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jefe 4x4

West Slope, Northern Sierra Nevada

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Posted: 09/18/10 10:12pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Extreme Truck Camper (XTC) concept is not new, it is just becoming more defined and refined. Ever since someone put their TC on a four wheel drive pickup back in the day, the way was opened. For more than 40 years boon docking TC-er’s could slowly grind away in low/low gear to that hidden, remote, fishing hole, camp spot, or scenic wonder that other RV types could only dream of- as long as it was not too narrow, too steep, too rough, or too side-hilly. However, a lot of what XTC-er’s attempt, defy the laws of nature. Most of the successful XTCer’s, that I know, come from an off-road/jeeper (small j thank you) background. They already have the tools and the instincts to survive when the going gets rough. I saw a few hearty souls that took their huge, way-overloaded TC’s a ways off road and found a sack of woe dealing with skinny truck tires that were over inflated and not up to the task, automatic transmissions that ran hot with little off-road survivability, weak axles, suspensions ill-tuned for the rigors of the trail, gears that were not deep enough or slow enough to creep over that rocky outcropping, no traction aids, and limited ground clearance, with poor approach angle/breakover angle/and departure angle.
That was then and this is now. The new breed of XTC-er’s have solved most of the problems I just described.
[image]
A stock pickup truck is oh-so-much better than those of 30-40 years ago. Even now, the smart XTC-er ‘builds’ a better mousetrap installing larger heavy duty tires and sturdier rims, a small suspension lift (we don’t want to get that big box up in the air any higher than we have to) with added springs/secondaries/and blocks to allow the secondaries to come into contact sooner. No air bags, at least for off-road. Why? The same reason you disconnect the rear anti-sway bar for off-road. They both rebound, propelling you in an equal and opposite direction. I know this is counterintuitive, but it is what it is. Much beefier adjustable shocks are also on the plate. After the last trip(s), I’m going to add another pair of Rancho 9K shocks to the rear axle. When MT, I’ll run ‘em at one. With the camper on, all four @’9’.
Some kind of compressed air supply, or CO2 tank, is a must. The successful XTC-er "plays" with tire pressure. Recently, Alex disconnected his sway bar, lowered the tire pressure to 40 lbs, and dropped the airbags down to just maintenance level. Worked great. I was at 35 lbs. front/32 lbs. rr for the White Rim Trail. Worked great.
However, the biggest decision to make is how SMALL and LIGHT a camper you can live with. The idea is to build in success not failure.
The best camper for us "occasional use" types is the pop-up camper. Whazoo’s OUTFITTER! has all of the heavy parts of the camper down low. This is crucial to keep the side-to-side sway at bay. Hey, wait, I don’t have one of those! But I do have the narrowest (86” wide), least tall ( a few inches lower than other Lances), and lightest (1811 lbs. w/water/propane) of the full service campers. I say "occasional use" types because after talking to Turtle Expedition’s Gary and Monica Wescott about going across Siberia in winter in a popup, they’ve digressed to a hard side. I try to keep the tie downs looser, when off-road than on-road. I’m constantly adjusting them to the terrain, with a pair of ¾” open end wrenches at the ready. When going steeply uphill, I keep the front tie-downs a bit tighter, as the TC tends to work its way aft.
Below, Whazoo and Doug Ramsey on the incredibly steep east side of Black Bear Pass, circa 12,200 ft. Oh, and did I mention off-camber?
[image]
The reverse is true when going steeply down hill. I just don’t let them get too tight. Not good for the frame. Julie filming Alex on the White Rim:
[image]
As I’ve mentioned before, “ALL RESISTANCE IS FULTILE” when it comes to keeping things looser when off road.
When I’m on the trail in my XTC, I try to "become" the trail, just like a Shakespearian actor "becomes" the part he’s acting. I want to feel the texture of the trail putting my wheels exactly where they will keep me the most level, least rough with the best chance for traction. I constantly wander over the trail finding the best place I think the tires should go. Of course, that presupposes you know where your tires are. On a recent double trail trip (trip reports to follow for each) I actually got better each of the 10 days I faced the trail. This was a challenge with the wide track of the super singles on the rear axle. I drove a lot thinking about where the rear tires were at any given time. Outside to outside of the rear wheel track is about 92”. The biggest thing I experienced on this extended trip was how slow to drive. Constant modulation of speed became the norm. I have never used the T-case as much as this trip, or been in 1st gear, high range as long as I was on this trip. XTC-er’s also get the stoutest transfer case available. Mine is the NV241-HD. On paper it has no strength advantage to the non-HD because the rear output shaft and bearings are the same, but it was developed to counteract the forces of snow plow work with a much wider and sturdier chain to resist "shock loading" from the plow.
O.K. enough for now.
Regards, as always, jefe


'01.5 Dodge 2500 4x4, CTD, Qcab, SB, NV5600, 241HD, 4.10's, Dana 70/TruTrac; Dana 80/ TruTrac, Spintec hub conversion, H.D. susp, 315/75R16's on 7.5" and 10" wide steel wheels, Vulcan big line, Warn M15K winch '98 Lance Lite 165s, 8' 6" X-cab, 200w Solar

silversand

Montreal

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Posted: 09/19/10 05:37am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tremendous photos of death-defying feats by hard-side and pop-up campers!

Silver-


Silver
2004 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4x4 6.0L Ext/LB Tow Package 4L80E Michelin AT2s| Outfitter Caribou

~DJ~

Boise, Idaho

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Posted: 09/19/10 10:10am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Outstanding report!!!!

