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Old 08-11-2017, 09:47 PM   #1
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Thinking About Buying A Truck, And A Truck Camper

Hi all,

I'm thinking about buying a truck, and a truck camper, to do some traveling around the US, and maybe Canada as well.

I like the Livin' Lite truck campers because they're made of aluminum and Azdel. I want to buy something tough, and avoid headaches and costly repairs.

I'm hoping I can find something in my budget. I'd like to keep it to $5,000 max, if possible, for the truck camper. When I looked, it seemed like the Livin' Lite models were $15,000 or more, and they weren't that old. I guess the company is relatively new.

In terms of what I'm looking for, I'd like all the things I'd need to survive: bed, kitchen, dining area, fridge and freezer, shower, toilet, and I guess a heater and an AC.

I'm more about function over form, so I don't need anything to be super luxurious, but I do want to buy something that will last as long as possible, and not fall apart and cause me headaches.

I saw this listing: https://bellingham.craigslist.org/rv...244264682.html If it's in good shape as the owner seems to be implying, would it be a good deal?

In terms of the truck, would a Toyota Tacoma provide the most bang for the buck? It seems like they're considered the most reliable smaller sized trucks.

I'm debating on going for 4WD, since the owner of XP Camper told me I will want to go off road if I get a truck camper. But I understand it would cost more, and would require more maintenance. Any thoughts on that?

And I think it would need to be automatic, due to the fact that I have a spinal cord injury, and I'd like to keep it simple. Originally I wanted to keep the price to around $5,000. For that price I may be able to find an automatic single cab 4x2 Tacoma with cruise control, and around 200,000 miles on it, correct? If I want a dual or extra cab, and 4x4 would I be able to find something in excellent condition for under $10,000? And will a Tacoma really make 500,000 miles if you maintain it?

What do I need to keep in mind when purchasing a truck with the intention of pairing it with a truck camper? I understand there are 2 standard bed sizes. Is it pretty easy to attach and detach the truck camper? And what's involved with storing and protecting the truck camper?

I think that's all that comes to mind for now, thanks.
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:50 PM   #2
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Hi, BreakAes!

Good luck on your searches for a truck camper and truck. I'm unfamiliar with the camper and trucks you've been looking at.

I had an Arctic Fox for 7 years, lived in a 5th wheel for three years and have just replaced the 5th wheel with a new and bigger Arctic Fox.

My suggestion is to find a truck camper first and determine the weight fully loaded and ready to use. Then make sure you purchase a truck with more GCWR than you expect to have with your loaded truck camper and passengers. You want to make sure you have enough power to safely haul the camper, stop the truck in an emergency, and not wear out your truck by hauling an over loaded camper. This is especially important if your in the great Northwest or any area with mountains or if you plan on getting off road. Make sure you have the power you will need.

Manufacture stickers on the truck and the camper should give you a guide. Be aware that many, maybe most, RV manufacturers list their dry weight on a striped down version and do not include any options to the base unit.

When matching your truck camper and truck, it is also a good idea to pay attention to the size truck bed you'll need for any given camper you are interested in. Also, make sure the center of gravity for any given camper does not extend rearward of the rear axle of the truck you'll use to haul it in. If there is not a center of gravity on the truck camper you are looking at, then contact the manufacturer for guidance.

And please, if you accept that you'll likely have to make repairs to any RV as you go, you'll have a much happier experience using and learning about your truck camper. You can often find the help you need on one of the many forums such as this one.

As far as loading and unloading a truck camper, it is a learned skill that is easier each time do it. Most truck camper dealers, such as Apache RV in Everett, can help you with this. My first dealer took the time to show me and I never needed assistance afterward.

Twice a year I wash my roof and give the walls a good wax job. Whenever you wash the rubber roof you'll need to be careful as the oxidized rubber will wash off on anything your rinse water splashes onto, such as your wife's brand new car parked next to it. Then you'll have cars to wax as well as the sides of the camper. I do wax the front cap and front camper wall that sits behind the truck cab more often in order to make it easy to get the bugs off. There are covers you can get to protect the camper but I have never used one; however, now that I am in the Deep South we are considering it for the harsher sun down here. You can winterize the plumbing system with RV antifreeze but I always used 30psi air to clear the lines.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-12-2017, 12:03 AM   #3
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The camper you posted shows delamination which means water leaks and rotting.

Expect non slide campers with baths to be 3000 lbs when loaded and you will need a stout 3/4t truck or better to haul one safely. There are smaller and lighter models, but you will give up the bath and stronger construction of something like an Arctic Fox. My single slide 9' camper was about 4000 lbs and my triple slide 11.5' camper is 6000 lbs to put things in perspective.

Truck campers are the most expensive square footage in an RV. With your budget, you could get a much nicer 5000 lb trailer that could be towed behind a newer Taco with 6500 lb tow package.
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Old 08-12-2017, 05:33 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies, and the tip about delamination.

Due to the cost of having to buy both a truck and a truck camper, I'm now thinking about getting an older class B camper van instead.

I'll create a thread in another forum, but if you have any thoughts on that idea, let me know.
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Old 08-12-2017, 07:47 PM   #5
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There's no way I'd plan to haul a TC with a bathroom on a Tacoma, nor a Tundra. They're nice trucks but just not up to the task of heavy hauling. I would thing a 2500 series truck would be a minimum.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:41 AM   #6
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A little late but the Tacoma isn't enough truck to haul a camper that has a bath. A 3/4 ton or higher is pretty much required.

