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Old 10-16-2021, 03:33 PM
Pastaman Pastaman is offline
 
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Default 1st time truck camper set up. Seeking advice.

Hi Outdoorsmen,

Into my mid 30ís now and Iím looking to get a used pickup and put an in box camper on it and either haul the small boat or the trailer with a couple quads for hunting season or some outdoor fun. I live in Edmonton so most trips are over 300km one way. I could take this conversation any direction but Iíll start with the truck. My buddy is selling a 1996 Ram 2500 V10 gas guzzler that gets 500km to the 130L tank. Itís got an 8í box for $3500. Do you think this is a good starting point or should I hold out for something better as I plan to spend about $10k on a nice camper. To be honest I donít know how much a nice, used truck camper is worth yet. The truck deal came up quick and Iíve got to decide quick. Please post some of your lessons learned or things to remember. I appreciate all of the input I can get. Picture of the truck is below. Is a dually necessary for a truck camper? Thanks.




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Old 10-16-2021, 04:03 PM
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Stinky Buffalo Stinky Buffalo is online now
 
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That truck looks like it's in good shape. How many kms on it?

First thing you look up is the load capacity of that truck, and also, what kind of slide-in you are expecting to put in. Many of them really are best off in a 1-ton. If you go for something simpler (without a toilet/shower) then it does make it more manageable.

Consider where you would store it when you don't have it on the truck. Also, watch some videos of loading/unloading it, to get an idea of whether you'll need help with that process (spouse/friends).

With an 8-foot box you definitely have more options for a camper too, so that's good. You'll appreciate the room! Also, there seem to be more used campers available for eight-food beds because not that many people buy long beds nowadays. Watch out for water-damaged junk, of course. These days RVs are going for top dollar. This summer outright junk was selling within days of posting.

About the truck - Personally, if it's been looked after fairly well I would have jumped on it by now. Especially if it's a standard (my weakness!) Could always resell it if you change your mind.
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Old 10-16-2021, 04:19 PM
Pastaman Pastaman is offline
 
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Thanks for the advice!

It has 223000kms. Iím told itís rated for 5340lbs payload and 10000lbs towing. Itís a 3/4 ton but has 1 ton axles.


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Old 10-16-2021, 06:07 PM
Jims83cj5 Jims83cj5 is offline
 
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Open the drivers door and read the sticker
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Old 10-16-2021, 07:14 PM
ghfalls ghfalls is online now
 
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I had a gen 2 dually with a 10í slumber queen adventurer for a while. I loved the truck camper life. Anywhere you can drive your truck is can be your campsite. The truck looks clean. Iíd look closely around the fibreglass running boards to see if they caused any cancer. Budget in some airbags as well. Will be money well spent. There will likely be some good buys over the winter on campers. Another thing to consider is a good tie down system is quite expensive so start keeping an eye out for used stuff. Good luck
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Old 10-16-2021, 07:25 PM
jstubbs jstubbs is offline
 
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You donít need a dually for a truck camper but itís certainly nice to have, and of course a necessity for some of the larger truck campers out there.

Truck is a great deal if mechanically solid. Iíd buy it regardless.
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Old 10-17-2021, 02:43 AM
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brslk brslk is offline
 
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Depending on mileage and general condition of the truck, I'd buy it. That sounds like a heck of a deal. I doubt you'd lose any money if you changed your mind and decided to sell it.
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Old 10-17-2021, 05:11 AM
pdog15 pdog15 is offline
 
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Mileage is at that ďcriticalĒ point where it may be needing repairs/maintenance sooner rather than later - tires, battery, glass, front end, brakes, fluid changes not to mention compression/transmission. Probably best to get a thorough inspection done to know for sure what you are dealing with and can budget for it.
An 8í box is great but the 8í+ campers are both heavy and fast losing their value with mostly 6í boxes now. You might want to check out some campers designed for 6í boxes that will fit inside an 8í box or rest on the tail gate - less weight (perhaps no air bags needed). Tie downs can be a pricey item but a bolt on/weld on belly bar and a 2Ē square tube through the back bumper may work on this truck.
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Old 10-17-2021, 10:09 AM
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CMichaud CMichaud is online now
 
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Buddy has had 2 of the v10s

Both have been reliable and he liked everything about them but the gas mileage.

I personally think the 8' is the way to go for campers however it is surprising how fast a camper loads you up. I run an unmodded 3/4 with an old camperette and it sure seems to feel the weight when she is in the back. Payload is key.

The biggest think to check is the "Consumer Information Truck-Camper Loading" document for your year/make. People would be surprised how many of their trucks are "not recommended" for slide in campers by the manufacturer.

I could not find the 1996 on line but as an example, here is a shot from a page of the 2009 Dodge Ram version

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Old 10-17-2021, 10:22 AM
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If you tow a boat install a front hitch for unloading, backing down a boat launch is difficult if you can't see the boat until it's sideways.
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Old 10-17-2021, 12:32 PM
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Dean2 Dean2 is online now
 
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Buy the truck, that is a hell of a good price, if he worked at it he can easily get 15-20,000 for that rig. They sell for 8-15 U.S. very regularly, and with more miles. The V10 will easily run 600,000 Klms.

