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Old 01-03-2008, 09:08 PM   #1
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I've been reading through some of the past threads here about brakes, SRW vs DRW, weight, GVWR...and have more concerns than I did when I first started researching truck campers.

I presently have a 2001 F250 4x4 diesel long bed that is only used for pulling my Jeep or light weight trailer with quads or motorcycles. I bought it used from a friend, it's in great shape and is modified with a Tom Woods tranny, aftermarket turbo, intake, exhaust... Bottom line is it runs strong and should last. My concerns with the truck are it's been raised 4" and has 35" tires.

I am planning on purchasing a Lance 915 in the next couple of weeks. It 9'6', 2500 lbs empty and (I'm assuming) without the options. The Jeep is 4300 lbs when flat towed, which is most of the time and ~ 6,000 lbs on a trailer.

The lift and tires have been an asset for the areas I typically go which are Pismo, Glamis, Dumont (sand) or rutted desert/mountain areas. The brakes are plenty strong even when flat towing the Jeep, but now I'm about to add 3,000 plus pounds to the equation. The tires are 'D" rated at 3,200 lbs each.

What do you think of this set-up, is it safe? This is my first truck camper and any advice will be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Double AA
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:33 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum- I'am not sure you have enough payload on your truck. It sounds as if your drivetrain is more than capable-however you really cant change what you can carry within manufactures recommendations.

You should plan on adding about 1000 lbs to your camper when loaded ( persons, gear, food, water etc) so that would be 3500 lbs on the back- without your Jeep.
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Old 01-06-2008, 05:07 AM   #3
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Double A,

We have a truck camper, now for nearly 9 years; love it...you can go just about anywhere.

On your truck...I did not see whether it is dually or single rear wheel. Dually adds tremendous safety. Our camper (Bigfoot) is 3200 empty...which is very misleading. Once all options were added + our stuff, weight went up to 4400 lbs....very heavy camper. We did add air springs and rancho shocks which made the ride easier and also provided a method for leveling. However, the dually provided a degree of security.

Your camper is lighter and possibly running with single rear wheels may be okay....others on this thread could comment. Good luck, HEMI
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Old 01-06-2008, 05:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
.....On your truck...I did not see whether it is dually or single rear wheel. Dually adds tremendous safety....HEMI
Hemi
Doesnt a DRW have greater payload??
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Old 01-06-2008, 11:01 AM   #5
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How much taller is the bed from stock? The camper when loaded, has a high center of gravity and with a "standard height" PU, the camper leans on turns and cross winds WILL push you around while driving. I for one would not put a camper on a lifted truck with oversized tires. My last camper was a Lance 11 1/2' on a Dodge one ton with DRW. The benefit with the DRW is improved stability as the rear end is around 8' wide. My truck came with a camper load fact sheet that said I could cary a 2700 LB camper. My camper as 3100 LB dry. With food, gear and the rest, I was about 1000 LBs overloaded. The truck could handle the load but I never felt good about the service brakes. It took a longer distance to stop that much weight and I never really felt comfortable driving. I was always checking to make sure I had enough room ahead to stop. I only used the camper five times in four years.

I suggest you check out a "pop-up" camper for your truck. They have a much lover COG than conventional campers.

Good luck and let us know what you decide to do.

Cheers!
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Old 01-06-2008, 11:34 AM   #6
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Yes a DRW will carry more weight, we had an Artic Fox 1140 on our Dodge 3500 DRW and we were over weight by 1100 lbs. As always, using it more and needing more room/storage we ended upwith a MH. You need to have your truck scaled with full fuel and people, then subtract that from your GVWR and that will tell you if your truck will handle the Lance. Then add the weight of the trailer and check that against the GCWR. If your in the ball park your good.
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Old 01-06-2008, 03:57 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies.

The truck is SRW F250. It appears the limiting factor are the tires. The rear diff is rated at 9900 lbs, original tires were rated at 3042.

I'm switching tires to Toyo 315x75x16 which are rated @ 3840. I'll also install air bags. My truck has a rear sway bar and overloads already. The overloads will probably need to be replaced as there are several inches before they come into contact.

