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Old 04-28-2016, 02:30 AM   #1
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Feedback appreciated for truck question

I currently own a 2013 3500 Megacab Dually 4x4 Diesel, it has big wheels on it (not the best MPG) and I primarily use it to tow my toy hauler. I am seriously considering buying a truck camper and realized with a short bed, options are limited.

I like to buy things right the first time, so if I buy a camper I want to make sure I keep it for a long time without second guessing my purchase or kicking myself in a** every time I see a long bed camper. I am a bigger guy btw and do plan on buying a new camper, maybe with a slide out or two.

My options are the following:
1) Buy a short bed camper and use my current truck.
2) Extend the Megacab to a long bed, costs around 8k (prefer not to do this)
3) Buy an older truck (maybe 15-20k ish?) and buy my dream camper and use this solely for the camper.

I guess a few advantages to the last option would be:

1)If I go to a city far away and do not feel like traveling anymore, I can leave the truck and camper at the airport or rv parking and pick it up a few months later.
2)I have my dream camper.
3)When at home. I leave my RV in a RV storage lot, I guess it would be harder to steal when it is hooked up to my truck.
4) One paticular RV storage I use is very high security and wont let me use store there unless it is on a trailer or if they have a way to move it around. So basically I will have to buy a small trailer for that.
5) It will have stock tires so better MPG than my current truck.


1)Cost of the truck, insurance, registration etc
2) Reliability of buying an older truck (maybe or maybe not an issue).

I never had a camper before so I am not sure how often I will use it but I am assuming it will be every couple months, definitely less than 10k miles a year. The older truck would be quad cab,long bed, 4x4 still debating on gas/diesel or dually/SRW. Most likely it will be another diesel dually.

Feedback would be appreciated.

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Old 04-28-2016, 05:16 AM   #2
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Let's start with your current truck. Large tires doesn't necessarily translate to poor mileage. If the differentials are geared correctly mileage shouldn't be much different than a truck with stock size tires. In addition, you didn't mention if you have a lift kit on your truck. And, Just how big are your current tires?
I asked about the lift kit as I'm heading towards your truck being "TOP HEAVY" The taller your truck sits, the higher it mass and that equates to excessive body roll when going around a corner, changing lanes and any movement other than driving a straight line.

As far the length of the camper, buy the biggest camper you can get. In 1972 I had a brand new long bed Ford F250 "Camper Special" and I purchased a brand new 9' Dreamer Camper. Along for the ride was my wife and 2 young boys. So, after a few hours inside the camper, it got crowded. That's why I suggest the largest camper possible. Early 80's bought a Class C and couldn't imagine how I suffered through the cramped camper. Another Class C then in 1991 bought my first Class A and it was only 31 feet long but seemed like a palace. 2003 and 2010 saw a new 40' Diesel pusher. WOW what a difference.

Back to your questions. I'm not so sure I'd be leaving my truck and camper in an airport parking lot. You're liable to return to another vehicle occupying your former parking spot. Leaving it at an RV park can be very expensive since most don't have storage and therefore you'd be paying a daily camping rate just to park your rig.

Personally I think you need to give this whole thing some serious though

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Old 04-28-2016, 05:22 AM   #3
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personally i don't like short beds for hauling campers. you don't get the weight on the front axle, and if you go a full size camper for a short bed, you have a lot of over hang behind the rear axle. just a poor handling config. to me. 2 trucks, more lot rot can happen and more maint. and expenses. not much hill country, i would go gas if buying another pickup, way cheaper
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Old 04-28-2016, 12:24 PM   #4
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I don't understand if you already have a toy hauler why you are going to buy a camper? IMHO, much depends on what you plan to use the camper for, and if you plan to keep the toy hauler.

We've had TCs since the late 70s and they have worked well for us, but they have been used mostly for traveling long distances and for hunting for up to a month. Both trucks were diesel 4X4 srw and the campers were 11.5 or thereabouts. A built in gen and AC were preferred as well as the largest fresh/holding capacities available for boondocking.