I know you're thinking class b but be aware that some of them are really close to their GVWR, before passengers and supplies. It's pretty easy to exceed the weight rating on many of the models.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:47 AM   #7
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IMHO...the camper link shows what looks to be like sides are de-laminating! IE the outside skin is separating from the core material.
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Old 08-13-2017, 04:49 PM   #8
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Thanks, I created a thread in the Class B section, but haven't gotten any responses.

What do you all think about this class B camper van? Is it a good deal?

https://bellingham.craigslist.org/rv...259151346.html

I talked to the owner, and it seems like everything works, and is in good condition, although she's not all that familiar with everything. Seems like her ex-husband is the one who knows more about it. One thing I need to test when I check it out is the cruise control. It has cruise control, but she didn't really know about it.

How would I go about figuring out the dry weight, weight with all the fluids etc., and the GWVR of this model?

And what would happen if you exceed the weight rating?
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Old 08-15-2017, 10:58 PM   #9
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I found out a class B camper van would cost about $750 per year in registration and insurance costs to own in Washington state.

So now I'm back to the idea of a truck and truck camper. It seems like ads have popped up for some decent ones under $5,000.

Would the only yearly costs associated with a truck camper be $15 for registration in Washington, or are there other costs to consider?

And I think I'd want to look at the versions that are at least 11 feet, since I read you need something that long for the full sized fridge and freezer.

What kind of truck should I get for those bigger campers, an F250? Any other makes and models to consider? I need to get the most reliable truck that's compatible with the kind of camper I want. It's too bad I couldn't use a Toyota. There's the Nissan Titan XD, but they're new, so should cost more than I'd want to pay.

Thanks.
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Old 08-16-2017, 04:34 PM   #10
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For a 11' camper and truck to haul it you are going to have to increase your budget by 4 or 5 times.
Even a no slide 11' camper is going to stress a newer 1 ton truck.
An older 1 ton truck will have an even harder time, as their payload is a lot less than newer models.
You need a truck with a payload minimum of 3000lbs, 4000lbs would be better.
A DRW would be best. Keep in mind that an older DRW will probably have less less payload than a new SRW 1 ton.
You will also have spend money on the truck so that it can haul the camper. Tie downs, wiring the truck for the camper, possibly air bags and or stableloads, at least another $1000.
Any 11' or larger camper for $5k with all the things you want is going to have something that needs fixing.
The Titan is still a half ton, useless for a camper.
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Old 08-16-2017, 11:33 PM   #11
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If I can get a camper for $4,000-$5,000, how much would it be for the right truck in good shape?

I don't think I want slides. Seems like they'd increase the price, and also increase things that could go wrong.

Are you saying I'd want to look for something like a Super Duty F350, specifically? I've never owned a truck before, so I'm not familiar with them. Can you give me a checklist of all the things the truck should have?

Some ads I've seen include the tie-downs etc., but that's a good point. I'll remember to ask the sellers what I'd need to hook the camper up to the truck.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:25 PM   #12
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An 11' $5000 camper is probably going to be old and have wood frame. Old wood frame campers if not kept inside will be prone to leaks rotting the frame. Old campers will have old appliances, converters etc.Replacing old appliances is expensive.
Any 1 ton(Ford, Dodge, Chevy) will do. If you are looking at at an older truck, there are some to stay away from, especially diesels. At the price range you are looking at, there are a lot of diesels to be wary of. Around 2007, the diesels went to exhaust filters, it took a few years for them to get the technology so it worked reliably. Older diesels have about 1/2 the HP and torque of modern diesels.
Do your research before purchasing an older diesel.
If you are thinking about a Lance camper, Lance uses a proprietary electrical plug that no else uses. Jacks and tie downs are not created equal,some are much better than others.If you buy a DRW, your camper will need swing out brackets. Are the jacks electric, remote controlled or manual. If you take the camper off the truck a lot as I do, the type of jack makes a difference.
An 11' camper will probably require a rear sway bar. Some trucks have them, some don't. Those with the camper package do, they are usually standard on DRW's.
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Old 08-22-2017, 08:41 PM   #13
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So today I spoke to a guy who has an 11 foot Lance camper from 1987. He says he bought it because it had no rot. The internals like the plumbing were upgraded 4 years ago to be more winterized. He said the roof is 1 piece aluminum. It has electric jacks, and he said it's easy to attach and detach. Supposedly it's in good shape.

He's selling it with the truck it's paired with: 1995 diesel F250 extra cab with 4wd, 252k miles, for $9,000 total for both.

He told me, "252k which is low for this motor and being a diesel, the guy I was talking about selling cars sold one on his lot with the same motor that had 375k, very well built but ya 252k"

He also told me that from 1995-2003 Ford made the best engines, and that his truck is worth $7,500. I'm not knowledgeable about all this, so I don't know if that's true or not.

If everything's in good shape like he says, is that a good deal?

Let me know, thanks!
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Old 08-22-2017, 09:13 PM   #14
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An F250 of that vintage could have the 1 ton option, meaning 3560# payload capacity, which needs to be confirmed of course.
The 7.3 l Powerstroke was Ford's flagship diesel at the time and if, and that is the question, well maintained could run 400 k - 500 k miles. However, I have seen many F250's from that era with a bent frame from being constantly overloaded, another tell-tale sign would be wear on the overload spring and the rubber stop block over the axle.
Regardless, a truck like this needs to be thoroughly inspected by a trusted professional for sure. You do not want to open a can of worms when buying a truck!
As other's have already mentioned, the Toyota and the Nissan are nice trucks but absolutely useless for the intended purpose.
I can not offer any advice on the truck camper.
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