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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > 1st trip new 861/truck - review and pics

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SlideInDad

Massachusetts

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Joined: 05/13/2006

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Posted: 04/27/07 01:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So we took the new 861 for our first camping trip up to the White Mountains in NH last weekend for 4 days. Lady luck was with us as it was mid 70's and sunny every day and dipped into the 20's at night as validation of how well the 861 can keep itself warm and utilize battery capacity.

Start with the Truck since many on this site want to know how my new 2500HD Duramax handles with this heavy short bed camper. Wish I knew exact curb weights but every scale I've tried to hit has been closed when I got there. Anyways the truck has the following upgrades:

Rancho 9000x shocks
SSA15 SuperSprings
Alcoa Classic 16x7 wheels rated at 3750 lbs/110 psi
Goodyear 285/75R16E Silent Armor tires rated at 3750 lbs
2" steel spacers for rear wheels custom made by Fred Goeske
TTT pwr extendable mirrors
Herculiner bed liner
rubber bed mat
Tow Beast Hitch
Torklift tie downs
Bushwacker pocket flares to cover the wider tires

The Camper has only the fold down bunk and dual pane windows as options, even had the microwave removed for extra cabinet space.

Truck sits and rides level with the SuperSprings, no need for air bags so far. GY Silent Armor 285 tires ride as smooth as the stock highway tires and has the highest speed rating of any of the 285E tires I found. To fit in the front wheel wells I had to trim the plastic under the bumper and mold the rear lining back with a heat gun plus 2 turns of the torsion keys. The wheels stayed nice and cool (adv of aluminum) the whole trip and the rear tires only got slightly warm but nothing of concern and no more than the rear duals on the 3500 did with the 1150. The steel DRW wheels used to get warm as well on the 3500.

The ride is very smooth, my wife commented on how much nicer it rode than the 3500 DRW with the 1150. Sway is managed by the Ranchos and SuperSprings but I think soon I'll add a rear sway bar as well especially before I try towing anything.

Braking was more than adequate but I expected that since they're the same brakes I had on the 3500 with a heavier camper. What was really nice was the Allison 6 spead and LBZ combo. The 5 spd I had on the 2001 3500 used to allow the LB7 to rev up to 3100 when in tow/haul and on a highway incline. RPMs never went over 2200 and the truck never felt like it was working as the old one did (again I haven't towed with the camper yet). Grade braking did not seem effected by the larger tires and I came down both sides of the Kancamangus with virtually no use of the brakes. This truck also has the manual tap shifting which I planned to try but did not as the grade braking worked so well.

Camper is very nice and seemingly has equivalent space to the 1150 we had with the exception of the full coat closet and the dry bath, space we did not miss this weekend but will when we winter camp next year with heavy coats. My son loves the fold down bunk and it's so much easier than braking down the dinette every night.

I do miss the solar panel we had on the 1150, the four sunny/warm days would have been enough to recharge what was used on the cold nights but without it I had to run the truck for an hour on the 3rd day to bring them back up enough for the 4th night. Did not miss not having the generator though I'll likely pick up a portable before next winter.

Overall I'm very happy even though I've endured a roof leak, a broken drawer, a leaky LP tank and several loose brackets on the 861 so far which have all been minor fixes.

Enough of the review, here's the pics. And yes that is my son jumping in the swift river which has to have something like a 50 degree water temp but the air was 75. Kid's will do anything, personally my foot hurt just touching the water.

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2007 GMC 2500HD Duramax CC - 2006 Lance 861
SuperSprings/Airlift/Bilstein 5100/TowBeast/Torklift tie downs
previous setup:
2001 Silverado 3500 DRW Duramax - 2003 Arctic Fox 1150 Dry Bath


rhode trip

Rhode Island

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Joined: 03/21/2006

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Posted: 04/27/07 01:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice pictures and a good looking rig. Thanks.


2002 Dodge 3500 CTD/DRW/
2000 Northern Lite 10-2000cd

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trapperdick

Bridgton,Me.

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Posted: 04/27/07 01:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice pics SlideIn, that little boy is having the time of his life....These are memories that will last forever. Great looking rig....Enjoy
TD


OLDER AND BOLDER,,,,,N1ATF
Ford F-350 Dually Diesel, Lance 9SC, Harley Davidson Heritage Softail, 12 ft Hallmark trailer and Skeeter the camping beagle ">.........

Bearnkat

Fort Worth, Texas

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Posted: 04/27/07 02:22pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What an awesome time you had! As everyone mentioned, great memories are being formed! The kid is definitely a "polar bear!" [emoticon]


Chuck & Terry
2005 Pilgrim 281RB-S
2006 Ford F250 Lariat CC 4x2 PSD
My Lap-Band Journey!
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Surferkim

Sunset Cliffs,San Diego,Ca.

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Posted: 04/27/07 03:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the pictures and story. My Son would have been in the water with yours. Those memories are priceless!


2005 Dodge 2500 SLT+,CTD 610,Auto,4x4,LWB,QC,Leather
00/915 Lance,AC
LCD/DVD,custom surf racks,Hellwig S/B,Rancho 9000's,Lifeline AGM,PD 9245C
2,750 custom overloads,no bags no problems
One Beautiful Wife,4 year old Son & 9 week old Son">">


cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

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Joined: 01/24/2005

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Posted: 04/27/07 04:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

That is a BIG camper -- but it's a great truck.
It would be very interesting to see the certified axle weights.
Any idea how much you've spent on upgrades?


Cal


SlideInDad

Massachusetts

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Posted: 04/27/07 04:14pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

cewillis wrote:

That is a BIG camper -- but it's a great truck.
It would be very interesting to see the certified axle weights.
Any idea how much you've spent on upgrades?


A lot, I knew going in that the truck stock wouldn't do it. Tires/wheels were the big one for about $2k. Everything else probably added up to $2000 so maybe $4k total? It's a lot after a new truck but after the DRW I didn't want anything that big again. I'm estimating that the rear axle loaded ready to camp is about 7000 lbs based on numbers I've heard from others with this camper and knowing what my rear end weighs unloaded. Under the rating of the tires and wheels for sure.

BradW

Mayor of Flat Rock

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Posted: 04/27/07 06:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Added to the TCU Thread.

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