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Thread: truck mods for camper

  1. #1
    Member walk-in's Avatar
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    Default truck mods for camper

    I picked up a pretty nice 11' camper last week. Its a little bigger than I really wanted, but was a great deal and looks almost brand new. I drive a '99 F-250 Super Duty with the 7.3 Powerstroke. It has airbags, factory overloads, and the Torque Lift frame mounted tie downs. The camper rides pretty good. No problems stopping, no excessive sway (in fact not really any that I could notice), truck doesn't squat too much with the airbags.
    All that said, I intend to beef up my suspension a bit more before I start using the camper next spring. I plan on adding a sway bar and putting adjustable gas shocks all the way around. I might also install the compressor kit to inflate my airbags from the cab. Any other suggestions? I suppose that long term I should think about upgrading to an F-350, but that just isn't in the cards right now.
    We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.
    James Madison

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Sounds like you got it figured

    Quote Originally Posted by walk-in View Post
    I picked up a pretty nice 11' camper last week. Its a little bigger than I really wanted, but was a great deal and looks almost brand new. I drive a '99 F-250 Super Duty with the 7.3 Powerstroke. It has airbags, factory overloads, and the Torque Lift frame mounted tie downs. The camper rides pretty good. No problems stopping, no excessive sway (in fact not really any that I could notice), truck doesn't squat too much with the airbags.
    All that said, I intend to beef up my suspension a bit more before I start using the camper next spring. I plan on adding a sway bar and putting adjustable gas shocks all the way around. I might also install the compressor kit to inflate my airbags from the cab. Any other suggestions? I suppose that long term I should think about upgrading to an F-350, but that just isn't in the cards right now.
    Do you have dualies? Generally a camper that big begs for them. I have a small camper on a short bed which still requires Timbrens to regulate sag. I'm going to add another leaf when I can afford it. Enjoy your camper.

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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have it figured out. I have an 11' bigfoot on a 96 f350 with 7.3. I do not have airbags yet but would like to add them. I have just been too cheap/broke to do so. It handles very well, just sits alittle lower in the rear than I like. Same deal here, I didn't want to go quite that big, but I got such a deal on that camper that I had to do it. Cost me a bunch though to set it up right for towning the heavy trailers that I do though with the camper on. Well worth it in the end. We love the Bigfoot.

  4. #4
    Member Snug's Avatar
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    Default Truck upgrades

    I would add some gauges to your truck. You will want to keep an eye on your EGTs and tranny temps hauling a load like that.

    In the long run I would suggest getting a dually. You are probably overloaded with the F250 and it might even be to much for a single rear wheel F350.

    People are so sue happy these days and if you got into an accident they could ticket you for being overloaded. I know it's stupid, but it could happen.

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    Default

    I wired my truck to charge the camper battery then the truck engine is running. Then the truck is not running the camper battery is disconnected. You will still need a generator for when your camping for 2 or more days depending on how much power you use.

  6. #6
    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    I would suggest hooking the airbag lines together. That way if a bag or a line fails it will drop the whole load rather than just one side and possibly sending the truck out of control. I don't haul a camper, but when I get my compressor and in cab controller I will be hooking them together. You also have a good idea on getting some adjustable shocks. I think a set of Rancho 9000's would do the job and may not need the sway bar.

    The folks have a GMC dually with a huge Bigfoot and all they did was have the springs re-arched and one or two leafs added. I bought my airbags from them when they decided not to use them. They also pull up to 29 foot enclosed trailers with the camper loaded. Thank goodness for that awesome Allison tranny!

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    Default air bags

    I agree that hooking the bags together so they deflate together in the event of a failure is a good idea.... however

    If you do it, you'll get more sway and body roll. mine are not linked for this reason. (while my sway bar is on order)

    Rancho makes good shocks, but I haven't had good luck with them in the cold under heavy load. Maybe I just have bad luck, dunno. I'm running KYB mono max on my F350 and love them.

    That is a huge camper for a 3/4 ton truck. Make sure your tires can handle the weight, I see way too many heavily loaded 3/4 and 1 ton trucks running with tires that aren't even rated to handle the GVRW of the vehicle. And they are running way over weight for the vehicle.

    example -- 245-75-16 E rated tires are only rated at 3000 pounds @ 80psi. That matches the rated RAW of most of the 3/4 ton trucks (6000 lbs) on the road but falls 800 pounds shy of a SRW 1 ton (6800 lbs)

    sorry to ramble....

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    Default

    I agree that you're a bit overloaded with that camper and truck combo. Rdklinak is absolutely right on the tire issue. If you want a good comfortable safety margin you could look at 19.5" medium duty truck wheels and tires--that would put you up into load ranges like F & G. They're more expensive but they would certainly handle that load much better than even the highest quality load range E tires.

    With a heavy load like that it really taxes your brakes, and if you move up to taller tires for better load handling it makes it even worse. You might want to look into an exhaust brake. I have a Pac Brake on my Dodge and it's absolutely wonderful to help control my speed in twisty, hilly areas like around Chickaloon. You should check out http://www.thedieselstop.com . It's a Ford oriented diesel light truck forum and you could probably get some really good ideas there.

    Congrats on the camper and good luck,
    Mike

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