My 2015 4wd Ram 5500 has a 9000 lb payload capacity. Some of the older Class 7 trucks have close to the same capacity and are not as fast or comfortable. Look closely at their ratings and unloaded weight before making a commitment even if it drives well.
I carry a 4000 lb camper on the flatbed (will be upgrading to a 6000 lb model) and tow an 8000 lb enclosed behind it at the same time.
Something like that is going to be so far out of my budget range that it's not even a blip on the radar of "maybe in a few years", regardless of how much I may need it, lol.
The big reason why I was looking at one of the bigger trucks like this was to eliminate the use of the trailer for most circumstances, when I'm taking just the camper and one of my trucks. Then be able to still hitch the trailer up if say I want to haul a buddies truck out at the same time. But I'm thinking I really need a 10K payload capacity to make that work just based on how stinking heavy the 4x4s themselves are fully loaded up. I don't have my main 4x4 fully built yet, but I'm guesstimating it's weight to be around 5500lbs when done. I'm coming up with rough numbers of around 8800lbs total between camper, 4x4 on flatbed, spare parts/tools/additional water tanks and tongue weight of loaded trailer.
Sure, it's under the 9K mark there, but I'd still want a bit of extra cushion room, just in case.
Otherwise, I may just be better off forgoing the bigger truck idea, get an older 1 ton flatbed, and continue towing the 4x4s on the trailer...perhaps just getting a bigger deck/heavier duty trailer big enough for two rigs if need be.
EDIT: Gah! Found a 1990 F350 dually w/460 and 5 speed trans on Craigslist just to use as an example, and from what I'm reading on different forums about towing capacities, this thing is rated lower than my '05 1/2 Dodge! I found some posts about people talking about the truck struggling to pull a 9,000lb load...which says to me that I'm going to be right back in a similar boat as I find myself with my current truck.
I had not considered that, at least not in the strictest sense. I was under the impression that one of the advantages of the bigger trucks was that parts were available for them longer than the typical automobile/light truck application, as they were kept on the road longer. I figured it wouldn't be as easy as stepping into the dealer and buying bits for a 2015 Ford, but hadn't really thought about parts just flat not being available at all.
One of my other considerations was something like the International 4700s (and I'm actually partial to International trucks to begin with, from being a big fan of the old IH trucks). Is the parts availability issue an issue across the board on these things, or just more confined to Ford/GM/Dodge stuff?
Big too. Have you driven a MDT or HDT ? They take up a lot of road.
That I have :) We have a fleet of Freightliner M2s and SDs here at work, along with a few day cab semis,so I'm familiar with the physical size..not gonna get these puppies through the McDonald's drivethru! :D
Though these aren't exactly comparable to the old stuff as far as ride quality and power. I was actually surprised at how easy these new trucks are compared to some of the older stuff...it's almost just like driving a monster sized pick up truck!
Part of the reason for going down this road is cost, namely acquisition cost. I just flat don't have 20K in the budget right now for a new truck. Even if I were to sell the current Dodge, it wouldn't get me much closer, as it's been used as a truck quite a bit, and has taken some body damage off road here in the Arizona desert. It's still a plenty solid truck mechanically, but I honestly would be astounded if I got $5,000 out of it if I were to sell it. Realistically would likely be closer to $3,000.
I really don't like the idea of taking out another loan for a truck, especially for something that's going to be sitting far more often than it will be driven. Ever since I started driving my Miata as a daily, my Dodge gets driven once or twice a month now. So the thought of having a 10K or 20K loan on such a vehicle doesn't exactly excite me, lol, even more so if I decide a year or two down the road that even a 1 ton dually isn't enough for whatever I get into then.
Some of these older trucks I've been seeing for $2,000-$5,000, which I could easily do right now.
I currently have an '05 Ram 1500 2WD quad cab short bed truck, with the Hemi and factory tow package. As is so common, when I bought the truck, I didn't forsee my future needs, thus it doesn't really meet my current needs. Oops.. :P
My main hobby is 4x4 rock crawlers, which I typically trailer to the trails rather than drive them, largely due to them being set up for the rocks and street manners are not at all friendly. I have a 20ft deck flat bed trailer that I move them on, which works quite well behind the Ram, although I do have to be very careful how I load it to avoid bottoming out the suspension on the truck.
I have recently added a '70-something SixPac truck camper to the mix, and by itself, it is lightweight enough that it barely squats the Ram. Although I haven't scaled it, I'm guesstimating it to be around 1,000lbs empty based on suspension squat of the truck.
Either are fine by themselves with the 1/2 ton Dodge, and although I haven't yet attempted to do both together, I'm really thinking the truck isn't going to like it.