And RVnet, we still need a DROOL ICON!!!!!! [emoticon]


'17 Class C 22' Conquest on Ford E 450 with V 10. 4000 Onan, Quad 6 volt AGMs, 515 watts solar.
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BradW

Mayor of Flat Rock

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Posted: 09/19/10 10:17am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Obviously all Photoshopped! We all know hardside TC's can't get off the pavement. [emoticon]

Brad


Wake Up America
2019 Lance 1062 and 2018 F-350 CC PSD 4X4 DRW
Tembrens, Rear Roadmaster Sway Bar, Torklift 48" Extention and 30K Superhitch
Our New Lance 1062 Truck Camper Unloading at Dealer Photos


silversand

Montreal

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Posted: 09/19/10 12:15pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

We all know hardside TC's can't get off the pavement.


...I think many now are realizing just where hardside TCs can go, with the right expertise.

We're all awaiting that White Rim Trail hardside expe write-up from C.2 [emoticon]

Cheers,
Silver-

dadwolf2

Henderson,NV

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Posted: 09/19/10 01:40pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jefe 4x4 wrote:

No air bags, at least for off-road. Why? The same reason you disconnect the rear anti-sway bar for off-road. They both rebound, propelling you in an equal and opposite direction.


I thought air bags would not be the best choice for off-road because they don't have as much suspension travel(although Carli's long travel air bags might be the exception). Doesn't any coil, leaf, or air bag rebound in an opposite direction? That's the purpose of the shock absorber to control that rebound action. Don't serious 4x4's disconnect sway bars for increased suspension travel...I believe they call it articulation?

Jefe, how much does your loaded camper weigh and what is the Dana 80 + power loc? Unfortunately I don't think there is anybody making a locking diff for Dodges newer 11.5 AAM axles. [emoticon] ARB is talking about it but wouldn't be my first choice.

Do some camper hold downs have built in "give" so it's not too rigid to the truck frame/bed? Just wondering how much is too tight or too loose is those offroad situations.

* This post was last edited 09/19/10 07:03pm by dadwolf2 *   View edit history


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dadwolf2

Henderson,NV

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Posted: 09/19/10 07:01pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kohldad wrote:

With stock gears, 4-lo and first wasn't slow enough for me,


I didn't think I'd ever hear someone say that 4-lo/first was too fast [emoticon] Nice video

kohldad

Goose Creek, SC

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Posted: 09/19/10 05:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great writeup.

I was in the pioneering group with my father. Our favorite places to camp were on the side of some back road where most folks didn't dare travel, much less in an 11' Franklin back in the early 70s.

I had mine off-road a couple weeks ago and was amazed how well it did. Even got in some ruts so deep that I had to straddle them and then stack rocks to cross over when the ruts turned to the side.

I picked the 815 as it has a low COG yet is hard sided. I've looked at some nicer units, but the heavier weight and higher COG would prevent me from exploring so much. And who needs all those ammenities when you are headed out to find that unspoiled nature?

[image]

With stock gears, 4-lo and first wasn't slow enough for me, but couldn't go any slower and the truck had plenty of time to simply rock back and forth as necessary. Never felt like it was rocking too much though. Here is a video climbing the highest ridge though not the worst place I had to navigate:

Hill Climb

I think the tork lift fast guns are idea for off roading. They provide the necessary tension yet have enough give to let the frame twist under the camper. Plus, they are easy to check and no tools required to readjust if necessary.

* This post was edited 09/19/10 06:46pm by kohldad *


2015 Ram 3500 4x4 Crew Cab SRW 6.4 Hemi LB 3.73 (12.4 hand calc avg mpg after 92,000 miles with camper)
2004 Lance 815 (prev: 2004 FW 35'; 1994 TT 30'; Tents)


Matho

New Mexico Texas

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Posted: 09/19/10 10:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice report guys.


2015 Chevy 3500 SRW 4X4 6.0 CC SB Big Wig 2016 Northstar Laredo SC Off Road

JoeChiOhki

Sauvie Island, OR

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Posted: 09/20/10 12:08am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

kohldad wrote:

Great writeup.

I was in the pioneering group with my father. Our favorite places to camp were on the side of some back road where most folks didn't dare travel, much less in an 11' Franklin back in the early 70s.

I had mine off-road a couple weeks ago and was amazed how well it did. Even got in some ruts so deep that I had to straddle them and then stack rocks to cross over when the ruts turned to the side.

I picked the 815 as it has a low COG yet is hard sided. I've looked at some nicer units, but the heavier weight and higher COG would prevent me from exploring so much. And who needs all those ammenities when you are headed out to find that unspoiled nature?

[image]

With stock gears, 4-lo and first wasn't slow enough for me, but couldn't go any slower and the truck had plenty of time to simply rock back and forth as necessary. Never felt like it was rocking too much though. Here is a video climbing the highest ridge though not the worst place I had to navigate:

Hill Climb

I think the tork lift fast guns are idea for off roading. They provide the necessary tension yet have enough give to let the frame twist under the camper. Plus, they are easy to check and no tools required to readjust if necessary.


That looks alot like the road out near Plush, Oregon. Now, drive that kind of terrain for 20 odd miles and blowing dust and you've got what I took on with the Redneck Express last August and why I have no plans to ever revisit the Dust Devil Mines north-west of Plush, Oregon.


My Blog - The Journey of the Redneck Express
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'1992 Dodge W-250 "Dually" Power Wagon - Club Cab Long Bed 4x4 V8 5.9L gashog w/4.10 Geared axles
'1974 KIT Kamper 1106 - 11' Slide-in
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