I carried an 8.5" heavy old style Vanguard camper in mine for a number of years. You can still see the camper tie downs in the pictures. That 3/4 ton V10 has lots of power and the payload to carry it. This is mine, 260,000 Klms, runs like new, does not burn a lick of oil between oil changes. As far as gas mileage, whatever you put the camper on is going to get ballpark 10 mpg. That is about what the V10 will do loaded too. Mine does about 14 empty on the highway and did 9 with the camper, pulling 4,500 pounds of tournament boat. My new 2500 only does about 17 or 18 empty so I am never going to save the purchase price on the "improved" gas mileage.

Just bought a new 2021 2500 but am holding onto this truck till I am positive I like the new one at least as much.



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Old 10-18-2021, 08:39 AM
jpohlic jpohlic is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bat119 View Post
If you tow a boat install a front hitch for unloading, backing down a boat launch is difficult if you can't see the boat until it's sideways.
I mounted a rear view camera to the back of my camper for launching the boat.

On another note, I'd go with a one ton over a 3/4 ton truck. Gives you more options when shopping for a camper. I have a 9.5' camper for sale if you're interested.
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Old 10-18-2021, 11:10 AM
walker1 walker1 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jims83cj5 View Post
Open the drivers door and read the sticker
I don't think those door jab stickers noting payload were around back then. I think it was around 2006 or so they were found but could be wrong on that. There was axle and tire ratings white sticker probably which would also work.

I would skip the 2500 if going in bed camper but that is just me. Great looking truck.
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Old 10-18-2021, 11:52 AM
Dylan15 Dylan15 is offline
 
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Price is cheap enough that spending money to upgrade suspension, springs, airbags, etc would net you a great truck. Finding a comparable one ton is going to cost much more, unless you can find another good deal. I agree one ton would be better, but money spent upgrading could get you something more suited than a stock one ton, possibly. I know some older trucks used to use the same frame (I'm pretty sure) between one and 3/4 tons, with the difference being axles and suspension. You already have the 1 ton axles. Not sure if that is the case with these Dodge pickups, but worth looking into IMO
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Old 10-18-2021, 11:58 AM
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Dean2 Dean2 is online now
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan15 View Post
Price is cheap enough that spending money to upgrade suspension, springs, airbags, etc would net you a great truck. Finding a comparable one ton is going to cost much more, unless you can find another good deal. I agree one ton would be better, but money spent upgrading could get you something more suited than a stock one ton, possibly. I know some older trucks used to use the same frame (I'm pretty sure) between one and 3/4 tons, with the difference being axles and suspension. You already have the 1 ton axles. Not sure if that is the case with these Dodge pickups, but worth looking into IMO
In the case of this truck you are correct, the V10 has the same frame, axles, front steering gear, tranny, transfer case etc as the one ton did in 94-2003. It is only true for the V10 version as far as gassers go of the 2500 but due to the power (they put out double the HP of the diesel and the same torque) and weight they were beefed up a lot, just like the diesel version was.

Last edited by Dean2; 10-18-2021 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 10-18-2021, 12:23 PM
Ackleyman Ackleyman is offline
 
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Mileage is at that ďcriticalĒ point where it may be needing repairs/maintenance sooner rather than later - tires, battery, glass, front end, brakes, fluid changes not to mention compression/transmission. Probably best to get a thorough inspection done to know for sure what you are dealing with and can budget for it.

The price is right. But the above is good advice. Most people i know with that vintage of Dodge over 200K have changed the tranny......i would check with owner regarding maintanence / repairs.
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Old 10-18-2021, 01:55 PM
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I was in a similar spot a while back. At the time I was running a small 1/4 ton camper in a half ton truck, but it was totally inadequate for my needs. So I started truck shopping first with the intention of buying a one ton long box gasser.

I had a really tough time finding something I could actually get to in time before it sold. They were either overpriced or sold in a day. And then I tripped across a 2011 GMC coming off the line at Regina Auto Auction. I stopped in to check on it anyway and it turns out it didn't sell. Previous total loss, and I'm pretty sure an ex-oilfield truck with high mileage. They had a "buy it now" price that was pretty much a steal. I looked it over thoroughly and couldn't find a compelling reason not to buy it. My justification in buying it was it left a lot in the budget for repairs, and if it turned out to be a good truck then I'd be able to put more in the budget for a camper. Almost 5 years later and the truck is every bit the steal it was when I bought it. Routine maintenance aside my only repair costs have been a transfer case output seal (did myself), new flex plate and rear main seal at the same time this spring.

After buying the truck I started watching for a Northern Lite or Bigfoot. It took close to a year, but I found an '03 Bigfoot 2500 9.5fs that wasn't too far outside of your budget. It has been an amazing camper. That's the direction I'd suggest you go. You should be able to find a 90's fiberglass camper for around $10k. If you find one older than the 90's it would need to have been modified to fit a newer truck as the older ones are too wide for the box openings on newer trucks. The fiberglass campers are so much better built than the rest.
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