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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > Helping a very new TC owner with a truck decision

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mgsulkis

DENVER, CO

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Posted: 01/20/21 12:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi There,

Brand new TC owner and first time owner of anything RV or travel rig related. Asking for your forgiveness early on anything silly questions I ask. Thought I'd try to get some expert advice on this forum.

I just purchased a 2005 Lance Lite 845 from a family here in Colorado. I now need to purchase a truck to put it on.

The 2005 Lance Lite 845 is listed at 2190lbs dry. I see plenty of people putting the 845 on 250/2500 trucks. However, when I do the basic math on the GVWR the total weight is coming very close to the max (ie - within 200lbs or so). (Typically 8500-10000lbs GVWR and anywhere from 6400-7500 curb weight of the truck)

Two questions:

1. Are folks adding additional leaf springs and/or airbags to their 250/2500's and just calling it a day? Seems like that's the case

2. As I look for a truck (I'm trying to narrow down between a short bed Dodge 2500 cummins, Ford f250 and chevy 2500) should I be taking the truck to a scale to get a true curb weight to make sure I don't screw up the max GVWR?

Thank you! I have a lot more questions - a true rookie here. But having fun learning something new. Cheers.

StirCrazy

Kamloops, BC, Canada

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Posted: 01/20/21 05:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

are you stuck on a 2500/250? why not get a 3500/350 and nt wory about how close you are or do any other modifications.

I have a 2300 lb camper (dry weight) on my F350 and I dont feel I need to do nything to the truck.

Steve


2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK

jimh425

Western MT

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Posted: 01/20/21 05:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The difference between dry and actual weight could be 1000 lbs or more especially if you add people water etc, or pull a trailer at all.

If you go with a RAM make sure it isn’t the coil spring version. Reports here say it’s really bad for a load.

I agree that you’ll likely need the 350/3500 to stay under GVWR. However, there are small differences between 250 and 350 models, so actual capability may be only slightly different. 250s can come with lesser rated tires and that would likely be the biggest difference. If you are going used, that’s one thing to make sure of. People do replace tires with ones that are rated less, and that can be an issue.

Most will say drive the truck with the TC and see what you think before adding air bags etc.

Have fun!


'10 Ford F-450, 6.4, 4.30, 4x4, 14,500 GVWR, '06 Host Rainer 950 Dbl Slide, Torklift Talon tiedowns, Glow Steps, and Fastguns. Bilstein 4600s, Firestone Air Bags, Toyo M655 225/19.5 Gs, Curt front hitch, Energy Suspension bump stops.


joerg68

St. Ingbert, Germany

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Posted: 01/20/21 06:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Payload is only part of the truth, and not the most important one w.r.t. truck campers (and there are a lot of discussions about weight on this very forum).
You need to keep an eye on the Rear Axle Weight Rating, as most if not all of the camper weight goes to the rear axle, especially in a short bed truck. Ideally, you should get the actual axle weights of the empty truck, as in, weighed on a scale. The difference between empty rear axle weight and RAWR tells you what you should be able to haul.
The limiting factor of the weight rating is often the load rating of the tires on an SRW truck.
Be very careful with any weights that come from a manufacturer's spec. sheet, be it truck or camper. They are often very optimistic and do not take all weights into account - you need to know what is in and what is not (truck trim line, camper jacks, A/C for example).


2014 Ford F350 XLT 6.2 SCLB + 2017 Northstar Arrow


JimK-NY

NY

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Posted: 01/20/21 06:17am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You will find endless discussions of camper weight but as a quick summary, expect the weight to be considerably more than you think it will be. First make sure you know the actual weight of your camper. Manufacturer's specs are often for the basic unit without "accessories" such as an A/C unit, microwave/oven, awnings, etc, etc. After you get an accurate wet camper weight, you need to add about 300# for truck mods such as tiedown brackets, bed mat, fastguns. Then add the weight for any heavy items you might carry such as bicycles, BBQ grill, generator and fuel, tools, etc. Then add about 1000# for kitchen gear, cleaning supplies, clothing/personal items, chairs, etc. You will quickly find that the camper you think weighs 2000# can easily exceed a total cargo weight of over 4000#.

JIMNLIN

Oklahoma

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Posted: 01/20/21 06:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1. Not really. I wouldn't say all 3/4 ton owners beef the trucks rear axle for several reasons.
One can be a F250 with the camper/heavy service package has the same suspension as a F350 SRW.
Another is at 2100 lbs dry weight your looking at 3100 + lbs which is well within the range of 3/4 ton trucks 6000-6600 RAWR numbers.
Not all TC owners load their truck/TC rigs with lots of "just in case junk"[emoticon]

2. Trucks don't carry weight determined by a GVWR number but by the trucks axle/tire load ratings. CODOT can help you with the staying under your trucks weights legally/safely.
The F250 camper pack/heavy service package would be a good choice.
Also the new 2500 GM twins have a 11450 gvwr and a 6600 rawr for mid 3400-3500 lb range depending on cab selections.
The most in the bed payload for carrying a TC will be the truck with the lightest rear axle unloaded weight.

A F350/3500 Ram or GM or Ford is another option. Just like the 3/4 ton pay attention to RAWR numbers/cab selections.
Be careful here as some SRW trucks with those high GVWR based payload sticker placards 4000+ lbs will overload the trucks 7000-7300 RAWR.


