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Open Roads Forum  >  Truck Campers

 > 96 F-250 diesel, campers under 2300?

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Kayteg1

California > Nevada

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Posted: 08/15/21 09:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

VTLee wrote:

I have a 97 F-250 with the diesel and have been hauling a 9.5ft camper since the truck was new. Camper weighs 2300 lbs. dry. Does your truck have the camper package with the auxiliary springs? If so, put on upper stableloads to keep the springs engaged and you will be good to go.


What year the camper and is the 2300lb sticker weight, or actuall?
Newer campers tend to be heavier than old ones, so that makes thin line before that might overload rear axle.
8' campers have COG several inches in front of rear axle, what allows using some of front axle load capacity, but again, pretty thin line and 3444 lb is not much to play with if you want camper with holding tanks and big battery.





Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 08/15/21 11:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

^Except you’d be hard pressed to overload any full floating rear axle on any 3/4 ton or larger pickup from the last 50 years. Sterling, Dana, AAM, corporate, any of them. So Kayteg is wrong in that respect. And that’s the good news, as the axle is difficult to replace with something more suitable.

What you can or will overload is the tires, possibly wheels, generally the stock springs, all of which can be upgraded easily with bolt on parts.


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Retired Dave

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Posted: 08/19/21 12:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello,
There are numerous options for you to consider depending on how you want to use your camper. In other words, options, supplies, and how you want to travel. Each of these can add weight very quickly.
My situation was similar to yours when I was camper shopping. I have a 1996 Dodge 2500 6B Cummins, 2wd, with a manual transmission. I bought this truck new and have performed all minor and major service myself. It’s it great shape to this day.
However, a 3/4 ton truck has limitations. My GVWR is 8800 lbs with the front axle at 4400 lbs and the rear axle at 6084 lbs. My truck weighs 6453 lbs full of fuel with me in it on the landfill scale. Wife says I can’t weigh with her in it!
I bought a brand new Northstar 8.5 Adventurer in 2012 very nicely optioned. On the same landfill scale the truck/camper combination weighs 8789 lbs. This weight includes two full 20 lb propane bottles, full cassette flush tank, two group 27 Lifeline batteries, tie downs, etc. However, my 20 gallon water tank, grey water tank, black tank for the cassette, and hot water tank were completely empty. And, I had no supplies or food on board.
My point is I’m barely below my GVWR but that works for me because I travel very light. It might not work for anyone else. But I can use the bathroom and sleep while traveling. I add water and food when I get where I’m going,
I bought my Northstar because of their reputation and capability. It is a “lighter weight” camper that met all my requirements. Are there fancier campers than mine? Absolutely, but none I could carry or afford. I can’t say enough good things about Rex Willett. He was very helpful helping me chose my camper and options. My camper has really performed well and beyond my expectations. Quality people making a quality product.
I hope this helps.
Dave

mellow

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Posted: 08/19/21 12:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is what that tag axle guy was saying this kind of setup is what he built it for. Someone needing extra carrying capability with a lower rated truck.


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mjedlin66

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Posted: 08/22/21 07:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Considering a 2014 Adventurer 86FB that's for sale locally.

Dry weight (brochure) is 2359. Wet that's likely 3359.

If it has any awnings I'll take them off. And tempted to run with just one propane tank and just one battery.

joerg68

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Posted: 08/23/21 06:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Shaving off a few lbs here or there will not save you in my opinion.
Removing the awnings may make a difference, as their weight is far up. But it will leave you with a number of holes that need to be plugged and sealed.
Removing a little weight that is down low will not make much of a difference.
If you do get the camper, you could try to compare how it handles with empty tanks vs. full.
Get the actual axle weights, drive the thing, and work from there. Chances are, it will handle OK as-is.


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mkirsch

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Posted: 08/23/21 07:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mjedlin66 wrote:

Considering a 2014 Adventurer 86FB that's for sale locally.

Dry weight (brochure) is 2359. Wet that's likely 3359.

If it has any awnings I'll take them off. And tempted to run with just one propane tank and just one battery.


The truck is not going to disintegrate into dust if you're 1lb over.

The police are not going to hunt you down, toss you in jail, lock the door, and throw away the key if you're 1lb over.

Saving 1lb here and there just so you are 10lbs under the "limit" while giving up creature comforts that are the whole point of having the camper in the first place, is silly.

If there was something you could drop to lose 300lbs, and not give up any convenience or comfort, then I'd say do it. Hmm... Nickle and dime yourself to death? Not worth it.

Just make sure your tires are good, maybe upgrade to the next size larger for a little extra capacity. Make sure the truck is in good mechanical shape, brakes, shocks, springs... Add a heavy duty sway bar if you don't already have one. Maybe something to help the springs.