I started looking at various other truck options, and whoo-boy!! New(er) trucks are EXPENSIVE!! Plus, now I feel like if I go into a 1 ton truck, I'm only meeting current needs again, not "future proofing" myself.
So I started browsing Craigslist, and found a few 70s and 80s MDT trucks - F700s, F750s, Kodiak/Topkicks, C4500s. C5500s (which I think is just a Kodiak with a different badge?), etc. A couple had 17-20 foot flatbeds on them, and it got me thinking....Toss the camper on the front of the flatbed, and without a bed in the way, I'd have room for much larger water tanks and storage areas as my old camper doesn't have a basement on it. Then I'd still have room behind it to load one of the 4x4s...and probably still have enough capacity to haul the trailer behind it if I needed more room still.
The problem here is that I really have zero experience with these old trucks. Is this even a feasible plan for these types of trucks? I'm guesstimating a total load, between the loaded camper, 4x4, bigger water/storage tanks, tools, etc to be between 8000 to 10,000lbs. Obviously the ride is going to be horrible compared to a new pickup, the "creature comforts" won't be there, and I figure the gas mileage is going to bring on the major suck regardless of whether I go gas or diesel. But on the other hand, this would be a dedicated hauling truck for me, I still have other vehicles for daily usage, and I'd still keep the Ram for light duty hauling duties.
Really what I'm wondering is whether I could realistically load up 10K on the deck of one of these things, and cruise down the highway at 65mph without much issue?
At this point, I haven't really considered much of anything. I suspect that this is going to be one of those things that after much consideration, I will realize that it will be much more expensive to go this route just to be able to have a "cool vintage" coach.
Over the past few days I've gone from thinking about ways to making my 1/2 ton work better as a camper hauler + off road crawler hauler to realizing that regardless of what I'm doing, I'm basically just polishing cow droppings to thinking of medium duty trucks to dreaming about big ol' Class As and Bus conversions. The reality is that the typical class A is WELL beyond my current budget to get something that would fit my needs, and is merely a dream right now.
I started browsing Craigslist just to get an idea of some pricing, and found the GMC, to which began the gear turning, and how cool it would be to have a vintage coach pulling my vintage 4x4 around.
As for repairs on this particular coach, while the owner claims it's merely just head gaskets that are needed, I've bought enough broken vehicles over the years to know that what the owner claims, and what is reality, often is vastly different once the parts come off. Thus I'd rather take the time to go completely through everything drivetrain related before embarking on a trip that long, and I don't think that would be feasible to do when I still have to go to work on Monday :P
So that's why this is more of a "what if" scenario.
Yes, another one of those questions that I'm sure has been covered a million times, but I can't think of the proper keywords to use, thus I'm getting a ton of hits on people wanting to use the coach as a tow vehicle, and not towing the coach itself.
While perusing Craigslist, and dreaming of things well beyond my budget, I came across an old GMC conversion bus, and the wheels started spinning in my head :D This particular one has blown head gaskets according to the owner, and is approx 300 miles away on the other side of a mountain range, so it's not something I'd want to attempt to nurse home with a bunch of water with me.
Realistically, having never owned a diesel before, and certainly not having any experience with such an animal, I don't see myself taking this particular animal on as a project, but it did get me thinking - how do you transport something like this in the case of catastrophic failure? I'm sure it's not something I could call AAA on, lol. I looked at the Good Sam towing plan, and while it's unlimited distance, it's also to the "nearest service center", which wouldn't do me a whole lot of good as I'd want it as my house for repairs.
Would this be the kind of thing to call a heavy duty towing service for, or would I be looking at transport specific services? I found one heavy tow company in South Dakota that listed rates (though I'm in Arizona, I was just looking for listed rates to use to get a general idea of what this kind of stuff would cost) - $200 hook up charge, $3.50/mile, and $100/every half hour after the first half hour. One way costs at this point add up to $2045. I'm also assuming that if I was to contact a towing service, either by the coach, or from my side of town, that I'd probably be getting at least a mileage charge both ways, which would bring the total to almost 4 grand...suddenly the "good deal" seems like less of a good deal, lol.
The typical Truck Alternator setup was only typically designed to charge up the ONE Truck Start battery.
My understanding has always been that the alternator is there to maintain a state of charge, not recharge a low battery. This is an important distinction, as the alternator doesn't have the circuitry in it to properly charge a deeply discharged battery. Sure, driving around for a while will eventually "fill" the battery back up, but it doesn't do it in a way that maximises battery life.
The intentions of the high amp alternators, and dual alternator setups is for vehicles that have higher than normal electrical loads, such as emergency vehicles with a bunch of added lights. electric hydraulic pumps, bigger cooling fans, etc.
