wire bundle is tied up on the frame just about even with the outside fuel fill. I did not use the power wire in that bundle but ran a much heavier wire back from the truck's battery/charging system. The Lance plug is a 6 wire plug as a brake wire is not needed. Hardest part was drilling a large hole in the inter bed wall of a new truck. LOL

I use the bumper 7 pin for my 5th wheel, as I am not too concerned with how fast that house battery recharges, since that rig is a campground queen and has never been used in a boondocks situation. Our TC is used when we want to stay away from campgrounds and for long distance travel so the battery needs to be able to recharge quickly as we drive.

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