Last Summer after we returned from our 7-8k trip with the camper my wife said that if we were going to continue to do long trips we would have to get something that didn't require climbing into the bed, had a better ride, and allowed access to the bathroom and food without stopping. We now have a 454 powered 26' Flair MH along with the TC. After our Summer trip with the MH we will decide which to keep.

If mileage is a consideration, we consistently got 15-16 mpg with the TCs at 65-70 mph on interstates and whatever speed we could go on highways. Towing a Tracker or trailer was 13.5-14 mpg. These were averages over 6-8k mile trips. We're hoping for 10 mpg with the MH, but it could be less.

While there is no doubt that more space is wonderful, it does come with a price. I will say that the visibility from a MH is spectacular.

Best of luck with your choice.

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Old 04-29-2016, 04:45 PM   #5
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Go back to stock or re-gear the truck...... Larger tires reduce the effective gearing.
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Old 05-04-2016, 09:02 AM   #6
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Here is my opinion.
I have run the gambit . first was a small camper , then a trailer , than a MH and now a full blown expedition vehicle.
The advantage of truck and camper is irreplaceable.
I always tow. Either a boat or my ATV's or both.
This fact eliminates the camp trailer.
The MH was a pain to maintain and not a great tow vehicle. ( launching a boat with a MH can be sketchy ).
It was a fuel eater.
And it was big. No parallel parking in small towns along the way.
No impromptu side road trips on unimproved roads etc.
I opted back to the TC.
Now everyone knows that loading and unloading a tc IS A HUGE PAIN.
So I decided that a dedicated truck for the TC was a good idea.
No more loading and unloading issues, and it is always ready to go at the drop of a hat.
Now to your question.
A short bed is a poor hauler for even a light TC. ( The cg is just all wrong.)
A long bed is a much better choice.
Going as big as one can on a TC is ( IMHO ) a bad idea.
Get only what you need and nothing more.
If you camp and or travel as we do, you won't be spending any more time in the coach than you have to. That's why God made camp fires.....
Slide outs add complexity, weight and reliability issues. I shy away from all of these.
And lastly. STUDY < STUDY < STUDY.....Before you buy.
Not all TC's are created equally.
Place your priorities highest on construction, not amenities.
To the truck. I like Ford. In stock format ( no mod's ) they just seem to haul better than the other options.
I run gas. Easier to find fuel on the road and less expensive to maintain over the life of the rig.
Mileage has never been an issue for me as the truck is not my DD, it simply hauls the coach and gear.
I get 15mpg with my Ford F-250 BB loaded or empty. ( it is always well tuned ).
My new rig is equipped with a small block and manual transmission.
As I haven't had time to truly travel much in it I can only say that on it's shake down trip, It managed 18mpg over all .
Not bad considering that we were in the coast range of northern Oregon the entire trip.
We were hauling 2 quads on a snow mobile trailer with all of my gear on board the TC.
I hope this helps.

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Old 05-05-2016, 09:48 AM   #7
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IMHO, it all comes back to the intended use of the TC.

If you travel across the extreme Southern US you will probably appreciate AC and a gen to make it run, especially the humid gulf and SE states. I know we have. It is not that important when we are hunting or fishing in the mountains of OR. I guess that would also depend a lot too on where you live and what the temps and humidity were there.

If you travel interstates from one point to another and stay in rest areas as we have for many years, there will be no place to set up camp and have a fire. The camper will be your "home". It is nice to have a shower and good cooked meal before bed after driving 6 or 7 hundred miles. Either doing this or boondocking in the outdoors, fresh water and holding capacities will determine how frequently a place must be found to fill and dump. IMHO, longer is better.

As to gas vs. diesel I chose diesel after a short 10-20k mile experience with gas. For our use diesel has worked very well and been very economical over 300-400k miles.

Best of luck with your choice.


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