Putting 10-ply tires on half ton trucks since aught-four.

burningman

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Posted: 08/26/21 10:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Retired Dave wrote:

I have a 1996 Dodge 2500 6B Cummins, 2wd, with a manual transmission. I bought this truck new and have performed all minor and major service myself. It’s it great shape to this day.
However, a 3/4 ton truck has limitations. My GVWR is 8800 lbs with the front axle at 4400 lbs and the rear axle at 6084 lbs. My truck weighs 6453 lbs full of fuel with me in it on the landfill scale. Wife says I can’t weigh with her in it!
I bought a brand new Northstar 8.5 Adventurer in 2012 very nicely optioned. On the same landfill scale the truck/camper combination weighs 8789 lbs. This weight includes two full 20 lb propane bottles, full cassette flush tank, two group 27 Lifeline batteries, tie downs, etc. However, my 20 gallon water tank, grey water tank, black tank for the cassette, and hot water tank were completely empty. And, I had no supplies or food on board.
My point is I’m barely below my GVWR but that works for me because I travel very light.


Your truck has a Dana 80 rear end. It’s the same one the one ton duallies used (except it’s 2” narrower) and it’s the same one that Ford was putting under the F450 at the time.
It’s rated at 11,000 pounds.
Your limit is your tires, not the truck. Put heavier duty wheels and tires on it and it’s physically the same hardware as one that had a higher number on the door sticker.

And as mentioned earlier, factory gvwr stickers are not legal max numbers. If you are a worried about that take the sticker off.

There’s a huge misconception around here that 2500 and 3500 trucks are way more different than they really are, and that those payload sticker numbers are engineering limits on al the components. They aren’t, the most glaring example is the late model F350 and F450. Same GVWR. The F450 actually has a LOWER payload “rating”.
Some lost sounds even buy F350s rather than F450s, just because they think they’re doing the right thing to be safer with a heavy camper.

* This post was edited 08/26/21 10:49am by burningman *


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EYEMLOST

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Posted: 08/26/21 03:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit dog wrote:

Front axle has nothing to do with it, once you realize that all or nearly all of the weight is on the rear axle. To be fair, a reg cab may put some weight on the front depending on the camper. The only reason to change Axle is to get rid of the TTB axle. For the obvious reasons around that thing.
Obviously you’re planning on supporting suspension mods for the camper. Do it right and I’d go up to 3500lbs or so loaded. Obviously the lighter it is, the more nimble it is though.

And then there's me. [emoticon]


I put my 950lb 1998 FWC Grandby in the back of my '94 Ford Bronco.


However; I did a Sterling 10.25 1ton dually rear axle swap too, with 5.13 gear.

Along with '99.5 F-350 leaf springs in said rear as well; rolling on HMMWV tires.


1998 FWC Grandby
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Sky's ORD 6" Lift / Sterling 10.25 Dually 5.13 Gear Detroit Locker / '99.5 Front F-350 Leaf Springs at Rear / HMMWVtires

Retired Dave

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Posted: 08/27/21 06:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Burningman,
Thanks. Yes, you’re correct. My truck has a Dana 80 which was de-rated with tire size. The weak link is definitely wheel/tire selection. I’m still running the stock wheel/tire sizes, load range E. Note, I think there was an axle diameter change depending on spline number.
My comment about 3/4 ton payload was meant to be general but I confused it by specifically using GVWR. What I should have added was that a single rear tire truck has more limitations than a 1 ton dually. Payload and stability in stock configuration.
I’d much rather have a 1 ton like yours for payload. But, that’s not in the cards now that I’m retired, so I work with what I have. I have driven both fully loaded and the dually definitely felt more stable to me.
However, payload wasn’t in my thinking when I ordered my truck in 1996. I was towing heavy in those days and wanted a “compromise” truck for daily use as well. But I made modifications when I started carrying the camper.
The main chassis modification I made was to install air bags. The stock rear leafs didn’t provide enough support with the camper. The bags allow front/rear and side/side leveling as well as the much needed rear roll stiffness. The truck was much less nervous after installation, much easier to drive. Did your truck do the same before you added your air system?
But I still have a narrow track with a high center of gravity. Not optimal in high winds, off camber roads, etc. To me, this is a big benefit of a dually. My truck gets the job done with “limitations”.
And like you, I’ve made engine/transmission modifications to handle the added payload. I added heavier valve springs and studs during a top end rebuild. These are recommended(?) for an exhaust brake and higher power outputs on a 12v P pump. I haven’t added the brake yet, future addition.
The wheel/tire change is coming the next time I need tires. Along with a LiFePO4 battery swap. Both aimed at broadening my operating limits.
Thanks for the comments.
Dave

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