"good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment" ............ Will Rogers

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JohnJM

Wycombe PA

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Posted: 01/20/21 07:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No such thing as too much truck, Personally id go 350. Not sure about prices on new trucks now, but in the past the cost difference between a 250 and 350 wasnt much. I run a lance 1010 (2600 dry) on a 2006 F350 no issues, no mods to the truck.


John M

mgsulkis

DENVER, CO

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Posted: 01/20/21 08:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow. I posted this near midnight and woke up to a lot of great replies. You folks move fast.

To summarize what I think I'm hearing:

1. 2100lbs dry doesn't mean much - I should plan on another 100lbs (I was already thinking this based on gear and up to four bodies in a what I hope to be a crew cab truck) - so I'm tracking there.

2. 2500-3500 trucks don't differ much in terms of hauling capacity or GVWR - maybe a couple hundred pounds in a lot of cases. I need to pay attention to the tires and wheels to ensure they are rated for the weight.

3. Pay attention to rear axle weight as the shortbed trucks with campers will carry most of the weight there.



I have been looking for used trucks in the 20-35k range to try to stay within my hoped for budget. There are definitely both Ford 350's and Ram 350 cummins in that range - though they tend to be pretty high mileage. (200k+) (and yup, I recognize that a diesel will run for 350k+ miles). I suppose that's just what it is.

Truth be told I wish I would have gotten a lighter camper - but being that I was buying on the used market and didn't have a lot of time (leaving for a trip in March) I still think the Lance 845 will serve me well. I'm just going to have a bigger truck than I was originally expecting.

Thanks all, and I'm very happy for any more tips on equipment/setup for someone unfamiliar and still learning. -Matt

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 01/20/21 08:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Any 2500/250 or 3500/350 will work basically the same and just fine.
If you're looking used, you'll have far more 3/4 tons to choose from.
And for your purposes, the only difference will be the capacity of the stock springs between the 2 classes of truck.
And yes ALOT of people upgrade the rear suspension of their trucks. It's normal and acceptable regardless of what the rvnet weight cops will tell you! lol
That said, given the option if buying new, a 3500 doesn't really cost more and would be slightly preferable.
One truck I wouldn't really consider is a Ram 2500 2014 or newer, due to the rear coil spring suspension. It too can be upgraded and will likely be fine with a lighter camper like yours, but it's not ideal and purportedly won't handle body roll (the main negative characteristic of hauling a truck camper) as well, by design.


2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 01/20/21 08:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mgsulkis wrote:

Wow. I posted this near midnight and woke up to a lot of great replies. You folks move fast.

To summarize what I think I'm hearing:

1. 2100lbs dry doesn't mean much - I should plan on another 100lbs (I was already thinking this based on gear and up to four bodies in a what I hope to be a crew cab truck) - so I'm tracking there.

2. 2500-3500 trucks don't differ much in terms of hauling capacity or GVWR - maybe a couple hundred pounds in a lot of cases. I need to pay attention to the tires and wheels to ensure they are rated for the weight.

3. Pay attention to rear axle weight as the shortbed trucks with campers will carry most of the weight there.



I have been looking for used trucks in the 20-35k range to try to stay within my hoped for budget. There are definitely both Ford 350's and Ram 350 cummins in that range - though they tend to be pretty high mileage. (200k+) (and yup, I recognize that a diesel will run for 350k+ miles). I suppose that's just what it is.

Truth be told I wish I would have gotten a lighter camper - but being that I was buying on the used market and didn't have a lot of time (leaving for a trip in March) I still think the Lance 845 will serve me well. I'm just going to have a bigger truck than I was originally expecting.

Thanks all, and I'm very happy for any more tips on equipment/setup for someone unfamiliar and still learning. -Matt


1. Yes, another 1000lbs total (wet, full tanks, propane and gear/food/etc) is reasonable/realistic. I just emptied our camper out and three was probably 400lbs of dry foods, gear, bedding, camping gear etc. Add another couple hundred for water, full fridge, etc, you will definitely be over 500lbs of "stuff".

2. Correct, not alot of difference in hauling capacity, but the gvwrs are different by around 1500lbs. Same truck, different class rating. There are other nuances/options, gearing, but same chassis and overall strength. Any OEM wheels will be rated conservatively at 3500-3600lbs and all wheel sizes except 17s have many options for tires that meet or exceed that.
Using 7000-7200lbs as the lowest common denominator for real world ratings and most every shortbed HD pickup is 3000-3300lbs empty on the rear axle, gives you about 4000lbs total rear axle load addition before you start dipping into weights above whats rated.
You WILL want some sort of rear suspension enhancement on any 3/4 ton and most likely the similar on any srw 1 ton, just to a lesser extent.
3. Most ALL TCs carry all or most weight on the rear axle. Only significant weight going to front axle would be a short camper like yours on a longbed truck. Which is also a great option.

You don't "need" a diesel unless you're doing much more than hauling a little camper around and will net a nicer lower mile truck overall at basically the expense of fuel mileage. (Without getting into the gas vs diesel debate, lol)
And you couldn't really get "much" lighter of a camper without going to a low optioned pop up (even the nice popups are about the same dry weight) or a very minimalistic appointed rig, which IMO defeats the purpose of having a camper greatly.

Setup is easy. Find truck, add tie downs, rubber bed mat and air bags or whatever (you can test to see what you need for suspension if anything) and a pigtail to plug it in.
You don't need to spend the big bucks on torklift tiedown mounts and automatic tiedowns. Cost vs convenience there.

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