In 2001 the 3/4 and 0ne tons shared the same rear diff, frames and brakes. The springs, rims and tires where different. The truck has forged 10" rims which while are not DRW they do add several inches of width.

Anyhow my plan is to add the air bags and overloads, get the camper and assess the handling. If alls good, I'll buy the Toyos and call it done. If it's not stable, I'll have to decide to either lower the truck and use smaller tires or sell the truck altogether.

I know I don't want a smaller TC than the 915. As to the suggestion to look at the pop up TC, I would like to look at a Outfitter if I could just find someone with one. I looked at their website and they look a little sparse but I like the whole concept.
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Old 01-06-2008, 05:11 PM   #8
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...As to the suggestion to look at the pop up TC, I would like to look at a Outfitter if I could just find someone with one. I looked at their website and they look a little sparse but I like the whole concept.
Not sure what you mean by "sparse" since an Apex has every amenity of the 915 and can be customized to pretty much your hearts content (which can't be done with the Lance). The Apex also has larger tanks, a bigger bathroom and a more open feel to it then the 915.

Call Bob at Outfitter and he can see if there is an owner near you that will let you come check out their camper.
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Old 01-08-2008, 05:38 AM   #9
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We had an '01 F350, gas, AT that carried our Arctic Fox 1150. Brakes were the pits. Going downhill with stab braking in low gears did not help. Hot, smoking, etc. We got rid of it for an '02 Chev dually, 3500, with D/Allison. Braking improved 500%.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:41 AM   #10
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Yep my old company truck was an 2001 F350 DRW 4x4, new brakes every 10,000 miles and rotors every 15,000. Actually we had 3 of the same year and model all with the same issues-not enough brake

We traded now we have 3 2007 Dodge 3500 6 speed-much better braking.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:55 AM   #11
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Double AA,

I think you are on the right track with your proposed mods. My only concern would be the lifted truck and the amount of sway you might experience. I don't know how stiff the springs are on your lifted truck, but even my stock dually (see sig) sways too much with the camper loaded. A lifted truck ends up with a very high center of gravity once a camper is loaded and can really rock -n- roll.

There's 2 possible cures for sway. I went with the shock option and installed adjustable Rancho RS9000 shocks. When the camper is loaded, I crank up the dampening and this greatly reduces the sway. When I'm driving without the camper, I can reduce the dampening and still have a nice riding truck.

The other option that others have used is to add thicker contact pads for the overload springs. This causes the contact overload springs to contact earlier and provide more dampening. Your F250 might not have overloads though (depends on factory options ordered).

Good luck and let us know how you make out.
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:52 AM   #12
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FWIW I used to have a SRW F-350(9900 GVWR) and carried a Lance 1030 on it for 7 years. I frequently towed my Jeep CJ either on a trailer or flat towed on a tow bar.

Sure I was overweight, but never had a single problem. (tipped the scale at 10900# with just the truck and camper)

I did always keep the 265 E rated tires on it and it was just stock height in the rear (leveled up front). I did add firestone ride-rites and rancho 9000's for saw and ride control. I had the titan V hitch and 48" extension. I used a weight dist. hitch when trialering the Jeep.

Also for what ever reason my truck didn't have a rear sway bar or the factory overloads.

The truck/camper combo worked great, until we upgraded to more space in a TT.

Sure a dually or F550 would have been better, but I already had the truck and then got the camper. It worked great for me.
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Old 02-01-2008, 06:35 PM   #13
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Thanks for the advice guys. I did purchase the 915, installed air bags, 9000XL shocks (set on eight) and extended bump stops for the over ride springs. I also switched to Toyo tires. They're the same size but rated @ 3840. My truck came with the over rides and rear sway bar.

I spent three day in Glamis putting on more than six hundred miles. I'm very please with the way the rig handles. It's easy to drive with very little sway.


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Old 02-04-2008, 07:19 AM   #14
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That's a nice looking setup, Double AA. I forgot to mention, but if you end up with brake issues like a lot of Ford Superduty guys do, there's some good aftermarket brakes available. The factory brake rotors started pulsing and a warranty rotor turn only helped for a very short time. I bought cryo treated/slotted rotors from ART along with Performance pads and haven't looked back. Even after some high energy stops with the camper loaded, my brakes haven't warped again.
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