It's always been my understanding that the 12V charge line was intended for maintaining small batteries, such as those that power the breakaway system on trailers, not charging up the house battery (or batteries). Even then, you're supposed to charge the brake system battery to full with a battery charger, then the TV maintains that charge.
People are not going to fork over their hard earned money to an unestablished business based on an artist's rendition.
The number of fully funded ventures on sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe say otherwise. I've always been amazed at the number of people willing to shell out big big bucks on someone's concept and a promise of amazing things without anything tangible to show for it. Something like 45,000 people have sent money to Elio Motors for their 3 wheeler backed by a hilariously bad business plan that doesn't stand a snowball's change in hell of working. But hey, tell the people that your product is going to "change the world!!!!" and they'll gladly empty their bank account on a promise! Heck, I even liked the concept, but once I saw their financials, it was obvious that I'd stand a better chance at throwing a grand into lottery tickets.
I learned a while back that for stuff like this, it's better just to go with the good stuff right from the get go. Yeah, the cost stung...a LOT, but I've been nothing but happy with this unit, especially with the amount of abuse it's taken in stride with me, given that it's been bolted down in several vehicles that have seen air time and down right beatings off road. In all honesty, I'm absolutely amazed that this thing has held up this well.
Saw the thread on replacing a fridge with the Nova Kool to get a 12V compressor fridge in there, and issues with a Norcold.
I have an older SixPac camper that I'm refurbishing a bit that currently has an icebox in it that I intend to replace with a refrigerator. I know plenty of people like the iceboxes, but the big reason I switched to a fridge over the coolers was specifically to get away from having to buy ice all the time, even just for day trips.
I currently have an older Norcold portable that I can't recall the model number off hand, but it's essentially a relabeled Engel MT60, and has worked GREAT for me even in the Phoenix summer heat. I bolted it down in the bed area of my Scout, and even with it being in the direct sun and 115 degree heat, it would still freeze the stuff inside if I cranked it up too high. Easily ran 24 hours + like this on a single Group 24 AGM battery.
So naturally, I was looking at Norcold permanent mount fridges for the TC, but now I'm wondering if I should be looking at these Novas now instead?
Yes, the actual top portion where the pan support thingies sit does appear to be stainless, as well as the drop down cover that goes over the whole mess. But neither of those are anywhere near as grungy as the rest of this stuff. Those parts could likely be cleaned just fine with an all purpose surface cleaner.
I was referring to it as a cooktop, as that's how they all seem to be described at places like Camping World when I was looking at buying new stuff. A stove or range appears to include the oven underneath, which I don't have room for right now without a significant redesign of the entire camper unit inside. Whereas these surface mount drop in styles are called cooktops. I don't know if that's right, but that's how I saw them advertised, so that's what I went with :P
My thinking for painting is for future ease of cleaning, as well as to halt any further corrosion of the panels, as I figure even if I do decide to replace with new components it likely won't happen until the winter when things cool off a bit here in the southwest desert but the heat won't keep me from enjoying nature :)
This is really more about doing this on the cheap than making it pretty. If form was the primary concern, I wouldn't have bought a couple hundred dollar 70's camper, lol. The whole intention was just supposed to be a cheap experiment to step up past a tent in the truck bed, and if a shortbed camper would be enough for me...or if I really do need to get into a bigger truck + camper. Thus, I don't want to drop a grand or two into refurbishing this camper only to decide after the 2nd or 3rd trip that there's just no way I'll ever be happy with a small camper. Much the same that I don't intend on replacing the current icebox with a refer unit right now, and will be using my portable Norcold for the time being.
If I decide after a couple trips that I can in fact make this work, then I have no problem putting in all new appliances and refinishing the inside to make it nice.
This is what I've got -
The tray that drops into the counter top, under the burners, and what looks like galvanized steel to me. Appears to have some corrosion as well as a considerable amount of cooking goo baked on.
The tray under the control knobs. This does appear to be a low grade stainless steel. No corrosion/rust that I can see, but still a good amount of cooking goo that needs to be cleaned off.
Burners and distribution valve
Top of the LP box, directly under where the stove was (with the counter top removed). This also appears to be galvanized steel, with some minor corrosion.
I was planning on removing that box as well, and giving it a good scrubbing as it's full of dust/dirt/cobwebs inside, then paint and reinstall with some new weatherstripping around it.
I recently picked up a 1970-something SixPac truck camper that obviously has been sitting unused for quite some time. Decent shape, but in desperate need of a good cleaning, and I got it for a song.
I started going through it this past weekend, and it appears that the cooktop hasn't been cleaned in a LONG time...we're likely talking years here, lol. Baked on crud and all...
It's an old style 2 burner drop in, appears to be made of all galvanized steel, and has some corrosion as well. But it IS functional. Amazingly, there was still some propane in the cylinder, and the burners both light up.
I was thinking of giving it a good soaking with oven cleaner, which I expect will have a negative effect on the galvanizing, followed by a couple good coats of BBQ paint or maybe the enamel spray paint.
I know I can get replacement drop in cooktops for around $100, and I don't expect this to be a factory quality finish or a long term solution. I picked up this camper much on impulse as it was a fairly lightweight shortbed camper that would work on my 1/2 ton, but I'm not 100% sure this is the way I want to go long term, so I'm hesitant to start throwing a bunch of money into it only to find out after a few trips that I want to go in a different direction. So for now, this is largely an inexpensive way to dip my foot into the water, so to speak.
As far as hauling the camper in your truck, remember that you have put NOTHING in it yet, and do not have any of your family members along for the ride. Plus you are planning on adding the weight of a trailer tongue. By the time all is said and done you will have over double the weight of the empty camper on the truck.
You CAN do it, meaning nobody will jump out of the bushes and tackle you to the ground, and people have done it. Airbags to get the rear end up. WD hitch to get the front end back down. As long as the truck is in good repair and maintained, you will be as safe as anything. The load will dictate that you change your driving style to a presumably more careful and deliberate mode. But you may not like it when all is said and done. It really sucks when you go to all this trouble and expense, only to find out that you HATE driving your beloved truck with all this stuff on it. Then you have to see if throwing more money at it will fix the problem, trade trucks, or give up.
Well yeah, there's nothing physically stopping me from pulling this mess around with a '85 Ford Escort either :B I know full well CAN and SHOULD are often two completely different things.
I built my current trailer from scratch, and set it up specifically to do this type of planned set up. Of course, there were still assumptions to be made, as I didn't have a camper at that point in time to base weights off of, so I assumed a camper weight of 2500lbs. Though, to be completely honest, I made a lot of weight assumptions back then that I regret now. I really should have scaled things....I may end up a wee bit boned if this thing turns out to be too light, lol (bet that's a complaint not heard often around here! :D)
But even assuming heavy, depending on what 4x4 I'm dragging around, I'll end up with a loaded trailer weight of 7700-9000lbs, ending up at the upper limit of rated towing capacity on my truck. Although knowing there still isn't a standard adopted on factory tow ratings, I'm not even sure how applicable factory ratings even are....again, I know I really need to scale my truck and equipment to be sure, and I will certainly do this before setting off on a fully loaded trip.
Hence, my plan _should_ be OK with the camper on the trailer. I don't see myself loading the camper heavy, as my goal was basically to keep doing things as I've been while tenting just with more weather resistant hard sides and a better organization scheme than my current two Rubbermaid containers to hold the gear. Again, assumptions being made here, but even including my current refrigerator and typical water/food load, I doubt I'm carrying more than 250lbs of gear total. The vast majority of my trips are just me, and I don't have a family or pets that go along.
At the end of all this, if it ends up being too much, then it's time to accept that I need a bigger truck to do what I want to do.
I did notice this one seems a lot more cramped inside compared to newer stuff, but I figured given modern materials, construction techniques, the newer stuff would still be lighter anyways even with all the extra stuff in them.
I was just really surprised when the weight of it didn't seem to affect my truck much at all, and actually makes me wonder if I couldn't get away with just putting it in the truck and pulling the trailer like normal. Would be nice to not have to drag a big ol' trailer around any time I wanted to go camping without the other toys...
Recently picked up a '75 Six Pak short bed camper with the intention of making the redneck toy hauler - TC on the front of a stupid long flatbed trailer giving me room to put my Jeep behind it.
I went to pick it up with my '05 Ram 1500 quad cab with Hemi and towing package, and based on what I read here, I expected a comical white knuckle nightmare trip home on the rear bump stops because I don't have air bags or the like back there.
To my amazement, while the camper noticeably sagged the suspension, it wasn't by a whole lot. It looked like the equivalent of a lowered leveling kit installed in the truck, and I barely even noticed the weight of the camper back there.
Now, this was a nearly empty camper - stove, sink, icebox and no water tanks at all so I know I'm going to add a few hundred pounds to it by switching to a refrigerator, adding a fresh and grey water tank, etc.
I haven't scaled it yet to know the exact weight, but it does have me wondering if these older, smaller, TCs are significantly lighter than modern campers? Based on suspension sag, I'm guessing it's currently under 1,000lbs.